6 Things to Do When You’ve Lost Motivation in Your Career

6 Things to Do When You've Lost Motivation in Your Career

If you’ve been working as hard as you can, but the motivation just isn’t showing up anymore, you’re not alone. 

  • More than 50% of the US workforce feels disengaged from their jobs.
  • 77% of employees feel they are burned out in their current job. (Deloitte)
  • 81% of employees are thinking of quitting their jobs for better offers
  • Seven out of 10 workers feel exhausted at work.

It’s easy to get trapped in despair, but just because you’ve lost motivation in your career doesn’t mean you’re stuck! 

Below are 6 things you can do to get yourself unstuck and thriving in motivation once again.

1. Remember Why You Chose Your Career

One of the very first things you can do when you’re feeling a lack of motivation is to remember why you chose your career in the first place. Likely, you fell in love with what you thought you’d accomplish, the skills came naturally to you, or you were curious enough about it to pursue your given field.

What has distracted you from these thoughts? It could be you’ve worked so hard that you’re experiencing burnout. Maybe what came naturally you now find boring. (Boredom is the main reason for one in three professionals who quit their jobs.) Or maybe something in the process really gets you down. 

A Way Through

Sit with your original passion for a few minutes. Let those feelings come back to life and push down any cynicism. Allow yourself these moments to remember your excitement. It might surprise you to find this is all you need to get your mojo back.

2. Know Where You’re Headed

Are you so stuck in the daily grind that you feel like nothing will ever change? Have you stopped caring about what gets done and what doesn’t at work? You’re not alone: more than 50% of the workforce feels disengaged from their jobs. It’s no wonder you’ve lost motivation in your career.

A Way Through

Set a few goals for yourself. They don’t have to be giant ones. They can simply be, “Today, I’m going to finish well.” Or “Before I leave, I’m going to answer today’s emails.” Employees who are involved in goal setting are 3.6 times more likely to be engaged. (Gallup)

Maybe you need to set some bigger goals. If you want to get out of your job so badly, set a goal to be in a new job within a year, and map out the steps to make it happen. Follow these tips in choosing a new career.

3. Celebrate Your Daily Accomplishments

According to the National Science Foundation, an average person has about 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those, 80% are negative and 95% are repetitive thoughts. Now you know why you get stuck in a negative mindset about a job you’re not enjoying! 

A Way Through

Actively add some positivity to your day by celebrating what you’re doing well. Celebrate speaking up in a meeting to share an idea. Or that you kept your meetings short but still warm and thorough. 

4. Add Joy

When you’ve lost motivation in your career, it can lead to a lack of motivation elsewhere. It takes energy to work a job you don’t like anymore, which leaves little time or energy to pursue hobbies. It helps to build your identity around multiple things, not just work. How can you focus on bringing joy into other areas of your life, like loved ones, hobbies, education, or physical activities?

A Way Through

Give your brain something to focus on other than your job. 8 hours of day is a sizable chunk of time, but you still have time to build something fun in your off hours. What sounds interesting? What intrigues you? Got your idea? Now go figure out how to do it. Your newfound joy can bring motivation to all areas of your life.

5. Take Breaks

When was the last time you took a personal day? Not just a day for doctor’s appointments and errands, but some dedicated time to self-care. Now’s the time. Taking a break from work can allow you a chance to gain perspective, solve problems, or even escape entirely for a bit. These are all healthy, important things!

A Way Through

Schedule a personal day if you can. If you don’t know what to do with your time, ask yourself the questions in the “Add Joy” section. If a personal day isn’t an option, plan some time away from your desk for lunch. Take a 10 minute break for a walk around the block. The only rule? Don’t think about work. These small breaks can refresh you, and help keep you more balanced.

6. Create a Shut Down Routine

It’s easy to bring the sludge of work home with you. Unfortunately, any negativity you feel about your job can permeate everything else you do. People often say, “Leave work at work,” but how can you make that happen?

A Way Through

Create a shut down routine that allows you to close out your work day. This allows your mind to rest, knowing that everything is complete for the day and you are ready for tomorrow. This doesn’t mean you must do everything on your list before you leave. It simply means if it’s not, you have it on a list for tomorrow. Don’t make it complicated. It can be just one thing that you do to signify a close to your workday. Here are some things you might include in your routine:

  • Update task list and re-prioritize
  • Close all the tabs on your computer and close your email
  • Review calendar for the rest of the week
  • Close your computer
  • Congratulate yourself on another day complete
  • If it helps, say out loud, “I am done with work for the day,”
  • Set an intention for the rest of your day