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How to Find Motivation and Make Q4 Your Quarter

By Paige Kassalen

At the start of the year, we set goals for our career. We might have wanted to get a certain certification, hit a milestone at work, or look for new opportunities. A new year brings on a burst of motivation, but as the year goes on, it gets harder and harder to keep up the pace and accomplish our goals.

If you’re feeling this way, the good thing is that this issue is not unique to just you. Many people feel like they aren’t performing to their maximum ability, and are looking for ways to increase their motivation. To find motivation that will sustain you through the rest of the year, try these three things:

Shift Your Mindset Toward Intrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic motivation means that you do something for inherent satisfaction rather than avoiding a consequence, like having a team lead call out the fact you missed a deadline. To find motivation and make Q4 your quarter, you want to focus on intrinsic motivation because it is more sustainable and better for your mental wellbeing to do things for yourself, and not with the goal of dodging consequences.

Finding intrinsic motivation is easier said than done, so that’s why this tip is all about shifting your mindset to subconsciously start developing it. When you catch yourself thinking “I need to do this or else my boss will get mad at me,” shift your thoughts towards something like, “I want to use this task as an opportunity to try a new approach.”

Instead of focusing on the consequences of not doing something, focus instead on a reason you want to do this task, and it will help you sustain motivation through the end of the year.

Start the Day Crossing Off Three Easy Items from Your To-Do list

Nothing kickstarts motivation better than crossing something off your to-do list, so when you’re struggling to find motivation, give yourself that feeling of accomplishment by crossing off three things first thing in the morning.

You could send out a meeting invite, submit an expense report, or read an article related to your industry. Whatever you choose, you want it to be quick and use only a small amount of brain power. Once you accomplish these tasks, you will start feeling on a roll and be able to dive into more ambiguous tasks like building a PowerPoint deck or doing some research for a new idea.

The way you start your day will impact the motivation you have moving forward. By crossing off a few easy items from your to-do list quickly, you will simulate this sense of motivation and be able to sustain it for harder tasks.

Lean on Your Colleagues to Keep You Accountable

When catching up with people in my network, I’ve been hearing over and over again that people are struggling to find motivation at work right now. After hearing this is a common theme, I’ve started asking “do your colleagues seem unmotivated, too, or is it just you?”

It’s easy to look around at work and think that you are the only one struggling to stay motivated, but there is a good chance the majority of your colleagues are in the same boat. Everyone is trying to keep up with their personal lives and recovering from a busy summer.

You’re not alone, so you can create a plan of action with your colleagues to find mutual solutions for keeping motivation high for the last few months of the year.  Maybe you set up a mid-morning catch-up meeting with a colleague, and commit to having a full hour of heads-down time with no distractions, or maybe you schedule a working session to do things together and keep each other accountable.

Whatever you end up choosing, attacking the challenge of finding motivation together will provide more promising results than going at it alone, so don’t be afraid to lean on your colleagues.

The new year will be here before we know it, and it will bring on that new burst of motivation to hit the ground running. We still have a lot of this year left though, so we want to make sure we find ways to keep ourselves motivated to make the most of it.

Q4 will be your quarter if you stop focusing on dodging consequences and start shifting your mindset towards intrinsic motivation, set yourself up for a high-motivation day by crossing things easy things off your to-do list first thing in the morning to simulate a sense of accomplishment, and remember that you’re not alone and should lean on your colleagues to find ways to keep motivation high together!


Paige Kassalen

Paige Kassalen has an electrical engineering degree from Virginia Tech and a Master of Information Systems Management from Carnegie Mellon. Kassalen began her career as the only American engineer working with Solar Impulse 2, the first solar-powered airplane to circumnavigate the globe. This role landed Kassalen a spot on the 2017 Forbes 30 Under 30 list along with feature articles in Glamour, Teen Vogue, and Fast Company. Since Solar Impulse, Kassalen worked in the manufacturing and finance industries to create implementation strategies for a range of emerging technology trends from autonomous vehicles to machine learning. She was the Chief Operating Officer at CrowdAI, a start-up named by Forbes as one of the most promising AI companies in 2021. CrowdAI was acquired by Saab, Inc. in 2023, and Kassalen now serves as the Chief of Staff for the strategy division.

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