Welcome to 2021! We’re probably all hoping for better, brighter things in the year ahead. Then again, after all the difficulties of 2020, it’s totally normal if you’re struggling with motivation right now. Feelings of overwhelm or depressed mood can seriously sap your oomph for work responsibilities. In fact, according to a survey from the Pew Research Center, 42% of adults under 50 reported it has been “somewhat difficult” or “very difficult” to feel motivated at work since the coronavirus pandemic began. Even if you had an enjoyable holiday break, getting back to the grind in January can feel like an uphill battle.
When you’re finding the return to work a slog, there are ways to harness your mojo. We’ve got five tips for getting back in the saddle. (And don’t forget CaterSquad is here to handle your office catering orders, giving you one less thing to tackle at work.)
Set small, measurable goals
Ever heard of SMART goals? This acronym represents goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Rather than trying to accomplish everything under the sun, doling out goals into specific, measurable chunks can help you make slow and steady progress. When working toward completing a major project, for example, set your sights on the individual, achievable steps required to get there.
Do what really needs doing
Often, the responsibilities of each day come down to just a handful of things that genuinely must be done. It’s not always a great idea to put off until tomorrow what you could do today, but when motivation is in short supply, you may have to allot your energy to what really matters—and leave other tasks for a later date. As you approach your workday, try asking yourself, “What really has to get done today?” Then focus your attention on accomplishing those things.
Remind yourself of past success
Unless you’re in an extremely multi-faceted role, there’s likely an element of repetition to your work. Depending on how long you’ve been in your position, many of your daily tasks are probably things you’ve done dozens (or hundreds…or thousands…) of times before. Sure, repetitiveness can make some responsibilities feel all the more boring, but sometimes it’s helpful to simply recall how you’ve successfully completed tasks in the past. If you’ve done them before, you can certainly do them again—with more expertise and even less effort.
Give yourself rewards
The promise of a reward after a job well done is major motivation material. It’s basic psychology: rewards create incentive (even when we’re not intrinsically motivated to do something). Consider what kinds of rewards would spur you on. Perhaps you can go for a walk outdoors after a tough sales call or treat yourself to a coffee when emails are all answered. Whatever your reward, choose something healthy and within your budget.
Try a gratitude practice
A gratitude practice can improve numerous areas of life—not the least of which is our motivation. Research shows that when people experience gratitude, they feel more inspired and energized, and are more likely to make progress on their goals. New to the idea of practicing gratitude on the regular? There are lots of easy ways to begin. Simply jot down five things you’re thankful for each day in a gratitude journal, spend a few moments at lunch counting your blessings, or try a gratitude app. (Here are nine to get you started.)