NCI Blog

How To Keep Yourself Motivated, Both On The Job and Off

Posted by Emma Henderson on 28 October 2016


It’s no surprise that #MotivationMonday is a popular hashtag: we all need a bit of cheering up as we return to the office, after the freedom of the weekend. But for most of us, it takes more than fridge magnet platitudes to give us the motivation we need to tackle the week ahead.

In a perfect world our boss, colleagues and families would be a constant source of motivation and inspiration … but let’s face it, life ain’t perfect. With more and more of us feeling tired, stressed and overwhelmed, both on the job and off, how can we combat those feelings in our day to day – and increasingly busy – lives?

External factors obviously play a significant part, but the good news is that we can influence our own motivation, and ensure that we stay on track when it comes to our personal goals – be that in a personal or professional capacity. Here are a few things you can try. 

1. Keep moving – both mentally, and physically. That feeling of making progress is one of the biggest motivators of all: stay still, and you risk stagnation. Incorporating physical exercise into your routine also plays an important part. It helps reduce stress, fight depression and boost your energy levels. Prioritising your health and your well-being is the single most important thing you can do to look after yourself.

2. Don’t underestimate the benefits and importance of quality sleep: it plays a vital role in good health and well-being, and if you’re not getting enough, your motivation is just one of the things that will suffer. The NHS have some tips for sleeping better in this short podcast. 

3. Work out what’s important to you, both personally and professionally. This personality test could help. If there’s a disconnect between what you value and how you spend most of your time, then something needs to change. To feel motivated at work, we have to feel that our work actually matters – if you don’t, then perhaps it’s time for a career change? (Read our blog post on the six signs that it’s time to leave your job.)

4. Don’t lose track of your personal goals. Spend some time working out what they are, and visualise yourself achieving them. Revisit them regularly and make sure you’re working towards them. But remember too that your goals aren’t set in stone – if your goals change, that’s ok, too – just acknowledge that fact and move on towards your new goals and aspirations. Our career development toolkit can help you to set your goals and develop your personal career strategy (and it's free to download here).

5. Where possible, limit exposure to people, tasks and situations that make you feel bad. Pay attention to how you feel in certain situations, and make the necessary changes. Maybe spending too much time on Snapchat, or other forms of social media, is making you compare your life unfavourably with others? In your professional life, try to reduce exposure to the people – or parts of your organisation - that frustrate you.

6. Maximise your downtime: we have another blog post on that here. Think about things you can do that will refresh, inspire, relax or invigorate you in your time off (Netflix doesn’t count). If you’re stuck for ideas, cast your mind back to what you enjoyed as a child or a teen – maybe you can plug into that enthusiasm if you pick those hobbies up again now. Don’t be afraid to try new things and experiment a little. If you live near Dublin, you could give some of these suggestions a try.

What techniques do you use to keep yourself motivated? Share them in the comments!

Topics: Part-time Courses, Advice