10 Ways to Stay Motivated When you Work a 9-5

I began working my current 9-5 job this year, and within a few months I feel I have learnt a lot on how to stay motivated. Especially beginning a new role and working from home. Previously, my shift pattern was all over the place and instead of 8 hour days I was working over 10 hours. Therefore, with my new found knowledge (let’s just go with it) I want to share ways to stay motivated when you work a 9-5.

You can also apply these different ways I am going to share if you work from home, or even apply them in other ways (just adjust to your work schedule) to suit you.

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1. Prioritise Your Toughest Job First

The reason this is a good idea is because this is normally the task you like to put off all day. But if you just get this task done and out of the way, then the rest of your day’s work will feel nice.

You can tell yourself when you are not feeling motivated at work that you have already accomplished your toughest task so you can achieve anything! Even if you don’t get much else done for the rest of the day you did that tough task and you still bossed it.

2. Don’t Check Emails First Thing

It is natural that the first thing you think to do when you turn up to work or turn your laptop on is to check those emails. However, this can actually distract you as you end up going back and forth or having conversations with others etc, I know this is definitely true in my case. Before you know it a few hours have passed and all you have done is check emails.

You should know that if anything is crucial or important then they will get in touch in some way by either ringing you or through a chat of some kind. Therefore, refer back to the point above and get the toughest job done first and then check your emails.

I will say though of course just scroll through the emails and just see if there is anything that stands out if you are worried about missing anything. But by leaving the emails and getting that tough job done this will help you stay motivated and even increase productivity for the rest of the day!

Related: 5 ways to stay productive during lockdown

3. Create a schedule

Even though you have that time and you work a 9-5 schedule, I still believe that within that you need to have a to do list / create a schedule which will keep you focused.

For example, every Monday I create a weekly to do list and this has everything that I need to get done throughout the week. I then have daily to do lists and this helps me spread the tasks out throughout the week. Also if anyone uses “My analytics” with their emails it is actually a great way to schedule “focus time” (which I use every day) and this lets people know that you are focusing on tasks and should not be disturbed unless necessary.

By creating a schedule or list this helps you block out time and also tell you what to prioritise / focus on and will help you stay motivated throughout the day too.

4. Break everything down

As well as having that schedule and as I have mentioned writing a weekly to do list, it is also important to break those tasks down. When you make tasks small and easy this helps you stay motivated and will mean you are more likely to get them done.

For example, in my current role I have some huge important tasks that can take a while but by breaking this down it helps me to actually get it done. Therefore, I schedule an hour a day (depending on the deadline) to help me complete it.

In addition, some weeks I might have loads of tasks I need to get done so I will look at everything and break it down to concentrate on 3 tasks a day. By breaking things into smaller chunks you will stay motivated and work won’t feel overwhelming or stressful.

Related: 5 ways to keep sane during the work week

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5. Regular breaks

Something that I feel is important when you work a 9-5 whether at home or in an office is to ensure you take regular breaks.

Research has shown that short frequent breaks are more beneficial for our health than taking a longer break every few hours. For example, I tend to try and take a 5 or 10 minute break every hour of continuous work I do. During this time I try to step away from the screen by walking around the room or going to make a drink / go to the bathroom, just anything that will get me moving for a bit.

Taking regular breaks not only benefits our health, but allows us to stay motivated with the work we are doing and come back from that break with fresh eyes.

6. Create a mood boosting playlist or listen to a podcast

This one might not be for everyone as we all work a 9-5 best in different ways. However, for me listening to a good music playlist, watching a youtube video or listening to a podcast helps me to stay motivated whilst I am working. For some it might seem distracting but I like having something in the background.

However, if this is not for you whilst you are working then I suggest putting on a motivating playlist before you start work (as this sets you up for the day), and even when you take your regular breaks. Using that break to blast out a feel good song and just dance around your space for 5 – 10 minutes will definitely help!

7. Find meaning in the work you do

I have spoke about this before in a previous post but you need to consider the job you do as more than just a pay check.

When you work with someone that only considers their job as a pay check you can tell, and this work ethic is not nice to be around. Whereas, when you work with someone that looks at their job as more than money, they are more welcoming, cheerful and just positively influences those around you.

Once you understand that your job is not just a source of income you will appreciate it a lot more. Work will only feel like work if you let it.

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8. Enjoy life outside of work

One way to stay motivated whilst you work a 9-5 (or what you consider your own 9-5) is to ensure you enjoy life outside of work too.

If there are any hobbies, sports or just anything you enjoy doing then make sure you always make time for these. For me I make sure I spend time after work either going to the gym, going for a walk, going for a run or having a lovely creative session. Recently for my birthday I got given some paints and a book so that I could try and paint. It won’t be anything professional but that is the point, something for me to do outside of work that I enjoy.

Making time for life outside of work will have a huge impact on how you are when you work a 9-5. There is always time for the things we love doing.

9. Go outside of your comfort zone

Sometimes when you work a 9-5 you lack the motivation because you feel you are in the same funk everyday. Therefore, break out of this funk and challenge yourself. Sign up for things you can learn and help you grow, ask around your team or go to your manager and see if there is training or programmes you can join.

You will only grow when you push yourself outside of that comfort zone and when you are in that moment thinking you cannot do it, and you keep going that is when you grow. You can learn a lot about yourself, and by doing this you will stay motivated.

So always get outside of that comfort zone, challenge yourself and this will change your work experience.

10. Reward yourself

Most of the time we may think of rewarding ourselves with sweet treats, food or watching TV which is perfectly ok too if this is what you choose to reward yourself. But it can also just be a cup of tea after you have made it through your daily emails, treating yourself to something you have wanted for a while after you have completed a project or task.

It is important to remind yourself of how hard you have worked, and by rewarding yourself this will motivate you to keep working. This will give you something to look forward to.

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There you have it 10 ways to stay motivated when you work a 9-5. Sometimes it is about taking a step back, having gratitude and bringing that motivation back into your job and life.

How do you keep yourself motivated at work?

Thanks for reading,

Gemma Jayne x

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Author: gemmaajaynee

24 year old just wanting to write with her spare time.

11 thoughts

  1. I don’t work a 9-5 but believe me, blogging is as good as a 9-5 job and sometimes, it’s hard to stay motivated. Creating a schedule, taking regular breaks and rewarding myself are tips that I use and they work. I’ll try creating a mood boosting playlist.

  2. Quite true in many things you have said here. I maintain two blogs and that’s tough as I find on any day :)…..nice tips…..

  3. Oh found it hard to be motivated during this time, so this comes just at the right time! I think doing the hardest task first and breaking the work down are amazing tips and will surely start using them. Also taking regular breaks and rewarding yourself. Music has been truly so helpful during this time, thanks for sharing these tips x

    1. I am so glad to be of help! That is great and honestly I recommend it, it just gets that horrible task out of the way then takes away a lot of stress. Yeah definitely for me too, and having a dance around 😂 thank you xx

  4. Good tips. I’ve really enjoyed working from home for the past year or so because it allows me to take walks over my lunch hour. I also feel like the change of scenery as I work from different rooms in my house has helped add a little variety to my day.

    1. Yeah definitely! I only began working from home as I changed jobs this January but I agree there is more freedom involved with being at home ☺️ that’s a good idea! Thank you xx

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