There is ample research to confirm that a lot of your motivation is derived from how you perceive the work that you do. If you view it as mostly inconsequential, you will find yourself going through the motions and watching the clock. Routine tasks and assignments are especially prone to be viewed this way. That’s not a career. That’s a job—something unworthy of your time and effort.
However, as a professional, your work DOES matter. Your team, your firm and your clients rely on you to perform professionally. The question isn’t whether your work matters. The question is whether your work matters to you. If it does, you need to perform it by aligning three things that, when in sync, make everything more effective and enjoyable. Each of these are significant and contribute to producing work that has value.
First, you have to have a clear sense of direction. You’ve got to connect what you do to something that is significant—not to others, but to you. You must be able to see your work as valuable and makes a difference. FYI, don’t diminish your position or yourself because your work isn’t directly linked to important accomplishments or client accolades. Your leaders should make sure you know how your contributions matter to the final results. But if they fail to do so, don’t let yourself be discounted. Connect yourself to your work.
Then you have to be focused. Even if you know what’s important, without a plan to execute, you’re dreaming. Plans serve as roadmaps to keep you on the straight and narrow and lets you know when you are in the field chasing rabbits. Plan your day, your week and your career in order to stay focused on your priorities.
Finally, you have to be disciplined. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted by the next shiny object over there that will prevent you from the things that matter right here. Flitting from one thing to another makes you busy, but rarely productive. Avoid the distractions and remain disciplined.
All of these are important, but which of these three most interferes with your motivation? Once you identify it, be thoughtful about how to integrate your direction, focus and discipline. You will be happier and those who rely on your results will appreciate you even more.