Anyone who believes that they never lose their motivation and is always upbeat is being less than honest with themselves. Staying focused is not easy, but some people are better at managing this than others. Those who are good at it have strategies to help them overcome those periods when they feel sluggish and uninspired. Here are some tips that may help.

Know yourself
Recognise when you are starting to feel demotivated. Notice how you normally behave when this happens, and then either allow yourself to have a break, or refuse to succumb and carry on with the task in hand.

How do you eat an elephant?
The answer is: “One chunk at a time”. If your next task seems so huge you can’t even begin to tackle it, break it down into more manageable-sized activities. This is closely related to goal setting – describe your long-term goal (the elephant) and then break this down into short-term goals (elephant chunks). Every short-term goal should bring your long-term goal one step closer.

Get smart
Establish ‘smart’ goals, which are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely. These headings really describe the what, when and why of your task. And again, they break the journey towards the long-term goal down, which makes the process less daunting.

Success breeds success
Achieving your first success will instantly increase your motivation. A big motivation inhibitor is a lack of confidence, so achieving something – however small – is an important step forward. Then celebrate your success and reflect on how good it feels to have achieved that task. With this confidence fresh in your mind, go on to the next task – maybe something slightly bigger, but something you know you will succeed in. Again, reflect on your success and how good it feels, thereby building your confidence. Then move on to the bigger tasks.

Reward yourself
Don’t fall into the trap of doing all the easy tasks and ignoring the challenging ones – have a good mix of both. And when you have finished that onerous task, reward yourself – but make sure you really deserve it. Choosing a trip to the gym rather than a bar of chocolate will energise you and make the next task seem less insurmountable.

Forewarned is forearmed
Everyone has setbacks and disappointments from time to time, even those you regard as inspirational role models. The trick is to learn how to handle these dips, and not to dwell on them.
Consider how they occurred and try to learn from them, and then move quickly on to the next task without allowing it to damage your confidence. Create a contingency plan to deal with setbacks while you are feeling confident, and remember to use it.

Focus on priorities
Prioritise your tasks in hand, ensuring that the criteria you use to prioritise them will put those tasks which need to be done to meet your short- and long-term goals at the top of the list. If you have someone to delegate to, give them some of the less complex tasks, so that you can concentrate on the more challenging aspects of your work, knowing that the smaller tasks will get done as well.

Converse with the right people
Be selective in your friends and colleagues – spend more time with those who are upbeat, motivated, positive and enthusiastic. And if you do find yourself in the company of those who are in the doldrums, resist the urge to join in. Instead, help them to turn themselves around by talking positively with them, helping them to see the good instead of the bad. You are likely to find that not only are you more motivated by your conversation, but they are as well.

If you only do five things
•    Know yourself – recognise the signs of demotivation and learn how to reverse the blues.
•    Break down potentially daunting tasks into manageable chunks.
•    Dwell on your successes, not your mistakes.
•    Concentrate your efforts on the biggest results.
•    Be choosy – talk to motivated colleagues, not to moaners.

by: Greta Thornbory