January 16, 2015

Your Path Forward Can’t be a Rut!

Keeping yourself motivated at work leads to better work and a happier day at the office

Motivation is like a muscle, it won’t grow on its own! You need to push it!

I finally hit my one-year anniversary at ab+c — and every day I still wake up as excited as I was on my first day of work here. I know, sounds totally cheesy — but whatever. I refuse to get into a rut. Because once things get stagnant, I quit pushing myself to become better. Like at the gym. Doing the same old routine gets old real fast and, before you know it, going just seems boring and skipping becomes a lot more appealing. But if you keep your routine new and exciting, you’ll always be looking forward to going.

But maybe you’re not as enthusiastic as I am about going to work each day. If so, you’re not alone. According a 2014 report by the Conference Board, 52.3% of Americans are unhappy at their jobs! But, just like anything else you do, there are ways to relight the passion you felt when you first started. Because let’s be real, if you aren’t motivated, your work isn’t as good as it could be, and not only are you suffering but so is your work and the company. So, here  are a handful of things you can do to stay motivated at work.

Pitch in.

Any cross-department committees you could sit on? If not, why not create one? Are there issues at work you could address by getting a few brains together? Ask your management if they’d be willing to get a group together. Get involved in projects that you don’t normally work on. We have a member of our accounting team on our social media team — just because she loves debits and credits doesn’t mean she doesn’t love hashtagging Instagram photos like the rest of us.

There are plenty of professional groups outside of the office that can use your experience. Find one that’s a little outside of your day-to-day so that you can work on skills that are weaker. Being involved in other organizations — industry associations, local professional groups, or a craft beer club (where do I sign up?) — allows you to meet other people who you can learn things from. Groups like these allow you to switch up your day to day. Thus keeping things alive and exciting. Bonus – bringing these new experiences and strengthened skills back to the office can lead to some great work.

Read up.

I’m not a big reader. I might read two or three books a year (hold the applause). I’d rather snuggle up with a good blog or short article — they tend to have more pictures. But any book I do grab has a topic along the lines of pushing yourself to be a better professional person. They can offer great insights and ways to do things that will help you mange time better or how to ask better questions. They help to get you thinking about things that you normally wouldn’t.

Ask around.

Ask your co-workers about themselves. When you become personally invested in them and develop a relationship, being at work will become more like being at home, and who doesn’t like being at home! Make it a goal to get out of your office for a few minutes each day and talk to someone new. You could have more in common with that guy in Receivables than you think. Plus, learning about other people’s jobs will give you a deeper respect for what they do, and vice versa.

Oh, and those managers you have? Especially the veterans — they’ve been in the biz a lot longer than you have (maybe even longer than you’ve been alive). And guess what? They know their stuff. They’ve messed up, learned from their mistakes and moved on. You can learn a lot from the old pros simply by asking questions. Where did you start your career? How did you get into the position you’re in? What mistakes did you make and how did you recover from them? Lots of knowledge there. Tap into it.

Get over it.

I’m a talker, but I hate having to get in front of people and give a speech. Best way to get over my fear? Give a presentation to the whole agency.- Check-. It wasn’t so bad — and the next time will be a lot easier. Once you’ve buried one fear, you’ll feel like you can conquer anything, and you’ll be ready to take on your next challenge.

Take care.

You’d be amazed how much more energy you’ll have to put towards your work when you’re eating a healthy diet and getting a little bit of exercise. Your body requires certain things to function properly: water, protein, fruits and veggies — you get the idea. The days of needing coffee to power through the day could be over. Moving doesn’t have to mean becoming a meathead and spending hours at the gym (even though those people are fun to follow on social media). A walk after work, or just doing some push-ups, squats and jumping jacks in your living room, can make all the difference. Your car doesn’t run smoothly without being tuned up. Don’t expect to be all you can be at work if you aren’t keeping yourself in top shape.

Keep moving.

We all have goals, but have you written yours down? You should have an honest idea of where you’d like to be in one year and in five years. My goal for my first year at ab+c was pretty simple: Learn about the agency — our brand, our clients, our sales cycle. My five-year goal — to stay on top of industry trends — seems like a giant “duh,” but it never hurts to reinforce the basics. Step back and look at the whole picture. Are the things you’re doing helping you hit those professional goals?

Challenge yourself to be an innovator. Can you bring a new process or idea to the company? It might not be implemented the first time you propose it, but having something you feel passionate about will keep you moving and motivated.

All of these steps and more will become second nature for you if you make up your mind to change your attitude. Don’t settle for getting through your day at work. Get up every morning ready to kick butt — and stay out of the rut.

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