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  • Stephanie Haynes

Building Motivation in the Now Normal of Covid-19

The "wait and see" method may work for Covid-19, but it's a sure-fire killer to motivation.

Let me start with a little story... I promise you will learn a lot about motivation from it.

For almost as long as we have been in this pandemic, I have been in pain. I fell and hurt my shoulder back in February and, because I was not able to get the help I needed (and, let’s be honest, I put it off too), I now have a frozen shoulder that needs to be “defrosted” before any other healing measures can be discussed. This adds another 4-6 weeks of pain as I work through physical therapy.

After I was first hurt, I chose to wait and see if anything would get better. It didn’t. In fact it got worse. And, the longer I waited, the less my motivation was to actually deal with the issue.

This same sort of "wait and see" dilemma can happen anytime we are facing an unknown and cause a motivation meltdown.

We decide to put something off or believe we have plenty of time to "deal with that" or choose to look around and see everything else that needs to get done first in order to avoid doing something we aren't all that excited to do in the first place. This causes motivation meltdown and stalls our progress.

How does this derail our motivation?

It allows fear to creep in. If we don't know how to do something, and avoid starting, we start entertaining thoughts about how we don't know what we are doing. These thoughts turn into procrastinating behaviors that limit motivation and before we know it, we are weeks or even months down the road with nothing to show for it.

It allows excuses to build up. We rationalize with ourselves that there are more important things to do, or other projects that should happen first, or even that we don't have the time yet. As we rationalize, we put off, again, and our motivation to move forward wanes.

Motivation is also affected by external factors, like a Covid-19 crisis.

We are facing new unknowns every single day. Things we once had control over, like going to work every day, or knowing our kids would be in school, are no longer within our control.

This "now normal" can dramatically affect our motivation for even the work tasks we usually handle easily. A "normal" work week no longer exists. Regular projects and routines to our work days are subjected to constant, unexpected change as we face crisis schooling, working from home and strategizing for basic necessities like toilet paper.

So, how do we build and maintain motivation to continue moving forward in the face of this "Now Normal"?

1. Don't wait. When we choose to wait for things to align the way we are comfortable with we are creating a vortex of procrastination that will take more time and effort to come out of. My frozen shoulder is proof of that.

2. Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize. Choose to build a timeline for your day based on your values. Using our time based on our values creates built-in motivation because we are doing things we innately feel are important.

3. Set time limits. One of the best motivational factors is time. Setting time limits forces us to work more efficiently, choosing the most important tasks to complete first. Our motivation increases as we build up momentum from completing those tasks.

4. Limit Distractions. Distractions steal momentum and disrupt our motivation to continue. Close your office door. Turn off notifications on your computer and phone. Set those time limits. When distractions do come (and they will) take a moment to refocus and start again.

Putting off developing motivation will keep us all stuck.

We are now about 10 weeks into living with this pandemic. No one knows for sure when life will develop a normal routine again. We are all a little stuck in that uncertainty.

Taking ONE step is all we need though to get unstuck from the vortex of procrastination and move forward.


May you find the courage and determination to take that step for yourself today.

Join the Conversation: How are you working to build motivation in the face of this "now normal" we are in?

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Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina
stephanie@stephaniehaynes.net
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