So, since the lockdown because of coronavirus, despite being quite used to working from home, I have to admit that I have been lacking motivation a little bit recently. I think this is, in part, due to my stress reponse being to hibernate, but also because there has been a little less work coming in since the covid 19 outbreak. As many people are now working from home and therefore having to self-motivate, I thought that it might help me, as well as others, to make a list of tips for motivation!
So here is how to get motivated!
- Use the pomodoro technique
If I’m in a real slump and feeling particularly demotivated, I find one of the best ways to motivate myself is to use the pomodoro technique. It’s really simple and all you need is a timer, although you can download a pomodoro app if you prefer.
The idea is that you choose one task to focus on, set a timer for 25 minutes and then work solidly. Once the timer goes off, you can take a five minute break. It seems like a really short amount of time, so it feels really doable, but you can actually get quite a lot done. And once you’ve done your initial 25 minute stint, you can always increase the work time if you feel like you can work on that task for longer.
It’s a simple idea, but it really helps to motivate me!
- Set a timer for 10 minutes
If you’re really, really struggling to motivate yourself, then just set a timer for 10 minutes. Ten minutes is a miniscule amount of time and you can definitely manage to focus on a task for that long. You’ll often find that once you’ve done the first 10 minutes, the rest of the hour seems a lot easier.
- Turn off distractions
If you don’t need your phone for work, put it away somewhere where you can’t see it. For me, I do use my phone to check emails throughout the day and often use it to play a podcast or the radio while I’m working, but I turn the screen off and put it on a shelf, so it’s not on my desk right beside me. I have also turned off all notifications for any apps apart from communication apps and keep it on silent during the working day.
Emails can also be a massive distraction. Obviously, it is important to check them regularly and reply in a timely manner, but you don’t need to have notifications on for this. I have turned off all notification sounds and check my emails when I am shifting between tasks. This means, I do check my emails a couple of times a day, but I am not constantly being distracted while I’m working.
- Plan a treat
You can really help to motivate yourself if you plan something nice as a reward for finishing a task. Obviously, these need to be small rewards that don’t take a lot of time out of your day, and your choice will of course be limited because of the restrictions on social gatherings because of coronavirus, but you could plan something fun for the end of the day like a google hangout or opening a bottle of wine with your partner. Alternatively, you could plan small rewards throughout the day, like if you clear your inbox you can have a chocolate bar or if you finish writing that report, you can watch a five minute youtube video. Whatever works to motivate you!
- Give yourself a break!
Literally. When you plan out your day (which I recommended in my post on tips for self-isolation), make sure you schedule in breaks too. You can’t be productive 100% of the day, you need breaks to reenergise. This is especially important if you work with a screen; try to give your eyes a break by looking at something other than the screen. You could schedule little five minute breaks where you have a little read of a magazine or a book, or even just get up, stretch and make a cup of tea to rest your eyes.
- Know your limits
Some days, especially in the midst of all this uncertainty because of coronavirus, it can be really tough to motivate yourself. If you have a shorter to do list one day, or simply can transfer tasks to the next day and you’re not feeling it, then allow yourself to take half an afternoon off, or have a long break in the morning to call a friend or finish work an hour early. It is okay to not be working 9 to 5, if you don’t need to and aren’t feeling motivated.
- Morning routines
You don’t need to have a super fantastic instagram-worthy morning routine where you spend 5 hours reading, 3 hours journalling and cook a fantastic healthy vegan breakfast every morning. But know yourself. For me, I have a rule that I don’t look at my phone until I am at my desk. Obviously, some mornings I’m better at this than others, but I know myself and know that if I look at my phone while I’m in bed, I’m likely to spend half the morning in a youtube, facebook, twitter spiral. So my morning routine is coffee in bed, get dressed and brush teeth, maybe some breakfast if I’m hungry and then at my desk and I can spend a few minutes checking social media and emails before I get to work.
- Look after yourself
If you take care of yourself, you will feel a lot more motivated. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep, try to swap out some of your less healthy snacks for fruit or vegetables, drink plenty of water, avoid caffeine after 3pm and try to get some exercise. If you can’t get out to exercise, there are loads of routines on youtube that you can follow. By taking care of yourself, you’ll feel more energised and ready to tackle work.
- Get out in the sunshine
If you are able, even if it’s only taking your cup of tea out into the garden, a few minutes of exposure to sun will increase your vitamin D and leave you feeling more alert and ready to work.
- Be realistic
You are not going to be at your most productive during a time of crisis and even if you are, we as humans are terrible at working out how long it will take us to do tasks. I tend to write a to do list with around 3-5 tasks depending on their length and try to estimate how long they will take. I only plan for about 5-6 hours work, because I know I will underestimate how long tasks will take me and it will also give me some extra time to play with if I get new tasks in. Also, remember to be flexible! Your priorities might change if you get an email from your boss or a colleague or something else will be sent through for you to do. Your to do list is negotiable.
I hope these tips were helpful for you! For next week, I’ll be journeying back to when I went on a cruise last year and be giving you my best tips for making the most out of your cruise! I’m aware that this might seem a little odd during this time, but we can dream of being allowed to travel again!