Work getting to be a drag? Here are 4 tips to cope with demotivation

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Our first few months at a job is usually a time of intense energy and enthusiasm. Especially for us newcomers, finally getting a job is a milestone in the settlement process. We are ready and eager to prove ourselves during this period.

But for some of us, this phase can be short-lived. Motivation can start to diminish when we begin to feel the realities of the daily grind. When this happens, productivity diminishes and work becomes a struggle.

Top 4 reasons for demotivation

  1. Fear of failure

    Lack of skills or knowledge can get you down and zap your motivation. You may feel less confident because your English is not perfect. Or maybe you’ve made a mistake at work because you’ve had to learn a new process quickly. These situations can keep you from doing important aspects of your job.

    Tips to overcome it: Be kind to yourself. Remember that you are still learning the ropes and will be prone to making mistakes. Recognize that it is a process. It will take time before you master your job and get used to work culture. Stop blaming yourself, but take responsibility. Identify your shortcomings. Look back on your mistakes and learn from them. Never stop honing your skills. Take a language class, seek opportunities to socialize, or get a career mentor. Be proactive about your self-improvement.

  2. You feel that your job is beneath you

    Most of us have to start from scratch career-wise when we move to Canada. Most newcomers take a lower-level job or a survival job. If you were already at the managerial or senior level in your home country, you may find this hard to accept. Sometimes you may not see the point of doing certain tasks and may be thinking: “I used to solve complex problems for my company! Now I don’t even need to think to be able to do this job!” This resentment can build and take up all your energy.

    Tips to overcome it: Change your perspective! Do not let pride get in the way of doing a good job. Remember that all work is noble and therefore worth doing to the best of your abilities.

    If you are in a transitional job, see it as it is – a part of your transition. It is only a way to get your foot in the door.

    Learn all that you can from the job. Nobody is too perfect that they can’t learn new skills. You could boost your English skills or gain a better understanding of Canadian workplace culture in the process. If anything, see it as a way to develop fortitude and patience. Continue looking for a better job. If you really can’t take it anymore and can afford to wait for a better opportunity, then quit. But remember, there must have been a reason why you accepted the job in the first place. Sometimes having a job you don’t like is better than having no job at all.

  3. You take on too much

    Are you the overzealous worker who keeps on accepting additional tasks? Too much work can lead to stress and eventual burnout. Some people think that being busy is a sign that they are sought after and in high demand. Your boss and co-workers could be seeing this differently. They may be thinking that you are a busybody or worse, a pushover.

    Tips to overcome it: Learn to say no. Get over the desire to be in perpetual work mode. You should:

    • Say no to additional work especially when it will affect the quality and timeliness of your main responsibilities. You should not be afraid to refuse, especially when you have a valid reason. You can politely say, ”I would love to help but I need to work on ____” or “My priority is finishing ____ which I need to turn in by _____. I’d be happy to discuss helping out after.”
    • Don’t do somebody else’s job. Instead of helping, your co-worker might see it as meddling.
    • Don’t volunteer for tasks when you know that you won’t have time to accomplish them.
    • Take time in doing your main responsibilities. That is what you were hired for. Use your time to produce high-quality work. This will mark you as a competent employee.
    • Respect yourself and tend to your needs. Don’t do work outside of office hours. You will be cutting time from self-care or family-bonding. You need these moments to refresh your energy and enthusiasm for work.

    Read: 5 habits to help you achieve work-life balance for additional tips.

  4. You feel that you are not valued

    It can dampen your enthusiasm if you are feeling ignored by your boss or if you have been passed up for a promotion despite being a star performer. This can also happen if your boss does not acknowledge your suggestions or give any feedback on your work. It can prevent you from doing your best and contributing meaningfully.

    Tips to overcome it: There could be many reasons for this situation. Perhaps your boss is attending to urgent matters you’re not aware of. Another reason might be a lack of reporting. Your boss might not know about your performance or achievements. Speak to your boss and express your concerns. Ask for regular meetings if possible. This is a good way to tell your supervisor about your accomplishments and suggestions.

Resist negativity!

We have a tendency to look for an escape (or someone to blame) when we are demotivated. Some may take drugs or alcohol to ease their troubles. Others indulge in gossip just to get back at their boss or to feel vindicated.

Has negativity solved anything? Never. It can only harm your mental and physical health. To be more productive, focus on the positive things about your job like a flexible schedule, an opportunity to get out of the house and network, or even little perks like vacation pay.

Just remember, it might not be smooth sailing right now but things will get better. Do your best to fix the situation by changing your mindset, speaking up, improving yourself or by looking for new opportunities. You’ve got this!
Sources: How to keep going when you are demotivated at work, Mihir Patkar, Lifehacker; Feeling unmotivated at work? 7 ways to get back in the groove, Lindsay Kolowich, Hubspot; and Three reasons why you’re unmotivated at work (and how to beat them), Melody J. Wilding, The Muse. All accessed April 4, 2018.

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