Let’s face it, lost motivation happens to the best of us. Workplace challenges, issues at home, and relationship problems can really drag you down and allow feelings of hopelessness to creep in. Not being motivated can also have consequences for your career if you let it get out of hand. But there are ways that you can get your mind on the right track and start moving in a positive direction.
Please note that this post is for purpose of providing helpful tips and I am not a professional mental health service worker. If you feel that underlying mental health issues may be the cause of your loss of motivation, you should seek help from a mental health professional.
Recognize that You May have a Problem
We’ve all heard it; the first step in fixing a problem is admitting that you have one. Well guess what? This is no different. So how do you know that you have a problem?
“Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.” – J.K. Rowling
Now, you may not have hit rock bottom, but you can still take inspiration from JK Rowling sinking into the depths of hopelessness and then finding the motivation to create one of the most popular franchises of modern times. To a lesser extent, perhaps your day to day feels a little less exhilarating, your routine has become boring, and you just don’t feel like you’re getting it done.
If you feel that you are accomplishing less, procrastinating on simple tasks, and have a backlog of work stacking up, then there’s a good chance that you are short on motivation. Additionally, you may feel unsatisfied with your career progress or are experiencing job burnout. With these feelings weighing down on you, it can be very difficult to even convince yourself that you need or want to change. However, if you are reading this right now, chances are that you do want to change, so keep going!
Assess Your Daily Routine
There are many things that can kill your productivity and hinder your ability to warm up your motivation. Getting these motivation killers under control will be important, and there are some easy ways you can do this without a ton of mental discipline.
Smart Phone Usage
Are you spending a lot of time on your smartphone throughout the day? Do you wake up in the morning and spend 45 minutes looking at memes or social media? You may already be aware of this on some level, but I will reiterate the message; smartphone usage can be a productivity killer!
I get it, using your smartphone to keep up with friends, check in on social media, and browse the internet is a great distraction and can take your mind off your troubles, but your smartphone could be reducing your mental focus and energy. And improving your focus and mental energy is critical to renewing your motivation.
Getting your smart phone usage in check can seem like a very daunting, and perhaps undesirable, task. However, there are some measures you can take that are very simple to implement and don’t take much effort on your part:
- Start by turning off all the notifications on your phone. This can have a dramatic effect on your phone usage and put you back in control of how often you are checking it.
- Reduce your social media usage by unfollowing people and minimizing your feeds. If you’re not seeing as much activity on your social media feeds, then you won’t feel like you’re losing touch.
- Install a productivity app that will help automate your smart phone usage. This can provide you with some very startling insight into your smartphone habit and help motivate you to curb your usage.
- Physically distance yourself from your phone by putting it in another room when not needed. This one boils down to a very simple and profound concept; out of sight, out of mind.
Reducing your smartphone usage is important for a lot of reasons. And one of those reasons is to reduce the mental load that comes with usage. You may already be aware of this, but your phone and the apps you use are designed to be addictive. So don’t fall into the trap! You are strong and can get this under control to help restore your lost motivation.
Do you multi-task constantly and feel like no matter hard you work, you can never get everything done? That’s because multi-tasking is inefficient and robs us of precious mental energy! We are all guilty of this productivity killer, but why do we do it?
Often, this is not intentional. We start out our day focused on one task, then an important email creeps into your inbox, after that your boss walks in with an important job that needs attention, and so on. Then, when 5 o’clock rolls around, you are left wondering about what you managed to accomplish and feel like you had no control over your day. This can result in lost motivation!
This may be one of the more challenging parts of your daily routine to get under control. You may find yourself in a role where you have less control over your schedule and your workload is subject to the whims of your boss. But there are still things you can do!
- Use time blocking to plan your daily/weekly schedule. This will take a little effort up front, but once you have your schedule figured out, you will have a much better grasp on how to use your time effectively and prioritize your to-do list.
