Collaboration to isolation – how to stay motivated & productive during a pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted every aspect of modern life. If you’ve noticed a dip in your motivation and productivity, you’re certainly not alone. The first thing you need to know is that this is a completely normal reaction to the bland dystopian future that has inadvertently become our present reality.
The “new normal” everyone keeps talking about hasn’t arrived. Stress levels are consistently high as the ongoing chaos can be physically and mentally draining. Though times are tough, there are ways you can reclaim your hijacked motivation, improve your mood, and boost your productivity in the pandemic.
Even if you don’t have kids running around, working from a space that’s usually reserved for relaxing, eating, or sleeping can send your focus and productivity into a nosedive. To remedy this, you have numerous options at your disposal.
If you have no spare rooms in your house, a serviced office can give you a workspace, meeting rooms, and the equipment you need to be productive. Best of all, someone else takes care of all the pandemic-related hygiene requirements, so you have much needed peace of mind.
If you do have a dedicated work environment – or if lockdown prevents you from commuting to a serviced office, then a home office may be the ideal solution. For those running a business, virtual offices are a great middle-ground between your home and a dedicated office. You get a prominent business address, receptionist and mail-forwarding services, and access to meeting rooms when you need them.
Having a stable reference point can be a sanity saver in times of change and uncertainty. When it comes to work, the best thing you can do for yourself is to create a daily schedule. Fill your calendar the night before with everything you want to get done. By using a calendar rather than a to-do list, you can get a realistic idea of what will fit in each workday. This will save you from overshooting and then stressing that you’re not getting enough done. By creating your schedule the night before, you trick your brain into seeing it as an external guide that needs to be followed rather than something you made up that doesn’t really carry any authority.
This one may seem so basic as to almost be absurd. However, with so many distractions at home, you will be amazed at how a simple list can help you structure your day. Numerous studies show that having set tasks written down can increase productivity. Our brains are simply wired to process that information into more efficient action.
Now that you’ve got your hot little list, include deadlines for your major tasks. Take each long-term project and break it down into smaller goals. Set a deadline for each one that’s reasonable but that also puts some pressure on you to be productive. Each time you achieve one of these small goals and meet a deadline, your brain will give you a delicious dopamine reward. Over time, this allows you to train yourself to enjoy productivity.
If you’re feeling displaced and unmotivated, it can be easy to focus on all the problematic aspects of isolation. Though no-one’s going to argue that this pandemic is a good thing, that doesn’t mean you can’t look for a silver lining.
For most people, one major benefit of working from home is that they get more autonomy over their schedules. If you’ve always been a night owl who struggles with the 9-5 workday, you may be able to ditch your alarm clock, wake up naturally, and work into the night when you’re most productive. Conversely, morning people can get to work early since they no longer have to commute to work.
Depending on your line of work, this level of freedom may not be possible. However, there are bound to be benefits and opportunities in this situation. Taking the time to find them will do wonders for your motivation and productivity.
If you’re used to working in a team environment, isolation can be surprisingly taxing. You may enjoy being able to work in your pajamas and skip the commute. However, once the shine of these conveniences wears off, your strangled social life may, in turn, suck the life out of your motivation for work.
To remedy this, be proactive in scheduling virtual get-togethers with coworkers and friends. Whether you shift your usual happy hour drinks to Zoom or perhaps set up a virtual game night, these catch-ups can be the boost you need to switch gears from procrastination to productivity.
Though your major focus during the pandemic will always be on your health and the safety of your loved ones, there’s no escaping the fact that we all still need to be productive. The challenges are large, but they’re not insurmountable. Start working the above tips into your daily routine and your motivation and productivity will reboot in no time. If a serviced or virtual office sounds like the ideal solution for you, the APSO team is happy to help.
Contact us today and we’ll see how we can help you boost your productivity in these extraordinary times.