Staying motivated at work can be a challenge. Even if you love your job and are totally committed, sometimes your mind/body don’t feel like cooperating. Blame it on your hormones, diet, the retrograde, whatever… sometimes you just feel off and need a little motivation to get through the day. Here’s a few tips when you need a little nudge to focus and “Crush it” at work.
Use a To-Do List – Look, most people don’t like to fail. People generally want to accomplish their goals and feel good about themselves when they cross something off their to-do list. The best way to start the week is to think of the goals you are trying to accomplish and write them down. If you have large projects, break them down into smaller tasks you can finish within that week. Check your task list every morning and you’ll find yourself more focused and efficient. At HealthJoy, we use Weekdone.com to manage our company to-do lists.
Create a Personal Success Mantra – This might sound a little new agey but it works. Think about a boxer going into the ring for a fight. He might repeat, “Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee,” over and over to psych himself up. When you have a little doubt, you can also use your favorite movie quote. Two of my favorites are “Get busy living or get busy dying” from Shawshank, and “We are who we choose to be.” Mantras can be a powerful way to motivate yourself quickly.
Build on Success – Success breeds success. If you have a large, daunting task ahead of you, you might want to go for a small win and celebrate. This will put you in a winning mindset and feeling ready to take on a bigger project.
Go for a Walk – The mind-body connection is strong, so sometimes it’s hard to get motivated when you’ve been sitting at your desk for hours. Get your blood flowing and go for a quick walk. HealthJoy is located in Chicago, and there’s nothing that wakes me up like a walk around the block in the middle of winter. When I’m not feeling as brave (which is often), I’ll jump on our treadmill desk to get the blood flowing. I actually walked a mile while writing this article.
Make Your Computer Distraction-Free – We almost all work on computers and they bring with them a world of distractions. Years ago I installed Civilization IV on the computer I used to work from home, and I quickly learned why Civilization is called one of the most addictive games ever. I actually no longer install games on my work PC and just stick with a gaming console when I want to play a game. Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, Tinder, can all be a tremendous time suck. If you need help staying on task, try a “Focus” app like HeyFocus.com or FocusMe.com to block those problem sites.
Put Some Music On – I find that music helps cut down on distractions at the office. I tend to get reenergized by rap or dance music like Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” or Swedish House Mafia’s “Don’t You Worry Child.” Everyone has different tastes, so find the genre that gets you going.
Turn Off Notifications – Notifications can be the death of productivity. It’s too easy to get distracted by an email or Slack notification when the email can wait. If you are focused on a task and want to quickly finish it, turn off all your notifications and put your phone on silent.
On a mac, you can turn off notifications by pressing the Option key and clicking on the Notification Center menu bar icon in the upper right corner of the Mac screen. It will turn grey when disabled.
On Windows 10, you can turn “Quiet hours” on or off by right-clicking on the Action Center icon in the far right of the taskbar. Then click “Turn on/off quiet hours.”
Change Your Location – If you work at an office with multipurpose spaces, use them. Sometimes we all get stuck in a rut just working at our desks, and changing scenery is a great way to stimulate your brain. I usually bounce between three different locations at the office.
Drink Some Coffee – You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy coffee. Maybe the most obvious tip, drinking coffee can also be the most effective way to boost focus. My go-to is an espresso around 10am and another one at at 3pm. These times are when your cortisol levels are naturally at their lowest, so your body can use a pick-me-up.