Does your work feel like a slog? Are you feeling more flat than on fire when it comes to being productive? Well, sometimes increasing your drive, energy and motivation is a matter of really connecting with what you want for yourself, your family and your life.

Create your vision

It’s hard to put your foot down on the accelerator if you can’t see where you’re going. Creating a compelling vision for your career and your life will give you a clear direction in which to travel.   When it comes to work or business it’s inevitable that you’ll have ups and downs but staying focused on where you’re heading will help you push through any difficulties, barriers and obstacles. Think of yourself as a metaphorical karate chopper. You’ll smash through the brick if you see beyond it.

Grab yourself a cuppa, sit down and ask yourself what do you want to achieve by running your own business or by having a particular job. What do you want to have from this – what will it give you? How do you want to feel? What do you want for yourself and your family? What do you want your life to look like?  Get really clear on this so you know why you’re doing what you’re doing. Very few of us would get up and go to the gym if we didn’t have a goal beyond just doing the exercise. It’s knowing that you want to be fitter, healthier, slimmer that gets you off your bum and into some trainers. You overcome your aversion to sweat and discomfort by seeing beyond the brick (or in this case the treadmill).

What’s really important…to you

When it comes to our career, it’s so easy to look externally for direction. We’re influenced by what others do, what we think we should be doing, achieving and earning. However, if our work goals are not aligned with what’s really important to us we can come up against our own resistance. It can feel like you have one foot on the gas and the other on the brake.

Take a few minutes to think about what drives you in life, your personal values, and check this against your career goals. For example if freedom, autonomy and adventure are top on your list then going back to work may feel constraining – it’s no wonder you’re putting off speaking to your boss. Likewise, if security and stability are big ones for you and you’re stepping into self-employment, then it’s not surprising you’ve become little miss procrastination. The key here is to notice, acknowledge and accommodate these aspects of yourself so you avoid inner conflict that can quash your motivation. This exercise can also highlight how important your career is to you for your fulfilment and happiness.

Structure, boundaries and daily habits

To revisit the gym analogy, it’s hard to feel motivated and energised when you feel like you’re running at full speed all the time. You’re going to get fatigued, get an injury or get really demotivated really quick. The way to solve this is to have some structure and boundaries around time and effort – clarify when you are playing at your edge (the insane HIT class) when you’re working at a comfortable level (a brisk walk) and when you’re recovering (on the sofa with Cold Feet and a cup of tea).

If you have your own business you might want to work out the hours/days in the week where you really push yourself.   Where you play all out and do the things that are really challenging. Then, the rest of your work time can be more comfortable – you can breathe a bit. Committing to a shorter burst of high intensity helps you to stay super focused and is often easier than constant moderate effort.   Don’t forget to build in some total down time too. Turning off the laptop and switching off are just as important to maintaining motivation as putting in the hours.