Have you been feeling unmotivated at work lately? Because I know I have. The tasks that you used to fly through feel like they take three times as long. Your previously undivided attention is now pulled in five different directions. You’re feeling burned out and checked out.
It’s common to hit slumps like this throughout your career. Sometimes they last a day, sometimes a week, and sometimes even longer. No matter why or how long you’ve felt unmotivated, one thing is for sure: You eventually have to find a way to get your job done. So the next time you find yourself struggling to cross anything off your to-do list, try these quick wins.
Send That Email
You know the email I’m talking about—the one you’ve been putting off for days. Often, tasks tend to feel bigger and more difficult the longer we put them off. But chances are, if you dedicate the time to focus and craft a reply, it’ll be easier than you think. I promise you’ll feel like a huge weight has been lifted off of your shoulders once you hit send, and it’ll probably take less time than you think. You might even feel motivated to knock out a few more emails while you’re at it.
To get started, set a timer for five minutes. Commit to no distractions and 100% focus on the email at hand for those five minutes. If you don’t complete the email when your timer goes off, feel free to move on—no need to be hard on yourself. But if you are able to hit send, take a moment to celebrate! Get up and grab a cup of coffee, text a friend, or hit “add to cart” on that item you’ve been eyeing. After all, you sent that email. You deserve it!
Set a Bite-Sized Goal
When you’re working on a big project that’s scheduled to take weeks or months to complete, it might feel like you’re barely making progress. But you don’t execute on a big, lofty goal all at once. You take small baby steps to get there. Instead of focusing on the large task at hand, pick one task you can complete today that will move the project forward.
Take a moment to write down all the tasks you need to complete for your current project. By getting everything out of your head and onto paper, you can then decide which bite-sized task you want to tackle first. Once you check that item off your list, give yourself a five-minute break, then come back and pick another item to knock out next. Before you know it, you’ll have worked your way through your to-do list.
Move Your Body
Feeling unmotivated can drag you down both mentally and physically. So in order to shake up your routine and add some motivation back into your day, sometimes you literally have to shake it up. Get up and move your body. Go for a walk without any distractions like your phone or a podcast. Let your mind wander and see what it finds. If you only have a few minutes in between meetings, stand up and do a few squats. Movement helps get your blood and creativity flowing, so you can reignite your motivation.
Some work tasks simply suck. Since they’re not fun on their own, you need to find a way to make it fun. That’s when it’s time to treat yourself. Tell yourself that if you work on a presentation for an hour, you can take a break to check social media or that once you get through a meeting, you’ll reward yourself with your favorite coffee. Because sometimes work is just that: work. And you have to find the light at the end of the tunnel to keep you going.
If you’re working from home, this tip is especially for you. If you find yourself rolling out of bed and getting straight to work, it’s understandable that you don’t feel motivated for the day. You haven’t taken the time to get ready, whatever that means to you. Take five minutes at the start of your day to get yourself ready to work. Do your makeup, make yourself a cup of coffee, write in your journal, or change out of your sweatpants. When you feel the part, you perform the part.
Catch Up with a Coworker or a Friend
We’re social creatures. Even if we enjoy being alone, we still need human interaction to thrive. Take five minutes and schedule a time to catch up with a coworker, give your work bestie a quick call, or make plans for after work. Spending a few minutes to connect with a colleague gives you a much-needed brain break. Even if you’re not talking to the person now, you’ll have something to look forward to later.
Create a “Done” List
We all have to-do lists, but do you have a “done” list? When you’re feeling unmotivated, it could be because you don’t feel like you’re accomplishing anything. But if you take stock of all of the things you did that day, I bet you’d be surprised. Start a “done” list of all the work you complete to help you visualize where your efforts and time are spent. It can help give you the boost of motivation you need to tackle your to-do list tomorrow.
Quick wins at work, no matter how small, lead to big wins later. So the next time you’re feeling stuck in a motivation rut, remember that you’re armed with these tips to help you go from unmotivated to inspired.