lost motivation

5 Reasons for Lost Motivation at Work (and how to fix it)

Staying motivated at work can be tough, especially in today’s climate. You may be bored working from home or simply struggling to feel inspired and lose motivation. There are lots of reasons you may have lost motivation at work, but don’t panic! Most of these problems are fixable and the solution is usually fairly simple. That’s why we have put together our top 5 main reasons for lost motivation at work and what you can do to solve it, by setting goals and focusing on what you are really passionate about.

It’s important to remember that fluctuation is normal. You can’t be pro-active and motivated 100% of the time, nor can you expect your employees to be. It’s often a steady flow and balance of work-life that is needed to ensure that you can stay motivated at work for the most part.

However, research shows just because dips and rises in motivation are common within the workplace, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you should ignore it. Sometimes a lost motivation at work should be cause for alarm bells. Trying to figure out and understand why you are feeling deflated is the first step in defusing the situation.

If you are a manager wondering why your employees have a lack of motivation at work, then you should be looking into your organisation. A recent survey of 2,000 UK employees suggests that 25% of employees who are poorly motivated at work said they have no career progression, whilst almost the same percentage (24%) said their organisation does not give regular rewards or recognition.

Reasons for lost motivation at work

So, what actually are the main reasons an employee might lack motivation at work? And how can you fix it long term?

Your Willpower Has Run Out

Relying solely on willpower is a dangerous move. Willpower is a wonderful thing and helps you accomplish tasks efficiently. But when you feel a bit burnt out and are lacking willpower, you often need something else that will power you through. You should be searching for deeper meaning and motivation in your work rather than relying on willpower alone to get the job done.

Conquer willpower dips by having a routine that will help ease you into the day. For example, a lot of entrepreneurs start their day by 10 minutes of meditation. This will help settle your anxiety and will get you in the right mindset for a fully focused day ahead. Or if meditation isn’t your thing, then taking 10 minutes in the morning to sit with a coffee and properly plan out your day is a huge help. Having a list of tasks to complete that day will help you stay motivated at work, even when your willpower has taken a dip.

You should also establish more frequent checkpoints for noting your progress. Celebrate starting a new project. Acknowledging smaller successes along the way can help you feel motivated, engaged and excited throughout the whole project. The perfect solution for lost motivation at work.

Read more on our top 5 employee engagement strategies here.

lost motivation

You’re Wasting Energy On Less Crucial Tasks

Yes, of course, every job has mundane tasks that nobody wants to do. That’s just part of everyday work life. But focusing too much of your energy on these tasks will drain the life out of you and leave you feeling demotivated.  You should find productive ways to save time on these tasks by researching on ways you can automate these.

If it’s the smaller tasks that end up taking up most of your day (checking emails, responding to colleagues, going to non-essential meetings), then you could feel deflated by the time you actually get started on your main project for the day. You can overcome this by trying to organise your time. For example, it’s OK to not reply to an email right away. Have 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the afternoon where you actually dedicate time to answering these emails. And if you think your upcoming meeting can be done over an email, then speak to your manager about the meeting process.

Meetings are beneficial, but only if they are truly needed and productive. In fact, a recent study proves that executives view more than 67% of meetings as failures. This is hugely problematic and is sure to make you feel like you have lost motivation at work.

You’re Ready For Something New

Another main reason for lost motivation at work is simply that you have outgrown your role and are ready for the next step in your career. If you don’t feel excited about your job and if you aren’t learning and growing, then you could experience a dip in motivation.

Analyse where you are professionally and whether or not you are satisfied with this. Do you feel appreciated? And most importantly, are you happy? An extensive study into happiness and productivity has found that workers are 13% more productive when happy. So if you are not 100% satisfied with your job role, organisation or career progression, then this can be a major factor in lack of motivation at work.

This is something that you should definitely take note of as it often means that unless you are rewarded in some way, your lost motivation at work won’t die out anytime soon. Speak to your manager, ask for more responsibilities or any job opportunities coming up you may be experienced for. If you are put down or told that there is no progression from your current role, then it might be time to consider looking for a new job within a separate organisation.

lost motivation

You Don’t Feel Valued

Tying in nicely with the above point on being ready for something new, you may be feeling undervalued. This is something which is commonly associated with lost motivation at work, and for good reason! It’s definitely hard to keep going and doing well when you feel your efforts aren’t recognised.

Some leaders are better at making their workers feel valued than others. If you work for a boss who doesn’t appreciate your accomplishments, or anyone else’s, then try not to take it personally. Some people just aren’t very good at feedback. You can celebrate your wins in other ways. For example, if you have good relationships with your colleagues then make sure you all make an effort with each other to note your accomplishments. This can be from a simple ‘well done’ to celebratory drinks at the pub after work.

If you’re a manager and are wondering how you can make your employees feel more valued, then you may need to take the time to get some honest feedback. Schedule in one-to-one meetings with each employee and have an open and honest conversation. We have 70 one-to-one meeting questions that all great managers should be asking their employees and this will definitely help find a solution for lost motivation at work.

You’re Emotionally Exhausted

Sometimes, you just need a break. It’s OK to feel overwhelmed and emotionally exhausted at times. In fact, you’re not alone. 70% of people feel emotionally disconnected at the office.

You shouldn’t underestimate your social needs when trying to pinpoint your motivational barrier. Feeling accepted at work is essential to sustaining the drive to stick with your duty’s day after day. If you have nothing in common with your colleagues or feel like you aren’t engaging with them properly, it can be tiresome and exhausting – leaving you with little energy to actually be motivated when it comes to your work. When employees have a sense of confidence that their co-workers won’t embarrass, reject, or punish them for speaking up they can accomplish more and increase drive.

If you are feeling emotionally exhausted, then try structuring some social opportunities into your workflow. A starter is to start showing up a few minutes early to meetings. This way you can engage and chat with others before the meeting starts, often giving you a confidence boost at the same time to speak up in front of a team at a meeting. Or at lunchtime, set a rule where you can’t eat at your desk. This forces you to either go outside or to the break room where you can engage in conversation.

If you’re a manager, then reignite your team’s motivation by giving more shared goals. This will ensure the team is collaboratively working together whilst allowing them to get to know each other a bit better.

lost motivation

Lost Motivation at Work Recap

It’s virtually impossible to stay motivated at work 100% of the time. But if you’re feeling more lethargic and fed up with your work more often than not, then it may be time to consider making a change. Reading inspiring tips and career advice is good, but you need to be pro-active with your findings. There are many reasons you may have lost motivation at work but to recap, the 5 most common reasons for lost motivation at work are:

  1. Your Willpower Has Run Out
  2. You’re Wasting Energy On Less Crucial Tasks
  3. You’re Ready For Something New
  4. You Don’t Feel Valued
  5. You’re Emotionally Exhausted

Of course, this is not the extensive list but it’s a good starter on working out why you are lacking motivation at work and will hopefully help you get out of a work rut.

Any comments? We’d love to hear your thoughts and tips on lost motivation at work. How did you get out of your work slump? Any helpful tips for our readers are great, just simply leave a comment below!

More inspiration from the Yarnfield Park blog:

Benefits of corporate away days

8 super quick team building activities for your employees

Top 50 best fun ice breaker questions for work

10 living alone tips to power you through self-isolation

The benefits of offsite training sessions


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