Does anybody know what day it is? Nope? … Me neither.
A few weeks ago, as stay at home orders started rolling out, we found ourselves asking many questions …
Is the internet still going to work with the whole world working from their homes? Is Zoom going to crash? Will my happy hour be as much fun when it’s on Google Hangout? Will I (or my team) be as productive as they are in the office, at home? Will I be able to successfully work remotely when my whole family is joining in on conference calls?
Well, the good news is, we’ve gotten a lot of those initial questions answered in these last few weeks.
We know that virtual happy hours and coffee breaks are all the rage and plan to do way more of them. We know that we can get the work done safely in our homes (still working on that sane part!). We are finding that our kids are resilient, and our colleagues actually enjoy seeing our families and pets make guest appearances on our calls.
We’ve found comfort together in this uncomfortable time.
But as we enter weeks four, five, and likely many more for most of us – how do we keep up the motivation?
It’s likely we’re all starting to realize that as the ‘new-ness’ wears off, and as we get tired of being at home, it is going to be a challenge to stay motivated every. single. day. No matter how much we love what we do.
Here are some tips for you and yours as we enter this next phase of quarantine.
If it’s not working – fix it. It’s true what they say about sticking to a routine – it is so important. But many people are trying to stay as close to their “regular” routine as possible and that may not be a solid, long-term solution. If you are finding challenges sticking to that (or even establishing a regular routine in general) identify what the challenges are and give yourself permission to alter your routine and find what works. From there, keep evaluating and sticking to it as much as possible. It is also important to establish a different routine on the weekends so that you can physically and emotionally feel the difference between a workday and a weekend.
Set your boundaries. Right now, we are all living going from one room to the next so there’s very little to ‘change up.’ But if you have a home office, walk out and shut the doors at the end of the day. If you typically have your office set up on the dining room table, or another makeshift office space – take it down, or completely unplug when you’re done for the day. Avoid the temptation of just being able to easily sign back online if you’re finished until tomorrow. Get your space back and make a physical distinction between professional and personal life in your space so you have time to recharge and get prepared for the next day.
Treat yourself. Listen. None of us have ever lived in a pandemic like this before so basically, we’re all doing great. Find something that feels like a treat everyday – 5 minutes of alone time, a walk outside, take your lunch outside, enjoy a binge-worthy TV series (or 2) without the guilt, order carry-out from favorite restaurant. Find sources of fun in your day and give yourself something to look forward to.
You used to make plans after work before social distancing. Keep doing that, even though your plans may look different. Making time for yourself through all the chaos will make you more productive and keep you motivated.
Keep your productivity habits. What is it that motivates you on a regular basis? If keeping a highly color coded ‘to do’ list gives you life – keep it going. If your productivity lives in obsessively updating a digital project management tool – keep it going. Keep taking notes on conference calls and being engaged. Keep actively moving campaigns forward. Plan and organize everyday as you did before you ever heard of “COVID-19.”
Communicate. Extroverts, unite! This is a tough time for many of us who thrive on social engagement. Keep those watercooler conversations going. Stay in touch with your team, and your coworkers, just like you would if you were in the office.
Remember, there’s no time like the present. Don’t save things for “when this is over.” If there are schedules that need to be met, and deliverables that need to be done, keep them on track. This isn’t the time to pump the breaks (as we’ve all likely experienced over the last several weeks when we’ve been pedal to the metal). Keep your programs moving forward as you would at any other time. If you have a quarterly big picture meeting scheduled, have it on video conference. If you have a File Health audit due – submit it on time and actively apply those findings to moving strategies and efforts. Keep holding yourself accountable for the work that needs to get done to keep programs moving forward.
The weeks to come will be challenging. Figure out what works for you, what makes you thrive, and keep going. You’ve got this!
Written by Courtney Lewis, firstname.lastname@example.org