How To Increase Your Motivation (And Inspire Others!)At Work

As an executive coach, I work with C-suite executives and a variety of successful professionals. My clients are intelligent, ambitious, and high achieving. However, despite their many accomplishments, they often experience workplace burnout at some point in their careers. They lose their sense of purpose and, as they consider everything they’ve sacrificed, wonder, “what was it all for?”

If you have been feeling unmotivated, you are probably wondering how to overcome workplace burnout before it hurts your career. The following tips have helped my clients get their motivation back and may be able to help you, too:

Focus on your interests

Even if you’ve been feeling bored and demotivated, there are probably still some elements of your job that you enjoy. Think back to the last time you felt satisfied or excited about something at work and what you were working on. You may be able to shift some of your responsibilities into that area to help you stay excited about your career. If that’s not possible, you might be able to inject some life into previously tedious tasks by adding your unique flair.

Challenge yourself

If you aren’t trying new things or progressing in your career, you’re probably not learning anything new. As humans, we sometimes need novelty to be happy. Learning can also empower you to make changes at work that improve your situation. Boredom can often be a sign that we’re not challenged enough. And, when we’re not challenged enough, there is little reason to seek new knowledge or skills. That attitude is a poor fit for a world defined by rapid change. By setting a new goal or picking up a new project, you can decrease boredom and ensure your industry knowledge is thorough and up-to-date.

Avoid negative self-talk

Many of my clients struggle with perfectionism. They have little tolerance for delays or mistakes, so when things don’t go according to plan, they can be really hard on themselves. Their perfectionism can inspire them to work harder in some cases. Unfortunately, it can also demotivate them if it fuels anxiety or negative self-talk. How can you combat this tendency? Next time you catch yourself thinking, “I always mess things up,” question the truth of that statement to avoid getting swept away by it. Engaging in self-compassion can also help immensely.

Take time to recharge

A wise man once said that you cannot pour from an empty vessel. If you’re an entrepreneur or other busy professional, you have likely sacrificed a lot—perhaps your health, free time, or relationships—to your career. If you want to get your motivation back, you should treat burnout as an invitation to hit the pause button. By carving out time for breaks and self-care activities, you can replenish your stores of energy, motivation, and creativity.

Celebrate small wins

Have you ever noticed that it feels great to cross something off of a list? Checking that box sends a surge of dopamine into your brain, providing you with a feeling of accomplishment that keeps you coming back for more. I recommend creating a list of critical tasks at the start of each day or each week and checking them off as you complete them. Each time you finish something, take a moment to congratulate yourself and acknowledge how it contributes to your larger goals.

Keep your eye on the prize

When tackling mundane and repetitive tasks, it’s easy to forget about the big picture. Even if a given job doesn’t feel exciting, keep in mind that it nonetheless serves a critical function. After all, would you even be doing it if it weren’t necessary? Every task, no matter how small, has a part to play in your organization’s mission. By mentally connecting mundane tasks to big-picture goals, you can inspire yourself to keep moving forward.

Surround yourself with motivated people

Bored and burned out colleagues will only drag down overall energy levels at work, but the opposite is also true. The following tips can help you support and ignite a workplace culture where staff and colleagues feel purposeful and engaged. By prioritizing workplace morale and applying these leadership principles, you can raise the bar for your whole organization:

Focus on outcomes rather than processes

Nobody likes a micromanager. If you dictate precisely how everything is supposed to be done, you will rob your staff of opportunities to be creative and discover new, better ways of doing things. Instead, give your team the freedom to brainstorm and troubleshoot on their own. That liberty will preserve opportunities for growth and innovation.

Be easy to talk to

You don’t need to be available all the time, but it’s a good idea to keep office hours during which your staff members are free to visit. Keep an open door and an open mind. Never discourage your staff from asking questions or reporting mistakes by reacting negatively. Instead, thank them for coming to you and ask them how they think the problem should be handled before deciding how to proceed. When employees know it is safe to make mistakes, they will be much more inclined to go out on a limb for your company and bounce back from occasional errors.

Help your staff see the “why” behind their tasks

People experience higher levels of job satisfaction when they feel like they are making a difference. If some team members are struggling to see how they fit into the company mission, remind them. Every person has a part to play, so everyone should be informed when things go well (and when the organization falls short of its goals).

Encourage friendly relationships

Studies have shown that workers are more successful and engaged when they have a friend at work. If you manage a team, you may need to keep some social distance between your staff and yourself. For example, adding your administrative assistant as a Facebook friend definitely has its downsides. That said, you should still promote feelings of kinship and camaraderie. Set up regular group lunches or other get-togethers for your team and see for yourself the difference it can make in morale and motivation.

Different things motivate different people

I hope these tips will help you get your motivation back and inspire you to create a more engaged workforce. That said, I know that a short blog post can’t provide the individual attention most people need to get rid of workplace burnout. I am a licensed psychologist and experienced executive career coach. By working with me, you can uncover and overcome the sources of your discontent. Schedule a free, 20-minute phone consultation to learn more about my executive coaching service.