When you come to the sad realisation that you’ve joined the ranks of 84% (!) of employees who are no longer motivated and engaged at work, there are some steps you can take to reclaim your work mojo. 

You’ve just scored a new job. 

The world is full of promises. You’re a joy to be around. You’re excited, motivated and engaged. What you do is important and you have big plans!

Fast forward 12 months and chances are a sense of drag has crept in. 

You’re wondering if what you do actually matters all that much. The big smile you flashed the barista during your morning coffee pickup a mere year ago has been replaced with a sigh and a distracted look at your phone during your desperate dash to make it to the office on time.  

You sadly realise you’ve joined the ranks of 84% (!) of employees who are no longer motivated and engaged at work. And you seriously wonder what you can do to shake off the cobwebs and turn back the clock. 

Luckily, there are some steps you can take to reclaim your work mojo. 

Job Satisfaction 101: Going Back to the Basics

On a basic but vital level, the logical thing to do would be to go back in time and think about what excited you when you first started your job. Take stock and make an inventory of what’s lacking. 

Think about what you wanted to learn or do. Then think about how that could be achieved. 

One thing I revert to when I stare dwindling job motivation in the face is to put up little reminders on the pin-wall next to my desk. Changes I want to focus on. Goals I want to achieve. Reminders of the things I am grateful for. Attitude kick-up-the-bums.

Whatever it is you need to remind yourself of on a regular basis. 

How to Stay Engaged at Work after the Honeymoon: Shaking Things up

When you do the same thing day in day out, it’s easy to fall into a rut. Routine is vital in productive time management. But too much of a good thing… becomes a bad thing. 

That’s when it’s time to challenge the status quo and change things up. This is entirely in your hands. 

Maybe you could learn a new skill? Have a coffee with people you rarely socialise with. Find out what they’re doing in their job. Attend a new networking event. Volunteer in a cross-functional project. 

The thing to remember is that YOU can take the lead and get creative in pursuing a work mojo that is alive and kicking. Your boss’s willingness to create opportunities has nothing to do with this. It’s about YOU taking control and to use the feeling of autonomy as a powerful mind tool. YOU are the orchestrator of how you spend your time and who you chat to during your lunch break. 

Seek out what energizes and inspires you and go for it. 

The Importance of Meaningful Work: Looking at the Bigger Picture

Every job has an unescapable level of routine. It’s easy to get bogged down by the humdrum and apparent insignificance of your position of employment.   

Sometimes all it takes is reminding yourself of why what you do matters on a bigger scale. 

I’ll never forget the story of a production line worker who packed up the bottles of orange juice into carton boxes before they were shipped out to the shops. Despite the repetitive nature of his job, he was the most positive and upbeat worker. 

Job satisfaction through the roof.

His secret? He would imagine the joy each of these bottles would give the person who would buy them. A builder on a lunch break. The mum running around hunting for the birthday party supplies of her almost 7-year-old. A young lady returning from her morning run looking to quench her thirst before hopping in the shower. 

Bulshit Jobs: The Tiny Cog in the Big Engine

You may just be one tiny cog in the big engine, but looking beyond your responsibilities within the corporation can shed a different light on things. Take out your tiny little cog in the engine, and the entire operation may fall apart. 

Not only is it a safe way to boost your feeling of worth, it also connects you with the larger organisation, which is sure to establish you as a ‘team player’ over time. 

If you’re now thinking that removing your cog would make absolutely no difference in the engine’s operation, you may be in what we call a ‘Bulshit Job’. It’s a recent theory put forward by anthropologist David Graeber. It argues that half of society works in meaningless jobs that are destructive toward work ethic and self-worth. 

If that’s you, get out! Fast!

If not… read on. 

Stepping up the Pursuit of a Meaningful Job: Time for a Coffee

But maybe your boss is a decent guy or gal who genuinely cares about their staff and how engaged they are in their job. If you feel the enthusiasm for your job dwindle, it’s time for a friendly sit-down. 

Amy Wrzesniewski talks about ‘job crafting’ in her research. Like the ‘bulshit jobs’ theory, the underlying concept is that when people feel they do something meaningful, they feel engaged. 

There’s more to it than this, but ‘job crafting’ makes you look at your skills, strengths and values and aligns the tasks on your to-do list with these. Ultimately, the idea is to redesign your job to fit you. 

Beyond Work Mojo: Take Care of your Well-Being

And finally, your job obviously is an important part of your life, both from a time perspective as from a means to provide. But that does not mean that it’s not the beginning and end of all things, nor should it be a 24/7 thing. 

Making the time for the things that make you want to sing is just as crucial. 

Exactly how that should be filled is of course entirely up to you. I would just say this:

it’s ok to turn off the work phone. 

With that… I have spoken.