(FYI, a yellow cord suit will definitely give you some motivation, if you’re really struggling…)
When it comes to working from home, I’d like to think after just shy of six years (10 if you count when I started my blog), I’m a bit of a seasoned pro. Throw in a pandemic too, where paid work and projects became slightly fewer and farther between, when moods shifted substantially (and understandably) and you’ve got a gal in need of a serious kick out of bed in the morning- but, and here’s the but- I think I’ve done ok…
The thing with finding motivation is that it looks different for everyone. My tips and advice might be so far off for somebody else, and things that work for me- might be somebody else’s idea of a disorganised mess or completely unsuited to a certain schedule or lifestyle- and that’s fine. One woman’s getting up at 7am for a power morning might be another’s 11am snooze-in, but if there’s one thing I know- it’s that listening to my body has become paramount for me in the last few months- and although I know sleep and mood based motivation doesn’t always kindly lend itself to a solid 9-5, sometimes knowing when to be more gentle with yourself (i.e working from the sofa if I know I have tasks that require less of me) and doing focused work bursts really help.
Understandably to do lists aren’t for everyone, but as a serial notebook and list lover, know they (along with a good bit of Laura Branigan) can help get me going too!
But! On the good days these are what help invite a little motivation around…
- This sounds so silly, but sometimes it’s the days where I wake up, put on Gold radio (or a favourite playlist) and take a little care of myself, that the drive comes a little easier. Getting myself ready (even if that’s skincare and a pair of leggings and bed socks) makes me feel set up for the day- and bonus points if you’re dressed with make up because that truly makes me feel like I can take on the world. If you need a bit of a YOU GOT THIS listen, I have a playlist here, which might be just the ticket. Equally, if I’ve had a bit of a slow day, prepping myself for the day after always helps- whether that’s a good read of a magazine that’ll inspire me, or a scroll on Pinterest- sometimes seeking out a bit of the good stuff leaves me more inspired than anything else.
- This is more of a ‘freelance’ one, but as I mentioned above- one thing I’ve become quite good at, is listening to my body and patterns when it comes to finding drive. If I wake up feeling creative and inspired, I’ll go for it and then take the afternoon for slower, or more admin based tasks. Other days it might be the other way around. I sometimes think it’s a bit of a myth that you’re always more productive at one time of day over another (because it definitely changes for me), but remember everyone works differently, so remember to avoid the work-day comparison trap because every day (especially at the moment) looks different for everybody! There really isn’t a ‘right’ way of working.
- I start small. Personally, I like to work with a small to-do list to avoid overwhelm before I’ve even begun. If I need to jot down random tasks (SHIT! Must clean the fridge! The washing needs doing!)- I’ll pop them on another, separate list (#listception) so that it doesn’t take away from my main focus. With regards for actually setting tasks- my to-do lists rarely get above 3-4 items, because that way, even if I just manage to tick off one thing- I still feel like I’ve ‘done’ something (small validations after all)! Usually those 3 or 4 will be more ‘demanding’ tasks (tackle an inbox, write and shoot a blog post)- but that means that even getting one done feels like a ‘Hey! You did it!’
- One thing my pal Sarah always says (which, on a good day I try and implement) is how useful working at 100% for shorter bursts is (or 80%- just putting in a small bit of whammy), rather than slogging it all day (which can make even the smallest tasks feel heavy and burdensome). Sometimes setting yourself focused work hours instead of crashing on the couch means you’ll get more done in less time. For me, chances are it’ll take me ten times longer if I’m half working and watching Dinner Date than if I sat down at my desk, focused for a little bit and then properly allowing myself to relax and unwind fully afterwards.
- Also! One thing I’ve loved doing over lockdown is co-working with friends on FaceTime. This might totally not be up some peoples’ street, but sometimes phoning a friend, having FaceTime up and even just pattering away on your keyboard can make you feel like you have a bit of co-working company and someone to bounce ideas off of, which can be so nice. It’s also nice to have a bit of an accountability partner if you know you’re prone to distractions, so that can also be super helpful too!
And on the days where motivation is very much socially distanced from me…
- It’s so important to accept that after six months with little routine, not every day will deliver on the productivity front and my goodness that is so okay. Give yourself a break when things aren’t going to plan or you have serious work-writers block and whatever you do don’t spend half of the day beating yourself about it- because truly, that will be the only thing that will be unproductive. There is nothing worse than not accepting a sluggish day until right at the very end, and then feeling like you wasted the day feeling unproductive and ‘useless’, so sometimes admitting defeat, being a little slower and kinder is the best way. Tomorrow is a new day, and sometimes that is all the motivation you really need.