21 Reasons Why You Lost Motivation for Work (and Solutions)



Why does everything feel so hard? Your projects, your job, everything seems to take so much effort and energy out of you.

You lost all motivation for work. But why?

Here are the reasons.

You're burning out

This is the most common reason ‌people lose motivation for work.

Burnout results from ongoing work-related stress caused by multiple factors. The most common one is working too hard or not being rewarded for your work.

The level of mental and physical frustration increases with time, leading to burnout and loss of willpower.

Solution:
Don't push yourself too hard at work. Not everything is your responsibility, and you are not a superhero. Learn how to manage your energy levels.

Work fewer hours and work less intensively.

You have a dead-end job

You wake up every day, knowing your job will never be more than this. It doesn't matter how hard you work or how competent you are.

You will make the same money and do the same mind-numbing tasks every day. There's no personal or professional growth, you are stuck in a dead-end job.

Solution:
You have two choices. You either find meaning from life outside your job(which everyone should do anyway) or you move to a different job.

Take a plunge into a different career. Take risks. Nobody will offer you anything unless you fight for it.

You have a low salary

Multiple studies have shown salary is not the biggest factor in an employee's work satisfaction. But let's be honest, it's pretty important, right?

You've got bills to pay, you'd like to travel the world, or maybe you just want to live in a better house. Either way, it's pretty hard to find motivation when you're paid peanuts.

Solution:
It would surprise you how many people wait for a raise instead of asking for it. In many companies, if you don't ask, you won't get it.

The other way of getting a raise is to move jobs. The average job hopper will net a 10% to 20% increase in salary, compared to a 3% annual raise by someone who stays put.

You don't rest or sleep enough

Lack of sleep is one of the biggest predictors for job burnout and a host of mental problems.

Sure, coffee helps you go through the day. You don't feel tired when you're powered by caffeine.

But believe me, your body is physically and mentally drained. You don't feel it, but it's happening and it will destroy your motivation and willpower.

Solution:
You need to sleep. For most people, that's an average of 7 to 8 hours a day. Some people need less, others more, but that's the average.

And coffee? You might want to drop it, it makes it harder for your mind to get the deep sleep it needs to regenerate from your work.

You work in a toxic work environment

This is big. Nobody wants to work with idiots. Toxic work environments often feature bullies, constant infighting, manipulation, and broken promises.

Sometimes it feels like your job is like a minefield. It could be an evil boss or a bad colleague. Company culture is often the culprit in these situations.

Solution:
Get a different job or ask to be transferred to a different part of your company. This is not always possible, especially in small companies.

If you're being a victim of harassment or bullying, document the behavior and make a complaint to HR.

If you don't want to rock the boat, having allies could be the only way to survive in such an environment. But the long-term solution is to leave.

You're not getting recognition (it goes beyond salary)

You go above and beyond your duties, but you still don't get the recognition you deserve? You're not alone.

Some people think there is a just universe that will reward them for everything they do if only the right people pay attention. But they don't, people are only interested in their own selfish self-interest

Solution:
Document all your achievements and contributions to your company. When you feel you're in a strong position to negotiate, ask for a promotion or a salary raise.

Never threaten to leave as that will make your boss think he can't trust you.

You lack autonomy

In some companies and for many positions, you work by the process. There is no room to make your own decisions. Everything is standardized and your boss dictates how work should be done.

Even when it's obviously not the best way, you've got to follow the process. You've got to obey your boss. No wonder you're not feeling motivated.

Solution:
Ask your boss for more decision-making power. Make a case for more autonomy. You can even suggest that giving you more power will free his own time.

To get more power in a company, you've got to show how it benefits those above you.

You hate your career

You're stuck in the wrong career and you hate it. Happens to most people. It's not necessarily about the salary, although that's also important.

You just don't like your line of work, no matter how much they pay you. You have dreams that are incompatible with your current job. What can be done?

Solution:
It's never too late to change careers. You can go back to school and get a different degree.

Or you can jump to a different career using your unrelated job experience. Connect the skills you acquired on your job with the skills required for your new career, then write a kick-ass resume and start knocking on doors.

You have no job security

Back in the day, you'd get a job for life and a gold watch when you retire. Not anymore. There is no such thing as job security and companies no longer invest in their employees.

When you are uncertain about your position in a company it's easy to lose motivation, what's the point, anyway?

If you feel ‌you're going to be let go, you will emotionally detach from your job. That's perfectly normal.

Solution:
Start sending resumes as an insurance policy. Don't put all your eggs in one basket. As soon as you have a better opportunity, leave.

You have no friends at work

Maybe you just got a new job, or maybe you don't like your colleagues. Or you're just shy. Not having friends at work will make everything harder.

Having friends at work will increase your job satisfaction and help you go through those boring moments.

