Young Asian male professional confidently smiles as his team huddle behind him.

The American Psychological Association defines motivation as the desire or willingness to make an effort to pursue a goal or outcome. You rely on factors like salary, promotion, or work benefits to sustain work motivation. But there's more to job satisfaction than external rewards.

The key to fulfilling work comes from intrinsic motivation – you enjoy doing work for its own sake without needing any extra incentives. You experience pride and happiness at seeing yourself improve. As experts often point out, intrinsic motivation heavily fuels .

When deriving enthusiasm for your job becomes challenging despite a good salary or company perks, that's a signal you're running low on intrinsic motivation.

How to Stay Motivated

Feeling stuck in a slump can crush work motivation, and it can lead to exhaustion when you try to power through. The good news is there are ways to avoid feeling drained. Apply these tips to find renewed energy to tackle your tasks and perform at your best.

1. Modify a tedious job.

Let's say an unappealing long-term assignment triggered your slump, and you find yourself checking off your to-do list on autopilot. In this situation, exploring how to stay focused on the enjoyable parts of your work can help. You may want to try “job crafting,” where you redesign aspects of the work to align with your strengths or preferences. It allows you to show off new abilities to your bosses or strengthen your work relationships.

How to do it: According to Harvard University's Human Flourishing Program, job crafting can involve structuring your tasks to make them more effective or eliminate their tediousness. For instance, an assistant cook who cleans the kitchen and washes dishes learns cutting techniques for vegetables. By taking the initiative, they open themselves to learning opportunities or meaningful conversations with colleagues they may not have interacted with otherwise.

2. Embrace temporary discomfort.

Part of job crafting can entail taking on more challenging tasks. Seeking discomfort makes you more daring and open to new experiences. The result reinforces your belief in your abilities and helps you grow professionally and personally.

How to do it: Executive performance coach and psychologist Julie Gurner recommends taking low-stakes risks outside your workplace. Learn to build something or take up a new hobby that encourages you to step out of your comfort zone. Developing new skills fosters a sense of achievement, uplifts your , and pumps up your work motivation.

3. Give yourself effective rewards.

Planning something to look forward to, like vacations, can motivate you to accomplish mundane assignments. Just ensure that your chosen incentive does not undo some of your hard work, motivational scientist and professor Ayelet Fishbach advises. For example, working hard this week to slack off the next week can leave your line manager and teammates with a negative impression.

How to do it: Set small milestones and reward yourself for reaching them. Prof. Fishback recommends accomplishing unpleasant work with rewarding activities, such as listening to favorite tunes while tackling email backlogs or doing monotonous chores with your teammates. Then, spend your office breaks doing anything but work to allow your mind to recharge.

4. Build a super easy pre-motivation routine.

Work motivation can be fleeting and inconsistent, especially when you wait for it to come to you. So, instead of biding time until inspiration strikes, James Clear, author of the New York Times bestseller Atomic Habits, recommends a “pre-game routine” to warm up your motivation engine. Clear says the routine has to be so easy you can’t say no to doing it.

Stick to the same routine until it becomes a habit. This way, you're cultivating a high-performance mindset without thinking about motivating yourself – it becomes a natural part of how you work.

How to do it: If your goal is to start your workday invigorated, make your daily bath an . Take a bath at the same hour and duration daily. Then, boost the wash-and-go routine with bath products designed for your needs, like Dove Men+Care Strengthening Shampoo and POND'S Men Facial Wash Energy Charge. Both are infused with coffee extracts, which stimulate hair growth and help repair skin damage from stress, late nights, and UV exposure.

5. Take time to reflect.

If your intrinsic work motivation battery has been drained, remind yourself why you chose the job and why it's meaningful. Does it contribute to a larger goal you care about? Connecting with your purpose can reignite your passion and help you push through difficult times.

How to do it: When you're feeling unmotivated, it helps to talk to a trusted mentor or colleague. These conversations can help untangle confusing emotions and help you see your job more positively. Sometimes, it takes someone else to point out the good things to help you appreciate what you do for a living better.

Changing Your Thinking or Situation to Get Motivated

Asking your whys is crucial when you've been unenthusiastic about your job for quite some time. Perhaps you're not learning anything new anymore, or you can't see an opportunity for achievement. Your answers may signal that it's time to change your situation, not just your thinking.

Just remember to allow yourself some breathing room to deal with the highs and lows that come with any job. Practice self-compassion, keep a , and take proactive steps to regain your work motivation whenever needed.