isolated work desk

It's easy to stay motivated at work when you have an good manager at the helm; however, the real world requires that you know how to be efficient at work in spite of ineffective leadership. Read on for self-management tips to keep yourself emotionally engaged and produce your best work possible.

  • Communicate effectively. A manager who fails to communicate effectively can confuse or hamper his team's progress; to fight this, think ahead and ask questions to ensure you understand what's expected and being asked of you. In doing so, you'll force your manager to nail down his or her requests, saving you both time in the long haul.
  • Recognize what you need to succeed. Set yourself up for success by recognizing the information, tools, work environment or emotional involvement you need to stay engaged at work. Do your best to create this optimal work setting on your own; if needed, involve your manager.
  • Gamify your work. Sometimes it's hard to plug away at a project, especially if you have a ho-hum boss. Turn work into a game, with each task carrying its own set of rewards. (See The Email Game for an example.)
  • Celebrate your successes. Acknowledge and reward your accomplishments: deadlines met, fires put out, projects coordinated. Although this recognition should also come from leadership, you should always know your own worth and the assets you bring to an organization, even if no one else is keeping score.
  • Lead by example. Push yourself to produce good work because it's the right thing to do. Take pride in the products and items you deliver. Your positive attitude might teach your managers a thing or two.
  • Find respite outside of the office. After a long day of keeping yourself motivated at work, you absolutely must recharge. Devote as much time as you have, whether it's 15 minutes or 3 hours, to activities you love. Cook a meal, do yoga, meditate, meet some friends for happy hour, take a walk, play a board game with your family -- so long as it's an activity you enjoy that doesn't involve work, anything goes.
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