Is it just me or is the start of summer a great reason to ditch out on work and head to the beach – do you really need a better excuse? Wishful thinking, I know, but in all reality, do you ever feel like it’s hard to stay motivated at work? I definitely go through periods when it’s hard to stay on task and push forward at work. Ironically for me it’s usually when I’m overwhelmed that I just want to do anything other than tackle my to-do list. Maybe it’s the Monday blues or something more daunting that can make staying motivated seem impossible. Over the years of working long hours on Wall Street and even now working long hours from home, staying motivated has really been the key for me to see success in business. I’ve had to develop ways to stay motivated to keep pushing forward even when I haven’t felt like it – which I think we’ve all had to do at work and in life. Today I wanted to share a few tips that really help me stay on track.
Here are 5 ways I stay motivated at work
1. Make a to-do list: I know this isn’t the sexiest of ways to stay motivated, but this is the only I stay on top of my goals. I keep daily, weekly and longer-term to-do lists. Daily lists help me accomplish the mundane workday tasks, but throughout the day/month/year I keep a longer-term “to do” list that lists out goals for myself. At least once per week, I review those longer-term goals of where I want my career to go and that helps me stay motivated to work on those items a little each week.
2. Hold yourself accountable: I honestly think this is one of the biggest things that stands in most people’s way from achieving the success they want. While I worked on Wall Street, I was exposed to a number of CEOs of retail companies. I always noticed that the best CEOs had a unique sense of self-awareness and held themselves accountable for their performance as well as their company’s. Of course, that’s on a different scale, but the blame-game doesn’t really work when you’re operating your own business or trying to move up the corporate ladder. You can blame your lack of success on so many factors from the weather to your direct report, but if you don’t have the ability to reflect on your own shortcomings, you may never learn from them. It wasn’t until I started viewing myself as the CEO of my own business and holding myself accountable for it’s success that my career as a blogger really started to gain traction. I started to ask myself, would the CEO of XYZ company really tolerate this or that? Holding myself to higher expectations really changed how I operated my business.
3. Do something that inspires you: For me, traveling always inspires me to rethink my business or start a new project. Removing yourself from your daily routine tends to have that effect on you. You don’t have to go far to get inspired though. Sometimes watching a vlog of one of my favorite YouTubers or watching a documentary on a business person or even reading a business-oriented blog post will inspire me. I tend to do those things when I hit an early afternoon slump and coffee just won’t cut it. Spending 5-10 minutes reading an inspiring article or post or watching a video really helps me stay inspired.
4. Envision where you want to be: I’ve always been someone who envisions their future. As children we all imagine what we want to be when we grow up, but I always do that when I start a new job or career too. Envisioning what it would be like to be at the top of your career field is a great self check to make sure it’s something you really want. For me this exercise was the tipping point of my acting career – which I pursed a number of years ago. The more exposed I was to the field, the easier it was for me to understand what it would really be like to be an A-list actor and I realized that it wasn’t something I really wanted. It’s easy to look at a career that appears glamorous and think you’d want to do it, but it often isn’t until you see all the inner-workings that you realize maybe it’s not the right fit for you.
5. Reward yourself along the way: When you start to accomplish those bigger picture goals, make sure to reward yourself too. Maybe that’s buying a coveted handbag or taking a trip or even treating yourself to a day off – take the time to appreciate the hard work you put in and remember what it feels like to achieve those goals.