Ways to Stay Motivated at Work

Ways to Stay Motivated at Work

As the adage goes, all work and no play make Jack a dull boy. Being constantly involved in our professional careers is a demanding task.

Sooner or later, it takes its toll, mentally as well as physically. Everyone experiences this slowdown in their careers at least once, if not more often. It is vital that we remain motivated and enthusiastic towards our work. Here are a few steps we can take to stay motivated.

1. Perspective

Our perspective is what defines what we are and what we do. Why is it that we work? It is but obvious that our careers are in our fields of interest and expertise. Then why not justify our decision and realize our potential? Constantly reiterate the fact that besides the pay, work is about doing all we can towards fulfilling our dreams. Our professional lives should be about working smart, not only working hard and should give us a feeling of accomplishment.

2. Goal-oriented approach

All the hard work that you put in is going to be fruitful only if you are working systematically towards achieving a goal or meeting a target. Working haphazardly just for the sake of working is not going to help you in any way. It might actually deter you from working on the right things which could make achieving your goals an easier task. Focus on the target from the very beginning. Never try to do too much; take one goal at a time.

3. Plan, plan, plan

A goal can never be achieved without meticulous planning. A big task can be broken down into smaller and easy-to-achieve tasks. These milestones help us in setting deadlines and working in a focused manner to complete each task individually. It also prevents the entire task from turning into a single over-bearing problem. This is essential when it comes to completing a project within a preset deadline. Proper planning always brings about a sense of calm and level headedness. It keeps insecurity and panic attacks at bay. It also ensures that there will be no last moment rush to get the work done, which may lead to unforeseen complications.

4. Do not over exert

Achieving a target is no mean feat. It requires all our concentration, diligence and hard work. There is no shortcut to success, as they say. However, this does not call for exerting oneself to such an extent that it renders us unavailable for the later part of the task. We do not want to be sidelined due to stress or illness during the final execution of the project. It is always advisable to know our limits and work within them. It helps us maximize our efficiency.

5. Scheduled breaks

There is nothing wrong in taking a break every now and then to keep the mind fresh and kicking. Ensuring that monotony does not creep into our work is a very good way to keep up the motivation level. Taking coffee breaks or just stretching your legs about is a good way to get recharged.

6. Work-Life balance is a must

Do remember that while work is an integral part of our lives, it is not everything. There are people waiting for us at home – family and friends. Discussing issues at work, with people close to us is fine, but we should make sure we don’t take carry any negatives from the work place back home and sully the mood over there since the home is a place to relax, to live life apart from work.

7. Treat yourself

This is one of the easiest and effective ways to remain motivated. Giving ourselves a small treat or reward on completing every small task goes a long way in keeping us excited and focused on the overall scheme of things. The reward should be appropriate to the nature of the task completed. Big task, big treat!


The Science of Setting Goals

The Science of Setting Goals

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think. Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

One of the greatest of desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.


The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs!

But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s sense of who we are can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

Goal Setting – Powerful Written Goals In 7 Easy Steps!

Goal Setting – Powerful Written Goals In 7 Easy Steps!

The car is packed and you’re ready to go, your first ever cross-country trip. From the

White Mountains of New Hampshire to the rolling hills of San Francisco, you’re going to see it all.

You put the car in gear and off you go. First stop, the Baseball Hall of Fame in

Cooperstown, New York. A little while into the trip you need to check the map because you’ve reached an intersection you’re not familiar with. You panic for a moment because you realize you’ve forgotten your map. But you say the heck with it because you know where you’re going. You take a right, change the radio station and keep on going. Unfortunately, you never reach your destination.

Too many of us treat goal setting the same way. We dream about where we want to go, but we don’t have a map to get there.

What is a map? In essence, the written word

What is the difference between a dream and a goal? Once again, the written word

But we need to do more than simply scribble down some ideas on a piece of paper.

Our goals need to be complete and focused, much like a road map, and that is the purpose behind the rest of this article.

If you follow the 7 steps I’ve outlined below you will be well on your way to becoming an expert in building the road maps to your goals.


Life consists in what a man is thinking of all day.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson



1. Make sure the goal you are working for is something you really want, not just something that sounds good.

I remember when I started taking baseball umpiring more seriously. I began to set my sites on the NCAA Division 1 level. Why? I knew there was no way I could get onto the road to the major leagues, so the next best thing was the highest college level. Pretty cool, right. Wrong.

Sure, when I was talking to people about my umpiring goals it sounded pretty good, and many people were quite impressed. Fortunately I began to see through my own charade.

