Do you ever feel like no matter what you do, you can’t seem to get yourself motivated? In light of the recent global pandemic, I can attest that it’s been incredibly hard for me to switch into work/school mode when I am only steps away from my comfy bed. Usually, when I am feeling unmotivated, I’ll do a quick workout at the gym or take a yoga class to clear my mind. But, yes, you guessed it, that’s no longer an option given the current circumstances. Don’t get me wrong; I am enjoying being at home, safe with my family. But it seems no matter what I do; I can’t seem to get back in the mode of getting things done.
After just a couple of weeks of being at home, I noticed my sleeping schedule was completely off. I am grateful that both of my jobs have allowed me to transition into working from home, requiring me to leave my house only 1-2 days a week. Before this pandemic, I had a strict morning/night routine. Doing this held me accountable and productive throughout the day. However, now when I wake up, I no longer have to think about what I am going to wear for the day. I no longer have to meal prep, and I don’t have to rush out the door to beat traffic. At first, I thought, wow, this is going to be great. How I so badly needed a break from the fast, demanding pace of my life. Soon, however, I realized structure was desperately needed back in my life. It was time for a change!
Below I’ve listed some ways that have helped me stay motivated throughout all of this. Tools useful even after this global pandemic resolves.
Establish a Sleep Schedule
Here is where I set myself up to fail. I thought, well, since I don’t need the extra time to get ready in the morning, I can now stay up later. WRONG. Soon I realized that I was exhausted throughout the day, which negatively affected my productivity. To prevent any adverse shifts in your sleep patterns, I suggest going to sleep and waking up at the same time each day. Doing this keeps your energy levels consistent. And will help transition you out of working from home once this quarantine order lifts.
Ensure you are still getting 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Once you wake up, make your bed, so you aren’t tempted to go back to sleep.
For me, working in clutter is incredibly distracting. Therefore, I took a day to deep clean and organize my workspace. After this, my focus level dramatically improved. The point of decluttering is to both clear your physical space and your mental space. When you eliminate that giant stack of papers on your desk, you can buckle down and direct all your attention to the task at hand. Soon you’ll see your productivity level improve, cutting the time it takes to finish an assignment in half.
Breaks are CRUCIAL
Although the goal here is to improve your efficiency and effectiveness at home, you don’t want mentally drain yourself. It’s essential to take breaks. Whether that means taking a quick nap, watching an episode on Netflix, reading a couple of chapters in that book you’re reading, and or taking a walk outside. The biggest issue I had transitioning to working from home and moving to online classes was being in the same environment all day, every day. When I’m studying, I like a change of scenery as I feel this keeps me focused for more extended periods. Usually, this meant going to the library, coffee shops, and or friends to study. BUT, none of these scenarios are options at this moment, so I had to get creative. Using the options listed above, and being realistic about your time spent doing them, should give you the much need mental/physical break.
Avoid Getting Lost in Social Media
You never truly understand how unproductive social media is until you look up at the time and realize you’d been mindless scrolling for the past 45 minutes. It can be second nature to pick up your phone and check for new notifications. Especially since our ability to socialize with others in-person is on a standstill. So how do we overcome this lack of human connection? We scroll for hours, like pictures, leave comments, etc. To prevent jeopardizing your productivity, you must keep yourself accountable for your phone usage. Set your phone to Do Not Disturb so you aren’t alerted the second notification comes in. If you must, set your phone in the other room. When you allow yourself a break from work/school and find yourself scrolling, be mindful of your time spent, and quickly get back to the task you were doing prior.
These steps are not an end-all-be-all fix to lack of productivity but will get you started int the right direction. Create boundaries and be honest with yourself.
This week be deliberate in how you spend your day and be sure to make time for the simple things in life.
For more tips on how to master time management, check out my post here