If you are lucky, you wake up every morning excited about what you are going to accomplish at work that day. However, sometimes this isn’t the case. Maybe for you, it might be a little harder to drag yourself out of bed in the morning and make it into the office. Maybe the new project you were assigned doesn’t spark the same passion as your last big assignment. Maybe you’ve been feeling a little undervalued by your boss and peers. Or maybe you are just feeling a little burnt out.
Despite the inherent value of public service, most public sector professionals often face challenges like these and struggle with staying motivated to get the job done at one point or another. And despite your best intentions, when you start losing motivation, it can be hard to produce high-caliber work. Fortunately, this week’s NextGen Leadership post brings you some tips for getting back on track when you are feeling unmotivated in the office.
Get your day started off right. Whether this is some moments of meditation, going to a yoga, class, sweating it out at the gym, or just having enough time to enjoy some coffee and read the news, take the time to center yourself in the morning. Doing something you want to do right when you get up instead of rolling out of bed and out the door allows you to start the day on the right foot.
Reconnect with the mission. Remember why you took the job you have in the first place. All public sector work is mission-driven. At some point, you connected with that mission. Reminding yourself about what you are ultimately working for can help you get the spark you had for your job back.
Reflect on your goals. If you don’t already have your long and short-term goals written out, do so now and spend some time reflecting on what you want to accomplish. Sometimes, our goals are too lofty and it can feel like an insurmountable challenge to accomplish them. This can leave you feeling defeated and unmotivated. Identify instances of this and rework your goals to make sure they are tangible and achievable.
Make a plan. Now that you have reflected on your goals and how you want to drive your agency’s mission, you can create or tweak an existing plan for how you are going to get there. Take your vision for success and break down the steps you need to achieve it. No matter what you are working towards, outlining achievable steps to get there is key to staying motivated to accomplish each step that will help you achieve your ultimate goals.
Get organized. Once your thoughts and goals are organized, it’s important to get your physical workspace organized too. Clean up your desk and eliminate clutter to increase productivity. Additionally, find a daily organization tool that works for you. Whether this is a to-do list in a notebook or an app that helps keep you on track, find something that helps you keep track of what you’ve already accomplished during the day and what still needs to be done. Some good productivity tools include Moleskin’s daily planner, Trello, and Evernote.
Get rid of distractions. For some govies, your agency may do this already through restrictions on what sites you can access while at work and whether or not you can bring your phone in the building. For those with less restrictions at the office, be proactive about getting rid of things that you know distract you. If you are constantly being barraged with text messages about which kid left his lunch at home or friends trying to plan an after-work happy hour, put your phone in your desk drawer so you can focus on the task at hand. If social media is your Achilles heel for productivity, check out websites like SelfControl and Cold Turkey that block your own access to distracting things on the internet.
Block out your time. After you are distraction free and ready to tackle your to-do list, block out your calendar with set time to work on certain tasks. Giving yourself a set amount of time to get a task done or work towards completing a project can help accomplishing things seem more manageable. Additionally, on meeting-heavy days, blocking out your time when you don’t have meetings can help you stay productive instead of just passing the time.
Avoid multitasking. Giving your full and undivided attention to a certain task will help you accomplish it quicker and more effectively. Avoid checking email or looking up to chat with coworkers that walk by. Working towards accomplishing one thing can help you stay motivated to get the task done.
Spend some time with your coworkers. Whether your coworkers are some of your best friends or just people you sit next to in the office, take some of the free time you build into your schedule to chat with them. Grab a coffee or lunch with your deskmate or someone on your team that you don’t know well. Knowing the people you work with on a personal level makes it easier to head into the office every day.
Reward and regenerate. It is important to reward yourself throughout the day when you finish tasks. This can take the form of a ten-minute Facebook break, catching up on your favorite blog, or grabbing coffee with your office best friend. Additionally, be sure to regenerate at the end of the day an on the weekends. Actively work to get enough sleep and do things you love that aren’t work related when you’re not at the office.
So, what are you waiting for? Take these tips and start reclaiming your work mojo. If you have some tips on how you stay motivated at work that we didn’t mention, share them in the comments! Additionally, for more information on all things professional development, check out all of the NextGen Leadership Program’s blogs here.