Solution:
Make an effort to get to know people. Ask about people's lives, take an interest in them. They will often reciprocate. And you'll find you have a lot in common with them.

You don't need to be best buddies. Just try to be more social.

Your boss is a micromanager

Your boss insists on telling you how to do your work and controls every minute of your working day. Your boss is a micromanager.

Some people just won't let go. They have that obsessive, detail-oriented personality that makes them want to control everything they can. It's a survival mechanism, actually.

Solution:
Short of changing jobs, you've got to learn how to deal with your boss. Building trust is the only way to solve this issue.

You've got to make him understand he can trust you to deliver good work without his input. Give him regular feedback about your work and establish boundaries and expectations before starting a new project.

Don't call your boss a micromanager, that often backfires and will make him trust you less.

Your job is boring, and you need a challenge

There's this saying: "When you're the smartest person in a room, you're in the wrong room".

But it's not always about the job being easy, sometimes it's about it being boring and there's nothing you can do about it because boring work today will be boring work forever.

Solution:
Ask for different responsibilities from your boss. Tell him you'd like to be challenged and that you feel your current responsibilities don't make use of your skills.

If there's no alternative in your current company, it might be time to leave for greener pastures.

Too many distractions

It's hard to motivate yourself to work when you can't even focus on what needs to be done. Workplace distractions are one of the biggest causes of loss of productivity.

The trend towards open space work environments exposes workers to higher levels of noise and stress. Who is motivated to work when 1000 different things are fighting for your attention?

Solution:
If possible, ask for a private space where you can get your work done. Noise-canceling headphones are a good solution too. As a last resort, ask your boss if you can do your work from home.

Your career has stagnated

It doesn't matter how hard you work, your career is going nowhere. You've been at the same job for years and you can't seem to get that promotion you've been dreaming of.

Solution:
Ask yourself what's missing for you to make your next career jump? Is it a lack of education? Lack of risk-taking? Are people not noticing your hard work?

You need to sell yourself. Sell your skills. Sell your accomplishments. Nobody will notice you unless you make yourself noticeable.

You don't believe in yourself

Lack of self-esteem is a big issue in today's world. We're bombarded with messages on social media on how successful and happy everybody is.

If you feel ‌you don't measure up, I have good news: what you see on social media is not reality, it's a curated snapshot of other people's lives.

Solution:
Take a break from social media, and focus on nurturing your self-esteem back to healthy levels.

Celebrate your wins, observe how far you've come in your professional career. But ultimately, you've got to accept yourself as a whole.

You're a perfectionist

This is also related to low self-esteem, but not always. If you feel ‌you've got to do everything perfectly, it's easy to feel overwhelmed and end up doing nothing.

If you start your workday feeling you have to scale Mount Everest, you will quickly lose your motivation for work.

Solution:
Accept that getting things done imperfectly is more important than achieving those unrealistic work standards you've set.

Accept that you are your own biggest critic and that good enough is often more than enough.

You focus too much on the negative

If you have a bias for only seeing the negative things, you will end up depressed and unmotivated to work.

Maybe it was something your boss said. Or maybe you think you will lose your job. Bombarding your head with negative thoughts will break even the strongest spirit.

Solution:
Eliminate people and things from your life that trigger negative thoughts. Learn to look at things in life with a positive view.

Don't be too cynical, assume the best, and plan for the worst.

You're not celebrating

You're stuck on a treadmill of work. Your day-to-day life consists of crossing your tasks from your to-do list. There is no space for fun, no space for rewards. You barely even recognize your victories.

But now you're out of fuel, you wonder why you can't get yourself motivated to keep working as you've done before. What's the solution?

Solution:
You've got to celebrate your victories, even your small accomplishments. And the best way to do this is by rewarding yourself. Studies have shown that rewards help us stay motivated to achieve our goals.

Take a little vacation, have a party, go out with your friends. Have fun!

No team spirit

This is common in very competitive companies where workers are encouraged to compete against each other.

People don't trust each other and treat each other as threats, often trying to boycott their colleagues' success.

Solution:
Leave. These cutthroat companies are not for everyone. You won't be able to change the company's culture and will end up unmotivated and burned out.

Personal problems in your life

It's hard to segregate our personal life from our professional life. If you have serious personal problems, these will end up affecting your work life and your ability to stay motivated.

Solution:
Accept most problems are temporary and will solve themselves with time. Ask for help from friends and family. Don't fight alone when you can have an army by your side.

You're trying too hard to impress others

Are you working for yourself or for others? Did you really want that law degree or you just wanted to make your parents happy?

Do you really want that job? Or you're just afraid of what your spouse will say if you quit?

Solution:
You can't live for others. You've got to put yourself first. Life is short, be happy.

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