Health + wellbeing

How to overcome a lack of motivation at work

- November 9, 2005 2 MIN READ

Not on top of your game? Finding it hard to concentrate? Intervention could be the order of the day to overcome a lack of motivation at work.

On a recent business trip, I asked my taxi driver how his day was going. In a lethargic tone he replied “Today is not my day.”

Even though he had just started his shift, he seemed resigned to writing off the whole day. He was generous enough however to suggest that “It might be happening for someone else.”

His comment made me think how many of us go through an hour, a day, a week or even longer with limiting thoughts impeding our performance.

In a competitive environment can we afford to operate below our best for a prolonged period of time?

If you feel unproductive, below par and that it is ‘not happening’ for you, stop and intervene. It is better to take the time to change the way you feel and give yourself the opportunity to operate at a higher level of performance than attempt to plough on.

Here are some interventions that you may like to try if you are experiencing a lack of motivation at work:


The most effective intervention for me is exercise, in particular swimming. “Is this guy nuts. I don’t have time for a swim!” I hear you say. After a swim my mind is clear, I feel good and I can perform at my best. I would rather ‘lose’ an hour to exercise and then interact with clients for five hours in a positive state than interact with clients for six when I am not at my best. If the swim option isn’t accessible or desirable then try a less time consuming exercise.

Want more articles like this? Check out the work motivation section.

Play music

Different types of music can help you achieve different states.


Read inspiring quotations or a passage from an author that has experienced a similar path to one that you want to travel.


Reassociate with your vision of what you want to achieve and with things that have gone well.


Move to a physical location that is more conducive to performance. For example you could book a room or venue for a set period of time to work on specific projects and outcomes.

I hope some of these work for you, but clearly they will only work if you try them. So next time you are feeling that it is not your day, intervene and you are sure to get more out of the rest of the day. You can’t change the past, but you can choose to enhance your future.

I would love to hear about interventions that you find useful to overcome a lack of motivation at work.