How to motivate yourself at work?

One of the qualities that you would see all the employers seek in an employee is “high self motivation” / “go – getter”. These are the employees who have a strong will power to keep them going and committed to the task they have taken up. These employees are usually easy to manage and possess a high power to work independently. They are an asset for their manager.

You would often see that employees with low level of motivation need more spoon feeding by the manager. Their anxiety and frustration level is usually high. They aren’t very productive and creative & possess a low self – esteem.

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While the employees who possess a high level of motivation are:

- Optimistic
- Confident
- Enthusiastic
- Strong will powered with an ability to bounce back and finish what they have at hand.

Where does motivation come from?

There can be various sources of motivation in a person’s life, like:

1. Self
2. Family and social circle
3. Environment
4. Someone whom you look up on to


Out of all these sources of motivation, the strongest one is “self”. All other factors may vanish but if you possess a strong will power and positive thinking, your motivation level will definitely bounce back even if it has taken a dip for the time being.

Tips to become a positive thinker:

Here are some tips to increase your ability to think positively:

1. Say/ Read motivational statements to yourself
2. Observe your thoughts and deal with inertia
3. Enter into constructive self criticism
4. Set challenging but achievable goals
5. Imagine success

Say/ Read motivational statements to yourself

Our mind has a tendency to believe what is told to it again and again. Give it positive and motivating thoughts as food to chew. When you sit on your desk to work, say a positive statement to yourself.

For e.g. “It’s a brilliant day. I am going to finish all that is required to be done.” OR

“The new project really needs some creative thinking. I have accomplished so many projects in the past. I’ll successfully finish this one too.”

Keep some cards at hand and write your strongest positive thought of the day on it and stick it on your desk where you can see and read it again and again.

You can even pick up the motivational quotes of other successful people and read them. Slowly your mind will start believing them and considering them its own.

Observe your thoughts and deal with inertia

Many a times, we avoid doing things which we know we have to do but we do not like. Our level of motivation to do them is very low. To deal with such tasks, set aside a reasonable (but not too long) amount of time and decide what you want to accomplish during this period. Stay focussed and you will see that you have easily finished the task which you were putting off since long.

For e.g. If you do not feel motivated to write the short weekly report you are required to submit, notify yourself that I avoid doing this job. Now, set aside some time on a fixed day and tell yourself that at the end of these 2 hours my report will be ready. You will start to see that you are doing it more regularly now.

And, this regularity will further add to your motivation.

Enter into constructive self criticism

Negative criticism sabotages your motivation and confidence. The only way to motivate yourself in such a situation is to criticise yourself constructively.

For e.g. If you are unhappy with the project report, look at it again and ask yourself, where is it lagging and how can you improve it. Rather than thinking that it is useless, see which are the good points covered by you and then tell yourself, it has the right facts and figures to let the management make a decision. The explanation part is not that effective but I can improve it by adding following 5 points.” You will see yourself writing a much effective report than you had expected.

Set challenging but achievable goals

Goals provide us a sense of direction and build up our level of motivation. When you are not able to see your destination clearly, you don’t know what you are trying to achieve and how much effort does it require. Ultimately you loose the vigour.

So, set some challenging but achievable goals. The goals which are very easy to achieve do not add fuel to motivation. It is the challenge in achieving those goals which acts as a real motivator.

The goals which are extremely difficult or impossible to achieve also act as de- motivators.

While working towards your goals keep reviewing what you have already achieved. This review not only keeps you on the track but also increases your level of motivation further to achieve the rest.

Imagine Success

Imagining success is a big morale booster. It helps you anticipate the problems you may face while trying to achieve your goals and prepare yourself to deal with them. The physiological changes you experience during this imagination act as relaxants and increase your level of confidence.

When you imagine yourself being successful in a situation, you fear factor drops down and you perform with more vigour.

Family and Social Circle

At some point of time in life, we all face a crunch of motivation. The level of motivation goes so down that it becomes difficult to get out of it on your own. This is when your help lines come to rescue. These help lines are your morale boosters in the form of your family, friends or colleagues.

Before you are faced with an emotional crisis, you should know, who these help lines in your life are. The qualities you would want to look for in these people are:

- Trustworthiness
- Suitability to the situation
- Availability at the right time

When you are emotionally low is the time when you can be misused the most. Opening up in front of someone trustworthy will make sure that your emotions are not misused and you are not blackmailed later on.

Suitability ensures that the person is able to understand your perspective and can offer the solution to your problem. Discussing the problem about a project at work with your mum may not be that helpful because, she may not have the right solution to the problem which a colleague might have. So, you have to identify a suitable person.

Availability is the largest of three factors that you would bank up on. Someone who is trustworthy and suitable but not available can not help you much.

So, you need to look up on the people in your family and social circle and gauge them on these parameters while you prepare your safety net.

While expecting that they are able to offer you a constructive solution, you have to ensure that you tell them everything as it had happened. Putting your feelings into words also ensures that they are vented out and you feel light.

Ensure that you reciprocate the kindness of your family and social circle & you are available to them in their time of need or otherwise. They should not feel used.


Although you can’t change the physical atmosphere of your work place much yet you can make some changes to your work environment and make it more positive. You will notice that smallest of things like the ones mentioned below make big difference to your morale:

1. Keep the desk clean and well arranged
2. Surround yourself with motivating objects, picture, quotes
3. Let the natural factors like air and light be supportive
4. Avoid disturbing sounds and bad odour

You might also notice that while the presence of these factors might not boost your motivation much but their absence will definitely scale it down.

Someone whom you may look up on to

There may be some people living or dead whose life story can be a motivator for you. You may or may not know these people personally. Thinking about these people in times of distress and how they dealt with their problems can be a big morale booster for you.

Practising these small and easy things at work everyday will help in increasing your motivation level and turning you into an asset to your manager.   

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Discussion Board
What motivates you at work?

A friendly working environment, encouraging seniors and new opportunities would definitely motivate me.

Nandagopan Baiju 08-22-2013 08:09 AM


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