It is my undeniable truth, that the length of time in lockdown is directly proportional to how hard it is to find my motivation!
However, this doesn’t mean that I am less productive or achieve less on those days, it just takes so much more mental strength to conquer my goals.
To quote a wise man…
When you play games against yourself there can only be one loser, yourself. So how do I maintain a level of motivation that will keep me going through this pandemic in dreary winter conditions?
There is certainly a self-judgement that creeps in when you spend hours in your own company, so more than ever I have been using some tactics to keep my motivation on track and my mood as high as possible. So whilst I am no expert on the subject of motivation, I thought I would try and highlight some of the approaches that I have found useful.
ADDING STRUCTURE TO YOUR LIFE
I like to know what the next day will have in store – and make the preparations for that day to be as stress-free as possible! I dont like to be distracted by mess or disorder when we are trying to work, so a plan of what we are doing and where helps me maintain a clear head where I can focus on the tasks at hand. With so many aspects of life currently up in the air; tiers changing, homeschooling arriving when it can, stealing opportunities to exercise; dinners being determined by what happens to be in the fridge (the list is endless). So for me a semblance of structure and goal setting can really motivate me to embrace the day with an open mind!
Each day I insert a task that is disguised as learning for the little one, but is as much about my focus and goals as it is about his! This could be making scones, or building a craft or 30 minutes of learning in the shed instead of the kitchen (where I can organise the nails and screws whilst he practices drawing).
Whilst schedules are impossible for a 4 year old, listing the tasks that i want to achieve in that day in no particular order, means that I have my eye on the prize throughout the day and feel a sense of achievement when I can tick tasks off of the list!
GET UP AND GET DRESSED
Now don’t get me wrong! In life there are choices, and a perfectly legitimate one is to choose to spend a day in your pajamas in front of the TV… but just make sure that its not EVERY day!
My productivity is so much better when I have started the day showered, dressed and ready to embrace it. Personal care can make us feel stronger and more at ease to tackle the day even if that day will be spent within the same four walls.
More than that, having good skin, clean hair and and aroma from a fragrance that you like, builds the confidence and gives you one less thing to become self-deprecating about. Its sometimes hard to be kind to yourself, but in these times a little self-care can go a long way to ensuring you maintain your motivation throughout. You know if you put on your exercise gear, then you are much more likely to ACTUALLY exercise!
CREATE AN ENVIRONMENT
As I said earlier, I can get very preoccupied with mess and disorganisation. It not only makes me anxious but distracting as well. with my focus needed for teaching my son, spending time preparing the space for the next morning is time well spent.
During lockdown 1.0 we had an ever growing pile of completed works, papers and books, crafts and playdough – really it was getting out of hand. That pile became the straw that broke the camels back and the back that was broken was mine! Two lockdowns later and I have found a better way of organising the space. We now have a wall to show off my son’s work that we all love to see when we are having meals. We utilise many more spaces in the house to vary the experience of home schooling for us all. And last but not least we make sure that all areas are clear of mess to maximise the experience for us all as well as ensuring my (mild) OCD is kept in check.
KEEP A RECORD
Creatively I have many tasks on the go. It stops the monotony and also in many ways helps me feel connected to the things that make me who I am. Right now, I am particularly focused on tasks where I can see a progression. I am painting by numbers and it is a task that develops every time that I return to it.
It’s good to talk – as the old adage goes, and sometimes there is nothing better than sharing some of your achievements. My best friends and family enjoy hearing what I have been up to and I feel more connected to them and can share in their achievements too. There is nothing better than investing in those close to us and sharing our lives with them, in getting motivated – share the love and be proud of your achievements.
BE PROUD OF EACH ACHIEVEMENT HOWEVER SMALL
Each day we will achieve a great many things so try not to forget exactly what those things are! Some days I am motivated by getting on top of the laundry and there is a sense of achievement in completing the mundane tasks. Does this make them any less of an achievement? No it does not. We should be proud of all that we achieve.
In summary, our motivation will waver. Its just a symptom of the lives we are forced to be living right now. But share, open up and try your best to get motivated to achieve whatever you can in these uncertain times. That high score on a video game, a walk around the block, a homecooked meal – take the pressure off of your self and celebrate the small victories.