Fighting the motivational blues? Try these ten easy hacks to reconnect with your purpose and get your workday in gear!
1. Cultivate Curiosity
Ask yourself what you’re most curious about. If you had all the time and resources in the world, what would you do? What would you learn? Where would you go? Let your curiosity drive you to your passions and help clarify your “big-picture” goals, values and aspirations.
Build a vision board with images, quotes, and affirmations about who you are and what you believe. Place it somewhere visible to remind you of your vision. Try to touch base with your personal values in some way throughout your day. Or create a virtual vision board on Canva. Print it, and/or download it and keep it as a digital version anywhere you go.
2. Establish Actionable Goals
Define specific and achievable goals for the day. This can help foster a sense of clarity, purpose and direction. Divide your work into smaller, manageable tasks. Use a task-tracking tool like Trello, or simply a pen and paper.
Keep a notepad nearby for jotting down quick thoughts and notes to help keep you on track. Revisit your goals throughout the day and revel in the satisfaction of crossing items off your list.
3. Compete With Yourself
For those who love a good strategy game on a Friday night (not me!), create a system to gamify your workload and tasks. Set a baseline for yourself and then try to exceed it. Give yourself challenges, rewards, and stages. If you want to really “win,” check out interactive apps to gamify your tasks, personal goals and more.
Add a point system or invite some friendly competition with colleagues to take it to the next level, so to speak, and make your everyday workload just a bit more intriguing and exciting.
4. Get Moving!
We all know those days when you’re inundated with time-sensitive tasks, and even getting up to go eat seems unrealistic. But we can’t say it enough. Get moving! (And eating…that’s actually important too!) Physical activity is crucial for your immediate and long-term physical, emotional, intellectual and cognitive health.
Take breaks for physical activity. Even a ten-minute walk around the block can get your blood circulating, and energize your mind and body for the tasks at hand. If you can’t do the quintessential recommended “minimum 30 minutes of cardiovascular activity,” do a quick workout within your capacity, or ten minutes of yoga to revitalize your body and mind and reboot your productivity.
5. “Treat Yo’ Self!”
Celebrate small wins. Don’t overlook the power of any kind of gain. Sometimes it can feel like “one-step forward, three steps back” but a step forward is still ultimately a step forward.
We’re great at celebrating graduations, weddings, etc. But what about that thing that’s been lingering for weeks on your to-do list (like your taxes, or that overdue vehicle checkup that the little “maintenance required” light nags you with every time you drive.)
Reward yourself with something you love. Go out to your favorite restaurant or make a special meal. Indulge in a spa day, massage or some pampering (if that’s your thing), or take a weekend excursion to a refreshing getaway when you achieve specific goals.
6. Learn From Others
Whether it’s investing in a life coach, finding a mentor or listening to motivational podcasts, every human can benefit from “lifelong learning.” What do other people do to stay on track? How have they navigated challenging times and rough waters?
Explore motivational podcasts, YouTube videos, Instagram channels like Goal.cast or audiobooks that enrich your values (yes there’s that word again, and it’s intentional,) interests and goals. Ask friends and colleagues for recommendations. (Of course you can always ask the internet as well.) Listen to the podcasts, etc. while driving to work, or…while taking a fresh air or exercise break. (Exercise and inspiring podcasts, thats a two-for-one motivational injection right there!)
7. Tap Into Your Breath or Spirituality
Engage in mindfulness, meditation and prayer. Pause throughout the day to still your mind, ground yourself in the present, breathe and practice visualizing outcomes in your life you desire or look forward to. Whether you consider yourself “spiritual” or not, breathing exercises can reduce stress, alleviate anxiety and even help with emotional triggers, PTSD and depression.
Use a simple flow like “box breathing” or 4-4-4-4, breathe in for four seconds, hold for four seconds, exhale for four seconds and hold for four seconds. Some people also find it uplifting to focus their thoughts on “inhaling positivity or reminders of their faith, and exhaling untruths or negativity.”
8. “Variety Is The Spice of Life”
Environment is everything! If you’re working in a messy or cluttered environment, take ten minutes to put a “quadrant” in a more functional and visually appealing order. (Hint, perhaps tackle the area most immediately surrounding your workspace, like your desk. If you work from home, organize your living room or whatever you most readily see while working.) Or, try working from another location.
If you have the time and inspiration, rearrange your workplace. Add artwork or something that brings you joy, and of course, a few plants to literally bring your space to life. (Did you know that it’s scientifically proven that adding plants to your workspace increases productivity?) You better be-leaf it!
9. Find Your People
When lacking connection with others, it’s sometimes difficult to rally your internal motivation to also connect with your work and personal vision. Check out groups like Meetup to discover online or in-person communities of like-minded individuals who share similar goals. If you’re feeling like an extra push, find your local Toastmasters. It’s a great way to simultaneously meet new people while nurturing your public speaking and communications skills!
Ask a friend for accountability. Pair up with a trusted friend or colleague who you know has your best interest in mind, and perhaps also shares similar goals and values. (Ding, ding… yes… values… if you don’t know what your values are, try an exercise like values cards to help you identify them. You’ll find they make a massive impact on how you orient your life.) Check-in with each other for support and encouragement.
10. Take A Nap
A power nap, that is! While it may seem counterintuitive to boosting your motivation and productivity, sometimes sleep is the very best medicine. Of course, getting a good night’s sleep is always essential, but sometimes, you just need to close your eyes…in the daytime. Though sleep experts typically recommend 20 minutes, even just five or ten minutes of shuteye can do the trick.
Admittedly, the word “nap” in this context, feels a little misleading. Essentially, you’re tricking your mind and body into a physical and mental reset. You’re unlikely to feel like you actually went into that long hibernation you’ve coveted. (Save the long nap for a weekend “reward” for all your hard work and small victories you’ve made throughout the week!) But a power nap might just invigorate enough to make it through those last few hours of your workday.
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