Five ways to motivate yourself in this time of uncertainty

IPA CPD Consultant Gwyn March gives her top tips for working from home during the Coronavirus outbreak.

How can we all stay motivated and positive during uncertain times? IPA CPD Consultant Gwyn March gives her five top tips for working from home during the Coronavirus outbreak.

During this time of extended working from home and the motivational difficulties that may come with it, we can learn a great deal from those who have studied positive psychology, resilience building and motivation theory.

With that said, here are five great ways to help you stay motivated.

1. Hot food

Antarctic explorer Shackleton learned a lot from working with Captain Scott, including to always have enough food and ideally make it hot. Humans are comforted by breaks for hot food - try porridge over cornflakes tomorrow. Some foods and vitamins are known to help your mood, for example Vitamin D (mushrooms), dark chocolate, bananas. If you find yourself failing to concentrate, take breaks, drink more water, get more iron in your diet

2. Routine

The most resilient among us - whom psychologists call ‘The Hardy’ – have 'good daily habits’' They eat regular meals, take breaks, never skip exercise, make sure they do important personal things.

3. Perspective

People find it easier to remember bad things than good. Harvard Professor Shawn Achor discovered that half of the students were unhappy – they focused on stress, workload, exams, on no longer being top of the class.

The Mind is in its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.

John Milton

So keep a 'gratitude diary’' It is early as I type this but the following positive things have already happened:

  • Nice man collected my car for service
  • Son made me cuppa
  • I didn’t look too bad on that Zoom webcam…

If you feel unmotivated call the best ‘radiator’ you know. If bad thoughts intervene find a way to distract yourself maybe even by yelling 'STOP'.

'The Hardy' react to little blows by refusing to get hostile and instead always looking for the silver lining even in the corona virus: less pollution, less food poisoning, proof that home working can work.

4. Sleep/Exercise

You may be saving two hours commuting – give one to sleep and one to exercise. Henry Ford set the working week at 40 hours because after people had worked for eight hours they started to get tired and make costly mistakes. All the higher primates sleep for 10 hours – you might not get that but as Arianna Huffington says in Thrive, any increase will help your wellbeing, concentration, motivation and productivity.

Exercise is great – a serotonin buzz, you can think more clearly, you’ll live longer. How can you get some? If you have a garden run round it and do some weeding. If stuck in a flat: classes on the TV and online on everything from tai chi to Zumba and yoga.

5. Keep doing everything you can that you enjoy

Is a good time to crack skills that you have been poor at? As the maxim says 'Never teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and it annoys the pig.'

Use your time better and improve on things you are already good at so you become sublime, which is much more motivating. If you are good at programmatic but want to be better, find some advanced learning. Also, write a list of things you enjoy and how you can keep doing them. I enjoy sharing learning and being smug, so I will keep doing that but more online.

Gwyn March is the IPA's CPD Consultant runs a number of our courses and our Training Forum. View a full list of IPA courses and qualifications or get in touch on by emailing learning@ipa.co.uk

Find out how the IPA can help you during the COVID-19 outbreak
Last updated 02 June 2020