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Feb 4, 2021 9:02:31 AM

How to Motivate Yourself When You Feel Down at Work


We all feel unmotivated sometimes. Whether it’s because of simple things like rain when you were just about to start your morning running routine or at work where you might have interactions or to do’s that just “don’t spark joy” as Marie Kondo, the guru of decluttering your life, says.  Especially while working remotely, our productivity and motivation levels can potentially reach a new low.


But guess what, life is not designed to be motivating at every time. It often takes some additional effort and maybe a few tricks to get things going.


Working in Sales, rejection is part of the game. It is nothing personal, it almost never is. It is just something that comes with the job description. As a Sales Development Representative (SDR) I have to hit my targets while often facing people who are having a bad day (not because of me) or are just rude. Sounds familiar? 


The goals and requirements of an SDR do not differ so much from the ones of a customer service agent - and the struggles that come along. One of the hardest parts is definitely that with every customer you start from scratch. Every customer (or prospect) deserves the best service - period. No hard feelings from the previous customers, but a fresh start. Staying motivated after rejection after rejection after rejection can be a real struggle.


Let me share my go to tricks with you before Mr Unmotivated can catch you ;)



#1 Get moving! 



Ever heard of the term “sitting disease”? Me neither. Scientists refer to “sitting disease” as a synonym for an overly sedentary lifestyle which comes with shockingly a lot of health risks such as obesity, diabetes, sorts of cancer, cardiovascular disease, etc. The positive side is you can easily fight this AND become more motivated quite easily. Here are some suggestions listed by time investment.



<10 seconds

… you’ve probably guessed it: simply stand up! Science shows that standing while working will not only make you feel better = motivated but also increases your productivity. You may want to spice things up by standing up and sitting down 10x while taking deep breaths in and out.



~ 3.30 minutes


Do a little dance..” and “Shake it off” and I guarantee you that you will feel like “YEAH!”. You still might have “99 problems” but your motivation ain’t one. 😉


Besides from enhancing your mood and motivation, here are some additional benefits of dancing:

              • Keeps your mind sharp
              • Decreases the risks of dementia 
              • Enhances your posture
              • Reduces dizziness



+5 minutes


Take a walk around the block. This is a classic and you can find it in every article online about how to get back into your flow. Spending time outside not only lowers your stress levels but also makes you feel more alive and boosts your vitamin D levels. Studies show that only 5 minutes of “green activities” (including walks in parks in urban settings) have the largest positive impact on your self-esteem.



But what if you “don’t have time”?


Well, actually the most efficient workers are working at a ratio of 52 working minutes to 17 break minutes. This means by definition of working efficiently you do have at least 17 minutes of time. At least to run down and up the staircase. 😉



# Put on a smile


Recent (and old) research has shown that smiling can have a positive impact on your mood. Essentially, triggering certain facial muscles by smiling can “trick” your brain into thinking you’re happy. Pretty neat sciency way to cheat your way into feeling better, right?


Give it a try and put on a smile. It might feel weird at first, but bear with it for a bit and you will soon be rewarded.


Still not feeling it? Find a mirror and smile right back in your face.


If you want to take it to the next level, start out laughing out loud. 

Even if it seems ridiculous at first, the chemical process in your brain is still the same - it can not differentiate between a fake or real laugh. 

For the super lazy people out there I have two more tricks ready:

  • Put a pencil between your teeth - Tada you’re smiling!
  • Watch this video and infect yourself with laughter



#3 Be your own cheerleader


Whenever I feel low and I hear this little nagging voice in my head which becomes louder and more persistent, I do a simple trick:I turn it around. And I mean literally.


For example, if I am thinking “Urgh I’m so not motivated to do XYZ”, I will reverse it into  “I’m so motivated! Can’t wait to do XYZ!” I do that with every negative feeling, be it insecurity, fear, anger, pressure etc.


To increase its impact, here are two more options:



Write it down


To make it visual and somehow “final” I write my now positive feelings down as often as I can in one go. Just like in school.


“I am motivated. I am excited. I am happy. I’m excited. I am motivated. I am excited….”

You don’t need a fancy notebook to collect all your thoughts etc - no. If you feel not motivated, grab a random piece of paper and write down that you are amazing and you are pumped. Trust me, it works.



Let it out loud

Motivational self-talk has a bigger impact if you talk it out loud. A study found that basketball players passed the basketball faster when they motivated themselves through their task out loud. This is not possible at your workplace and might disturb your co-workers? Well, just find a place where you’re not observed by anyone and can do it without judgement (if you are afraid of that). Or combine it with one of the moving activities from above, like talking a walk or running up and down the staircase.



#4 Combine all the tips from above


Which could look like this:



Being motivated is an attitude that needs a little push from time to time. Our mind is quite powerful and tricks like “fake it til you make it” can affect it in a positive manner.


No matter if you’re a motivational speaker or Positive Polly, everybody has their ups and downs sometimes.


Nobody’s perfect. Just keep on motivating yourself.





Johanna is our SDR and DACH market specialist. What she likes most about her job is the close contact to new and exciting companies. Especially, if they are from her home country Austria ;-) Lately, she has been all about turning her home into an urban jungle and baking Reindling (an awesome cake from the South of Austria).