For the moment the world seems divided between those frontline workers doing unimaginable shifts and, well, the rest of us. If you’re not a key worker you may well be busy working from home but for some of us there just isn’t that much to do and productivity is dwindling. These are our tips for maintaining motivation in extraordinary circumstances. Stop procrastinating and use the extra hours to push your career on and spend more time doing what makes you happy.
Create two lists
List one contains all your essential tasks. Depending on the type of work you do this may be weekly or daily tasks. Everyday you should have a task list in front of you to methodically tick off your chores. List two is the list of all the things you have been meaning to do for ages. This list might be divided into work-related and other but make sure it’s written down and close to hand at all times. It’s amazing how much you get done when there’s an item to tick off. List two should only be looked at when list one is completed for the day. This means that if you power through your work you may have an afternoon to paint the door, play guitar or do useful work things like updating your contact list, watching a useful tutorial or updating your LinkedIn profile. It’s also good for the mental health when you have a list of your daily achievements to hand and helps you stop procrastinating.
Break up your day
Do you long for your hour of outdoor exercise? Do you think about what you’re having for dinner for most of the day? This is fine but build structure into your day. Lot’s of us feel really tired around 2pm and when working from home the incentive for keeping busy isn’t really there. I’ve started taking my exercise straight after lunch. I come back refreshed and ready for an afternoon of work. If you have a FitBit or other activity device set it to remind you to move every hour. It’s so easy to remain stationary all day when working from home. Get to know your body clock and when you start to tire do something different, whether it’s exercise, a finite bit of housework (putting a load of washing on, hoovering the lounge), or perhaps learning a new language or practicing a musical instrument. A change is as good as a rest as they say.
Think about your goals inside and outside of work
Who goes into work (or indeed works from home) with an overarching life goal everyday? If you follow enough ‘influencers’ you may feel that this is exactly the case for other people but it’s not. Most people’s lives are 60% admin and that’s pretty bad for motivation. When you start to forget why you do the job you do you start to lose interest. Write down your goals, whether career or more general life goals and keep them close to hand. Copy and paste them to the top of your daily task list, print them out and display them prominently in your work space or at least keep the file on your desktop. Somehow that boring list of chores takes on importance and even inspiration when you know that to complete them means spending time with the family, that backpacking trip around South America or starting your own business in the future. Work can be really boring sometimes and without our colleagues in the same room it can be difficult to motivate yourself. Whilst we’re in lockdown stop procrastinating, focus on your own personal goals, crack on with work and free up time for yourself.