There are always some days when we find it hard to stay focused on our daily job duties, or a few hours in the office feels like lifelong tormenting, or sometimes you simply wish you could swap those blue Mondays with thrilling Fridays? These are the cues that you are dealing with feeling unmotivated to work, which can be due to burnout, toxic work environment, bad bosses, or mental fatigue.
Irrespective of the degree to which it impacts you, addressing its fundamental reason and taking substantial measures to tackle this state is crucial.
Motivation is something that triggers you from inside and guides your being to walk to a particular path. However, some philosophy states that the motivation for work can be either intrinsic or extrinsic.
Like, if you feel motivated for your work for achieving higher incentives, extra paycheck, or extra holidays, then it is extrinsic motivation. Whereas, if you love doing your tasks because it evokes your interest, it is due to intrinsic motivation.
For the long haul, it is imperative that your motivation should be intrinsic, not extrinsic.
Possible Reasons for Feeling Unmotivated to Work
Here we have listed some common reasons behind the ‘feeling unmotivated to work’ feeling, along with the exclusive ways to dislodge it easily.
- You are mentally and physically exhausted
As advocated by this study from the American Psychological Society, when you are mentally fatigued, you are more prone to lack of energy, low enthusiasm, and tiredness.
An excess workload causes the burnout state that eventually leads to feeling unmotivated at work.
- Stuck in a job that you don’t Like
Pursuing a job that you don’t like at all is similar to fighting an uphill battle.
Whether you need to stay the course for putting bread on the table or for making a great deal of money, pursuing a job that pulls away your happiness is a noteworthy reason behind demotivation.
- Work-life imbalance
If you are unable to maintain a reasonable boundary between the personal and professional life, then this poor work-life synergy may cause mental exertion, tiredness, and reduced motivation for the job.
- Lack of ambition
When you have zero bigger goals for life and no sophisticated blueprint for executing them, the aimless growth can naturally bring in lethargicness, making you more likely to feel uninterested in your duties.
- Toxic environment in the office
Be it gossiping colleagues, poor management, or bad relationships with boss or manager, the toxic environment in the office not only degrades motivation but also wreaks productivity.
- Feeling unwanted and unappreciated
When your voice goes unheard, ideas are ruthlessly rejected in the meetings, or if someone else seizes the credit for YOUR work, this can give rise to unworthiness and a self-loathing tendency that hampers the motivation.
- Too comfortable in the current job
When you are clinging to a job that serves surplus comfort, and less competitiveness, then after a point, this dormancy will cease your interest in the job, causing a gradual fall in motivation.
How to Deal with Feeling Unmotivated to Work?
Random ups and downs are the natural aspect of life that may give rise to gloomy, apathetic, and discouraging feelings. However, irrespective of the circumstances, it is the great zeal and motivation for work that stands out the winners from the rest.
So, here are some of the great tactics through which you can overcome this ‘no motivation to work’ state smartly.
1. Figure Out the Reason
The first step is to get to the roots of your unmotivated state. Demotivation can be temporary as well, like you are tired, or underwent a breakup, etc. But, if it is long-lasting, then you must dig around its source.
- Grab a pen and paper, and write down all the possible reasons why you could be feeling uninterested in performing better. Is it the job role aversion, toxic environment, or stuck in a rut case?
- Note them in descending order so that you can heed to the top reason for your demotivation.
Once you are done with the enumeration, analyze the list and figure out the possible ways to deal with them.
2. Switch the Job or Career
“You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.” – Maya Angelou
Pursuing a job that you detest feels like a daily drudgery, whereas when you are pursuing a work that appeals to you, it naturally triggers an intrinsic motivation. Sometimes, demotivation is a signal from your mind that you need to switch a job or career stream.
If you have ever heard about split-brain theory or left and right brain theory, then you must be aware that the brain is divided into two hemispheres. The left side of the hemisphere is responsible for analytical, rational, and logical thinking, while the right one takes care of creativity and artwork. One of the brains is more dominant in each individual.
- If you are left brainy, then jobs related to analytical thinking like coding, criminologist, and accountant may suit you better.
- If you find yourself more indulged in creative works due to right-brain dominance, then profiles like interior designing, graphic designing may complement you more.
Have a look inside yourself, and figure out in which field you are more brainy and which job will suit you the best.
3. Clean and Decorate Your Workspace
The environment in which you work plays a significant role in setting the tone of your day. Cluttered, messy, and noisy surroundings lead to distress and unmotivated feeling.
