Hannah Hopper

Do you ever have those days where work feels completely overwhelming to the point where you aren’t able to get anything done? Maybe it’s the long meetings going over the same project again and again, that one really difficult email that you don’t want to reply to, or the boss or client who keeps changing their project requirements. Whatever it is for you, we have all felt a lack of inspiration at work before.

The New York Times recently published a helpful article full of tips for gaining inspiration at work. According to “What to Do When You Feel Uninspired at Work” featuring founding editor of Smarter Living Tim Herrera, one way to push back against the feeling of overwhelm is to look at projects and work related tasks on a day-to-day basis. It may be helpful to have a list of goals to finish each day, and to cross them off as you accomplish them.

Even small things like sending an email that you’ve been putting off or setting up a meeting with a coworker can lead to a sense of accomplishment. Start your day by doing smaller things that will help you feel that you’re gaining some traction in your work day, and as your list of crossed off items for the day grows you will have more confidence to tackle the bigger items on your to-do list.

But if you’re feeling a slump in inspiration then marking things off the list may not be enough by itself. Instead of keeping all of your focus on the things you have to do at work, think about your relationships and the impact you are having on people you know. There may not always be a seemingly big external impact that your work is having, but you can still have an impact on the co-workers you sit next to on a daily basis, and the way you are contributing to others in the company as a whole. One way to remind yourself of this could be through making sticky notes of the ways you have impacted others. The work you are doing is impacting other people even if you may not be able to see it — you contribute to the company as a whole and are a part of the greater work your company is doing for those who interact with it.

A 2018 Gallup poll reveals that having a relationship with your coworkers can also create higher job satisfaction and motivation in the workplace. The poll found that “When employees possess a deep sense of affiliation with their team members, they are driven to take positive actions that benefit the business — actions they may not otherwise even consider if they did not have strong relationships with their co-workers.” Working with other people that you have a vested interest in and that you care about can greatly increase a desire to help the company succeed, thus heightening your motivation with work.

If you’ve tried all of these strategies for sparking inspiration at work and still nothing seems to be cutting it, Herrera suggests taking some time away from the workplace and doing something different. This could travelling for a vacation, or simply taking some time off to enjoy a hobby and getting some rest. Saving up a few vacation days to have on hand when you’re needing some rest is another way to take care of yourself. Instead of using all your vacation time in bigger chunks, have a few days set aside that you know you can use for the days when work feels the most draining.

While work is where you spend the majority of your hours during the week, remember that it does not define who you are as a person. But feeling this lack of motivation and inspiration may be a sign that your work is consuming too much of your time and brainspace.

If you have found yourself struggling with inspiration at work and lack of motivation, contact Symmetry Counseling to receive extra support from one of our therapists.