Author Topic: Staying focused at work / internal motivation  (Read 1526 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Staying focused at work / internal motivation
« on: April 08, 2015, 12:54:28 PM »
Hi all,

This may come across as whiny, since in the grand scheme of things I can't really complain about my life or my job to date, but for the past few months I've become extremely bored and unmotivated at work.  The company is going through a bit of a lull, so there isn't an abundance of work and overtime like there used to be, and I find myself simply disinterested in the projects I work on.

I know the simple answer is to quit and find a better job, and that's exactly what I intend to do, but not for another 6 months. My girlfriend and I will both be quitting our jobs to head on a few month expedition to south america and Europe to do some volunteering and travelling before returning to find new jobs (she's getting sick of her job as well). However, in the interim I'm wondering if anyone has any suggestions on how to maintain my focus and motivation to still put in an honest day's work.  I'm a procrastinator by nature, so when I don't have something that excites and engages me, or I don't have a full plate of tasks that have to be done, I tend to just waste time.

There are always tasks I could be doing, but they aren't urgent or exciting, so I do them very inefficiently and I spend most of my hours at work thinking about things I want to get done when I get home, or worse, wasting time on the internet.  I like the company I work for and the basic nature of my job (project management in an environmental consulting firm), so I feel guilty about not giving my best as they pay me the same regardless and have always treated me well.

I have a few companies I've been researching who I would like to work for as they are more aligned with my interests, but as we have the trip planned at the end of this year, I don't want to start a new job I know I will be quitting soon.  So I'm just looking for advice on how to give my best effort to my current job in the time that remains. I do like my colleagues and the company, and respect the investment they've made in me (just passed the four year mark), so I don't want to short-change them by sleepwalking through the next six months.

Furthermore, I know life is short, so from a personal growth side I want to get the most I can out of my remaining time here.  I've been fishing around for opportunities to take on a bigger role or different projects, but things are pretty quiet for the company at the moment, to the point where they laid off quite a few people at the end of last year, so these opportunities are sparse. I just can't seem to give myself a big enough kick in the ass to keep focused for 7.5 hrs a day.  Every morning I get here full of energy from my 30 minute bike commute, but by mid-morning I've already lost any momentum I had when I arrived, and by mid-afternoon I'm contemplating leaving early, even though it will cost me my precious vacation hours.

I have a mortgage to make payments on, and being a new mustachian am a long ways off from FI, so quitting outright isn't an option unfortunately.  Any suggestions, links to resources, or motivation techniques would be appreciated, and if there aren't any besides sucking it up and being more disciplined, well that's fine too. Like I said at the outset, there are much worse problems to have.



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Re: Staying focused at work / internal motivation
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2015, 02:20:40 PM »
I'm also a terrible procrastinator (or am I a really good one?), so take my advice with a boulder of salt. Hopefully someone else can offer links that'll help us both out!

Are there other PMs at the company? Are they equally un-busy? If yes, why don't you pull them all together and post-hoc review the plusses/minuses of the last year's projects and try to come up with best practices*. Are there other annoying/low-visibility projects that you could run out? Is anyone else struggling with their workload and you could help them out?

Can you get away with not being at your desk for stretches? Go for walks. Tell people you're grabbing "coffee" and "lunch" away from the office.

Your trip is going to be awesome! Is your upcoming trip planned, including Visa research, financial needs, how you'll handle the job search upon re-entry? If not, do some of that on the company time. Best of luck!

*I know. Sounds yawnsville to me too, but bosses remember that sort of thing and will bring up how proactive you are when you next need a reference.