5 Ways to Motivate Yourself When You’re Burnt Out at Work


Even the most successful people in the world struggle with finding motivation at work.

Like you, my plate is always full. And sometimes, I don’t know where, when, or how to start checking off items from my to-do list.

When you feel like you’re starting to lose your focus or your passion is slowly fading, don’t panic.

You’re not alone. We’ve all been there.

I may actually have been there a couple more times than most people, so let me share with you some of the interesting things I do to regain my motivation and come back to work with better drive and focus.

Take a Nice, Quick Break

The primary reason you may be feeling burnt out is because you’re trying so hard and forcing yourself to accomplish everything at once, even if it’s nearly impossible.

When your work – and your head – turns into a mess that you cannot seem to put in order that easily, it’s time to take a quick break. Not to escape your responsibilities, but to clear your head, organise your thoughts, and come back with renewed energy at work.

A quick break can mean 1 to 2 days off work where you don’t think much about the tasks you’re supposed to accomplish. You can take this opportunity to relax, spend quality time with your family, read a nice book, go to the gym, swim, or simply appreciate nature.

This time off should help you gain a new perspective about your priorities, set an effective plan on how to tackle your pending tasks, and simply get back on track.

Get Inspiration from Real People

It’s always refreshing to watch a movie or read a novel about a person who succeeded in the end despite many failures he had to face in life. While it can sprinkle a little inspiration, talking to family members, close friends, colleagues, or even strangers with real-life, inspiring experiences can encourage you to do the same.

Talk to a mentor or a former professor. They will surely have a lot of insights and/or stories to tell that will inspire you to do better and keep the passion in the workplace alive.

Remind Yourself Why You’re Working Hard

We all have reasons why we’re doing what we’re doing now. And it is important to remind yourself every once in a while the reason behind your hard work and the people you’re doing this for.

Are you planning to move in to a bigger house where your growing family can enjoy and be comfortable in? Can’t wait for that big promotion that comes with a corner office with a view? Or perhaps you are preparing for a big anniversary trip in Paris with your spouse.

Whatever your purpose is, it can be a great motivator to not lose your focus and get back on track right away.

It may help if you post pictures of your goals on your desk, such as a big house or the Eiffel Tower, to always remind you why you’re exerting so much effort at work.

Stay Away from Toxic Colleagues

Toxic people create a toxic workplace, and they can significantly add to your stress and anxiety at work.

What you can do is simply stay away from them and don’t let their attitude or performance at work affect you in any way. If, however, they are part of the team or department you belong to, make sure that you take necessary measures, especially if they are already causing damage to your work.

A toxic boss is another concern. If you happen to be reporting to someone who is rude, selfish, and insensitive, don’t take it personally. Be the bigger person to understand what he or she is going through – maybe your boss is also pressured by the higher executives running the company.

Don’t let their attitude burn you out. Just do what you have to do and show them that you are worthy of your position.

Celebrate Wins – Whether Big or Small

Many employees I’ve talked to are too focused on big, long-term accomplishments that they forget to recognise small wins.

What they need to understand is that these little wins are crucial, too, and should be identified every once in a while. Treat yourself with small things and don’t underestimate how gratifying it can feel to recognise tiny advancements.

When you feel that you are valued in the workplace or your work is constantly being recognised, it can boost your self-esteem and assure you that there is so much more to work than accomplishing boring, tedious tasks.

So, this is how I motivate myself when I fall into that stage where I feel like everything is falling apart in the workplace. To summarise — take a break, get inspiration, remember your purpose, avoid toxic people, and celebrate wins.

How about you? What do you do when you’re feeling burnt out at work?

If you found our post on 5 Ways to Motivate Yourself When You’re Burnt Out at Work useful, check out the following links, too:

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