On the other hand, a tidy and sophisticated workplace with motivating taglines naturally ignites the spark of motivation. Before starting your work, clean up your surroundings. To add some motivating elements, you can experiment with various things.
- Consider decorating your workspace with artworks, motivational quotes, or a sticker filled with your life goals.
- According to a study published on Researchgate, besides providing eye appeal and making the air breathable, the presence of plants in the workplace has a direct effect on positive mood, perceived office attractiveness, and enhanced productivity.
- Moreover, you can use an essential oil diffuser of Chamomile, lavender, or eucalyptus for mini aromatherapy.
- According to another research from Researchgate, aromatherapy in the workplace improves work performance by lowering the work-stress and bringing attentiveness to work.
Note: The points mentioned above may not directly boost your motivation but can uplift your mood. After all, feeling good is the first ladder towards motivation.
4. Set a Major Goal for Life
Having a significant goal in life invokes our intrinsic motivation rather than external motivation!
When we set a vision for our lives and create a concrete plan to pursue it, then we feel more energetic and zealotic in our day-to-day activities that naturally suppress the unmotivated vibes.
Figure out and set a goal for the future, like working hard to get your dream car, working in a luxury brand, or becoming a successful entrepreneur.
Examine if the current job will serve the purpose or not. If yes, then remind yourself about your goal every single day, and why you started this journey, when you feel stuck in a rut. It will magically pump you up.
If not, explore how you will reach your destination, prepare a blueprint or strategy to execute it. Do whatever it needs to find the right track of life. Needless to say, a big aim is a hub of devotion and motivation.
5. Make a To-Do List Prior to Working
The best way to keep one adhere and motivated to their work is by allotting a to-do list. Prior to starting the job, create a list itemizing which task you need to do first and which ones can be done later. This way, you can fragment the work on the basis of potential peak hours.
For instance, the majority reveal that during the outset of the day, they are more productive and energized.
Hence, allot the substantial task that requires more cognition, analytical, or intellectual labor during that time of the day.
- Use time-blocking apps to manage your day-to-day tasks effectively.
- Take assistance from distraction blocking apps during working hours. They suspend all the unnecessary distracting apps for the specified time, helping in better focus.
Splitting the tasks with appropriate time blocking will make your work fuss-free, engaging and will add value to your motivation.
6. Small Breaks are Crucial
“Taking a break can lead to breakthroughs.” ― Russell Eric Dobda
Like your body, the mind also needs a brief break to revitalize creativity and productivity. When you feel unmotivated to work, or feel stuck in a task that is draining your energy without producing an expected result, take a short break to unwind yourself.
- Take a 10-15 minute walk in the vicinity of nature.
- Take a short nap.
- Devour your favorite coffee, tea, or mid-meal snacks.
- Listen to music while doodling on the page (sometimes it’s okay to let your daydream flow freely).
There are various break reminder apps available on Playstore that remind you of taking breaks after specific time durations.
7. Positive Mindset is a Game Changer
“Be Kind. Even on your bad days.”
When the burnout state takes a toll on you; it’s natural to fall into the prey of demotivation. Nonetheless, the optimistic mindset always acts like a winning streak. Negative self-talk, feeling unworthy, and the self-loathing tendency is a leading cause of demotivation.
To get rid of this overwhelming negativity, practicing self-compassion, self-appreciation, and self-love always do wonders. Instead of beating yourself down for the tasks not done, try positive self-talk. Be empathetic to your inner child, and ask yourself—why do I feel this way? Do I need a break? Let’s do something to make you feel better. Such talks are crucial in keeping you in a positive state of mind.
Be polite to your inner self, appreciate your smallest efforts and practice positive affirmations. Whatever you speak about yourself, affects a large part of your belief system.
- Make a list of your strengths and skills that sets you apart from everyone.
- Pen down your previous accomplishments on another list to motivate yourself and keep getting better.
Stick both these lists in your work area so that you can read them whenever the unmotivating feeling strikes.
8. Music Steps Up the Game
“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.” – Plato
The power of music is highly underrated for motivational purposes. Whenever the feeling of demotivation kicks in during working hours, just plug in the earphones, and play the track that brings your zealotic version back.
It has been proved in a study from Researchgate that pleasant music can affect the brain to release dopamine, a chemical neurotransmitter that is responsible for feeling pleasure and regulating motivation.
Besides, the binaural beat has also emerged as a solution for attaining focus and motivation during work.