- Minimize distractions while working on a task. If you find yourself glancing at your email inbox while writing a report, close your email. You can also turn off your phone or put it in another room to maintain focus. And declutter your work area!
- Finish tasks before starting new ones. This may be easier said than done, however it is far more efficient to finish a task once you start. Jumping onto an unfinished task later on wastes precious time and mental energy.
- Be protective of your schedule and learn to politely say no. If someone requests your efforts for another project, and this will compromise your ability to finish your priority task, then it is not in your best interests to take on this extra work. However, it is always good to be a team player and offer to shift your priorities if feasible.
Some people pride themselves on their ability to multi-task, but this is proven to be inefficient and a less productive approach to task completion. So, there is nothing to be proud of here! Multi-tasking will slow you down and cause you to feel like you have no control over your day. Getting this under control will go a long way in restoring your lost motivation.
Exercise, Diet, and Sleep
Does staying up until the late hours watching tv and consuming sugary snacks sound like a typical way to end the day? If so, this may be sapping your mental and physical energy as well as causing a host of other health problems. If you’re not getting regular exercise on top of this, you have a recipe for lost motivation.
Getting your smartphone usage and multi-tasking under control will free up a lot of your mental energy. However, if you are constantly feeling tired and out of energy, this can also be a big motivation killer! This is one reason why it is important to take care of your mind and body with exercise, good diet, and adequate sleep.
Improving your physical and mental energy is important to restore your lost motivation. The idea of wholesale lifestyle changes can be very daunting though, so avoid overcomplication and keep the changes small and use that as the basis to build additional routines and habits.
- Minimize your caffeine intake, reduce consumption of sugary drinks and snacks, and cut back on the alcohol. Everyone knows this stuff isn’t good for you, but it does have detrimental effects on your mental and physical health that should be restated.
- Ensure you’re getting enough physical activity during the day. A lot of people look at exercise as spending hours working up a sweat doing strenuous physical activity in a gym, however short workouts are also effective. Downloading a workout app, such as the 7-minute workout, can provide you with a system of accountability.
- Make sure you’re getting enough sleep! This is another thing that everyone knows is important, but I will repeat the message; getting enough sleep is important. If this is a struggle for you (it is for me), look into solutions such as meditation, establishing a sleep schedule, and see a doctor if necessary. Sleep is important!
Any routines you establish for the sake of improving your mental and physical health will pay off in many ways. After a long day at the office it’s often easy to resign yourself to relaxation and indulgence, but making smart and healthy decisions will pay off.
There other things that can be detrimental to restoring your lost motivation. You may not give much thought or consideration to the effect these have on your mental well-being. But they can certainly be motivation killers in their own right.
- Pay less attention to the news. It’s good to be kept informed of current events and have an understanding of what’s going on in the world. But too much can be detrimental to your mental health. Our modern news cycle is significantly more robust than it was in decades past, and this can be a source of mental overload.
- Avoid office gossip at work, especially if it’s negative or toxic. Tapping into your company’s internal network can be beneficial to your career growth, however toxic office gossip can be harmful and affect your motivation.
- Negative people can plant the seeds of lost motivation in your mind, so you should limit your interactions with them. This can include friends, family, and co-workers. If their behavior is toxic, you should consider cutting them out of your life completely.
Getting your Motivation Back on Track
Once you have your motivation and productivity killers under control, you may feel that your motivation returns naturally due to renewed energy and less mental congestion. You will also see positive side effects such as having a more positive attitude and optimistic outlook! This will bleed into other areas of your life and result in an improvement in overall well-being (who wouldn’t want that?).
If you find that you are still having trouble, try setting some small and easily achievable goals for yourself. This will create a snowball effect that you can roll into larger goals. Reading self-help books, listening to podcasts, and watching Ted talks on a regular basis will also provide insight and empowering messages to motivate you.
Everyone suffers from lost motivation occasionally, so you shouldn’t freak out when this happens. Just make some simple changes in your lifestyle and you will see your motivation return!