It’s almost the end of the year and, with annual performance reviews just around the corner, motivation in many companies is dismally low. By the time October rolls around, employees are exhausted and can be discouraged if goals are unrealised, so it is often the worst time to complete a performance review.

It is in the best interests of employees to keep motivated in the workplace in order to find fulfilment in their lives, and for employers to maximise the motivation of employees in order to encourage high performance. One study, for example, found that small businesses are more likely to succeed if employees are motivated and satisfied. However, staying motivated is often easier said than done. The following seven tips are guidelines to improving your motivation at work, and enhancing your overall working experience and perception of self-efficacy.

1. Setting goals
Self-motivation at work begins with setting goals. This can apply to specific projects or everyday tasks you perform as part of your job, or to your overall career plans. Working on tasks in a haphazard way with no goals in mind can lead to feeling overwhelmed and demotivated.

2. Planning and prioritising
Once you have set your goals, you need to establish a clear game plan for achieving them. Larger projects can be broken down into smaller tasks, and achievable milestones can be set for overarching career goals. If you have a clear plan for achieving your goals, you will be more confident in your ability to do your work well, leading to increased motivation. By effectively prioritising tasks, you will not only bring your workload under control, but also add to the importance, value, and quality of the work, thereby improving your motivation.

Keep your work in perspective. Remind yourself why you are in this industry, and why you chose to do the work you do. Most importantly, remind yourself that you have a life outside of work to look forward to. External, as well as internal, factors can be a significant source of motivation at work.

3. Using your skills and resources
Everyone has natural talents that they can use to their advantage. Julie Lynch, principal at Uncommon Consulting, suggests that it helps to physically write down three or more things you are really good at and use those skills whenever possible. Doing what you do well gives you a sense of pride in what you have accomplished, thereby leaving you feeling fulfilled in your job and motivated to coninue.

4. Taking care of yourself
Work is important, but so is your personal life and personal wellbeing. Take care of yourself. Reward yourself in a personally meaningful way when you achieve a goal or milestone. It is worth reiterating that the life you have outside of work is also important. By maintaining a good work/life balance you will decrease your chances of burning out and becoming irrecoverably demotivated. Regular breaks during your working day will also keep you refreshed and ready to tackle the daily challenges of working life.

5. Keeping a positive attitude
It goes without saying that a positive attitude makes a very real difference to your levels of motivation. Find out what makes you feel positive, whether it be a specific song or motivational track, or just a happy thought, and focus on that when you feel particularly discouraged.

Staying positive is even more of a challenge for individuals who have to work for a purely financial motive, and who may not be in a position to pick and choose where they work. James Manktelow, productivity expert and CEO of leadership coaching site MindTools.com, is of the opinion that it is even more important for these individuals to focus on the meaning of their roles and find the ways in which their work helps others. Finding a deeper meaning in your work will lead to an increase in your work motivation.

Different people find their motivation in different places. Whatever your source, increased motivation will give you the confidence you need, not only for those year-end reviews, but also for approaching your job with a positive attitude on a day-to-day basis.

By Tamarin Benadie