2022 is well underway but with depressing news of the pandemic’s continued impact on all our lives, getting and staying motivated is proving difficult for many people. If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. I for one am also struggling with my level of concentration and ability to focus on tasks, no matter what they are. From doing the housework to getting my writing and illustration projects done, to taking care of our daily business accounts and keeping up with home economics.

Thank goodness I have a calendar set up to send me alerts and reminders for when bills need to be paid or specific chores need to be done or I’d be lost. It acts as a prod – a kind of motivator I can’t ignore, though it’s still not really a “motivating” factor. That said, I’ve tried to come up with some other tips to help keep me going which you may find helpful in your case too.

1. Cut Yourself & Others Some Slack

I don’t know anyone who isn’t currently dealing with stress, sadness, anxiety, uncertainty, and at times, feelings of helplessness. After what looked like a return to our normal outlets to assuage these kinds of emotions and conditions, they are once again unavailable or difficult to access.

Instead of fighting these constraints, we just need to take a break and lower our expectations of ‘getting it all done’. Some stuff must be done on time, the rest can wait.

2. Create Your Own Work “Motivation Mission”

Motivation is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as:

  • the act or process of giving someone a reason for doing something
  • the act or process of motivating someone
  • the condition of being eager to act or work
  • the condition of being motivated
  • a force or influence that causes someone to do something

When it comes to work (of any kind), it’s often a good idea to take a few minutes every day to think about and remind yourself how the work you do actually makes a difference – to your employer, to your children and family, to your colleagues, clients and most especially, to you.

For example, ask yourself a few pointed questions if you have doubts as in: How does my work or what I do…

  • fulfill the mission of the company or business I work for?
  • contribute – within the context of my job – to serving clients, customers, or others (for example patients if in the medical field) to the best of my ability?
  • help me to grow as a person and a professional?
  • impact the greater community – along with volunteerism, social consciousness, etc.?
  • aid me in contributing to my family’s and my own personal wellbeing?

Once you come up with some inspirational words that answer these kinds of questions, you can then turn them into your own motivational mission statement about why and maybe for whom you’re working and what you aim to achieve.

My reasons are for the cognitive, creative, financial, social/relationship and spiritual rewards that come with my efforts to stay fully engaged in my life and work.

3. The Role of Willpower

Willpower is synonymous with mental fortitude. In other words, you use willpower to overcome obstacles in order to succeed – to get work or a job done or to fulfill other goals. Our daily amount of willpower may well be in limited supply at times, so keep that fact in mind and pre-plan your day ahead of time by prioritizing what you want to achieve.

It may mean you need to put some tasks on the back burner or break big jobs down into manageable pieces. A list or calendar will help you stay focused. Schedule work you enjoy doing for the end of the day when your willpower may be waning.

4. Remember to Take Periodic Breaks from Tech & the World

This often means turning off technology. Because most of us have access to the internet and television – think 24/7 news, etc. – we are bombarded with demotivating news and views during our work hours and our leisure time. Media “noise” is often distracting, destructive and self-defeating.

It’s too easy to check on the latest COVID stats or get immersed in social media exchanges and discussions. To that point, there are some clever apps available online which you can utilise to thwart the temptation to be constantly “checking in.”

For instance, consider this site for apps to help curb your addiction to your smartphone. If you really want a neat app to help you stay focused at work or in other situations, Forest is one that rewards you and the environment when you take a break from your devices.

But Most of All, Be Kind to Yourself

In conclusion I find that my motivation for doing tasks both pleasant and unpleasant, workwise or domestic chore-wise, usually kicks in after I’ve gotten started, not prior to getting down to the task at hand. It’s the starting that is most important and that’s where developing your willpower will help you succeed. It may take baby steps to get going some days and other days you’ll jump right in.

We’ve all faced unprecedented levels of stress and distraction in the past two years and this year will probably be not much different, but we can still accomplish meaningful work one step at a time.

My attitude is: do what you can to stay motivated. These are trying times for the majority of us, so be kind to yourself.