It’s hard to stay motivated right now.
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Perhaps you’ve wrapped up that big project you started while still in the office and now you’re having a hard time jumping into the next big thing. Or maybe you’re drained from all the extra hours you’ve been putting in because there’s no separation between home and the office anymore. Or maybe you don’t have a vacation to look forward to because… where would you go?
“You have to learn to recalibrate your brain, so you can continue to view your space in a fresh and new way,” said Roy Cohen, a career coach and author of “The Wall Street Professional’s Survival Guide.”
Here are some small changes that can help get you over the slump when you feel like you’ve hit a wall at work.
Find your power hour
Look for the times during the day that you are most productive and go all in.
“Find some power hours where your energy spikes and go full force,” said Kim Monaghan, a career coach. “Do 20-, 60- or 90-minute sprints so you get a lot done and you feel better.”
Front loading your day with tasks you enjoy could also jump start motivation.
“It’s easier to start the day right with those tasks that are more exciting and rewarding for you, even if they aren’t the most pressing,” said Career Coach Hallie Crawford. “Do that for the first 30 minutes and then dive into the other stuff.”
Tweak your environment
Giving your home workspace a little makeover can help get you over a productivity slump. And they don’t have to be big (or expensive) changes.
Try adding some fresh flowers or pictures of your favorite vacation or cute family memories. “Make the space visually more stimulating and attractive to you,” recommended Cohen.
Upgrading your technology in little ways, for instance, a WiFi extender to help with connection issues or a light to enhance your video calls can also make a workspace feel better and provide a productivity boost.
“Up your tech and other tools to make sure how you are working is seamless and uninterrupted,” he said.
But don’t go crazy adding too much stuff and end up making your space cluttered.
“If your work space has a lot of stuff in it, you can’t relax,” said Monaghan.
Upgrade your sweats
It also might be time to get a little more dressed up if you’ve been following a strict wardrobe diet of pajamas and sweatpants.
“Sometimes we get sloppy when we are at home,” said Cohen. While you don’t have to dress like you did when you went to the office, try upgrading a little.
“When you get sloppy physically, your brain gets sloppy.”
The good news about working from home is you can turn pretty much any area of the home into a workspace. While experts recommend having one dedicated space to work in when you have to really focus, you can bounce around to different spots to keep things fresh.
And avoid sitting in the same space for too long. “We need to take breaks,” said Cohen. “Especially when weather is great. Even if you step outside for just a few minutes.”
Set new goals
This year likely isn’t going the way you thought it would. Given that we are facing an entirely different world than we were even four months ago, it’s time to re-evaluate and set new career goals.
For instance, a goal of bringing in new international clients is going to be tough with travel restrictions. So maybe you shift your focus on adding new products or finding cost-saving measures.
Find a purpose
When work becomes monotonous, it gets hard to see the important role you play.
Look for ways you are making a difference, suggested Monaghan. For instance, an accountant is looking for ways to save or make the company money. “There is a higher purpose to every single job out there,” she said.
And even if the tasks get tedious, they are helping you build skills and increase your experience for your resume. Think about how far your video meeting skills have come since March, or how much better you’ve become at communicating effectively.
“You are serving the organization and being paid for that, but at the same time you are building yourself up to be incredibly valuable and marketable,” said Monaghan.
Acquiring a new skill can be energizing, and it doesn’t have to be related to your field or require going back to school. Pick up a non-fiction book, sign up for a webinar, listen to a podcast or watch tutorials online.
For instance, Crawford took a time management workshop that had nothing to do with her profession, but got new energy from it.
“I was on fire,” she said. “It had nothing to do with coaching, but I felt like I had a fresh perspective.”