9. Adequate Rest is Imperative
“It is common for managers and colleagues to look at a lack of focus or motivation, irritability, and bad decision making as being caused by poor training, organizational politics, or the work environment. The answer could be much simpler – a lack of sleep”
Demotivation can be an unconscious cue that your mind and body need some rest to rejuvenate. Just like your phone needs charging to revive, you also need an appropriate slumber of 7-8 hours per day to feel refreshed.
When you are deprived of optimum sleep hours, chances are you will witness fatigue, mood disorders, poor performance, and feeling unmotivated to work towards the basic job duties.
- Never let your resting period go for a toss for the sake of earning more money; an average of 7-8 hours of sleep will do the trick.
- Take a short nap during a break.
- Find other means to relax, like spa or massage therapy.
Whenever the demotivation sets in, analyze your sleep pattern and take adequate measures. But, if your sleep pattern is severely affected, consider seeing a somnologist.
10. Reward yourself
Nothing can keep your motivation high round the clock like reasonable rewards. If you have a project, then divide it into fragments and set them as milestones. Give yourself small rewards for every milestone achieved.
- Surprise yourself by booking a meal out at your favorite restaurant.
- Go hiking or trekking upon accomplishing a bigger task.
- Going to a movie, spa, shopping, or trying new hairstyles are also effective rewards to keep you going.
If you can not divide the work, you can apply this rewarding rule on a weekly or monthly basis.
11. Connect with the Right peers
Social influence plays an imperative role in keeping one motivated and sticking to their work. Like a toxic work environment or bad bosses can give you the blues, the influence of some positive peers can leave a good impression on you.
As the saying goes around, positivity breeds positivity, likewise, good company and motivation always go hand in hand.
- Stay in touch with coworkers that deliver exceptional results, are keen on learning, talk rationally, and are zealot for work.
- There is no shame in opening up with the right person about your work-related turmoil or demotivating feelings.
- Take additional tips on how to feel enthusiastic for work, improve the work performance, etc.
Alternatively, you can also connect with other friends or buddy up with positive-minded people. Let them help you in case the chips are down or when ‘feeling unmotivated to work’ strikes.
12. Get out of your comfort zone
“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” -Charles Darwin
Doing a repetitive, mundane task every day can lead your mind to go into a dormant state. It has been reported that doing a monotonous job in lethargic comfort can make you feel demotivated at times.
One school of thought says that when you learn a new skill set, it pushes you out of your comfort boundaries and makes you feel more eager and motivated to perform your job. So, hunt for a task that
- Challenges you to learn a new skill for breaking the monotony.
- Stimulates an adrenaline rush in your body.
Creating an artwork, expanding the vocabulary, or solving a jigsaw puzzle also boost up motivation.
According to Washington Edu, learning a new language, art, or skills makes our brain more plastic, which is the ability of the brain to adapt to the significant changes in response to learning new stuff.
13. Tackling the Bad Bosses and Toxic Environment
“Take a deep breath. It’s just a bad day, not a bad life.”
Bad bosses, poor management, or gossiping coworkers are significant reasons behind feeling unmotivated to work and productivity in the workplace. The bad bosses may make you feel unwanted, unheard, or unappreciated, which induces self-doubt, unworthiness, and demotivation for work.
- Be vocal about your issues related to the coworkers or a boss with the management.
- Be attentive and keep your work one step ahead.
- Avoid bad-mouthing in the office.
- Remind yourself that it will not last longer and won’t stay forever.
If the toxic work environment affects your vibes a lot, then it’s high time to switch your job.
The journey of working is very long and consists of countless ups and downs. Feeling demotivated for a while is okay, but if it remains for an extended period, you should pay attention to it.
Discern the reasons for your unmotivated behavior, and try to tackle them with compassion. Do not be too hard on yourself when you feel stuck in a rut, instead listen to your instincts, heed to your inner voice because the lack of motivation can sometimes be a cue for adapting to some new changes in your life.
As a short synopsis,
- Try to figure out the reason for your low ambitious feeling
- Dismantle your everyday tasks in small fragments for better time management
- Keep the aura around your workspace soothing and clean
- Pat your back whenever needed
- Keep your outlook positive
- Buddy up with the optimistic people
- Find a job career that actually evokes interest and does not feel like an unending drudgery.
It’s okay if your performance was not up to the mark some days, it’s okay if you feel a great deal of turmoil, it’s okay if the negativity hinders you from staying motivated, just learn to forgive your inner being, practice self-compassion, and adopt an optimistic attitude, and these short tricks will surely do wonders for you.