We’ve all been there—those days when the thought of going to work makes you want to hide under the covers. Workplace demotivation can become a vicious cycle, causing you to become less productive, less successful, and less motivated as time goes on. It’s essential to understand why you’re feeling unmotivated at work, and more importantly, what you should do about it. In this article, we’ll explore the common culprits behind workplace demotivation and some practical strategies from career coaches and career counselors for rekindling your enthusiasm and drive.
Why You’re Feeling Unmotivated at Work
Demotivation in the workplace usually stems from a few sources: lack of purpose, excessive stress, overwhelming monotony, a lack of recognition, limited autonomy, or a disconnect between your personality and your values and your job.
Start by reconnecting with your initial motivations for choosing your career or job. Revisit the passion that fueled your career choice and reflect on the positive impact your work has on your life and others.
Ask yourself these questions:
Do you feel connected to a higher purpose at work? Or are you just collecting a paycheck?
Do you feel connected to and supported by your colleagues? Or are you dealing with difficult personalities at work, or even a toxic workplace?
Are you able to maintain healthy boundaries with work, or is work stress creeping into your personal life?
Do you feel respected, valued, and empowered in your workplace? Do you feel like you’re challenged to live up to your potential, or do you feel like you’re stagnating?
And, how does your job fit into your larger vision for your life? How does it support what matters most to you?
Sit down with a journal and write out your answers to these questions. You may notice some themes and patterns emerging that can reveal why you’re feeling unmotivated. This exercise may open up some cans of worms that you’ve kept closed for awhile — good! It’s important to revisit these questions periodically so that you can respond to your needs as they evolve.
A career that felt thrilling to you at 25 may lose its sparkle by the time you’re in your 30s — that’s okay. If you are starting to wonder if it’s time for a career change, there are career professionals who know exactly how to help you choose a career and pursue it.
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What to Do When You’re Feeling Unmotivated at Work
Alright, so you’ve uncovered the source of your demotivation. Now, what to do about it? Here are a few pointers to get you started.
- Define Your Goals
We all need to feel like we’re growing in our personal and professional lives. When we’re not, we feel bored and listless. Setting clear goals, both short-term and long-term, provides a sense of direction and can reignite your motivation.
- Break It Down
If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, that can be extremely demotivating. Divide your work into manageable steps to create a sense of accomplishment with each completed task. If your workload is unmanageable, communicate with your boss about what you need in order to bring it back into balance. If you can’t get support, it may be time to think about leaving this job.
- Prioritize Growth
Talk to your boss about opportunities for your professional growth. If you are a growth-oriented person, as I’m guessing you are, then learning and progress can help you get motivated.
- Change Your Routine
Combat monotony by altering your daily routine. Whether it’s working in a different location, taking on new projects, or adjusting your hours, introducing variety can make a difference in how you feel about your job.
- Build a Support System
Reach out to colleagues or mentors for support and guidance. This is also an area where working with a good career coach can be very beneficial. Learn more about what a career coach does.
- Prioritize Self-Care
Your wellbeing is your highest priority, even higher than regaining your motivation at work. Getting enough rest, maintaining a healthy diet, engaging in exercise, and seeking work-life balance can help you avoid burnout and re-engage with your job.
- Seek Feedback
Request feedback from your supervisor or colleagues to understand how your contributions impact the organization. Focus on building positive working relationships so that you can feel more connected to the team’s larger mission, which can be a significant motivator.
- Consider a Change
If your workplace demotivation persists despite your efforts, that can be a sign that you need to explore new opportunities. Especially if you’re caught in an unhealthy work culture where work-life balance is not supported, the best course of action is often dusting off your resume.
- Build Your Emotional Intelligence
Your emotional intelligence makes a big difference in how you feel in the workplace. Working with a good emotional intelligence coach can help you develop a more positive mindset, persist through challenges, and cultivate better relationships with others, at work and beyond.
- Celebrate Your Achievements
Sometimes when you’re feeling unmotivated at work, it’s because you’re not taking the time to step back and acknowledge all of your progress. When you intentionally recognize your “wins,” it can fuel your motivation to keep going.
Support for Regaining Motivation in the Workplace
Overcoming workplace demotivation is possible, but it requires understanding the root causes and taking proactive steps to resolve them. I hope this article helped you begin to think through where your lack of motivation may have gone and how you can recover it.
Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby
Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self. She is a licensed psychologist, a licensed marriage and family therapist, and a board-certified coach, as well as the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.
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