Why do you feel excited about your job on some days and can’t even put on your work pants on others? What causes this loss of motivation and is there a way out of it?
Asking these questions doesn’t make you lazy or weird; many of us have been there. We’ve all had days where work feels like the last thing on our minds.
According to Morneau Shepell’s September 2020 monthly Mental Health report, one-third of American employees suffered reduced motivation after the pandemic hit.
Another Jobsage survey of 2,000 workers found that 28% of respondents quit their jobs when it began to affect their mental health. The study also reported that almost two in five American employees considered resigning for the same reason.
These numbers show that it’s not abnormal to lose interest in work over time.
Sometimes, the job can take a mental toll, and there’s no way to escape it. Your course of action is to evaluate the condition and find a way to get your groove back.
This article covers the reasons you don’t want to work and shows you tips on how to regain your love for your job.
Why Are You Less Motivated to Work?
Off days at work are not uncommon. Many professionals have experienced these moments, and they happen for different reasons.
Let’s go over the causes of decreased motivation to work and tips on reversing them.
When You’re Tired
Tiredness is a common side effect of working. Even the lot of us who aren’t workaholics still need some time to relax and recharge after a typical workday.
And while you’re meant to recover when you get home, you still have domestic and personal issues to deal with.
So, it’d make sense that you’re still going through the exhaustion of work and personal life.
The thing is, this issue of tiredness can go on for a while, killing your motivation to walk out the door each morning.
How Should You Deal With Tiredness?
There’s no shortcut to regaining your strength. You have to rest. But how do you do that given you have work and can’t ignore your personal life?
- Optimize Your Schedule
How you manage your time determines how much rest you can get. So, ensure you check your calendar and define your resting hours.
If there are pressing personal matters you must attend to, carve out time from your calendar that doesn’t infringe on those resting hours.
You’ll be amazed at how much time you can save by doing things at the right time.
- Rest at Work
Being at work doesn’t mean you have to be on the grind all day long. Resting in between jobs is recommended.
A study was conducted to research the impact of added rest breaks on productivity and employee well-being. It found that taking additional 9 minute breaks during the work day can improve productivity and general well-being.
When you take breaks, you can increase your focus and get things done faster.
There are different time management techniques, such as the Pomodoro technique, that can help you take more breaks and rest during your work day.
Even workaholics know that sleep is critical to their mental and physical health. But we somehow manage to forget to shut our eyes long enough.
Research has shown that a lack of sleep can negatively affect your performance and how much effort you can put into work.
You need 7 to 9 hours of sleep each day, according to the National Sleep Foundation. But the Center for Disease Control reports that many people sleep less than 6 hours. Try changing your sleep schedule if you fall in that category.
When You Have Achieved Your Big Goal
Every business is about setting goals. So, it would be natural to feel incredible after achieving the big ones.
You will feel like an unstoppable superstar.
But those feelings are often short-lived.
As it turns out, the downside of the “set goals” culture is that you always have to be chasing something.
That’s why you begin to feel empty in the wake of closing that big deal and achieving your most important goal.
Crossing the finish line means you no longer have to be on the track. So, you begin to lose that powerful sense of purpose and motivation fueled by your desire to achieve something.
How Do You Defeat the Blues of Achieving Your Goals?
- Set More Goals
The direct remedy to this issue is to set more goals.
If you’re always chasing the next big thing, you have a reason to wake in the morning and be on the grind. You’ll never lose that sense of purpose and direction.
- Take Your Time to Enjoy Your Wins
Who says you can’t revel in your joy for a bit longer?
As it turns out, relaxing before you head back to work recharges you and boosts your sense of motivation to reach new highs.
So, take your time to be happy about your achievements.
Remember your entire journey – the highs and lows – and give yourself another pat on the back. Then, think about your next big goal.
You Feel Stuck
You might have started your career with a goal and path in mind. And lately, you may have been feeling that your professional life has become stagnant.
It’s normal to lose your drive if you feel like you’re not moving forward.
After all, motivation comes from knowing that each day at work takes you a step closer to your dream. Without that belief, you begin to wonder why you bother.
What’s more, you may have worked at your organization for a while without climbing the professional ladder. That feeling of being undervalued might further dampen your eagerness to work.
So How Do You Regain Motivation in this Situation?
- Resume your Career Journey
The first step is looking at your journey so far and recognising how far you’ve come.
Remember why you chased this current job and its benefits.
Even if you’re not where you want to be, you should remind yourself that you can always get there.
You can regain your motivation by creating a new plan to start moving forward. Carve out new plans with objectives and milestones that will help you achieve your professional goals.
This way, you have a purpose and a reason to walk out the door.
