Maintaining motivation whilst working from home
I’ve never really struggled with having enough motivation. If anything, I’m probably overenthusiastic. I like to get involved, and teeter on the brink of overcommitment.
Whilst that still rings true, one of the many unfortunate side-effects of a pandemic is the battering that our energy levels face. Like many of us, I’ve discovered that the sleep-work-eat-sleep routine is much more draining than the days when we’d be out of the house by 7:30am, rushing from class to class, and back by 5pm. The current uncertainty and isolation is tiring, and by extension, our motivation can suffer.
There are, however, a few ways that I find effective for maintaining motivation, combatting fatigue, and boosting my energy levels.
- Be kind to yourself
Firstly, I find that if my energy levels are incredibly low, and my productivity is, well, not productive anymore, then it’s best just to take a break. Even if you’ve got a load of work due in, taking some time for yourself will improve the quality of what you eventually produce. Staring blankly at a white page isn’t good for productivity or mental wellbeing. Have a bath, go for a walk, read a book. Just have some time to refuel, and you’ll be back better than before.
2. Recognise how you work most effectively
I work best when surrounded with people and discussion, which unfortunately doesn’t fit that well into a pandemic. However, engaging in seminar discussion, asking questions, and keeping in contact with those on the course is the next best thing. I’ve taken to arranging calls with a course-mate, where we chat about our modules, and I think this helps both of us to learn and engage with the content – as well as providing the much-needed social interaction. Working out how you work best, and then adapting your days to suit you, is a good way to maintain motivation whilst working from home.
3. Listen to music
Annoyingly, I can’t listen to music whilst I’m working. Every 45 minutes, however, I have a ten-minute break, and play my favourite motivational songs. It improves mood, and sets me up for the next 45 minutes. I’d definitely recommend listening to loud, happy music– and if you can listen whilst you’re working too, perhaps that would help.
4. Keep the workspace tidy
Many people are struggling with finding a decent workspace. Whilst there’s not much that can improve the layout of your room or house, I find that simply keeping my desk neat and tidy improves my efficiency. If I know where everything is, and I’m not drowning amidst random bits of paper, it’s much easier to work productively.
This is perhaps an odd suggestion, but it works for me. I used to have a long commute to sixth-form, which, whilst generally quite annoying at the time, provided the mental transition from home to work. In order to set myself up for the day now, I try to go for a ten-minute walk around the block in the morning – rather than just walking downstairs to my desk. The fresh air and ten minutes before starting work improves my focus, and resembles the normality of a daily commute.
Whilst my suggestions aren’t particularly ground-breaking, I find that they work well enough for me, and for the moment. And actually, I’ve found the nice thing about putting my Covid-coping mechanisms into words is the reminder that, when we’re able to walk into class or have in-person conversations, they will feel so much more valuable than before.