Career Tips 22/09/2020 by "Andy Mansoori"

6 Tips to Get Motivated in Challenging Times


These are strange times we’re currently living through. Most of us are working under new conditions, worried about job stability, and finding it tough being isolated. We’re all trying to figure out how to keep pushing forward when our routines have been shaken up, and we have immense personal pressure and job stress, thanks to the current economic and health crisis. 

While it’s important to be kind to yourself through these challenging times, it’s also important to keep pushing ahead, and we have six powerful tips to help you get motivated. 

1. Commit to small efforts

If you’re struggling to feel motivated to work all day, set an alarm every hour for a small break. Often you will find within this time that you will be into the rhythm and able to continue past it. Repeat this whenever you’re feeling flat. Commit to an hour. Take a break and then commit to another one. Accomplishing something, even if it’s just an hour, will motivate you to do more. 

2. Start with the easy stuff

While the advice is usually to tick off the big stuff first, when you’re completely unmotivated, it can be beneficial to start with the small stuff. Again, accomplishing something helps you to build up motivation. It’s also common that these small tasks serve as a distraction. When they’re done, all that’s left is for you to tackle is the big stuff. It will be easier with the small stuff off the table to distract you.

3. Find a structure

Finding and sticking to a structure starts with building habits. It may take around two weeks of discipline to follow your routine, but once you’re in the rhythm, it will become easier to get up and get on with your work. If you struggle to be disciplined or keep track of what you need to factor into your days, try using a Kanban board so that you have a visual and can move tasks as they’ve been completed – here’s how

4. List your accomplishments 

The same way that it feels good to tick off your to-do list, science tells us that celebrating your accomplishments motivates you to do more. You could alter your Kanban board to move your completed items into an accomplishment section, or you could simply write down all of the things you achieve in the day, week, and month. Celebrate small wins as well as big wins, and these will keep you feeling confident that you’re good at what you do, and you can keep moving forward.

5. Self impose deadlines

One way to make sure you get your work done is to tell other people you will have it done by XYZ date. Be realistic when communicating these turn around times, but also don’t give yourself time to procrastinate. When you have a deadline, whether self-imposed or set by your company, you feel like you have no choice but to deliver — that’s a powerful motivator. 

6. Add or subtract 20 seconds

Harvard happiness expert, Shawn Achor, has researched happiness and habits to find that it takes only 20 seconds to alter how you perceive something. This can help you form better habits. If you want to exercise more to boost your energy levels but your clothes are in the draw, and you can’t be bothered, move your clothes next to the bed. If you crave food when you’re procrastinating, put the food up high, where it will take you longer to access. Just 20 seconds closer or farther away is enough to alter how you perceive the task at hand.

Above all else, be kind to yourself. It’s OK to have an unproductive day occasionally, just don’t let a bad day turn into a bad week. You have the tools here, within your capabilities, to boost your motivation. 

Check out the Launch blog for more great tips to get productive, ace interviews, and adjust to working from home.