Motivation is key

How many times in your working career have you heard the phrase ‘We don’t save lives’? For most of you I can imagine it’s a lot, but in my wife’s working environment this is the pinnacle of what she does. My wife, Jess, is a nurse working on the frontline battling COVID-19 and as much as I’d love to be writing a blog focused on the efforts that Jess (along with many others) puts into saving lives, I wanted to share my thoughts and tips on how those of us staying home can all keep motivated during this time so it gives the people we care for one less thing to worry about.

In my opinion staying motivated is essential to keeping a healthy, active mind-set and is very important, especially when the majority of us find ourselves in one of the many different forms of isolation. For some it’s with family, with children, with housemates or from my own perspective it’s on your own (for most of the time) as my partner is in such high demand at the hospital. From this self-isolation perspective, I’ve had to amend and change my behaviour in order to stay motivated, so by sharing this I hope those that are in need of advice find this blog useful.

Normal working day

Your morning routine is essential and you should stick to it as much as possible. Get up, shower, put your office attire on (meaning no dressing gowns!) and stick to it. By now I’m sure you’ve all skipped this at least once over the past few weeks and have felt sluggish or lethargic, which has impacted your energy levels and work output as the day has progressed. It sets up your day and is important we get off to a good start.

On occasion, I’ve put my gym gear on in the morning if I know I want to have a lunchtime workout. I’m not suggesting you sit there in your skin tight shorts and vest top but by wearing more suitable gym attire I’ve found my desire to physically get up and go to the front room for a Joe Wicks workout or weight training session has increased.

By already being physically prepared it helps me stay motivated for the upcoming workout. We all know the importance of regular exercise to help us feel more energized and ready to tackle the world as our endorphins have boosted our physical energy level, not to mention how it can impact your mood positively. If a home workout isn’t possible, by sticking to your daily routine and getting dressed for a day in the office I’ve found that my desire to go outside for a walk has greatly increased vs. if I was in more casual attire, so another reason to stick to your routine.

A subtle change of behaviour is to ensure you’re not sitting in the same spot every day. Hot-desking can be adopted for home working and should be encouraged. Mix it up, sit at the kitchen breakfast bar, dining room table, outside in the garden if it’s a nice day but do not sit in bed and try to avoid the sofa. By mixing up your working environment, you’ll have a slightly different surrounding which can help you stay focussed, but this should also extend to where you eat your breakfast, lunch and dinner. Change is good and I’m finding it helps.

Human contact is great for motivation. Try to get at least 2 calls in a day with work colleagues (but not too many as you still need to leave time for work output) and if you can schedule them over the course of the day i.e. morning and afternoon, then it will provide you focus on projects and give you something new to think about at different points of the day. It could be as simple as a daily check in or team catch up to a live brief.

We’re also very lucky to have the wonderful Mental Health First Aiders at Total Media who we are able to call if we need to voice any worries or concerns, or just need someone to chat to. If you’re not exercising over lunch then you should try to get some face time with friends, WhatsApp have a great 4 way video call feature.

However, the negative side is that as a result of more screen time with the lack of commuting and travel, headaches are creeping in more often that I’d like. Not only does this affect your motivation but more importantly, your health. By giving yourself breaks from the screen/ phone and putting your laptop away during lunch and after a day’s work, this helps to tone down the severity and gives you the break you all deserve. I really encourage you do this; it will give you some head space back too.

Outside of working hours

Outside of working hours it is important to be motivated to keep yourself active. Remove yourself from the sofa as there are some good things to try, especially with the bank holiday coming up. Ones I’ve found the most interesting but not all actioned by me are:

  1. Cooking something out of your comfort zone (if from scratch, is a good time filler)
  2. Learning a new language,
  3. Learning how to play a musical instrument,
  4. Playing board games (both virtually with family or from home)
  5. Sprucing up the garden or some home DIY (if you have the tools and materials)
  6. Setting up an online games with friends
  7. Hosting online quizzes (to get that online pub atmosphere)
  8. Going on Houseparty to spend some time with friends (if you don’t believe they’ve hacked you).

Keep it up

Whilst my experiences and methods to keep myself motivated aren’t rocket science, we can forget to apply these and can settle into a negative routine, which as time goes on will be harder to remove yourself from. As we settle into home working life we should try to keep up the motivation to be active and positive where possible.

Remember, this isn’t forever, there will be an end but the above will not only benefit you but others you interact with and in your household.

John Dobbs - International account director

Author:John Dobbs - International account director

Chelsea fan, superstar DJ (he wishes) and gym enthusiast who always has a plan of action... did someone mention next steps?