I’ll be the first to put my hand up and say that nearly a year after the proverbial rug was quite literally pulled out from under our feet, I’ve finally found a routine that works for me in these strange new times. I like to think of myself as a fairly realistic and capable person, but even so it’s been hard not to slip into little moments of negative thinking, fuelled by lockdown fatigue and monotonous days. But with social media magnifying other people’s lockdown achievements and successes, it’s easy to think that you’re falling behind or that you’re supposed to be on the same timeline as everyone else. It took me a long time to realise that my measure of success would be different than the next person’s and that it’s okay to go at your own pace.
Self motivation, I’ve found, has been the key ingredient in making sure that I was able to get through this year without feeling too overwhelmed or anxious. Having a routine helped me structure my days without giving into the temptation of watching TV from bed all day (although I did indulge in a few of those days too!). Weirdly enough, I’m now more organised with my time than I had been pre-pandemic; more conscious of how I’m spending it and how I’d like to spend it once life goes back to it’s pre-pandemic levels of normality… it’s definitely made me realise that there’s actually quite a few new lockdown habits that I’d like to keep. I’ve found that self-motivation, for me, is simply the act of showing up every single day even when I don’t want to. Here are a few ways in which I’ve been able to push through the lethargy and bouts of laziness to stay on track:
Show up for yourself: this is easier said than done! There have definitely been days where I’d much rather curl up in bed with a good book then have to pour over yet another spreadsheet at work, but it’s got to be done. I try to find little moments of satisfaction in every thing I do, from making myself a cup of coffee, spending the first five minutes of a work meeting catching up with colleagues or going for a lunchtime walk and getting some fresh air. Finding little happy moments in even the most menial of tasks helps me stay motivated and I’ve seen an increase in my productivity as a result.
Be more organised: I feel like one can never be too organised. If you tend to get overwhelmed or anxious by changes or uncertainty, prioritising your time and being organised will do wonders for you! Whether it’s making lists, keeping up to date with an online calendar or even just something as simple as cleaning your laptop (literally!), doing little things to tidy your space and your schedule will not only help you improve your productivity but also increase your motivation levels. Clean your desk, light a candle, and write down a list of everything you want to get done in that day. I don’t know about you but I find soooo much motivation from the satisfaction of ticking things off my list!
Celebrate your wins: with how fast paced life feels at times, it’s so important to celebrate the small wins as much as the big ones. Whether it’s a job well done on a project, hitting your personal best on a workout or nailing your mum’s banana bread recipe, take a few minutes to revel in your successes and let it all sink in. Take a moment to acknowledge your hard work and give yourself a chance to reflect on how it makes you feel…for me that’s often motivation enough to keep going!
Enjoy the ride: motivation is always easier for me to find if I enjoy what I’m doing, whether that’s my job, or my daily workouts or simply having a quiet day with a good book and a long walk. We can get so caught up with achieving our goals and ticking off the next thing on our list that it’s easy to forget about the process itself. For the sake of balance, it’s so important to sprinkle in some activities that you really enjoy doing along with the more serious tasks. Developing an appreciation for everything you do and enjoying it along the way will make whatever you’re doing less of a chore and more of an active choice. And in there, my friends, lie those little seeds of self motivation.
There have, of course, been days when any kind of self motivation is hard to get hold of, but it’s important to realise that it’s okay to take a breather. Having a productive day doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to tick off a hundred and one things off your list. Sometimes it can be just as productive to have a day of doing simple things you love, recharging your body and mind and starting afresh each day. Try and enjoy the process, celebrate your wins, and you’ll find that self-motivation will need a little less pep-talk and convincing the next time you need her in your corner.
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