Event Pros are energizer bunnies! We’re on the go what seems like 24/7, often jet-setting around the globe, and deadlines are looming daily.
So what happens when we hit a day (or week, or month) where “it” is just not happening? You know the feeling. That spark that usually gets you going is nowhere to be found. Instead of powering through your work, as usual, you find yourself procrastinating, complaining, and generally uncomfortable.
Science says you can break through this state and get yourself motivated again with some relatively simple techniques.
Find Greater Meaning
People have an intrinsic desire to do things that matter and when most of us spend more than half of our time at work, it’s not surprising we don’t want it to be all for nothing. While the money we’re paid is important, beyond a certain level scientists have found intrinsic motivation is even more important.
According to Dan Pink, author of Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, one of the 3 key factors in increasing motivation, performance, and satisfaction is finding the purpose in what you do. So how do we find our greater meaning in a corporate job?
- Have a sit down with your manager to understand the mission and goals of the organization – and how your role contributes.
- The human perspective – virtually every role has a human client, within or outside of the organization. Who’s your client and how can you help them? Who’s day can you make better with your good work?
- Managers: make sure your team understands their part in the big picture. Keep purpose front and center. Reinforce their importance by publicly celebrating wins (even small ones) that tie to goals.
Set Incremental Goals
Your quarterly goals are important, but it’s the journey, not the destination that gets the “motivation molecule” dopamine going. Setting step goals that help you reach your big goals can actually rewire your brain to help keep you physically motivated.
“The fuel that motivates the brain to persevere through increasing challenge, even through failed attempts, is dopamine. This neurochemical produces the pleasure of intrinsic satisfaction and increases motivation, curiosity, perseverance, and memory. Dopamine is released when the brain makes a prediction or achieves a challenge and gets the feedback that it was correct,” says neurologist Judy Willis.
- Break down each quarterly or yearly goal into smaller monthly/weekly/daily goals.
- Acknowledge accomplishments as you achieve them.
- Managers: help employees set SMART goals.
Eat Dopamine Boosting Food
Tyrosine is a building block of dopamine and is found in lots of delicious foods. Keep snacks like almonds, bananas, chocolate, green tea, watermelon, and dark chocolate (yeah!) on hand.
Just Do It
The best case scenario when you’re feeling unmotivated is to regain that spark of motivation again – to feel the drive to get back to it. But sometimes even when you do all the right things the magic just isn’t there.
When you still have to get things done, realize that you don’t have to feel a certain way to do them. Psychology writer Oliver Burkeman wrote in his book The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking:
“Who says you need to wait until you ‘feel like’ doing something in order to start doing it? The problem, from this perspective, isn’t that you don’t feel motivated; it’s that you imagine you need to feel motivated.
If you can regard your thoughts and emotions about whatever you’re procrastinating on as passing weather, you’ll realize that your reluctance about working isn’t something that needs to be eradicated or transformed into positivity. You can coexist with it. You can note the procrastinatory feelings and work anyway.”
And now, here’s some advice from the AVT Team:
“Take a walk, or just take a break. Step away from the work, and try to take my mind off of the job even for just a few minutes. Maybe have some coffee then get back to my desk and turn up the music.” -Edward
“Nothing motivates me more than when I see the smile on the faces of the team, culminating from weeks and months of planning to execute a program!” -Rick
“I use positive affirmations. ‘Today is the first day of the rest of my life and it is going to be GREAT! Today is a perfect day, therefore I am going to be my Best Self.’” -Ray