Whether you’re employed or still searching for a job, it can be tough to stay motivated day after day, week after week. Job seekers know what it’s like to suddenly run out of steam – chasing after endless dead-end leads and tailoring countless cover letters for employers they never hear back from. Employees too, face frequent burnout from overbearing employers, callous co-workers and stressful project deadlines.
At a certain point, you just feel overwhelmed and your motivation starts to slide. It doesn’t matter who you are or what your daily grind entails – everyone hits a slump once in a while. The trick is to get yourself excited about what you’re doing again.
Here are 5 ways to boost your morale and stay motivated during the day (whether it be your workday or looking-for-work-day!)
- Break your day into time blocks: Make a list (in your head) of everything you have to accomplish in a single day. Treat each task as a separate goal to be conquered. Conventional wisdom would suggest that multitasking is the way to go, but recent research argues that multitasking actually makes your work more scattered and inefficient. Tackle each task individually and your work load will seem less imposing.
- Build on top of your small achievements: Motivation multiplies exponentially the more you put into it – if you can get past your first few personal hurdles, you’ll find yourself ready to take on bigger and better challenges. Take note of your progressive accomplishments and keep pushing forward. Your performance will skyrocket.
- Clean up your workspace: While some might argue that organizing/cleaning is a conspicuously disguised attempt at procrastination, almost everyone will agree that that an orderly workspace increases your productivity. Nobody likes to work surrounded by a mess. Your environment directly affects your mood and your work ethic, and can act as a conduit for increasing your motivation. Use the work intermission to reflect on your responsibilities and your short term goals. A few minutes of cleaning here and there will reduce clutter and clear your head.
- Maintain a healthy work life balance: if you’re overloaded on work, you’ll lose sight of your other priorities. Treat the balance with respect, and afford yourself some down time to recover after serious stretches of work. Make sure that you are taking time to do what you love and not just what you have to do. If you only do what you have to do and not ever do what you want to do, it’s easy to start procrastinating and getting bored. Make a real effort to tackle projects of interest and spend time on personal relationships.
- Set long term goals: While it’s important to celebrate small achievements, often the most powerful motivation stems from long term ambitions and goals set for the future. Make your long term goals attainable, actionable, and concrete. Goals should inspire you, not frighten you – that is, don’t give yourself a goal to complete a mountain of small tasks. Instead, set up a long term goal of obtaining the positive result from having done those tasks. It’s a small difference with a large psychological impact.
Staying motivated during the whole day can be difficult, if not impossible, for most people. But the key is not to force motivation. If you are completely unmotivated about a particular task, your mind is probably doing that to you for a reason. So while it’s a good idea to keep these motivation tips in mind, don’t overdo it and force yourself into any particular routine.
In general, in order for motivation to succeed, your root mental desires must be in line with the trajectory of your set of tasks. Make sure that you understand your own goals, desires, and abilities before you apply motivational tactics. If you both understand yourself and have a solid plan for staying motivated, you will both want and be able to complete everything it is you need to do to reach your goals.