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

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Getting the Monday blues? Here’s how to get over this slump and get your drive back.

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. So we resolve to do our best. 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 see the realities of the daily grind. And 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 on yourself and zap your motivation. It may be that you don’t have perfect English and have difficulty in expressing yourself to clients. Or perhaps you’ve made a procedural mistake because it was a new situation. Or maybe you’re having a hard time fitting in at work and think that nobody likes you. This can diminish your confidence and paralyze you with fear. It can keep you from doing important aspects of your job.

    Tips to overcome it: First off, be kind to yourself. Remember, you are still learning the ropes and will be prone to making mistakes. Recognize that it is a process and it will take time before you master your job. Secondly, stop blaming yourself, but take responsibility. Identify your mistakes and learn from them. Apologize and resolve not to commit the same mistakes again. And lastly, skills can be learned and honed, so work at it. Take a language class, seek opportunities to socialize, 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 see this as a blow to your ego. 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 do this job!” This resentment can build and take up all your energy.

    Tips to overcome it: Change your perspective! It’s all in your head. Do not let pride get in the way of doing a good job. Remember that all jobs are noble and are therefore worth doing to the best of your abilities. There is no shame in holding a survival job.

    If you are in a transitional job, see it as it is – a part of the transition. It will not be permanent. This is only a way to get your foot in the door. Don’t expect too much!

    To gain enthusiasm for your job, make it your mission to learn all that you can from it. 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, you could regard 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, 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

  4. Are you the overzealous worker who keeps on accepting additional tasks? Being bogged down by too much work can lead to stress and eventually, burnout. Some people like to be super busy thinking that it is a sign that they are sought after and in high demand. But sometimes, your boss and co-workers perceive this differently. They may think 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. Having ample time at your disposal is the best way to produce high-quality work. This will mark you as a credible 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 maintain your energy for work.

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

  5. You feel that you are not valued

    It can dampen your enthusiasm if you are ignored by your boss or passed up for a promotion despite being a star performer. This can also happen if your boss does not acknowledge your suggestions or never gives positive feedback on your work. This can stop you from doing your best and contributing meaningfully.

    Tips to overcome it: There could be many reasons for this situation. It might not be intentional. As a newcomer, your thoughts may wander on to darker territory. Could it be racial discrimination? Sexism? Stop and think harder. Unless you have concrete evidence, these may not be the reasons at all. Ask yourself: Were my suggestions feasible? Maybe your boss considered it but can’t apply it at the moment. Did you directly talk to your boss and communicate your suggestions across clearly? Perhaps you were not understood. Is your boss too busy? Your supervisor is a human being too and may not have had the time to evaluate your suggestions or notice your performance.

    If it is possible, ask for regular meetings with your boss. But don’t make it all about your contributions. Instead, supply your supervisor with periodic updates or the status of your projects. For example: “For this quarter, we were able to meet our quota and exceed it by 5%. But maybe if we target more niche markets in the South, we can expand our territory and increase our sales by much more than 5%.” Your boss will appreciate it because it can make their job easier – they may be able to use your inputs for reporting. Plus, it’s a good way to tell your supervisor about your accomplishments and slide in your suggestions.

Whatever you do, resist negativity!

We have a tendency to look for an escape or someone to blame when we are demotivated. Some take drugs or drink to ease their troubles. Those who do this will realize quickly that this will not solve anything. Problems will still be there when they get sober. Others indulge in gossip just to get back at their boss or to feel vindicated. Have you heard of the adage, “misery loves company”? Well, it’s true. You’ll always find someone who will be willing to commiserate with you and fuel your discontent. Your gossip buddy will probably be an employee who has been there for 15 years and has no plans of quitting.

Has negativity solved anything? Never. It can only harm your mental and physical health. If you can’t be positive, at least be objective. No job is perfect. You will always find something to complain about. It would be more productive to 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. Evaluate your situation realistically. Assess your options. Do your best to fix the situation by changing your mindset, speaking up, improving yourself or by looking for new opportunities. Stop indulging your dark moods because it will be a waste of your time and energy.

Now stop reading this page and start working!

 

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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