Feeling a bit blah with your work motivation? Stressed, drained, just generally over it?

Of course, after all the cutbacks the pandemic has seen, we’re lucky if we’ve still got jobs. But that doesn’t mean things aren’t still a struggle sometimes – and right now, it seems lots of us have lost our spark and feel disconnected from things we used to enjoy about our working lives.

Frustrated and fed up and wondering how to shake it off? Here are a few things we’re doing to help reboot our work mojo…

1. Remember the bigger picture
"I feel so demotivated, I just don’t know what’s wrong with me at the moment." Found yourself saying these words? It’s been one heck of a tough year-and-a-half. So first and foremost, if you’re beating yourself up for not being a glowing beacon of endless positivity and productivity, take a load off. We can all be so hard on ourselves, but regular reminders that there’s lots going on and perfectionism isn’t required, can really help.

2. Call your own meeting
Ok, so a global pandemic isn’t really something we can just ignore. However, it might still be helpful to try and identify some of the main things getting you down in your own working life right now. So schedule a meeting with yourself, grab a big notepad or stack of post-its, and fire those thoughts onto paper. Getting specific will help you see which things really are bothering you, what’s most important to tackle right now, and how you might go about addressing them.

3. Give yourself a glowing appraisal
Feel like you’ve lost your confidence? Grab that diary and schedule an appraisal – yes, with yourself again. It’s important to do this ‘properly’, so set aside the time and close that laptop, then have a good think and list all your skills and strengths and projects or tasks that really lit you up. You might not be feeling your best, but those strengths are all still in there. Sometimes we just need to polish the dust off to see them.

4. Make micro changes
There might be some big issues to tackle. In the meantime, could micro changes help? Tiny tweaks can make a big difference to our mood and motivation. This might be making a walk at lunch a non-negotiable, scheduling a couple of tea breaks away from the screen, committing to getting out in daylight before you log on, and switching off phone notifications in the evening. It could be asking your manager if you could switch the time of that weekly meeting that always lands on your busiest day.

5. Have a mentoring session with friends
How about tapping into the wisdom of your own social circle? We’re so used to moaning with our mates when work annoys us (and that definitely has its uses!) but how often do we really get into the minutiae of what’s working well?

Your friend might have some useful insights about how they handled a motivation dip or secured that last promotion, your pal who retrained could be a source of inspiration, and the bestie who manages a huge team might have some handy pointers. Ask if they’d be up for having lunch or a coffee to talk through it for an hour or so (don’t just bombard them endlessly on WhatsApp – nobody needs that!). It could be a great boost for all parties.

6. Make a mini mood board
Visual reminders can be a helpful tool for giving us a daily boost and keeping us connected to our short and long-term goals. It might just be a few handwritten words stuck to the side of your computer, a postcard and some peppy bullet-points on your mirror, or a full-blown pin-board with the works. Stick to things that feel genuine and important to you, no matter how big or small.

7. Bookend the working day
Many people feel the lines between work and home have become massively blurred, and it’s taken a big toll. Bookending the working day with something feelgood and deliberate could really help restore a clear sense of boundaries between being on the clock and off.

Even if you just have 15 minutes – make those minutes count. Breakfast in the garden with an audiobook, a quick dance with your favourite Nineties hits. Chucking on your gym kit for a power walk or jog around the block when you log off. Let them become a mood-boosting marker of the start and end of your working hours. This will help reboot our sense of control over our time, make us less resentful, and bolster our energy and confidence.

8. Respond, don’t react
Is friction and tricky communication with colleagues part of the problem? When we’re all stressed and wrung-out, and especially if we’re mainly communicating via technology, it’s so easy to feel bombarded or unsupported.

Next time an email or Teams message triggers you, try deliberately stepping away for a bit. We’re often more measured if we pause and breathe before responding, rather than just reacting off the bat. And sometimes it helps us see that a big part of the problem is our own ability to set boundaries and communicate them (without a guilt-fest and world of angst). It takes practice.