You can’t be motivated all the time. Sure- if you are unhappy, don’t feel challenged and its hard to get up every morning for longer then two weeks – you are not getting over a hump you are in a rut and you really need to change something. Fast. But, if sometimes you just wonder what you are doing with your life, if you job has enough purpose or if you actually love what you are doing or you are just doing it for the money – well my friend you are stuck trying to get over a hump.
Just like in your life, not every day in the office can be perfect. And sometimes there are longer periods were that is the case. Sometimes you are stuck on a project you don’t see going anywhere or you went on a great vacation and right now you just don’t feel it. These times can go on for a while. It might go longer than a Wednesday. It might be more than a “I got up on the wrong side of the bed” kind of month. And that is totally ok. Sometimes you don’t feel it. That is more than fine. You don’t need to question it or feel like you have to justify it. Like everything in life, it has its ups and downs. In this privileged society (you cant say you are not privileged if you don’t need to fear hunger and extortion) – we tend to feel like we should be excluded from pain and suffering. If something bad happens we ask, why us? Why me? Why now?
Well – why not? The only constant in life is that it is a beautiful mess with its ups and downs. No one’s life is a constant up. There is no family in the world that has not been impacted by disease and death (this by the way is a concept from the Dalai Lama – I’m just channeling my inner Dalai). So yes, sometimes things go to shit and nothing feels right. And sometimes these phases are long. And sometimes no Sarah you do not feel like doing another power point presentation and yes Thomas you actually DO mind doing completing the spreadsheet. And that is all a part of life.
So going through a tough phase is just a part of life. And a part of the working life and you just need to accept it.
Thing is, these days there are so many companies, so many teams in a corporation and so many middle managers. Sometimes we can’t help but feel that if we changed any one of those aspects, things would be better.
But let me tell you something. Unless you are being bullied, you don’t feel challenged or you are being held back (because if you are – change your job NOW), you will find it always sucks at least once in every place. Office politics are everywhere. People with little egos and personalities that just suck are also everywhere. Projects that go no where or get stuck by senior management – are everywhere. In fact – little really changes when you move. It’s just a different shade of grass – greener doesn’t mean better.
Its that somehow we have this notion that we are in charge of our careers. To a certain extent yes. But a lot of it is out of our control, like being happy in the workplace or been assigned a specific task. Or having a talent for something you actually might not enjoy. Somehow we are taught by society that in the workplace we have a say over our tasks, our pay and our efforts – I really don’t know where this comes from. You apply to a job. The job as expectations. You take them on. A lot is controlled for you – your pay, your promotion, your desk, the heating, the working hours etc. But somehow we feel we are in the power to make it our own and to make ourselves thrive (to some extent yes but to a lot, you are not). You can – but only in the limits to which your job allows it.
What I am trying to say is, let go of the feeling that you are in charge of loving your job and that you are in control. Just go with the flow. Sometimes you are motivated, sometimes you are not. And that is fine. Mix your daily work schedule with things you love. Here are some options:
- Even if you are stressed – set aside 10min in the morning to scroll through you favourite website. Oh we know you have one. Be it 9Gag, Buzzfeed, People.com, Eurosport – just spend 10min not thinking about work. If you cant do it at your desk – go to the bathroom and read it on your phone
- Try to grab coffee each afternoon with someone you like. No toxic people! Someone you feel you can talk to about anything and everything to remind you that there is more to life than work
- If you can, listen to your favourite music (Spotify for the win) while completing a task. I am most efficient when tapping my feet to some amazing 80s hits.
- Buy yourself your favourite snack and bring it to work. At 3pm, take it out of the bag. You earned it. Now you’ve earned the joy it brings you. Ah pretzels.
- Before starting with your day and turning on your monitor, take a moment to prepare the desk the way you like it. Get yourself that cup of tea, or tell yourself what tasks you want to achieve today and just do those. Give yourself a moment to brace yourself for whatever may come next.
- Don’t be hard on yourself. This is just a large wave that came upon you on your surfboard. Just ride it out. You can’t stop the wave from coming. You can’t do anything else but go with it.
Just do what is expected of you. Not more not less. A smile and a good mood needs to be earned – it is not a part of the job description.