If you find yourself lacking focus and motivation to work lately, you’re not alone. The coronavirus pandemic has forced millions of American professionals and business owners to work from home. Dealing with the sudden changes in the way we live, work, and do business can take a toll on our physical and mental health. But what exactly are the things that demotivate us to work nowadays?
The bad side of working from home
Working from home means no tiring commute, more home-cooked meals, and more time to relax after shift. But it also comes with a few downsides, such as a lack of team spirit and micromanagement.
Your coworkers help set the energy in the office, and they can also create a “contagion effect.” If we see them enjoying something we don’t like doing, it can change our attitude towards it. That’s why some employees with flexible work arrangements used to go to coffee shops to work. The fact that they saw other people reading or working was enough to encourage them to finish their project. But now that it isn’t safe to go to the office and that many cafés are closed, we lose that cooperative team spirit.
If you’re stuck under a micromanager while working from home, your-boss-hanging-over-your-shoulder can easily be replaced with constant check-ins, extra layers of approval, and changing demands. These behaviors can create seeds of doubt, leaving you feeling tired, frustrated, and demotivated.
Plus, outside our work-from-home setups, there’s a global crisis that further dampens our spirits.
Feeling anxious and more amidst a pandemic
It is no surprise that you feel anxious about yourself or loved ones catching the virus or worry about the stability of your job or business. Overwhelmed by anxiety, you find it difficult to focus on work. What happens in your body is it goes into a fight-or-flight mode as it senses a threat. It then pumps out adrenaline and noradrenaline; either can take energy away from that part of your brain that thinks logically.
Besides anxiety, in a global crisis, we also find ourselves in some form of an identity crisis. We struggle to find a meaning or purpose to our lives, both in what we do at work and where we will be in the future. For instance, a straight-A male student who’s an active member of a university organization suddenly finds himself sitting listlessly at home. Who is he now that his achieving trait has gone? The same goes for you. Who are you as a homeworker? What’s the purpose of continually hitting your quota when you’re aware that the economic situation in a pandemic makes it unlikely for anyone to move up the career ladder? These questions can cause you to lose motivation towards completing tasks at hand.
With external motivations dipping these days, it’s crucial to figure out our motivators.
Find out your motivators
Delve into what’s personally gratifying that can compel you to be productive amidst a crisis. Is it curiosity or a chance to learn something new? Or is it a personal reward system? Getting excited about a product delivery to your home or private PO box rental can be enough to increase your motivation to perform well at work.
It depends on the task or the nature of your work or business. But personal motivators can help you get past external motivations—praise, promotion, or quick business growth—to find purpose, focus, and drive. Eventually, it will get more manageable for you to complete tasks and survive one workweek after another.