Who hasn't experienced this scenario before? You are in front of your computer or any other work tool, and it feels impossible to start work. You are lost in your thoughts and any pretext is a good excuse not to work...
Motivation is not a constant thing. No one is born always 100% on top or as a "loser" unable to stay focused for a maximum of one hour a day.
There are days "without" and days "with".These can be shorter cycles (motivated in the morning, washed out from 2pm) or longer cycles (big motivation over two weeks, no more desire for a week).
If you are not motivated to work, it is important:
- To ask yourself the right questions to understand why you lack motivation;
- To change your framework to bring revival;
- Re-setting the right goals to find out where you're going.
As you do so, you may find that the ups and downs in motivation are not random. Some of your behaviours may be harmful, and some may boost it.
Follow the tips that follow in this guide and you'll be able to regain the motivation to work harder.
Take a break
Stop the damage! You've been trying in vain for an hour to focus on one task and you've accomplished almost nothing. You may even have ended up stopping work to find out why you don't want to do it and came across this article.
By forcing it, you are accomplishing the opposite of your goal. If you're not in the right mood for the job, you may just get very frustrated and end the day feeling like you've wasted your time.
Take a break and think about the following thoughts in this article. Once you do it, your productivity will improve
Sometimes starting the break is enough.
Our brain is often like a small child. It wants a toy and when you give it to him, he puts it aside because he is no longer interested in it. It is possible that just giving yourself a break is enough to regain motivation.
Just yesterday, I couldn't finish a chapter in a book I'm writing. I ended up forfeiting and took my two dogs out. Twenty minutes later, I felt like turning my computer back on because the motivation had returned and this silent break had given me new ideas to explore.
Fully assume the break
The break must be a REAL break. If you're working on your computer and your break is the equivalent of opening a new tab to watch a news site, it won't give you all the benefits of a full break.
The best thing to do is to leave your workstation. If you work from home or are an entrepreneur, you have the freedom to turn off the computer and go away for an indefinite period of time (or even stop your day).
If you are an employee, go to the toilet, take your time in the corridor and stop for a coffee. Personally, I've always liked to breathe fresh air while taking a little walk outside.
If the break is successful, you come back to work with new motivation. If not, don't panic, I still have some good advice for you!
Review your goals and change them if necessary.
Without a driver, a Formula One car crashes. Your role as the driver of your work is to know where to take your racing car (your brain).
In the workplace, but also on a personal level, goal setting is still the best technique to motivate yourself.
Often, when you are de-motivated, it's because you don't have a project that interests you or you don't really know what you need to prioritize for the day.
Create goals. I recommend that you always have long-term (several years), medium-term (a few months or a year) and short-term (current month or week) goals.
As a website publisher, I have a long-term financial goal, several goals over the year with things to accomplish (e.g. develop this website so that it can have at least 15,000 visitors per week by the end of 2020, finish writing my first book...) and even more in the short term.
This week, my goals are to create three new websites and order twenty texts for each, write two blog posts on this website, buy about twenty ads for one of my websites in the "dogs" niche, set up the statistics tracking on the websites launched in October...
This approach allows us to have a very long-term vision translated into medium and short-term objectives.
For the daily objectives, I make my schedule for the week on Sunday morning and make a few adjustments each evening. So, in the morning, when I get on my computer, I know where I want to go.
This planning takes time, but increases your productivity significantly and effectively combats lack of motivation.
If you are already doing this and the planning is no longer enough to motivate you, check that the document is clear and precise and review your objectives. Are they still relevant? It is right to ask because they should normally be the gasoline that runs your engine.
How I adjusted my goals for 2019...
This year, I've had two major setbacks.
The first one is almost positive since it occurred when I reached my annual financial goals... in September. So I simply revised my figures upwards, adding a reward in my head to justify the change: if I achieve this new high target, I'll give myself a tourist week in Paris with my wife in the spring.
The other lack of motivation appeared recently. I have more and more trouble with the level of information on the web (useless or even false articles, content unrelated to the title...) and I have to admit that several of my websites contribute to this disaster by being of poor quality.
I have refocused my activities by eliminating some projects that I judged not qualitative to create others, sometimes less remunerative, but worthy of what I want to do.
Attack the procrastinator in you
Now that everything is clear in your head, it's time to kill all those obsessions that ruin your productivity.
If you work like me on the computer, there are dozens of them: social networks, news sites, streaming sites, instant messaging, frenetic e-mail browsing, music and podcasts...
Be honest with yourself and write down during one day all the things that are not important that you do a lot. Then banish them.
TIP: Get better every day!
These habits are bad, but like tobacco, they are very difficult to stop. You may also lack the motivation to stop them. You tell yourself that you're not going to go on Facebook anymore and two hours later you look at a friend's profile of a friend... Yes, it happens to all of us.
To begin with, set periods when you strictly forbid yourself from these counterproductive activities.
For example, while I was writing this article, I disconnected my 4G connection so that I couldn't go on the web to satisfy my procrastination cravings.
