2014-05-19 14.22.23-1

Demotivation can hit you even when everything is going right. It can sneak up on you when you end up with too much work, when you fail to make the progress you expect from yourself, or when your goals are unclear. Demotivation can also be a result of boredom or mental fatigue. As someone who has the occasional bout of demotivation, I asked around the 12 Stars office to see what advice my co-workers could offer.

Step Away. Literally.

Almost everyone suggested stepping away from the work to take a short break. While amount of time and activities varied, the common theme was to actively refresh the mind. Different minds and different levels of demotivation will require different amounts of time, but it is important that you choose a time and stick to it before you start your break. Here is a list of some of the activities I collected from my co-workers.

  • Make coffee or tea.
  • Enjoy a snack.
  • Listen to music or an interesting podcast.
  • Watch a co-worker being productive, see if you catch the bug.
  • If you are stumped, get an opinion or talk about it with a co-worker.
  • Be active! Work out, go for a walk/jog/run, do yoga.
  • Get organized, list or map your thoughts.

Get Right Back to Work

When you’ve finished your break, it is very important that you get back to work. You do not need to go back to what you were working on before the break however; especially if that work was a major contributing factor to your demotivation in the first place. Below are some ways to get yourself back on track.

Something New

The important thing is to regain your motivation, and what better way to do so than by starting something new and different. If you were bored or tired of what you were working on, you could start a project that is drastically different from that. If not, any attainable goal will do. The important thing is that you accomplish it and get your groove back.

One Small Bite for Workspace Productivity

If you are on a time constraint and changing focus is not an option, there is another way- and you should probably take this approach regardless of whether you did the “something new” step. Like the old adage about eating an elephant says, the best way to set about completing a daunting task is to break it into bite-size pieces. Find a small thing you can get done, make that your goal, and get started on it. You’ll feel better, and if you are lucky you might just power through and carry that motivation into the rest of the project.

Make a Plan

A wise television writer once told me “knowing is half the battle”. I’m not actually sure how the saying ended, but my point is you need to be prepared- and how better to be prepared than with a plan! Take a minute now to decide what you will do the next time you lose steam, and when it happens you will already know what to do.

So there you have it. Next time you lack the motivation to get work done, you should take a 5-20 minute break. When it’s over, you’ll get right back to work- whether that is a small part of what you were working on, or something totally different. Regaining the motivation will get you back in the saddle though.