I’ve heard from many people lately who are struggling to stay motivated at work – and for good reason. The pandemic is dragging on much longer than anyone hoped. Sometimes, it feels a bit like Gilligan’s Island. We thought we’d be working from home for a few weeks. Now, four months have gone by, and there’s no end in sight.
I’ve heard from people that are having a tough time keeping up their focus at work. They’re struggling to create routine. They feel distracted by the constant onslaught of difficult news. And, they feel disconnected from coworkers they normally see in person every day. Stress is up and productivity is down.
I know it’s tough, but if you are fortunate to be able to work from home (and you still have your job), you have to actively work to maintain your motivation level. The job market is awful today, and your current job will help to protect you from a potentially higher level of stress.
Maintaining your motivation begins with self-care. Regular sleep is critical. Then, try regular exercise in the form of walks. And, work to maintain your social connections. If you’re living alone, reach out to loved ones by phone or video. Others are also feeling lonely and many are open to connecting.
Then, work to create a daily routine, even if you don’t have to. Decide what time you want start and end work each day. Is there a time each day that’s best for meetings, lunch, more intense work, and breaks? You can divide this time up on your online calendar. Or, you can also create a breakdown using Excel, or a paper calendar.
If you’re feeling disconnected from your colleagues, think of new ways to connect. Perhaps you could try calling someone you work with out of the blue. Try chatting about normal things that may not be work related. You could also consider organizing group activities via video.
If the news is a major point of stress, you may want to set aside time to review the day’s news after work is complete each day. And, you may want to avoid checking social media during normal work hours.
My theory with all of this isn’t to ignore the important changes that are happening in the world. It comes from an observation that people are really struggling to keep a sense of normalcy. But, it’s that same sense of routine that will keep you on schedule and on task.
Staying on schedule will help to contribute to a more secure work situation. Don’t get me wrong, you can’t control everything. But, there are things you can control. You can influence your own motivation and focus each day. It won’t be perfect. You will stumble. There are days you may fail. But, you have to wake up each day and try. You owe it to yourself to try to maintain your motivation.