How to Get Motivated (When you’re Mentally Exhausted)

To do the best work, you need to be engaged. But, occasionally, you just can’t bring yourself to care. You might be burned out, you might not be engaged by the organisation, or you just don’t care anymore.

You should quit. You should find greener pastures. But you have rent to pay, food to buy, and a love for coffee that borders on addition.

You still want to put out good work and be proud of what you accomplish. So how do you get motivated when you don’t care anymore?

Change your mindset

The power of positive thinking isn’t just a Tony Robbins refrain. While you may be unhappy, you are still getting a paycheque and should put out your best work.

Stop thinking of the job as the worst thing that’s ever happened to you and look for opportunities to learn and grow. Professional development should be your watchword, and you can look for ways to learn more about the intricacies of programs that have become mundane and routine. If you’re constantly entering data in to an Excel spreadsheet, take the time to learn about formulas.

Looking for the potential good in a situation rather than the negatives is advice that transcends business and applies to all aspects of life. I’m not asking you to be unhappy forever, however this is a great way to make the most of the time until you find a more permanent solution.

Create your own rewards

If your reward system is not extrinsically set up, you need to set your own milestones.

It’s remarkably easy to get frustrated, fall behind, and become overwhelmed. That is a significant de-motivator.

To keep this from happening, give yourself small rewards along the way. Small things, like going to get a coffee, are great ways to tackle small things. If you have a big project that you need to focus on, set yourself a bigger reward like taking a personal day.

Get specific in your planning

If you’re quitting a job the moment you hit a rough patch, or find a lull in your interest, you’re probably never going to keep a job for more than a year. That person is probably not reading this article.

If you’re dissatisfied with your work, it might be part of a larger issue within the business. I’m specifically avoiding the word problem because there are often things that are well above our pay grade that are tickling-down that weren’t meant for you.

Make an appointment to speak with your supervisor to get a sense of your role in the business. Rather than sitting ahead and staring at a blank screen all day, or trolling Reddit, to get a sense of where your organisation is going and what your place within it will be.

If the response is not what you’re looking for, you need to start taking the initiative to polish your skills. Look at the jobs that you’d like and see where you’re lacking and what can be punched-up. No good at HTML? Take an EdX course. No good at public speaking? Join Toastmasters.

Ultimately, you need to take agency in your work life. If you become happier in the work, great. If not then you know what to do. You need a positive mark on your resume, at the end of the day, so keep putting in your best effort until you make a change.

What else have you done to overcome a case of work doldrums? Share your experiences in the comments below.

Chris Wilson
Social & Digital Marketing

D:   +61 2 8294 4003
M:  +61 404 887 698
E:    chris.w@interpropeople.com

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