I really miss building in-person connections.
Working from home surely zaps my motivation, especially on those low energy cloudy days. How can I stay motivated and productive when I don’t even know what day it is most of the time? There are countless productivity hacks and tricks but they will not work until you understand how you spend your time.
We all have the same 24 hours in a day, so why does it seem that some people accomplish so much more in the same 24 hours. When faced with a to-do list that continues to grow we are constantly seeking ways to manage and maximize our time. Time management is BS. Time management dictates that checking boxes on your to-do list influences productivity. Productivity isn’t measured by how you spend your time, it is measured by how impactful the time you spend is. The trick is to manage your attention and energy, not your time. Where attention goes energy flows. Pay attention to what tasks get you most excited and how impactful they are. Your motivation will be tied to your level of excitement and the intrinsic value of any given task.
When you are involved in energizing activities you generate more energy than you use. My energizers are exercise, building/creating, and human connection. I feel more energized after participating in these activities. When I am energized everything flows. This is why I love coaching. I am in the zone when I am fully engaged with a client, this fulfills my love of connection while creating impact. When I am writing/creating from the heart it is effortless and time has no bounds.
The tasks that zap my energy are the ones where my energy output is greater than the resulting input. In this time of way too much home time, those tend to be virtual learning, and over abundance of zooms, and constant cleaning. It is no wonder I am unmotivated and less productive. When I am able to participate in more of my energizers my productivity and sense of accomplishment has no bounds. The opposite is true when I focus solely on the activities that are have-to not want-to. The key is to find a balance.
Habits to increase motivation:
Go to bed earlier: Sleep is important for everyone and sets the foundation for your day. It is a universal energizer. Proper amount of sleep improves mental function and mood. I am not an early riser, I do not normally catch the proverbial worm. This was fine for the old me because my kid's school schedule provided the necessary morning routine. Without structure I need to be more self-motivating. Going to bed early allows me to wake up earlier and feel more energized to tackle the day.
Exercise: Your body is meant to move. Physical activity is a well known energizer and mood booster. In order for me to clear the brain fog and have energy for the rest of the day I need to take care of ME first. In my case that means having my coffee in quiet and doing a workout before the kids get up. Moving my body and getting my heart rate up gets me alert and focused to accomplish my goals for the day. There are so many amazing online fitness classes these days working out at home has actually been a lot more fun than I anticipated.
Energizers first: Schedule the most exciting task in the morning. Momentum is compounding, if you start the morning with activities that energize you your momentum will build through-out the day. You will be able to stay motivated and get more accomplished. As you tackle your goals for the day you will feel more inspired and motivated to continue to produce.
Connection: Connect with motivating/high energy people. Energy attracts like energy. Want to feel positive and optimistic surround yourself with positive and optimistic people. The same is true for the opposite. Connecting with high energy people is super important for me to build and sustain momentum. I am not a lone wolf, I love to brainstorm and collaborate with people.
Sunshine: Get some Vitamin D. On sunny days try to get outside and take a walk. Vitamin D has a lot of health benefits. Among others, Vitamin D fights depression. When you are less depressed you have a brighter outlook on life and feel more motivated and energized. Vitamin D also boosts immunity which is so important right now as we try to stay healthy against Covid-19.
Delegate: Delegate and job-share your energy draining tasks as much as possible. Since everyone is home the household upkeep is more challenging. It is important to create chores and share responsibilities of daily household tasks. Not only will this teach the kids the importance of helping out but it will also allow more time for the activities that you enjoy.
Self-Care: Let's not forget the often neglected energizer, self-care. Know what fuels you and know when to take a break. If you are feeling burnt out listen to your body, stop and take care of yourself. Self-care looks different for everyone. Do what works for you to recharge. Striving to produce during burnout is a lose/lose situation.