Should We Be Rethinking Motivation?

At one point or another, everybody has found themselves floundering with a project.  Whether it’s because you were unsure of how to proceed, unconfident in your skills, or simply not interested, you found it difficult to put your best work into the project. It is at these points that we start to remember the parables and quotes meant to motivate us to get back on track. However, the thinking behind these quotes is often to simply buckle down and get to work.  

While there is truth in not living solely based on feelings and emotion, which fluctuate from day to day, we cannot completely ignore them.  Doing so is like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.  We must learn to listen to our emotions and feelings, rethinking our direction and approach to complete projects in ways that click with our personalities and workflow.

Balancing Mood and Need

At the end of the day, the job needs to get done.  There are going to be tasks and work that does not sit well with your personality, but either way you have to get them done.  Other times, you will have the freedom to reflect and determine how you can tackle those tasks in a manner that suits you.  It is a balancing act: know when to listen to your emotions and when to ignore them to make yourself work.

A bit of mental preparation will go a long way towards helping you find that balance.  When you reflect upon your work, what about it do you not like?  What tasks in particular do you have to force yourself to complete?  Is there anything about the task that stands out?  If it’s a tedious task, perhaps you can create a better workflow that feel less strenuous.  If it is a stressful part of your job, perhaps spacing it throughout the week, or working with your employer to see if there’s a solution you can all work towards, can help alleviate some of that stress. 

In its most basic application, listening to your emotions and feelings is simply not ignoring them!  Using them to inform your decisions and figuring out what you change to feel motivated again, while having the discipline to continue working, is a valuable exercise in productivity.   

Making Your Plan

While you may feel spurts of motivation, for instance, when you get a new job or start a new project, it’s easy to loose that initial ambition relatively quickly.  You cannot rely on this feeling of excitement to last by itself; it requires a bit of cultivation on your part.  Use that initial positive mood to begin analyzing your work and decide on your goals and plan of action.  Having ideas of how you are to begin approaching your work when you are coming out of the gate will help keep you motivated for the long hall.

To determine what you are going to need to do to stay on task, ask your self a few questions: what kind of work begins to stand out as less enjoyable? And is there any part of the work that I especially look forward to?  Do not wait until you hit rock bottom before you begin analyzing how you feel.  If you allow it, the tasks that you dislike will probably become the bane of your professional life.

Outside Factors

It is very possible that the outside world has wiggled its way into whatever projects you are doing!  Events going on in our lives outside of work can affect our mood and performance even while we are working and not having to deal with such things.  You need to recognize when one area of your life is especially affecting the others.  Ignoring that area, and simply going on with the other parts is not healthy.  If you let emotional turmoil go on unattended too long, it will only continue to get worse.  You must allocate time towards maintaining your relationships, personal life, professional life, and anything in between.