I am really unmotivated in my role, what can I do?
It happens. That's probably the most important thing to know. Having a lack of motivation today doesn't mean you're unhappy in your role overall. It also doesn't mean you should quit. It's up to you to figure out why you're feeling unmotivated and then create a strategy to get back in the game.
Why are you unmotivated?
Take a moment to consider why you are feeling unmotivated in your role. Is it because your job is not serving your values and goals, or because you feel unsure about what is expected of you? Are you lacking purpose in your role? Perhaps you are facing difficult work relationships or aren’t seeing the value in your work? Sometimes our fears and unrealistic expectations we place on ourselves can put us in a funk and tank our motivation.
Take a note of every time you feel unmotivated to do your work. Does it happen at a certain time of day? After a certain meeting? When you're with certain coworkers? Right before a deadline? When the goal is too big or too small?
Motivation Hack 1: Identify Your Values & Reframe Your Work
Reframing why you work (beyond the purpose of earning a salary) can increase motivation and drive. Understanding the meaning and value of work is connected with higher job satisfaction, engagement, and well-being. That's a good reason to focus on this!
But also, self-motivation is a key pillar of emotional intelligence. Put differently, you can increase your motivation by...
learning how to earn opportunities for autonomous work
find information to learn, grow and be successful in your role
draw direct connections between your work, your team’s goals and company goals can increase your motivation
Develop The Secret Superpower:
Step 1: Recognize your gap in motivation. What's causing you to lose motivation (see above). What causes you to be motivated or find energy?
Step 2: Identify how you can adjust your actions to increase your motivation and energy at work. Once you know why you are feeling unmotivated or identify what helps you find energy, you can design steps to increase it. For example, if you feel super focused and energized after a 30 minute power walk, then maybe you should build two of those into your day everyday. Alternatively, if you have a co-worker who distracts you whenever you sit near them, avoid being near that person for specific chunks of time so you can get work done.
Step 3. Take action and create habits. It's not enough to identify the problem and think through a solution. You have to actually get in the habit of constantly seeking motivation. Experiment until you figure out what works and then make that a habit by repeating it over and over again.
Step 4. Repeat early and often. Motivation seeking takes effort. What works for you on Monday may not work for you on Wednesday. Create a tool-kit of motivators (for Marlow's CEO, Mary Fox, podcasts and a long run are a recipe for hours of productivity).
When it's beyond motivators...
Sometimes the situation a bit larger than simply creating new habits. When the situation involves relationships with your coworkers, you'll need to take additional action.
For instance, if you are feeling micromanaged, what can you do to earn trust and deliver more frequent updates to keep stakeholders in the loop?
If you lack connection what can you do to strengthen relationships or understand the impact and value of your tasks?
If you lack information on how can you keep yourself better informed on your company and industry?
Identifying your lack of motivation is the first step to identifying what changes you should be making and how you can shift your mindset.
Consider these steps:
Identify what it is about your job that you dislike. For a week keep a journal recording how you are feeling. Record what energizes you and what drains you, what tasks and responsibilities do you enjoy and which you dislike?
Do you feel you have a sense of purpose in your job? If not - is this something you could discuss with your manager?
Are there things you could do to adjust your role so that you get to do more of the tasks you enjoy?
What actions and behaviors can you change to increase your motivation?
What To Do When You Hate Your Job (Career Balance)
Shift Your Mindset Before Quitting (Marlow)