Are you motivated?

I remember reading an article a few months back from HBR and it was very insightful, and I highly recommend reading it before continuing… It certainly struck an accord with me, as I think I’m very motivated. However I hate finishing things off, the closer I get to completing the less interest I typically have. This isn’t a bad, but it is something I need to be aware of, I certainly wouldn’t be any good at following a set process day in and day out or finishing things off perfectly, but I am very good at getting 90% of the way there and getting it up and working in a sensible way.

If you’ve heard of Belbin he came up with some tests that identified the roles within a team and predicted that teams made up with a mix of roles functioned better than those with predominant roles. If you imagine a team where everyone wants to be in charge you can already work out they’ll spend more time bickering than actually getting the task done. I imagine that based on my results (Co-ordinate, with secondaries of plant & teamwork) is why I prefer to be making the decisions rather than finishing off the work, which back to the motivation element is probably why I also don’t like completing things, there’s a lack of decisions to be made towards the end.

So I am motivated, but I find it a real struggle to finish things off, sometimes it just has to be done and I will typically work from home or put my headphones in and just get on with it. That is how I deal with motivating myself to finish tasks, but what do you do if you aren’t motivated to start?

Getting motivated

I believe that to be motivated about something you need to have a few things, you need to be part of the process, making some of the decisions or feeling that your input is valued. You also need to want it to succeed, this is the difficult one to achieve, if you’re part of a team and you don’t think it’s the right thing to do and you don’t really want it to succeed then that will bring down the rest of the team, as well as frustrating you and making you more unmotivated.

You have to take some responsibility for changing your perspective on a project or a task, sure your manager could identify that you are not too keen on it and they could throw some rewards your way to help with the motivation, but ultimately you need to want to make yourself motivated and communicate what is stopping you be motivated.

When I am in a situation where I’m struggling to get motivated about it I tend to look at why we are doing it, in most cases it is to get us to our end goal on the road map at which point, even if I disagree with the task I remember it’s an iterative process and we are always iterating towards the goal, that is all it normally takes for me to get back to being motivated. I am not suggesting that will work for you, but you should have a look and a think and see why you are not being motivated and then come to terms with it. For me it is always abut getting to the end goal, as long as we’re doing that I’m happy, I use to struggle more with it in the past, always wanting the perfect solution, but after time I realised that is not really feasible so I came to terms with accepting little victories that are towards the goal rather than the end goal in one step.


As nice as it is to blame everyone else for you not being motivated to do something, you have to take some responsibility to get motivated. There’s only so much your boss will be able to do, they may throw money at you which might well help in the short term but it won’t in the long term. So look at yourself and why you are not motivated and try to work out what you need to do to get yourself motivated about the task in hand.


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