Staying motivated during lockdown can be a challenging experience, and one that none of use have ever faced before.
The question then stands, how do I stay motivated with work or keep focused on my personal and professional goals?
The answer may be a lot simpler than you may have thought. Whether you are working from home and finding it difficult to hit your KPI’s, achieve your targets or are missing that one slightly annoying colleague you sit next to, or if you are on furlough leave and do not know how to make the most of your time, the method to staying focused and motivated is still the same.
A very simple way of putting it, the answer to staying focused and motivated during lockdown is planning and mindset.
Everything starts with a plan. You should create a list of mini goals to set yourself from the morning of every day through till the afternoon before you have your daily glass of wine or enjoy a spot of Netflix binge-watching. It is important to try and achieve every goal on the checklist before clocking off for the rest of the day, and it’s just as important to reward yourself and celebrate achieving any, even the smallest of goals.
It’s important to also have a base daily routine which encourages productivity throughout the day, even starting off with something that may seem so minuscule as making your bed and getting out of your pyjamas every morning as so brilliantly told by Admiral William H.McRaven of the US Navy….
“...every morning we were required to make our bed to perfection. It seemed a little ridiculous at the time, particularly in light of the fact that we were aspiring to be real warriors, tough battle-hardened SEALs, but the wisdom of this simple act has been proven to me many times over.
If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter. If you can't do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.
And, if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made — that you made — and a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.” Admiral William H. McRaven - "Make Your Bed" Speech
Through creating a daily plan and ticking off tasks that you have completed, you gain a sense of achievement which further motivates you and drives you to tick off the next box on your daily list, and so on and so on until you have either had a successful day at work, learned a new skill or achieved a personal goal you never thought you would have been able to.
“As the old saying goes ‘’fail to prepare, prepare to fail.’ During this lockdown we may find ourselves going wayward in what we are doing. As we don’t have any real routine, we must create one. I have devised a default diary. This is fantastic for creating a sense of routine and normality in days. A default diary is a plan of specific times in your week that you are dedicated to important activities. It is a plan that you will do by default! On Sunday afternoons I ensure the week ahead is planned out. I section activities into specific hours on specific days. This allows you to clearly see what you’ve accomplished and is a clear way of seeing if you’re spending too much time on a certain activity.” Joe Taylor - UK’s Next Generation Entrepreneur Winner 2019 and Co-Founder of EJ Events.
It is also important to perceive the “lockdown” situation as an opportunity, rather than a negative experience. It could be an opportunity to complete a work related course, learn a new language or start doing those daily exercise routines you have been putting off for the last 6 months. Do not dwell on the uncertainty of when things will return to normal, but rather change your mindset to wonder how many new skills you can learn before that happens, how many existing ones you can further develop or how you could come out of lockdown as a stronger professional in your field.
“As professionals we should always be looking how we can improve the development of our skills within the workplace. I found there were always things I wanted to learn outside of work hours, for one reason or another, generally getting side-tracked by friends, Netflix, or life. Lockdown has presented us with an opportunity, to do things we said we would always do. Never again will we have so much time, time to read them books, or learn that skill or even learn that language. As soon as you see lockdown in a positive light, you can instantly become more productive.” Joe Taylor - UK’s Next Generation Entrepreneur Winner 2019 and Co-Founder of EJ Events.
To summarise, two important factors keeping yourself focused and motivated on your goals and achieving more during lockdown is making sure you have successfully planned out each day and celebrate every small win, as well as changing your mindset to a more positive one.
From there things will become easier, you will begin to start achieving your KPI’s and your targets, and if you are currently not working you will find yourself not watching Netflix for 9 hours a day anymore, but rather bettering yourself both as a professional and a person.
Last but not least, remember that we are all in this unprecedented situation together and that things will eventually go back to the normality that we all know and miss, you will once again be able to visit your favourite pub with your friends or go back to your gym or your favourite café or go back to your office desk.