I try to pride myself on finding cool, odd, fascinating jobs in my pursuit of career happiness. But sometimes, no matter how awesome filming a music video sounds, it’s hard to get excited for work. It might be the coming of winter (the lack of sun clearly affects my caribeña ways). Or it could be just be the “first year in the workforce” blues. But one thing’s for sure: this is frustrating.
If I wanna continue my quest of taking over the world, I have to combat this feeling. If you feel the same way, and are finding it hard to make the best out of your current job, check out these tips on how to get motivated at work.
1. Avoid False Expectations
I usually start my weeks by writing down “the ultimate week goals.” Whether it’s delivering a project, keeping things running on schedule, or making sure I talk to my editor here at SALT™ (HI, RYAN!), I like to look at my work on a weekly basis. From that list, I make a daily list of tasks to accomplish these big goals. And after I do that, reality facepalms me, as people, schedules, time zones, and life change the course of my week.
After a few frustrating weeks (and one all-nighter), things finally clicked. Setting realistic expectations can lead to “little wins”—and make work fun. Crossing off that first task feels very gratifying. Imagine how I feel, getting to be around people who let me do a celebratory dance whenever I send an important email or get archival footage released. Pretty amazing.
2. Clean Your Desk
I must admit that I’m not the best at having a spotless desk (heck, I spend my days running around the office—what is a desk?). But I do appreciate the sight of a clean desk. I’ve had coworkers with beautiful, top-notch clear desks, and I’ve seen some messy, rich with ideas, kind of dirty desks. For now, I see the value of taking the time at the end of the day and tidying up a bit.
A clean desk helps clear the mind. No matter what you use, be it a four-legged flat surface or your computer desktop, organizing your workspace on a regular basis helps you prioritize the files or notebooks that you need. Make them accessible. (As an added bonus, you can find a comfy chair or find the perfect balance of chair-to-desk height. That’s a pretty epic little win I’m looking forward to dancing to.)
3. Steer Away From Sad Songs
If you’re lucky enough to be able to listen to music at work, I recommend finding something that goes with the pace of your objective workflow. Listen to fun, upbeat music if you want to be productive. Or take a stroll through some reggae playlists to have a chill afternoon. Just don’t start belting out some sad Coldplay song and expect to feel motivated. It doesn’t work that way.
I’d also like to note that romantic songs may be considered a downer. I recommend steering away from these as well if you want to stay concentrated. I mean, I always sing Taylor Swift’s “Love Story,” and it always takes me down memory lane—i.e., a 10 minute detour spent on some romantic fantasy instead of work.
4. Make Friends
Ultimately, if you want to be a self-starter at work, just embrace the people around you. They are what keep you coming back every day. Their jokes, their baby pictures, their crazy stories. It’s all fun when you are around people who stimulate you creatively.
And, of course, you should dance a lot too.
How do you get motivated at work?