Self Motivation At Work – Are You Going Through The Motions?

by / ⠀Career Advice / May 19, 2014

 office worker

Do you look forward to going to work each day? Whether your employer believes in creating a positive work environment or not, there are a number of steps you can take to motivate yourself in the workplace.

Job enlargement

For some people, a more varied job is a more fulfilling one. Think about ways you could increase the scope of your job. For example, there may be tasks related to some of your existing responsibilities that you feel you could take on. Or perhaps you feel you could train new staff or more junior staff on how to do your job. If you think you could do some of these tasks, talk to your boss.

If you dislike your role, then broadening your experience can also make you more attractive to other potential employers.

Find out how your role benefits the company

Especially if you hold a junior role in a very large company, you may feel extremely insignificant. But undoubtedly your employer pays you a salary for what it thinks is a very good reason. By asking the right questions of colleagues and superiors, you may be able to get a better picture of how you contribute to the company’s success.

Set yourself personal goals

Your employer may conduct regular appraisals of your performance, at which they may set targets for you to achieve in the next period. Whether the company does this or not, there is nothing to stop you coming up with some targets of your own. If you are in a sales role, this could be something as simple as selling a set amount. Otherwise, your goal might involve achieving a quality target, taking on an additional responsibility or achieving a professional qualification. Start thinking about how you might go about achieving your objective and, if necessary, get the guidance of colleagues and superiors as to the steps you could take.

Draw on your past experiences

If you have been given a task to perform, it is because your company thinks you have the necessary skills, knowledge and experience. Remember what you have achieved previously, and use your experiences of what went right to guide you when performing a task.

Even if you are not looking for a new position, always keep your CV updated so that it shows what tasks you have accomplished and what your key achievements have been.

Break tasks up into smaller chunks

You may be responsible for a large-scale project and the size of the task may seem daunting. But think about all the smaller elements the task entails and, where possible, focus on achieving the next one of these milestones. For example, you may be re-writing your company procedure manual, so think of each individual section or chapter as a sub-task. Every time you reach a milestone, take a brief moment to bask in the satisfaction of what you have done, before moving on to the next part of the task.

Be ready for setbacks

On the road to achieving your goal, or completing a task, things may not always run smoothly. If you prepare yourself for the inevitable setbacks, hopefully when they occur, they will not affect your confidence unduly. When they do occur, take a step back from the situation to think carefully and rationally about how you can resolve the difficulties. Again, try and draw on similar experiences in the past and how you dealt with those.

Take professional qualifications

Sometimes certain professional qualifications are obligatory in order to carry out a role – accountants, lawyers and financial advisers spring to mind. However, in many cases there will be additional optional qualifications that you can take. Provided it is something relevant to the role, a responsible employer should be willing to pay your course fees. Studying for and passing an appropriate qualification can increase your knowledge of matters related to your role, can make you feel good about yourself and can make you better at your job. Qualifications may also increase your chances of receiving salary rises, or of achieving promotion within the company.

They can of course make finding a job elsewhere easier, if that is what you want to do. However, here you should note that many employers are wise to the idea of staff using company money to gain qualifications and then using them to move on – some will ask you to sign up to an agreement that you would repay some or all of your course fees if you resign within a set period of completing the qualification.

Think positively

A glass is either half full or half empty. Always try and see the positive side of things, and use these positive thoughts to keep you motivated.

Take breaks

Very few people can work constantly; after all we are not machines. In the course of your regular work, take a decent amount of time over your coffee breaks and lunch breaks, without taking this to excessive lengths of course! Take your full annual leave entitlement – even if you don’t want to go away on holiday, use the time just to have a break from work.

Value your workplace friendships

The workplace is where we spend a great deal of our lives. It is often where we meet some of our closest friends, and not infrequently, our partners as well. Even if the job itself, or general work politics, are getting you down, always remember the friendships you would never have formed had you not worked for the companies you have.

If all else fails, think about your life outside of work

There are 168 hours in a week, so standard office hours take up little more than a fifth of that. Even if you have a job that demands relatively long hours, work is unlikely to be where you spend the majority of your time. There is always a great deal more to life than your work.

If you really can’t motivate yourself adequately at work, take some time to think about what’s coming up in the next few days, weeks and months. Are you due to spend quality time with family and friends, attend a special event or go on holiday?

John Baird is a debt arrangement professional with Scotland Debt Solutions. Visit their website here –

Image Credit:

About The Author

Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson is Co-Founder of Under30Experiences, a travel company for young people ages 21-35. He is the original Co-founder of Under30CEO (Acquired 2016). Matt is the Host of the Live Different Podcast and has 50+ Five Star iTunes Ratings on Health, Fitness, Business and Travel. He brings a unique, uncensored approach to his interviews and writing. His work is published on, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Huffington Post, Reuters, and many others. Matt hosts yoga and fitness retreats in his free time and buys all his food from an organic farm in the jungle of Costa Rica where he lives. He is a shareholder of the Green Bay Packers.