Upon returning from maternity leave, Katherine knew that she would struggle with balancing work and being a new parent. In addition to being able to cut back to a part-time work schedule, her job as a consultant fortunately allowed her with the flexibility to work from home. Her supervisor, Richard, worked with her to create an accommodating schedule and a way of coordinating and managing projects and tasks that was mutually beneficial.
As amazing and understanding as her supervisor was, and as lucky as she was to have been given the opportunity to figure out how to juggle the two jobs, Katherine found herself struggling from time to time. No matter how hard she tried to stay engaged and dedicated to her work, projects that were already on the back burner stayed there, procrastination reared its ugly head, and Katherine started to worry that soon her boss would have a serious chat with her about her lack of motivation and inability to complete tasks she never struggled with in the past.
Having always had open lines of communication with Richard, Katherine brought up these issues during their weekly meeting. Being genuinely invested in the performance and well-being of his employee, Richard took the time to implement effective motivational techniques and reach solutions that would help get Katherine out of her funk and back in the game.
Even the most committed and loyal employees run into these obstacles. Life happens, other priorities take precedence, and we slowly begin to slack. This month we have been discussing the various types of and needs for motivation in the workplace, including self-motivation, motivating employees, motivating those who you don’t supervise or “shouldn’t” have to manage, and motivating an efficient team.
Whether it be yourself, a coworker, or an employee, learning how to recognize when motivation is lacking and when to take the appropriate steps to rectify any issues is a skill necessary to any professional individual. Reaching out to help a colleague who is struggling, and knowing when to ask for help when you are in a funk yourself helps to ensure job satisfaction, maximum productivity, and the overall positive morale of yourself, your employees, and your team as a whole.
Here in Oregon, we are currently experiencing a record-breaking heat wave, with temperatures ranging between 100 and 110 degrees for the majority of the work week. A state notorious for rain and dreary weather, Oregonians are certainly not used to working and playing in the oven in which we find ourselves in.
When all we want to do is find a way to beat the heat, (whether that be playing hooky and heading to the coast, heading to the mountains to go for a nice, cool swim, or planting ourselves on the sofa to binge watch a show on Netflix, sequestered in a house with air conditioning) it can be incredibly difficult to stay motivated and focused on our work.
Self-motivation is key in times like this. At the end of the day, it is not our boss’ job to keep us on track when all we want to do is put the computer to sleep and head out (honestly, they would probably love to do that as well). That responsibility falls on us. So how do you do it? How do you motivate yourself to stay professionally stimulated during these waves of discouragement?
- Maintain a Positive Attitude – When there seems to be more factors working against you than not, it is critical to stay optimistic. Try to see the positive in the slew of bad and put forth an effort to place an emphasis on those variables; what you have and what is good versus what is lacking and seemingly going wrong.
- Set Small Goals – For most of us, these phases are short lived. As such, set short, easily attainable objectives during these funks to help you succeed. Working on projects and goals to get you through these motivational humps, and establishing a reward for when you accomplish those goals, keeps you focused on the light at the end of the tunnel.
- Reach Out a Helping Hand – Helping others stay motivated is a great way to hold yourself accountable. When you see how well others are doing, it is easier to follow suit. Additionally, when we help others with their work, or with achieving their own goals, those feelings of self-worth help boost our own levels of self-esteem and confidence in our own abilities.
- Give Yourself Breaks – On the flip side to keeping busy, make certain you factor in some breaks and time for self-care. Especially in times when we feel our motivation faltering, one of the worst things we can do is push ourselves too far to the point of a major burnout. Take 15 minutes to read or go for a quick walk, meet a friend for lunch, or do something that you enjoy that rejuvenates your spirit.
Particularly when there are a million other things you’d rather be doing, making it a point to stay focused and motivated at work will positively impact not only you, but your colleagues and coworkers as well. Staying positive, helping others, establishing short goals, and making time for revitalizing breaks are all ways to help you stay on track during the lulls of summer.