- Ask for a Promotion
Your employee might be putting off your promotion because they’ve not really been paying attention. You can give them a nudge by finding time to talk about your situation.
Make sure you approach them professionally and present your facts accurately. You should be armed with data that explains why you deserve the promotion or raise.
- Go Easy on Yourself
It’s possible that you’re being too hard on yourself. You might be asking for too much, considering the timeline you set to achieve a particular goal.
Sometimes, it will help to sit back and review your career path and objectives.
You may end up finding out you have actually been doing quite well. This revelation will help you relax and renew your motivation to work.
- Don’t Compare Yourself to Others
Comparing yourself to others is dangerous. If a colleague recently caught a lucky break and moves some levels higher than you, be happy for them.
While it’s okay to wish it was you, ensure you remind yourself that you’re on different paths.
Getting distracted and adopting other people’s goals will only hurt your motivation and sense of purpose.
When You’re Burned Out
Burn out is a serious issue and every worker’s worst nightmare.
Overwork can cause devastating effects of job performance, productivity, and satisfaction. It’s also bad for your health.
You’ll begin to lose interest in work if you’re mentally and physically drained from working too much.
According to studies, career commitment takes a serious hit whenever burnout sets in.
Everyday, you’ll feel like taking a break, but will remember that there’s still much to do. When that reality hits, you get tired again and will have to drag yourself to work.
How Do You Deal with Burnout?
You can’t tackle burnout while still overworking yourself.
You must take measures to change your current work pattern.
- Stop Overexerting Yourself
You have to make the conscious decision to stop overworking.
Set a schedule that’s friendly to your health and stick to it.
Remember to take breaks in between work and always head home at the close of day.
Transferring some non-critical jobs to the next day so you can go home isn’t procrastination. Instead, it’s excellent time management and prioritization.
- Start Delegating Tasks
If you have non-sensitive tasks that someone else can handle, hand it over to them and free up your schedule. You don’t have to do everything yourself.
- Learn How to Prioritize Tasks
Sometimes, you’re working after hours because you can’t afford to postpone some jobs to the next day.
Spending a huge part of the day handling unimportant tasks is the reason you often find yourself in this situation..
You should push those less significant tasks down your schedule and work on the important ones first. This way, you can afford to postpone the tasks and head home at the end of work.
When You Don’t Feel Appreciated and Recognized
Employees are generally unhappy with their jobs and experience lower engagements when their employers don’t recognize and appreciate them.
Research has shown that a lack of recognition and appreciation directly affects employee satisfaction and turnover.
It’s challenging to maintain your motivation to work when you feel like all your hard work is going unnoticed and on appreciated. It even gets worse when your mistakes are called out more often than your successes.
This kind of workplace is usually toxic for many employees and drastically reduces their drive to work, their creativity, and their happiness.
So, How Do You Boost Motivation in this Situation?
It would be insensitive to ask you to ignore your employer’s lack of recognition. You deserve it, especially if you work hard for your organization.
- Talk to Your Employers
So, try talking to your bosses about the company’s culture of recognition. Let them know you don’t feel appreciated enough for what you do.
Tell them you don’t mind receiving criticism and corrections for your mistakes. But you’ll also gladly receive praise for a job well done.
- Lead by Example
It’s also a good idea that you lead by example by showing appreciation to others. This way, you can start getting the recognition you deserve from your colleagues as you make it a habit.
- Share Your Wins
If others don’t recognize your wins, you should share them. If your team reaches an important milestone or executes a project, you can raise your hand during a meeting and share that piece of information. This way you’re reporting a success story and giving your colleagues and your bosses an opportunity to acknowledge and appreciate it.
I’m not suggesting that you always announce your projects and milestones every chance you get. But doing it once a while reminds your coworkers and supervisors to recognize everyone’s achievements.
You Work in a Toxic Workplace
You know you are in a toxic workplace when:
- The environment lacks communication
- There’s a high level of cynicism and dishonesty
- Managers and co-workers routinely maltreat each other
- Employers overwork employees and don’t care about burnout
- Managers and supervisors constantly micromanage team members
- Workers are unrecognized and underappreciated
- Paychecks are riddled with errors and delays
Working in an environment with any of these traits can be challenging. And it’s understandable why you are not motivated to get up in the morning and go to work.
According to a study by Lund University researchers in Sweden, toxic workplaces increase the risk of substance abuse, depression and other mental and physical health problems.
Another study by the American Psychological Association in 2019 found that workplace incivility adversely affects the mental health of employees.
What Should You Do About Your Toxic Workplace?
- Build Trust with Colleagues and Managers
One of the defining traits of a toxic workplace is a lack of trust. This lack of trust breeds micromanagement from the side of the manager and a lack of communication with other team members.
