How to stay productive and motivated at work

We’ve all been there: the daunting deadlines, the feeling of being completely overwhelmed, the sense of wanting to give up before you’ve even begun and sometimes, a lack of commitment.

To say the last year has been a challenge would be a drastic understatement. In the face of a global pandemic many people have been forced to make alternative work arrangements while still trying to keep motived and stay on top of their performance levels.

Staying motived and productive at work is not as difficult as you think it is. Strong self-motivation is what sets you apart from making your career a success or not. 

Let’s jump into our top 4 tips on how to stay productive and motivated at work.

Set S.M.A.R.T. goals

Set realistic goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based. Without setting these goals for both long and short-term you are likely to end up with no structure leading to a huge loss of productivity. Make sure these goals are enjoyable, won’t let you get bored too easily and will make you feel energised, looking forward to the task at hand.

Think about what you will achieve once this goal has been completed. This could range from being able to switch off a little earlier once the goal is completed, recognition from your manager, that overseas holiday you’ve been working towards, being able to take your dog for a walk, relationship building with your colleagues, a chance to upskill yourself etc. The more attractive the final outcome is, the more likely you will be able to stay on track and motivated.

Proper planning and organisation

Proper planning and organisation are imperative to ensure that productivity is kept to the highest level and to minimise on the loss of your motivation. 

Set out a daily or weekly routine with exactly what needs to be accomplished within that set time. Break these tasks into small, achievable steps and try to get the hardest task scheduled first so that it’s out of the way and you’re ready to tackle the rest of your goals with confidence. 

Setting a proper routine will allow you to tick off tasks that have been completed and help you feel like you’re making progress with a sense of accomplishment. Once your goals have been fulfilled for the day or week, step away and switch off. Don’t try to jump onto the following day’s tasks to try being ahead. This will only revive the feeling of being overwhelmed and will put too much on your plate, heading straight towards burnout. 

Make sure you have set proper working hours to avoid your work time spilling into your “me” time and make sure you stick to these hours. Try to minimise distractions during these hours and when you’re trying to accomplish the task at hand. Eradicating these distractions could mean putting your phone away, turning off your social media notifications and closing your inbox for a few hours. The more you can achieve in your day, the less time you will have to put in after hours. Have a dedicated and well-organised workspace, whether it is in an office or at home to reduce the loss of efficiency and productivity and which allows you to switch off properly.

If you are spending hours trying to send out meeting requests, plan your schedule and organise your daily tasks you should consider hiring an international virtual assistant. They will be able to take out the mundane tasks from your busy schedule, allowing you more time to focus on the real goals at hand. 

Communication is key

Reach out to your fellow colleagues or manager if you need help, advice, are facing challenges or to discuss your workload. It’s important to manage expectations when it comes to deadlines so that everyone is on the same page. If in doubt, rather over-communicate to make sure you are doing the tasks correctly and staying on track. 

Listen to those you look up to in your company and draw inspiration from them. Reach out to them if you are struggling with something. This can help you spark a new idea and boost confidence with the task at hand. Knowing that you are heading in the right direction will keep you more motivated to carry on than wondering whether you are achieving what is expected from you.

 It’s also important to stay ahead of the latest tech trends when it comes to communication within your company. This will help you stay connected, increase efficiency and productivity. 

Take a break

If you feel like you’re hitting a slump in your day and you’re feeling frustrated, then take a break. Step away from your desk for 10 – 20 minutes to go to the bathroom, take a walk outside to get some fresh air, move your body, do a bit of stretching or deep breathing or simply have a bite to eat. Try to always eat away from your desk to allow time for your brain to switch off properly.

These small breaks can allow a new outlook or a different perspective which can increase productivity, creativity and allows your mind to come back feeling refocused with more energy. 

As important as it is to take small breaks, it’s equally as important to make sure you finish the task at hand before doing so. Completing a task halfway through allows for a break in productivity and may be hard to get into focus with that specific topic again. Think of your break as a reward for completing your goal, as mentioned in point 1.

In conclusion, self-motivation can be a challenge at the best of times but if you follow these 4 tips you are sure to stay on top of your workload and productivity. Remember to always stay realistic, keep a positive attitude and don’t be so hard on yourself.

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