Having trouble getting motivated. Suggestions?

I’m planning to contact a counselor about this (free, thanks to EAP), but I thought I would address this question to the Teeming Millions in the meantime. Apologies in advance for the long post.

My job performance is greatly influenced by my motivation (I suppose that’s a given). However, I find that my motivation is greatly influenced by the work I’m performing – much more so with me than with other co-workers and peers, IMO. For example, I’m at my best when I’m performing a task that I’m very interested in and on a tight schedule. If I’m working on a project that’s not too thrilling and/or outside of my area of expertise, I tend to perform poorly due to lack of motivation. This trait has manifested itself in the past – during a rotation program I was on at my previous job (where I trained in other functions), and as a “development need” on an otherwise good performance review. The reason I bring this up now is that I’m on a couple of projects outside of my area of expertise (and outside my area of desired growth) and my motivation problem is in danger of attracting attention. I’ve determined that my current company’s long-term needs do not match my goals, so I’m in the process of finding another job. However, in the interim, I don’t want to leave a bad impression on my current employer (or worse). Plus, I know that there will be many more occasions before I retire where I’ll be required to perform well on projects that don’t exactly thrill me. Any suggestions from the Teeming Millions things I can do to help me get motivated? My first step – I already deleted Internet Explorer from my hard drive at work to eliminate the temptation to surf. :o Anything else? I envy people who can take on any project – no matter how mundane or dull the project may be – and work through it in flying colors.

I was going to reply earlier, but I didn’t really feel like it.


We are the children of the Eighties. We are not the first “lost generation” nor today’s lost generation; in fact, we think we know just where we stand - or are discovering it as we speak.

Zen. Revel in the mundanity. No, but really, you have to let each emotion - even the less positive (boredom, sorrow, anger) penetrate. It’s really rather interesting in itself when you try it. Does this make any sense?

I have the same problem. I might describe mine a little differently though - on projects that are short-term high-visibility I have no trouble whatsoever turning it around, regardless of my interest (often it is low, sometimes high. Much like life).

Its these larger projects, with farther dates, that inspire me to read straight dope and play with my palm pilot rather than work. One thing I have found that helps is to make myself only work in fifteen minute bursts on these types of things, and to switch between them frequently (hopefully I have more than one project going at a time!). Occaisionally I will manage to sucker myself into becoming involved, and will spend a few good hours hacking away at one of them. If I can’t get into it though, I don’t worry about it.

I have difficulty imagining having the same problem with stuff that has to be done right away. My only trouble there is ensuring that my level of attention to detail is high enough, regardless of however mundane the task might be. This is more difficult to cope with, and I’d appreciate suggestions and insights. I’ll try the zen thing too :slight_smile:

I find it helps me to think of things I’d enjoy doing even less and convince myself that the unpleasant task is my way of avoiding the worse task. I’m that perverse.