I have been involved in youth sports for a long time. I’ve coached, I’ve been the

President of leagues, I’ve been a treasurer and I’m currently an Assistant State Commissioner for Cal Ripken Baseball. Youth sports are where I belong; it is where my heart belongs, not on some college diamond where the only thing at stake is a high draft spot.

When setting goals it is very important to remember that your goals must be consistent with your values.


2. A goal cannot contradict any of your other goals.

For example, you can’t buy a $750,000 house if your income goal is only $50,000 per year. This is called non-integrated thinking and will sabotage all of the hard work you put into your goals. Non-integrated thinking can also hamper your everyday thoughts as well. We should continually strive to eliminate contradictory ideas from our thinking.


3. Develop goals in the 6 areas of life:




















Setting goals in each area of life will ensure a more balanced life as you begin to examine and change the fundamentals of everyday living. Setting goals in each area of life also helps in eliminating the non-integrated thinking we talked about in the 2nd step.


4. Write your goal in the positive instead of the negative.

Work for what you want, not for what you want to leave behind. Part of the reason why we write down and examine our goals is to create a set of instructions for our subconscious mind to carry out. Your subconscious mind is a very efficient tool, it cannot determine right from wrong and it does not judge. It’s only function is to carry out its instructions. The more positive instructions you give it, the more positive results you will get.

Thinking positively in everyday life will also help in your growth as a human being.

Don’t limit it to goal setting.

5. Write your goal out in complete detail.

Instead of writing “A new home,” write “A 4,000 square foot contemporary with 4 bedrooms and 3 baths and a view of the mountain on 20 acres of land.

Once again we are giving the subconscious mind a detailed set of instructions to work on. The more information you give it, the more clear the final outcome becomes. The more precise the outcome, the more efficient the subconscious mind can become.

Can you close your eyes and visualize the home I described above? Walk around the house. Stand on the porch off the master bedroom and see the fog lifting off the mountain. Look down at the garden full of tomatoes, green beans and cucumbers. And off to the right is the other garden full of a mums, carnations and roses. Can you see it? So can your subconscious mind.


6. By all means, make sure your goal is high enough.

Shoot for the moon; if you miss you’ll still be in the stars. Earlier I talked about my umpiring goals and how making it to the top level of college umpiring did not mix with my values. Some of you might be saying that I’m not setting my goals high enough. Not so. I still have very high goals for my umpiring career at the youth level.

My ultimate goal is to be chosen to umpire a Babe Ruth World Series and to do so as a crew chief. If I never make it, everything I do to reach that goal will make me a better umpire and a better person. If I make it, but don’t go as a crew chief, then I am still among the top youth umpires in the nation. Shoot for the moon!


7. This is the most important, write down your goals.

Writing down your goals creates the road-map to your success. Although just the act of writing them down can set the process in motion, it is also extremely important to review your goals frequently. Remember, the more focused you are on your goals the more likely you are to accomplish them.

Sometimes we realize we have to revise a goal as circumstances and other goals change, much like I did with my umpiring. If you need to change a goal do not consider it a failure, consider it a victory as you had the insight to realize something was different.

What’s It Like Being You

What’s It Like Being You


We all play many parts in life: daughter or son, sister or brother,

parent, boss, employee, leader, assistant, friend. We also play

many different characters, sometimes in a single day: we can be a

hero at work and an average Joe at home, or vice versa. But what

if beyond all those parts and characters, there is a more fundamental

role you can play—your true self, the you who is uniquely you?

What if you were so familiar with this role that you were completely

comfortable with yourself and at ease in all circumstances?

There’s a wonderful story about a rabbi who dies and goes to

heaven. He has led a devoted life, following as closely as he could in

the footsteps of the prophets and sages, and so, naturally, he expects

God to greet him with praise. But when the rabbi arrives at the

pearly gates, God just looks at him and says, “I made you uniquely

you. Why did you spend your life trying to be someone else?”

This book is a guide to being yourself. The reflections, practices,

and inspirational quotations are designed to assist you in

becoming who you really are. Only you can answer the question

posed in the title: What’s it like being you? But in these pages, you

can explore a variety of approaches to help you connect with your

true self.

First and foremost, this book is practical, aimed at giving you the

experience of living in your true self as both a spiritual practice

and an antidote to the stress of modern life. We now have

conclusive evidence that stress has serious health consequences,


weakening the immune system, damaging the heart, and affecting

memory cells in the brain—just for starters. In a recent New York

Times article, neuroscientist Bruce S. McEwen of Rockefeller

University pointed out:

We’re now living in a world where our systems are

not allowed a chance to rest, to go back to base line.

They’re being driven by excess calories, by

inadequate sleep, by lack of exercise, by smoking, by

isolation, or frenzied competition.

