Sometimes, after a long period of burn out, we loose motivation. Often, we see that coming. However, other times, the lack of motivation feels like it comes out of no where. In either case, this feeling can be quite unsettling. Especially for those who are typically monotone in regards to base level mood.
Having experienced demotivation for multiple reasons, I’ve learned to relax into it, knowing it won’t last forever. This post will discuss the two main situations where demotivation pops up for me and some types on what to do!
During periods of burnt out, the lack of motivation can almost be anticipated and welcomed. In this situation demotivation can be overcome with rest, hydration and shifting my attention to something different. My thought is, its our brains taking over and saying ‘enough already, put this down, take a rest.’ Over the years I’ve learned to use this as an indicator (kind of like the check engine light), and give myself a break.
out of the blue
On the flip side, recently my lack of motivation came all of a sudden. It is rather disorienting when this happens. One day you wake up, log on for work (or soon, hopefully walk through the doors) and you’d rather just sit there and stare at the wall. Have you ever been there?
This happens to me more often than I’d like to admit. Partially a symptom of the current environment, and partially because I’ve just got too much going on. The last time I’ve felt this way I was getting annoyed with myself. Typically feeling fairly even keel day to day – not always over the moon about things, but also happy to be working. It tends to frustrate me when all of a sudden that inner drive seems to disappear.
cool, rose, why’s that even matter?
After some self-reflection, I realize the ‘out of the blue’ feeling isn’t really out of the blue. For me personally, I’m coming to realize the precursor in this situation is actually feeling like I have TOO much to do (like pre-burnt out). Or, in in some cases, when I feel like even IF I do something, it won’t change the outcome or have the expected burnout. Almost a ‘what is the point’ thought.
Figuring out the root case to the shift in motivation, in my opinion, helps to determine what to do next.
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU AREN’T MOTIVATED
When this feeling pops up, it is first important to just give yourself a second to process. Allowing yourself to actually feel the feeling before trying to ward it away can help in the long run.
SORT OUT THE ROOT CAUSE
After acknowledging the feeling and processing a bit, sort out what the root cause really is. Perhaps it stemmed from burn out, feeling like you aren’t making an impact or simply having too much to do. Or maybe someone made a remark that didn’t translate well. In either case, without pity figure out when the feeling started and the cause.
ADDRESS THE ROOT CAUSE
It’s time to stare that root cause in the face… the to-do list, the concern over your impact, the sleepless nights… whatever it is, look it in the eye. Face value, evaluate the situation, gather feedback and come to an honest conclusion.
For example, if your lack of motivation is coming from a concern over the impact you have, its time to gather feedback. Yes this takes bravery, however it is better than making an assumption. Survey a handful of honest people and ask them if what you are doing makes an impact.
- If they honestly say yes, its time to adjust your perspective.
- If they honestly say no, its time to change what you are doing.
TAKE ACTION OR ADJUST
The last piece to this, “what to do when you aren’t motivated” is to actually take action. Sometimes a minor adjustment can solve the issue – a nap, a walk, a day off. However in other cases, completely changing the approach, or the audience is necessary. Using the previous 3 steps, determine an action to take or an adjustment to make, and try it. This shift could allow for a close to immediate change in motivation, or it could build back over time.
I would love to hear your thoughts and stories surrounding this topic. As always, feel free to add to the list here and give some real-life experience on what has worked for you!