17 Jan 2021

How To Stay Motivated in 2021

Are January blues stealing your productivity and focus? In years gone by we might have explored how January blues are almost entirely psychological, with the post-Christmas comedown, shorter days and colder/wetter weather being contributing factors. However, in January 2021 it’s safe to say that, between juggling working from home, childcare, Covid-19 and lockdown, we all have plenty on our plates and motivation is lacking. We’ve jotted down some quick tips to boost productivity for the rest of the month and beyond.

Set yourself bite-size, achievable tasks

A massive killer of motivation is lack of success. If you set yourself a mammoth task then you’ll ultimately end up working for a long period of time with little reward. But if you break up the task, and set yourself smaller goals within the larger task, you’ll find that you’re constantly achieving, and this will massively aid motivation and keep you on track.

Celebrate the wins, no matter how small

In an office environment it’s extremely rare not to share success stories. This doesn’t necessarily mean ringing a bell or fist-pumping your way to the coffee machine, but often simply telling your desk neighbour and enjoying the ‘well done’ that you get in return. This is fantastic for work morale, so why should it change at home? While we wouldn’t advise calling you former desk neighbour, who is also working from home, to tell them the news, take a celebratory 5-minute break, tell your partner, tell your children, or tell your dog. It sounds a little silly, but sharing successes reaffirms your role and allows you to avoid the monotony of completing task after task with no positive feedback or reward.

Give Zoom a break

When the pandemic first struck businesses quickly migrated to video conference. Whilst not as good as actual face to face communication it was an easy way of connecting lots of people at one time. However, it’s safe to say that the (fleeting) novelty has now worn off. Nowadays Zoom can be stressful for some with the requirement to keep dogs, children and spouses in check and a whole day on Zoom can be exhausting and not hugely productive. Phone calls are less demanding and emails better still. Why not mix it up and save the Zoom call for when it’s really needed?

Set yourself a finishing time

A Bloomberg study found that the pandemic work day is on average 47 minutes longer than previously. Although it’s easy to briefly log back on whilst dinner is in the oven or the bath is running, this sends you hurtling towards a burnout and the feeling that work is taking over your life with seemingly no escape. Some industries require employees to be on call at all hours, but for those that don’t, be disciplined with yourself. Keep the laptop closed and turn off notifications to ensure that your downtime stays sacred.

Focus on yourself

When working from home it’s easy to convince yourself that you’re working much harder than your colleagues. You noticed that Bernard didn’t reply to your 9am email until 11am, which naturally means he had a lie in and didn’t log on until mid-morning! Often this is totally incorrect, but as we’re working in our own little bubbles, we can easily find ourselves getting slightly frustrated with colleagues who appear not to be pulling their weight. Our advice: don’t worry about it. Although easier said than done, focussing on yourself and ensuring that you’re performing to the best of your ability will not only aid productivity, but will free up the fraction of mental bandwidth that was previously used for being annoyed for more productive purposes.


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