How to Figure Out What Motivates You at Work

Work is called work for a reason. No matter how passionate you are about a certain field, you are inevitably going to run into aspects of your career that you are not fond of. If you are in a current position because of the money or security it provides, you may be even more impacted by the truth stated above.

That said, the mindset and approach that we take when we approach anything in life is what dictates our overall experience. If I come to work feeling drained and not wanting to do anything, I am not going to get anything out of my job. If I find motivators in my job that remind me of why I am doing it, however, I am going to fare much better.

The problem that many face, when they are trying to find motivation around them, is the actual act of becoming aware of these motivators. Awareness is always the first step to change (and it is also the hardest). If you are trying to figure out what motivates you at work, continue reading below for further insight into how you can become a happier, more productive worker!

Step 1. Take a Moment to Consider Why You Are in Your Current Position

When we work somewhere for a significant amount of time, the daily grind can become something that we do on autopilot. When we do work in this mode, we end up losing ourselves along the way.

It is only when we approach work with the mindset of providing value for both the employer as well for the customer that we are able to gain some sense of achievement from it.

For example, let’s pretend that you are working a basic scheduling job. On the surface it may seem boring to you, causing you to lose focus and energy. When you take a closer look, however, your job is quite important.

People rely on you to make sure that they are getting enough hours, that they can get important days off when they need it, and that the organization runs smoothly, even in times of crisis. You are in charge of all of these aspects, and this ultimately provides value for those around you.

Ask yourself, why do I have this job?

Is this a job that you love doing? Does it involve work that you are passionate about? Is there anything that you really enjoy about this position? If you can remind yourself of why you took the job in the first place, you can find that spark to do better work again.

If you are in a job solely for financial reasons, you can still find the motivation to work (even though it may be a little more difficult). We will dive deeper into this concept in the next section.

Step 2. Map Out Your Future

In some instances, our future is more exciting than our current situation, and that’s okay! The good news is that you can leverage your future to your advantage by using it as motivation to work harder.

How?

Consider each job that you hold or will hold as a stepping stone on the path towards your ultimate goal. While your current job may not be super exciting or fulfilling, it serves a purpose. Whether that be in the form of building your resume, teaching you new skills, helping you save the money to look for a new job, or providing extra money on the side, there is a purpose for everything!

In order to benefit from the job that you have and find motivation in it, take a moment to consider the points above. Then, build a plan for the future.

To give you an example, let’s imagine that your path looks like this:

My current job as an office assistant will allow me to save money and learn important skills that I can use in a position above my own.

Once I finish my degree this summer, I can apply for a better job in an entry-level marketing position, where certain office-based skills will come in handy.

While working in this entry-level position, I can further develop my skills on the side and ask for new projects that meet my needs and capture my interest.

Then, (continue your road map…)

Not only does a comprehensive plan remind you of how your current position serves you but, it keeps you excited in future positions as well.

Remember, however, that goals only work when they are specific, set to a deadline, and broken down into smaller, more achievable tasks. This will keep you highly motivated during work also![2]

Step 3. Take Things Slowly and Set Reminders Around You to Keep Your Motivation Levels High

Two important things to remember when you are trying to stay motivated is to avoid overwhelm and to keep yourself reminded about why you should be motivated in the first place.

When it comes to work, many people make their jobs much larger and worse than they actually are. You can avoid falling into this cycle of avoidance and despair by reminding yourself that every day is a new day. You can change your schedule around to add in new and exciting things, and focus on your life outside of work.

While work is an important part of your life, it doesn’t have to be draining or boring.

The second point above can be achieved by setting small reminders throughout your workplace. If you are someone who is already satisfied with the work that they do and the value that they provide, you can make small notes around your workspace that remind you of the services that you offer and how they help others.

If you are someone who is not necessarily happy with the position that you currently hold, you can instead use tools such as goal sheets, calendars, and vision boards to help you keep track of your progress as you move toward your ideal position.

However, make sure to not fall into the trap of resenting your job or acting out. This will only make getting motivated at your job harder!

The Bottom Line

Motivation is always possible to find in any situation. All it takes a little effort, some gratitude, and the ability to see why your job adds value to your life and to the lives of others.

If you have been having difficulty finding what motivates you at work, use the step-by-step guide above to figure out why you are in your job, where you want to go afterward, and how you can leverage this information to your advantage. What you get out of your situation is ultimately up to how you choose to perceive it!

Article by Dylan Buckley, Lifehack