5+1 Ways to Stay Motivated When You’re Struggling at Work

By Alex Batty, MHI Marketing Communications Coordinator |@mhi_alex

Happy Monday Internet! *blows party horn*

This blog is here to bring you the informative, the wacky, and occasionally the helpful. Today we’re going to try something from the third category.

Supply chain, like any other job, can get repetitive, and occasionally that is… less than stimulating and you might find your motivation lacking. So we did some HQ research (we Googled like maniacs) to find some tips and tricks for staying motivated at work. Here are our favorites:

1. Know what your goal is and why.

All jobs have busy work or drudge work that has to be done for housekeeping. That’s just a fact and you learn to suck it up and do it. But hopefully, most of what you are doing fits into the overall plan for the company. If you feel like you’re just showing up and not doing anything, try making a “Got Done” list, where you outline all of the tasks you’ve completed. For extra motivation, keep it somewhere you can see.

2. Variety.

This is my personal touchpoint. Thankfully I work in a job where we juggle a lot of projects at once, so if I get stuck in a rut on one project, I’ll set it aside for a few minutes and work on a few bullet points for another one. Making use of different skills helps stretch different parts of the brain, leaving the tired part to rest while you’re still getting things done.

3. Learn something new.

Many workplaces encourage employees to keep developing their skills. Lynda.com is a great resource, and I like YouTube as well. TED Talks in particular have been very helpful for explaining ideas. When I was researching blockchain, I watched several to get a handle on it. (They’re also good for soft skills as well):

I also work in graphics, so watching Photoshop tutorials is a great way to learn and also accomplish #2 by switching things up.

4. Sunshine!

Really. On your lunch, try going for a walk around the building. Even if it’s hotter ‘n Hades, like it is here at MHI HQ in Charlotte, the sunshine, the fresh air, the movement, and the general being away from your desk can be a great reset for your brain. We have these two random ponds here at our office complex, and I enjoy seeing the little fishes and turtles and lizards. And walk very quickly away from the snakes. Very quickly.

5. Small, bite-size goals.

In tech comm (my background) we learn about creating consumable content: content that is small enough to be understood quickly, but interesting enough to keep the user’s attention. That’s because the brain can sometimes get overwhelmed if there is too much coming at it. It works the same with goals. Need to create an entire marketing plan or new production flow? I would panic too. Too many pieces to juggle makes Jack an unmotivated boy. So break it down. Large projects can feel like you’ll never get it done because you don’t even know where to begin. So just start with something small and get it done. The accomplishment will help motivate you to accomplish more things in an self-feeding cycle of awesome.

Bonus: Just do it.

There is a reason Nike snatched up this slogan, but it applies to more than athletics. I was watching an author do a Q+A about the writing process for a new book. I was in grad school, working on my thesis at the time… and a bit unmotivated. Too many pages, too little brain-power. Somebody asked how she sat down and wrote a whole book (because it’s a little daunting). Her answer stuck with me and is now a sticky note on my monitor:

“Just !@#$%! do it.”

You just have to sit down and do it. Stop thinking about doing it, just do it. Instead of waiting around, willing yourself to feel motivated, go ahead and started doing the work you know you need to do. Immerse yourself into the project and trust that the focus will be what you need.

P.S. Yes. I did the stereotypical “pretty picture” equating motivational for our header image. But I thought that was better than a stock photo of some white collar worker looking “engaged”. Plus, pretty pictures are nice. And sometimes we just need nice things.