Motivation comes naturally when something is new or exciting. I wonder if you can relate when I say that at the start of something new, my energy bubbles up and my mind races through endless possibilities.
I’ve definitely experienced that with the creation of my new blog, Nicole Kauffman | be the best you. I wanted to work day and night on it. I had the energy and the motivation to pour out all my heart and time into working on this website!
But I will also be the first to say that this energy that comes from something new and exciting doesn’t last. Sooner or later, it drops off and we’re left with the same dilemma as before.
How do we stay motivated when work gets hard?
So many of us experience this “burn out”. In a culture that drives hard work and career advancement, we often feel that pushing through these times of lowered motivation is the only choice we have. But simply pushing through is only going to make you feel even more unmotivated and seeking something better.
I’ve found myself in that exact same category several times, leaving a job that I had been successful in for something better or leaving a piece of work for a new idea. And while I will recommend this at times, most of the time it is just waning motivation that makes us feel like we are in the wrong line of work. And the fix is not switching jobs or projects, but in learning to grow your motivation right where you are.
So today, let’s take a look at 5 ways to stay motivated when work gets hard. As you implement these techniques, you will find that you are cultivating a sense of lasting motivation that will bring you through the tough, “burn out” times of your work. Because in all honesty, we all have these moments. Even in the most fulfilling job or project, there will be times that your motivation wanes.
Motivation isn’t based on a feeling, it’s a practice that is cultivated and grown. – Tweet This
5 Ways to Stay Motivated When Work Gets Hard
1. Remember Your Why
The why you do what your doing is what will carry you through even the most unmotivated and draining times. If you’ve never thought about this, let’s briefly take a look at what your why is.
Most people like to consider what they are doing as what’s important. For example, I blog to encourage online entrepreneurs and those who are seeking more meaning and fulfillment in their work. I blog to help those who want to start a profitable blog or online business get started. I help people with my writing and website.
These are all great things, but they aren’t going to keep me motivated. Because when things get tough, we always end up asking why? Why am I doing what I’m doing?
So to prepare, it’s good to come up with that answer ahead of time.
Why am I blogging?
I am blogging because I was once that person struggling to figure out what to do with my life. I struggled with trying to find a traditional and expected job and make that fit into my lifestyle and skills. And it was a very tough time. So I blog because I am striving to make a sustainable income through my site and because I want others to find the encouragement I struggled to find myself.
Now when I come to that crossroads of lacking motivation, I can return to this why and it can carry me through.
2. Remove the Barriers
So many times as we become unmotivated, we build barriers between ourselves and the very thing that we are lacking motivation for. Struggling to stay motivated at work? We keep our phones on our desk, our email tabs open and our minds begin to make other things a priority. I’m extremely guilty of this. When I feel unmotivated, I start to demote the very thing I’m lacking motivation for in my priority list. And this makes it that much harder to stay motivated.
Just like setting out your clothes for the gym the night before, it’s important to find ways to make your work more of the natural path to follow. Make getting focused the easiest thing to do. Delete all of your favorites that distract you. Turn off your phone or put it away. Figure out what makes getting to the “work” easier and more natural and set yourself up for success.
For example, when I need to sit down and write, often times I put a million things between me and my empty document. I need to take the dog out. I need to find something to eat. I need to charge my laptop. I need to get the dishes started. I need to check facebook for anything “important”. I need to etc., etc., etc.
How do I make writing the path of least resistance?
I put my charged laptop beside the chair the night before. Soon after waking up and eating my pre-planned breakfast, I sit down with nothing but my laptop open to the empty document and write a planned amount of words on a planned topic. I am SO much more productive when I do this.
I even like to keep my laptop more for writing and less for the other tasks because it helps me to stay focused and motivated on the very thing I need to make a priority. Take time to decide what steps you can take to decrease the barriers between you and your work.
3. Be Disciplined in Your Priorities
Do you know what your priorities are? I would encourage you to start by making a list. I do this every single day that I sit down to work. I make a list of the things I want to get done and I order them by importance. I even have monthly lists of the major things I want to accomplish with my work that month.
Writing down your priorities is a powerful way to be disciplined about checking them off and staying motivated. Discipline is key to motivation because motivation is not a feeling that just strikes us, but a tool that is cultivated and nourished.
Take time to consider your priorities and develop a discipline of getting to them.
4. Make Self Care a Priority
With that said, it is important to make caring for your own needs a priority. An empty well cannot pour out water. If you are feeling drained and unmotivated, oftentimes it is a sign of not giving your own needs enough attention.
This does not mean plop on the couch for an hour of Netflix (as tempting as it is!). This means setting aside time in your schedule each and every day to do something to care for yourself. Something that will nourish your mind and heart. Something that will meet your needs.
I try to set aside 30 minutes to exercise and 30 minutes to read the Bible and meditate on God’s truth. When I do this, I notice that my entire day goes differently. Not only am I refreshed and feeling good, but my mind is sharper and more apt to focus and feel accomplished.
Taking time to care for yourself is so important in cultivating motivation. Don’t let this slip because as motivated as you may feel when something is new or exciting, you need to take care of yourself in order to maintain that energy.
5. Let Go of the Shoulds
One of my favorite little expressions for this is, “Stop shoulding yourself.” When we place those expectations on ourselves, we are defining ourselves not by our own unique call and unique person, but by the views and judgments of the world.
It took me a very long time to let go of all the shoulds in my own life. I thought I should have a real job, I should be making more money, I should not allow myself a break, I should put work first etc.
But all of these “shoulds” were not helping me, they were holding me back. They weren’t motivating me for success, but terrorizing me and pushing me into insecurity and failure. It wasn’t until I could boldly grasp the call that I knew God had for me that I could truly find the motivation and confidence to succeed.
What shoulds are you placing on your own life? These things zap your motivation and steal your confidence. Take time to let go of these expectations, because we are all unique and we are all called to something unique. Just because what you are doing is different or seemingly mundane, does not mean it is wrong.
Decide where you think you should be and what you think you should be doing, and stand boldly in that. When you do, your motivation will grow.
I hope that these 5 ways to stay motivated even when work gets hard will help you to cultivate and nourish motivation in your work.
Have any of these helped you to stay motivated when work got tough?
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