Keeping motivated during the COVID-19 pandemic

So we when we wrote an article a year ago now about keeping motivated in 2019, we didn't realise how off the charts 2020 was going to be. Now more than ever as individuals, friends and family as well as business owners we need to find ways to support ourselves and those around us.

But, just like every other challenging time in history, this time pass, and it's now about finding ways to help keep your mind balanced and motivated. Here are just a few ways for you to stay motivated during COVID-19.

1. Set small daily goals

It's important to recognise that these aren’t normal times, and you are not likely to be at your peak right now. And that’s perfectly okay. Setting daily goals can help make your day as productive as possible, but be realistic. Don’t make them too big or you'll just end up feeling worse.

List your tasks and break bigger ones down into three or four smaller tasks and be sure to reward yourself when you complete a task. Even if it's just the little things like, once you complete a task, get up from your desk and go for a walk outside. It will not only motivate you to complete tasks but will also provide you with a boost of endorphins that physical exercise provides. Do yourself a favour though, don't make your reward a walk to the fridge or pantry. The COVID gain is a real thing!

2. Include work and relaxation time in your day

Not being able to work in your usual way, where that is working from home or having to conduct your business online, can make it hard to shake the temptation to work non-stop, or worse getting distracted by television or housework. And while short term that can seem like the way to go...sooner or later you'll feel like you aren’t getting anything done.

By planning when you will work and when you will relax can help you to manage a healthy work-life balance at home. For many, maintaining their conventional 9-to-5 with a lunch break in the middle of the day and a mid-morning or mid-afternoon break helps them to stay focused. For others, like those who have children at home, this just won't cut it. You'll find your employers have had to become a lot more flexible in the current environment and so if you need to approach them to arrange different working hours, this should probably be easier to get approved than it has previously.

Maybe working in shifts will work better for you and your situation i.e. get up early and work for several hours then take a bigger break to get some other tasks done, like helping the kids with their school work. That might make it easier to get back on and get another big chunk of work done. You'll probably be surprised with how productive this approach can be.

3. Try the Pomodoro technique

The Pomodoro technique consists of working for a shorter period of time and then taking a break. It could be every 30-minutes you take a five minute break, or every 70-minutes you take a 10-minute break, etc, just work with what works for you.

For many, taking regular breaks to chat with your colleagues in the office, is a natural part of the work day, (and you are subconsciously following the Pomodoro technique) and so working from home can be hard when you’re sitting alone at a desk. But, we now have access to arrange of video conferencing platforms—like Zoom, Teams or Facetime—which allow you to talk with your friends and work mates virtually.

Schedule times throughout the day for a quick five minute chat or maybe a longer brainstorm or toolbox session. You’ll stay focused with everyone while the timer is running, and you’ll get a chance to catch up with friends on your breaks.

4. Prioritise your mental health

Taking care of your mental health is super important at this time. If you not feeling motivated, then maybe have a think about what's making you feel that way.

To keep on top of your mental health:

  • try including some exercise. It can be something easy like a walk around the block, or even just some fresh air from your own backyard

  • eat balanced meals

  • try not to work through lunch – step away from your desk and take a lunch break sleep! maintain good sleep patterns, and don’t stay up until two in the morning

  • enjoy some downtime on TV and social media but don't overdo it.

5. Be okay

Sometimes you just need to accept the fact that things aren't business as usual and that you are going to have both good and bad days.

You may find that some days you are highly motivated and get through more tasks than you had planned, but other days you have no focus at all. It’s okay, nothing is normal right now, and we all need to listen to ourselves.

Staying motivated can be tricky, but you can help make it a bit easier for yourself by setting realistic tasks and taking time to care for yourself.

And if you really struggle with self-care, be sure to ask for help. From experience, I know it can be hard to ask help from those who are close to you (and yes we all know that it shouldn't actually be that hard), so if that is you...try reaching out to a stranger.

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