A confession: Last week I suffered from a temporary, but severe case of CBA*
(Can’t Be Ars*d)
The week started OK. But by Thursday morning all my motivation had melted away.
My daughter was still on her Easter break. So it was really easy to stay in bed a little longer, not shave, eat crap, and find plenty of distractions from my laptop (when you choose to stack the dishwasher and put the washing on, instead of reading your emails, you know you’re procrastinating 🤣).
Reading back some of my entries in my MSP Marketing Facebook group over the last 6 weeks, I could see this has happened to me a couple of times since lockdown started.
That shocked me. For decades, unless ill, I’ve rarely known myself to be anything other than highly motivated, and full of energy and drive.
But it seems I’m not alone. A few of my MSP clients have revealed their drive has gone this week.
One in particular reached out to me on email. He’s normally a very motivated person, and a huge action taker.
He wrote: “What would you recommend for a good kick up the backside? I’ve been struggling with motivating myself for the past couple of days and don’t want to fall into the trap of feeling this way every day.”
Having slept on this, I think there are three things all of us should be doing to keep ourselves motivated right now.
1) Maintain weekday structure
I’m quite lucky living with a 9-year-old. Because she has to be ready for school by 9.10am every day. And we made an agreement early on that that means dressed, shower/wee/teeth/breakfast done, etc. Both of us.
So I’ve been getting up early as usual (6am rather than my normal 5am) to get some work done before she’s up at 7.30am. And then we’re both focused on breakfast and having some fun before the day starts at 9.10am.
Lunch is the same time each day. And I also go for a long run every evening, which bookends the day. I’ve also made sure I shave at least 3 times a week so I feel more presentable for work, and am keeping totally on top of all the usual daily household jobs.
This structure has been critical for me in maintaining some level of weekday normality. It’s getting slightly monotonous, but our brains want and demand structure.
ACTION: Ask how you can put in place a reliable daily structure for your current lifestyle. Can you help your family maintain a daily structure too?
2) Trust your productivity system
My all-time favourite productivity software is ToDoist, and I’ve doubled down on relying on it. Because I know that the more aware I am of what I want to achieve in a day, the more motivated I am to do it.
Taking that one step further, my team and I have started using Basecamp 3 project management software to keep us on track. We’ve started tackling some really meaty projects, and all of us have utter confidence where those projects are, and that they will be delivered. Great software.
Whatever software you use, getting highly organised and then relying heavily on that software means your brain knows what needs to be done. And when they know there is work to be done, brains are very motivated to get those things done.
ACTION: Pick some productivity software you love. Get organised. And stay organised every day. Finishing your day by organising what needs to be done the next day is highly recommended.
3) Take days off. And have a holiday
I only realised this week that I didn’t have a single weekday off during the Easter break.
Our original plan was to go to the seaside for a week. Of course, that had to be scrapped. And instead I sat at home and worked right through the two week school Easter holidays.
OK, I’m not working weekends. But also not getting that lovely mental break you get from several days off.
Same for you?
We can’t go anywhere at the moment, which is fine. But we can still take a holiday, can’t we?
It’s a bank holiday here in the UK a week on Friday. I’m going to take off the following Monday as well, and give myself a 4 day break.
I’m also going to give myself at least a half day off a week, if not a full day off when I can.
And to make sure I don’t gravitate back to work stuff in the absence of anything else to do, perhaps it’s time for me to tackle an exciting project I’ve been thinking about for some time.
ACTION: Find a way to give yourself a holiday or at least a regular day off (on top of the weekend). Then put it in your diary and stick to it. Remember you can have a day off, even if your kids are still home schooling. A lockdown day off means avoiding usual work and doing something different instead.