Staying inspired and keeping up morale is a perennial problem. Feeling unmotivated and tired can impact professionals for any number of reasons, not all of them work-related. The following tips can help to remedy the balance.  

1 Cut your team and yourself some slack 

There are legitimate, scientifically proven reasons for feeling unmotivated and fatigued. While stress can sometimes create an energy boost, times of increased anxiety and uncertainty can add significant challenges to efficiency and state of mind. Routines that normally offer comfort may not hit the spot. It’s important to recognize an extraordinary situation and accept a certain lack of momentum

2 Create a personal “motivation mission” 

When a person’s environment feels chaotic or unsteady, it can be hard to identify the rationale behind even the most crucial tasks. Changing the narrative can remedy this lack of purpose.  

It helps to ask oneself how the current workload fulfills the company’s mission, serves the client or customer, helps colleagues succeed, impacts the community, contributes to personal family wellbeing, or fuels personal growth.  

The most compelling answers to these questions can fuel a mission for getting work done. For example, “As a controller, I help keep my company financially healthy, allowing us to provide jobs to hundreds of people.” Or, simply, “I’m working to pay for my son’s college education.” 

3 Plan and prioritize each day 

If motivation is the reason to get a job done, willpower is the mental fortitude to overcome obstacles. But it’s important to know that there is only so much of it in a day. That’s why planning and prioritizing are critical.  

It helps to make a list of tasks and goals for each day, being realistic about how much can be achieved and breaking large jobs into small, achievable pieces, if necessary. The most important tasks should sit at the top, to be tackled first—that way, when willpower expires, at least the critical items can be crossed off. It can be satisfying to view that list of accomplishments at the end of the day, even if some tasks remain. 

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4 Schedule time for the jobs you enjoy 

Each day should include one or two uplifting tasks, slated towards the end of the workday. Not only does that help boost productivity when willpower is at a low, but "good” jobs can serve as rewards—something to look forward to—and replenish motivation for the following day.  

5 Take a break from doomscrolling 

The internet—and the 24-hour news cycle—is inescapable, even during the workday. Ironically, the best way to fight technology temptation is with more tech. There are free services that can be programmed to block heavily used sites for certain hours of the day, and there are apps to help keep phone use in check. Some apps even provide motivating rewards for staying off a device. 

6 Commit to just getting started 

Experts say motivation usually kicks in after you start a job, not before you begin. So, a simple commitment to opening that document or making that first phone call can get the juices flowing—even if it’s only for 30 minutes. Once the work has begun, it’s more likely to be finished. If it doesn’t get finished? Well, at least you moved everything ahead by half an hour. 

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Korn Ferry works with clients around the world to develop their workforce and help their employees stay engaged, in order to unleash their full potential. Find out more about how we can help.