These little cuts have the gift of breaking your spirit and ruining the quality and quantity of your work!
Relaxed, focused on your goals and free of parasites, you are ready to work with motivation.
WHAT IF IT STILL DOESN'T WORK?
It is not enough to get the orchestra on stage to have a beautiful music... It is possible that the first steps are not enough to motivate you. In this case, you can test changes in your working environment.
These small changes can stop the habit. They are not necessarily possible over time (e.g. working at night), but the changes you make often increase your motivation.
Change your work environment
Every day you sit in the same chair at the same desk at the same time. You start with the same task with the same colleague in front of you. This scenario has been happening every day for two years now, and lately you've been wondering why you lack motivation for no particular reason?
I feel like saying to you: "But why did it take you 2 years to get bored?! ».
In all areas of your life, you need frequent changes and the work is no different.
If you lack motivation at the office, why not try teleworking? And if you work from home, why not try a week of co-working?
Sometimes minor changes are also effective. At home, moving from my desk to my chair can do miracles when I can't work.
It is also possible to make more profound changes. If you can move around, go to work in a park or get in your car and drive to another city for two days. Yes, it's radical, but how good it feels and it gives you a boost!
Many writers struggling to find inspiration choose to go into exile for a few weeks and it works very well.
Change your working hours
This technique works very well for me. Working alone, I often find it difficult to deal with the usual 9am - 5pm that we are used to in "office" jobs in France. Indeed, what is the point of becoming a self-entrepreneur if it means doing the same thing as yesterday?
With experience, I have found that when demotivation strikes me during the day, the best thing to do is often to stop the damage, to enjoy my day before going back to work in the evening. I sometimes have excellent productivity when I work from 8pm to midnight. Similarly, working at the weekend works well for me.
So, if you have the possibility to adjust your schedule, don't hesitate to do so. This simple change in your habits can bring a new motivation.
Better yet, since you'll feel like you're sacrificing some of your free time to make up for lost time, you'll be twice as motivated.
Find a partner to work with
Solitude has considerable advantages when it's time to work. Quietness helps concentration and extended work.
However, if you work alone every day, the situation sometimes becomes difficult and boredom is accompanied by a lack of motivation.
For this reason, it is always positive to have a partner to work with. This can take two forms:
- You're working on a project together;
- You work side by side on two separate projects and discuss them.
You think maybe it won't make a difference? Give it a try.
Focus on simple tasks for a few days
When the summit seems impossible, at least go up to the first shelter. In all jobs, there are tasks that require a lot of thinking and others that are easier. If you're tired or don't feel like doing the harder tasks, switch to robot mode. Spend the next few hours or even the whole day doing simple tasks.
To continue with the personal examples, I have daily missions that require reflection such as writing this long article or a book in progress. But, I also have easy and ideal tasks when I'm not motivated like sorting keywords on an Excel file, modifying advertising banners on my websites, publishing articles written by external writers...
When I do these tasks, I can at the same time listen to a podcast or even watch a movie. Being busy, motivation isn't even an issue anymore: I move on to useful and easy tasks without feeling like I'm really working.
Study the progress of your competitors
When the hunter arrives with his rifle, the rabbit has no choice but to run for his life. Studying what your competition is doing is vital to your business, even though unfortunately we all tend not to do it often enough.
Your lack of motivation is the perfect time to do it. First of all, this work changes your habits and very often, by looking at a competitor's website, its rates or its ads, you make a minimal effort that fits your state of motivation.
Second reason, if you see that your competitors are progressing, it's the right time to kick your butt to do better than you are doing today.
Third reason, your competition's offers and work methods can inspire you.
Train yourself in new techniques
Training has the same advantages as studying the competition. It brings freshness to your business, gives you ideas for implementation and improves your skills.
Better still, when it is not self-taught, you can travel a little and/or meet new people.
Normally, I always advise to include a weekly slot dedicated to training in your schedule. If you know a huge lack of motivation in your working life, include more training in your schedule.
If you are an employee, suggest to your employer that you do training to master a new tool or to bring other skills to your current tasks.
If you work alone, buy a few books in your sector of activity, read them and think about a possible integration for your business.
Analyze possible underlying reasons
The "bore-out" is a term that is becoming more and more common. While it is not as problematic as burn-out, it can lead to this condition over time.
Bore-out is not used for a person who is sometimes bored at work, but for a person who feels so bored at work that he or she feels like he or she is wasting his or her time and is useless. If that's what you're going through, I recommend quitting. For great pains, great cures.
I know a lot of people who are thinking that they have to keep their jobs, but that's not true. There's no reason to be constantly unhappy at work. This is something you do every day during your best hours....
The "bore-out" can be an expression of a deeper malaise. If you're having problems with your wife, struggling to raise your children, or feeling depressed about the ever-increasing weight on your scale, you're probably bringing that emotional baggage back to your desk.
In this case, the only solution is to honestly think about the worries you have in your life and analyze their impact on work. Then, you need to implement corrections to get better and your future well-being will reflect on your professional motivation.