You can get a manager to stop micromanaging your activities when you show them that you can be competent and trustworthy.
You should also make the effort to reach out to colleagues to clear the air whenever there is confusion about anything. Also ensure you let them know you are open for communication regarding work at any time.
- Get Close to Positive Coworkers and Avoid the Negative Ones
Regardless of how toxic your work environment is, there are other workers like you who are seeking a positive environment.
To find these types of colleagues, observe your surroundings and try to notice those who try to focus on work and don’t engage in gossip.
Engage them in conversations without starting any gossip. Then evaluate their views on specific topics to gauge their personality. If they’re not toxic, your conversations will tell you.
Together, you can take care of each other and build a more positive culture.
Always try to avoid negative interactions. Don’t indulge coworkers trying to gossip about others or your supervisors.
You can avoid that sort of discussion altogether without coming off as a snub. For example, you can counter their point with positive notes or politely tell them you have work to do.
This way, they’ll take their gossip elsewhere since you’re not reciprocating their energy.
- Talk to Your Employer About the Company’s Toxic Culture
Workplace toxicity causes high employee turnover and reduced productivity. It affects employers as it costs them a lot of money. So, don’t be afraid to bring up the conversation.
Let your bosses know what’s been going on and proffer solutions.
Bringing up the matter is one of the best ways to expose the problem and rid the office of the unhealthy work conditions.
I could tell you to leave your workplace toxicity at the office and not bring it home. But that would mean waking up with the expectation of going into a toxic place the next morning.
That thought of entering the toxic workplace after experiencing a little bit of peace kills motivation to go to work.
If you can’t continue coping with that mental drain, then your next course of action should be quitting.
But before you pull the plug on your current job, make sure you actively hunt for work somewhere else. This way, you’re not left jobless and without paychecks after handing in your two weeks’ notice.
You Hate Your Job
It’s a challenge to look forward to going to a job you hate.
Nothing feels worth it. Not the commute, your extra hours, and your paycheck. You just want a break, or better still, a change.
After conducting a global survey, Gallup reported that as high as 80% of workers aren’t engaged at work. A huge chunk of that demographic isn’t satisfied because they feel out of place in their organizations.
And you might not be ready to leave because you haven’t sharpened your skills to land your dream job, have responsibilities to take care of, and the pay might be too good to abandon.
So What Should You Do?
- Find Things You Love About the Job
It’s not always doom and gloom. You can find aspects of your job that you enjoy and make them the first thing you do when you get to the office.
This way, you’ll have a reason to get out of bed in the morning.
It could be a scenic route to the office, a world-class bagel, your office library, or an advanced new piece of tech.
- Make Friends at Your Workplace
Friendly faces can make work a lot bearable and improve your mood in the workplace.
So, make one or two friends in the office who you’re happy to spend time with.
These friends can be your emotional and professional support systems that keep you going.
- Take Your Time to Chase Your Dream Job
Instead of quitting the job and becoming unemployed, you can prepare for your dream job by building the right skillset.
This activity will give you a new sense of purpose and direction and significantly boost your motivation.
You Work Remotely And Are No Longer Inspired
While remote was the best thing to happen to many employers, employees, and freelancers, it still has its downsides.
Staying away from the office may not be your style and you may find it hard to cope without in-person interactions.
This change in environment could slowly drain your motivation to work. And when you add the fact that remote work blurs the line between personal and work life, things get more complicated.
A Blind survey in 2020 found that 52.9% of workers who transitioned to remote work after the pandemic reported feeling lonely and less motivated. While this happened during the worst periods of lockdowns, it’s the reality for many.
How Do You Deal With Reduced Motivation While Telecommuting?
- Choose a Hybrid Arrangement
If your company offers a hybrid work arrangement, take it. This way, you’ll get to enjoy the perks of working from home and get to mingle with other colleagues from time to time.
You might have lost touch with your interactive side because you’re now a virtual lone-wolf. But don’t forget you can always schedule a phone conversation with a colleague or always reach out to ask questions.
Make sure you always remind yourself that you’re not alone, and take every opportunity to join meetings.
- Set Up a Home Office
One way to separate work and personal life is by dedicating a space at home to work. This way, you can reduce distractions and find a way to get into the work groove.
You should also dress up like you’re heading to work whenever you want to step into your home office. Dressing up prepares your mind for work and keeps you focused.
You should only consider quitting your jobs when the situation has gone beyond your control. For example, if your workplace has become unbearably toxic, it would be best to start finding new employment.
That said, make sure you find new things to do, get enough sleep, find things you like about your job, and remind yourself what the job does for you.