Laura Leuiller talks about regaining motivation and happiness at work after a year of the ongoing pandemic. Remote working in lockdown can feel lonely and monotonous. However, Laura suggests we make the most of this situation and channel it towards improving our motivation levels.
It’s fair to say the world has had enough. Enough of working remotely. Enough of being estranged from friends and family. Enough of being furloughed. Enough of pretty much everything. The pandemic has upended every aspect of modern life. It’s been a rollercoaster of a ride over the past year as we’ve battled with constant uncertainty, lockdowns, and lack of social contact. Amidst all of this, we’ve still been expected to work, and that’s if we’re lucky enough to have a job.
So how can we stay motivated right now, 13 months into a pandemic with no concrete end in sight?
I’m going to share with you my top 5 tips to boost your motivation and get your career mojo back, even if right now you are really not feeling work.
But before you read on, remember this: it is totally natural and normal to feel less motivated right now. Everything has changed, what we’re experiencing right now is nothing we’ve experienced before. Give yourself some grace and practice self-acceptance if you’re not feeling as productive and inspired as you did a year ago. No one can be productive and motivated 24—7, especially in a pandemic!
Tip #1: Set Goals
It’s hard to be motivated if you don’t know what you want to achieve. Set tangible goals every day, however small. Congratulate yourself when you achieve them. Take time to celebrate the small wins.
Looking beyond the everyday, think about where you want to go in your career. What’s your next step? Do you want to make a career pivot? Do you want to land a promotion at your current company? If you’re unemployed, what do you want your new job to be?
The economy will bounce back and the pandemic will end. Focus on figuring out what you want to achieve next in your career, and then reverse engineer the process. Work out the skills and experiences you need to continue your career growth and realise your career objectives.
Tip #2: Learn Something New
Taking an online course to strengthen your current skills or learning new ones is a great way to set yourself up for future career opportunities. Check out websites such as LinkedIn learning, Udemy, Alison, or Coursera. There are courses for almost everything. Most of which are free or low cost: presentation skills, digital marketing, and corporate sustainability. Choose something that you’ll enjoy, and that supports your career objectives.
Up-skilling can make you a more attractive candidate to land your next career-defining role or a promotion at your current company. You’ll be able to show employers you made productive use of your time and were proactive about your development during the pandemic. This won’t go unnoticed when the economy recovers and companies look to expand their teams.
Another easy way to keep learning and developing is to dig into some relevant podcasts, books, and articles about career development. Start consuming content that will help you learn specific skills important to your career — even if it’s just for 5 minutes a day.
Tip #3: Create Your Own Opportunities
Think about what projects your manager or senior leadership are working on that you’d love to get involved in. Maybe your company recently launched an initiative in response to mental health and employee well-being, or a diversity initiative in response to the Black Lives Matter movement. If you’d like to increase your awareness of these topics and strengthen particular skills, then be the first to volunteer!
Managers will note your enthusiasm to take on more responsibility, which will help you progress in your career. It’s also an opportunity to make new connections in the company. Learn about a different part of the business and develop new competencies.
If nothing interesting is happening, get creative and pitch your own idea. Have a think about how you could improve your company. You could suggest a new programme to fill a certain gap or put forward ideas to streamline current processes. Do keep in mind that due to the economic downturn we’re experiencing, budgets are tight — so make sure your suggestions aren’t over the top expensive.
Identifying problems and being able to come up with solutions is a highly sought-after skill in today’s workplaces. By doing this management will see you as someone who is keen and capable of more responsibility. You can always use this as powerful storytelling content for when you are required to talk about your career achievements. For instance, in cover letters, future job interviews, and when you ask for a promotion or raise.
You could also put forward a proposal that will enable you to develop skills you (and your colleagues) need, and that is also in line with the company culture. Examples could be online yoga classes or language lessons.
Tip #4: Find Joy In The Everyday
Working from home definitely has its perks. There’s no commute, hours are flexible, and you’re probably saving money by not buying that meal deal from Prêt every day.
On the flip side, working from home has blurred boundaries between work and home life. Many people are consequently working longer hours and mental health is suffering.
To reboot that motivation, make it your mission to find joy every day. In the morning, try writing down 3 things that would make your day good. It could be going out for a walk at lunchtime, attending an exercise class (online), or taking a long bath after your working day. Whatever it is, write it down. And make it happen.
Tip #5: Change Your Routine
When monotony sets in, it’s important to create change for yourself. Aim to change one thing about your routine every day. It doesn’t have to be huge. Try taking a different route on your daily walk, or experimenting with a different form of exercise at a different time of the day. These small acts of change will mean your routine is adapted so that every day isn’t exactly the same.
Focus on incorporating these 5 tips daily and you’ll be on the right path to getting your career mojo back in no time!
Laura Leuillier is a former HR professional, successful entrepreneur, and expert in career development. Through her company Project Dialogue, she’s on a mission to help young professionals from all over the world build meaningful, high impact and successful careers.