But there is truly no rush to go anywhere. Nobody is leaving

this earth alive. The true self waits patiently for us to come to it.

So why not slow down and enjoy the path of self-discovery?

Lao Tsu, the ancient Chinese philosopher, said: “In the pursuit of

learning, every day something is acquired, and in the pursuit

of spirit, every day something is dropped.” It is my hope that in

addition to gaining something from reading this book, you will also

come away feeling lighter and freer from having let something go.

The false self (everything that is not truly you) is what you

s u render in the process of becoming who you are. When you strip

away the opinions and postures and addictions of the ego-driven

personality, what remains is the role of a lifetime—playing yourself.

You can start anytime. Why not right now? As you move away

from the self-defeating patterns of the false self, you move closer

to the source of nourishment and renewal. Here in the true self—

the Soul—we find Spirit, and we come alive.

Please Note:

The following words are used interchangeably

throughout the book:

False self, personality, ego

True self, Soul

God, Spirit

The John-Roger quotations on the left-hand pages

are designed to assist you in attuning to the true self.


Click Here to Download

Modern Etiquette:Five suggestions for greater self-confidence

Modern Etiquette:Five suggestions for greater self-confidence

The dictionary defines it as trust or faith, being sure. I believe it means feeling good about yourself, especially in regard to accomplishing something. That something can be a new job, a new assignment, a performance review, networking, or a meeting with co-workers.

Here are a few actions that will result in real payoffs in our confidence quotients.


No, not to a new job or neighborhood. Move your body. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park farther away from the store you’re about to visit. Walk. Run. Ride a bike. Do yoga. Lift weights, even if it means doing your reps with a five-pound bag of flour in each hand. Work up a sweat. You’ll feel better.

The bottom line is, when we feel better, we become more confident. Exercise clears the brain and the lungs, making room for newer, better, and possibly bolder thoughts. It gives us more energy. And – let’s face it – energy is attractive. Energetic people magnetize others.

Nothing enhances your overall appearance like being fit. A good regimen of exercise will improve not only your posture but your personality. I believe that fit people look more focused and more confident.

Exercise not only increases strength and endurance. I find, too, that it helps mightily to defuse anger and frustration, and it gets the creative juices flowing.


There is no such thing as neutral clothing. Everything you put on represents a decision you have made and is a reflection of your good taste, your good sense, and your style. Remember, we judge others more on the basis of what we see than anything else. If your attire is inappropriate, colleagues are apt to question whether you know the rules of the game and whether you are or are not likely to be a significant player. Your superiors are apt to conclude that the quality of your work will match the quality of your appearance.

When you’re considering how to dress for a work situation, ask yourself these questions:

* Who am I?

* What role am I playing?

* How do I want to be perceived?

* Where am I?

* Who are the people I want to impress favorably?

We’re not talking fashion statements here; we’re talking about what works in a given environment to be effective.

Grooming is everything. Develop four key relationships and you won’t go wrong:

* Tailor: Good fit can make an inexpensive garment look like a million, while poor fit can make even an Armani look sloppy.

* Dry cleaner: The chemicals can be damaging to fabrics, so go to a reliable establishment and inspect your garments before leaving the shop.

* Shoemaker: We all notice other’s shoes, mostly because we often get nervous and end up looking at the floor. Keep shoes well soled, shined, and in good repair.

* Dentist: A clean, bright smile makes us feel better about ourselves.


Find sanctuary inside yourself. There is honor in standing still. We are so time-crunched, information-bludgeoned, downsized, and multi-tasked that it’s spiritually suffocating. Who we really are comes from the inside out. Without a way to “go inside” and focus, we add to our environment’s chaos rather than its harmony.

Learn “belly breathing”: lie down on the floor, be quiet and place your hands on your tummy. Breathe from your belly, letting your belly rise and fall like a bellows. Babies breathe this way and we know how self-confident they are. I’ve learned to belly breathe on elevators, in rest room stalls, and in the middle of crowded rooms when I need to calm down and focus. No need to “om”.


Keep your agreements.

Be on time.

Be mindful and in the present.

That is a gift to yourself as well as others. Whatever we think and feel now creates what happens in the future. When we stick to the “now” and don’t chase rabbits, we are involved and aware of opportunities. Others we deal with will sense that we’re fully with them. That has tremendous impact on the quality of our personal and professional relationships.


Give whatever you hope to receive in turn. If you want more cooperation and respect, give respect and cooperate. If you want to succeed, help others succeed. If you want more joy, be more joyful. When we circulate our positive energy, we create more and more to enjoy.

* Be open to giving to yourself. Honor your own worthiness to receive or no one else will.

Perhaps, as you read this, you are thinking, “Yeah, so tell me something new. I know this already.”