It sounds like an obvious thing to do, but to stay motivated at work, first and foremost you must decide to like your job and the work that you do.
For many people that I work with, one of the first things they do when I meet them is moan about their job. And while the medium or long-term plan may be to move roles, if you are going to maintain motivation in your current position, you must try to like the role.
Start by thinking on your way to work each day, ‘Today is going to be a good day.’ Arriving with a positive mindset is a great first step.
It is quite common for people to lose motivation when they are not quite sure about how their job fits into the overall goals of an organisation. They can therefore struggle to see what an important role they play in a company’s success. However, this is very important because being able to quantify your contribution can be very satisfying (and motivating).
Take a break
For most people, being at work means being busy working, working, working. You can get so bogged down with the task at hand, that you feel you don’t have time for anything else.
In this situation, in order to keep motivation levels up, I recommend breaking up your day into small chunks. Personally, I have a timer that goes off every 45 minutes so that every 45 minutes I get up, walk around and refresh. In the practice environment, try to take short, regular breaks in between every eye test or two – walk about, have a chat with colleagues about any clinical findings and refresh.
For those who can regularly feel overwhelmed at work, it is useful to make a ‘to do’ list in advance that details what you need to do when you get to work that day. Then, when you get in you can look at your tasks and do, for example, the least desirable thing first so that once that’s completed you will enjoy your day and can tick off the easier things too. It's a nice feeling to think that you have completed something and can tick it off.
While regular breaks are good for a person’s productivity, they are also good for motivation levels because they provide you with the opportunity to celebrate your success. Successes can be as small as ‘I managed to write a report’ or ‘I dealt with a difficult patient,’ to as big as ‘I successfully spotted something sight-threatening and made a referral.’
It is not unusual for managers and business owners to forget to say well done. Therefore, talking to your colleagues about your successes, as well as writing them down will help you maintain motivation. I would also suggest requesting regular meetings with your manager so that you can talk about your achievements. If you wait until an end of year review, all will have long been forgotten.
"Having 'you' time will allow you to feel like you have already achieved something before arriving at work and will set you up with a positive mindset for the day"
Working in a nine to five role can very quickly become routine, and when something is routine, you can lose sight of the enjoyment that you may have once got from a role. With this, motivation levels can dip, especially if you begin to feel unchallenged and like you could do your job in your sleep.
To people feeling like this, I advise them to talk to their boss about how they can expand, or perhaps even advance, their role. Optometrists could get involved in their community by providing school talks, for example, or by doing charity work.
It is very easy to fall into the habit of eating your lunch at your desk, or between patient appointments if you are an optometrist. However, I cannot stress enough the importance of using your lunch hour to step outside of work and get some air to refresh your mind.
Inviting a colleague to join you for a walk or to a café for lunch can also help you get to know your co-workers and develop satisfying relationships with them that can really help with your motivation levels.
Time for you
Having time to yourself each and every day is very important to maintain motivation. Normally, the busier we become in our working lives, the easier it is to justify not having time to do something you enjoy. However, this is when it is of most importance to take at least half an hour for ‘you’ at the start of your day.
Having ‘you’ time will allow you to feel like you have already achieved something before arriving at work and will set you up with a positive mindset for the day. Doing an exercise class, for example, will increase your energy levels and you will be happier that you have done something.
Finally, you must always remember that there is more to life than work. No job will give you everything, and no one likes their job all of the time, but we can all do little things to boost our motivation and remind ourselves of the reason we chose our career path in the first place.
Three steps to success
1. Celebrate all of your successes – large and small
2. Take regular breaks and get to know colleagues
3. Ensure that you have a little time to yourself every day.
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