People hate their job yet stick at it for decades out of habit. Everyone, however, deserves to be at least content at work, and have some sense of fulfilment and achievement.

Being demotivated at work can lead to more than just ennui and general malaise. Some demotivation can easily lead to stress and depression so, if you aren’t feeling satisfied with your job, the first decision is to choose to do something about it. These 4 steps to re-motivate yourself at work will enable you to make positive steps forward.

1. Declutter desk (and mind)

The first step to getting back your motivation is to declutter. We don’t realise just how cumbersome it is to be surrounded by papers and other detritus. In fact, if your desk and work area are clogged up with boxes, paperwork and personal possessions, it’s guaranteed that more and more things will get piled on top. So sort your desk out, and as much of the area around it as you can. A clean workspace will enable you to find what you need and avoid the distraction of having too many things around you – most of which have little or nothing to do with what you’re working on.

But you also need to clear out the mental clutter. Try to avoid taking work home; if you can’t complete your workload during office hours then there are problems that need addressing. You need to refresh yourself, otherwise, you risk burning out. Besides, you can’t recharge yourself and give your best if you are spending most of your day on work. So take the breaks you’re entitled to. Make the most of your days off, whether that means going out to enjoy hobbies or relaxing at home. And focus on the task you’re working on, rather than thinking about everything else you have to do.

2. What do you like about your job?

After you’ve been in your job for a while, it’s easy to forget what drew you to it in the first place. So ask yourself what you like about your job. What do you get out of it (other than a salary)? What made you apply for it? Even if you took the job simply to earn a living, there are ways of making it more interesting. Often attitude can make a difference. If you see it as merely a way to pay your bills, it’s bound to be boring – because you’re not motivated by the work you’re doing. But if your job is a necessary precursor to a more fulfilling one, then there’s your motivation right away.

It can also be useful to consider what you don’t like about your job. Does it feel as though you’re going nowhere, or that you have too many responsibilities? Is it the people you work with? Look for ways you can make changes. Perhaps you would work better with a different team. Or maybe your colleagues aren’t as bad as you think. Would you like to have a different role? Be promoted? Show your bosses that you’re worth it, by performing exceptionally well, proposing ideas that could save the company money, or finding new clients.

If you really don’t like your job, then maybe it’s time to look for a new one. Study for qualifications in your free time that will help you change career. You may find that if you can see an end to your present job, it will feel less of a burden and your motivation to do well will return.

3. Set goals & targets

Motivation often falls by the wayside if you feel that you’re just on the office treadmill. Boredom sets in when your day is just a routine of the same old tasks that you carry out every day. So make things more interesting by setting yourself goals and targets. That can give you a sense of satisfaction that will bring the spark back to your job. Your role might not have changed, but you feel that you are achieving something. Even a simple change can make you feel more engaged with your work.

If your company is receptive to suggestions from staff, it’s also worth coming up with suggestions and ideas that will revive your enthusiasm for your work. Employees that feel unvalued, or who are bored with the routine of their job, will never be highly motivated – and motivated people are far more productive. So think about what you would like to do in your job, and what you are good at. Could you set up a social media account for the company? Anything that will bring in more customers will be welcome.

Motivation can also be affected when you have too much on your plate. You’re very aware of the pile of work ahead of you, and it paradoxically becomes harder to get started. And if you simply haven’t got the time for everything, your brain freezes up and says “I don’t want to work!” So weed out the tasks that someone else can just as easily do, and delegate. If everyone else is as busy as you, the answer is to bring in outside help just for these tasks. This is a cost-effective way to get extra help at the times when it’s necessary. For example, if you have reports to write, or a brochure for clients, you can probably only really do that yourself. But every text needs to be checked for errors before printing, and anyone can do that. So you can have the brochure proofread and formatted by professional editors.

4. Get going

It’s such a simple idea, but often the best way to motivate yourself is to get going. Procrastinating because you have a lot of work, or because you have tasks that you don’t really want to do, gets you nowhere. As time ticks by, and your workload is still on your shoulders, you feel even less motivated than before. Taking action, however, and doing some work, makes you feel that you’re getting somewhere. Consider how you work the best. Do you prefer leaving the harder tasks to the end, so that you can focus on them completely? Or are you more productive if you get the tasks you least want to do out of the way? The simple method of writing lists can be helpful, placing each job in order of importance. As you complete each task, tick it off and see your ‘To Do’ list shrink – that really is a great motivation!

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William Grigsby

William Grigsby is an HR expert. His passion is to show that each person is unique and can independently achieve success by applying efforts every day. William was writing in this space for 2 successful years. Feel free to follow him on Twitter here.

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