Rediscover Your Work Motivation

25 Apr 2012

Reignite your 9-5 office spark with a little help from the experts

If you’re daydreaming about your next holiday during important meetings, counting down the minutes until home time, and spend more time on Facebook than you do checking your work emails, you could be suffering from a serious lack of motivation at work. But before you pack in that job and contemplate a career busking in Mall of the Emirates, check out these top motivational tips from our panel of careers experts.

ASK YOURSELF: Why am I at this job? 
If you understand why you are in a particular role, or working in a certain industry, it will be easier to know if it’s something you want to keep plugging away at or whether you need to look elsewhere. According to Dubai-based life coach Adriana MeBarr, “People stay in jobs for many reasons. Make sure you know why you are there as this can give you a sense of gratitude, acceptance - or if you figure out this is not your passion - the impetus for you to move towards something else. We waste so much time trying to feel fulfilled doing something that is not our true calling. Work out whether this is really for you.”

One of the biggest de-motivators at work is the belief that you’ll never reach your goals, won’t get that promotion, and can’t do the task at hand. To pep yourself up and keep your eyes on the prize, you need to believe that anything is possible, says Lara Tarakjian, founder of Silkor Laser Medical Centers. “There’s always a way to reach your goals,” she explains. “There might be different paths that lead to it, but the path towards it is always present so think positive. In addition, you have to want it and be prepared to work towards your goal wholeheartedly.”

Nothing can put a downer on your day more than a bad working environment. But, explains Charlotte Jones, PA for Odgers Berndtson Middle East, dwelling on the negatives will only make things feel worse. “Sometimes it’s easy to focus on a catty remark or to whinge endlessly about someone in your office, but I find that it’s much better to get what you can from people’s (sometimes undue) criticism and personality traits, and if you can’t get anything from them, let them go,” she advises. “By doing so you’ll be working to turn a positive into a negative, and you’ll avoid getting yourself into a foul mood and end any potential future clashes. Cut people some slack and you’ll find the office has a much better atmosphere to work in.”

Checking Twitter a few (hundred) times, emailing friends and contemplating what to have for dinner when you should be concentrating are things most workers are guilty of. But, says MeBarr, rather than being a positive distraction, not being present at work can be de-motivating. “Doing your work mindfully and being truly engaged maximises productivity,” she says. “One way to feel motivated is to end the day with the feeling of accomplishment. So get mentally organised by being present in your body and doing tasks with awareness and focus. Catch the daydreamer in you and let it take you for a mind trip during your coffee break only! You can tame your mind to be present.”

There’s nothing worse than slogging away in a 9-5 job and feeling like you have nothing to show for your efforts – so make sure you treat yourself every now and then. “I spend my hard-earned cash as fervently as I earn it,” Jones says. “Whether it’s on a well-deserved holiday, a new Mulberry, or dinner with friends; having a reason to earn my money (especially in a bonus-based environment) makes it easy to stay motivated, plus rocking up to the office in a new pair of shoes and with a designer handbag certainly helps!”

Messy, impersonal or disorganised desks can add to work stress. Clearing your desk of clutter and adding some inspirational touches will keep you feeling spurred on throughout the day, explains MeBarr. “Make sure you have elements around you that remind you of something positive or create a desire for achievement (for example, a picture of something you want),” she suggests.  “We have a great ability to adapt to our surroundings, so much so that in a week’s time, the picture you stuck on your laptop will seem like part of your desk – so make sure you keep changing your motivation booster so that it always catches your eye.”

Ever notice how some people in your workplace make you feel geared up to go, while others just leave you feeling drained? These people are energy vampires and should be avoided where possible. MeBarr explains; “These types of people aren’t malicious. They’re just frightened and trapped in negativity cycles of their own.” To combat these downward thinkers, make sure you re-frame events and put your own positive spin on them e.g. if you are given a piece of work to re-do, see it as a chance to improve yourself rather than seeing it as a failure. Importantly, avoid talking to an energy vampire who will see the same event as a bad thing.

Okay, no one’s suggesting you invite your scary boss round for a DVD and a girly gossip, but the fact is that socialising with your colleagues can make you feel like part of the team, plus the better you know the people around you, the more you’ll want to go to work.“Seeing colleagues outside of the office shows them in a completely different light, and making friends within the company definitely helps keep me motivated in my job,” Jones reveals. “What may start off as routine small talk about work could turn into a friendship with someone that you value and trust, which in turn, can help aid productivity.”

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