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Covid-19, Motivation and Change

Much has been written to the world of Coronavirus.  Today I want to write about motivation and change in the current world situation.  This is a bit outside our normal topic area, but given the recent situation and my own experience it seemed like a worthy addition.

First off to set the scene I am writing this on the last Friday of May.  We’ve been through lockdowns since early March.  The world is beginning to open back up.  Stores are opening, restaurants in my area have limited seating, and even the local pool is now opening.

Lockdowns Have Become the Normal

Thus presents the problem.  Many of us have been working from home since March.  Others may be going back to work after a furlough.  Still others are out there looking for work.  But all of us have gone through a major change to our routines.

We’ve all gotten used to not commuting to the office on a regular basis.  Perhaps taking more breaks mid day to spend with your kids or do chores.  And now you might be on the crux of going back to the office or at least some semblance of your routine pre-Covid.

Motivation and Change as the Lockdowns Lift

That can be tough.   We probably don’t want to admit in our minds that our world has stabilized into lock downs.  But for most of us it has.  It’s important to acknowledge there is a significant amount of change to return from that.

It only takes a few repetitions for your brain to establish a new normal.  But once it has, it can be uncomfortable to change back.  I’m struggling here as well.  While I always worked from home, my life has significantly changed as well.

The Parts of My Life Covid Put On Hold

I slacked off on blog writing for example because I couldn’t get motivated to think of topics.  Now I need to get a bit back on it.   I did less of my honey do list because I focused on keeping our wonderful children from burning down the house and taking themselves out of this world.  That excuse rationale is now disappearing and I need to get back on it.

Motivation and Change Based On Core Values

So how do you overcome those feelings of not wanting to change.  Well if I were telling you how to convince others to change, as I do in my day job, I’d push you to find something they value and orient the change to that.   Quite honestly, the same can be said for yourself.

IE don’t think about changing back to your old norm, or the new norm, as a task you are just doing because you have too.  (Even though you might).  Think about it in terms of the things you value that it may return to your life.

Commute back?  Think about that coffee shop you frequent on the drive in that you haven’t seen for a month.   Back in the office?  Well if you have kids you might think about finally having some uninterrupted time to think about work or even other things.

In my case with the blog, I’m thinking about the opportunity to engage with each of you on new topics I may have yet to explore.    I’m also thinking about how many great fruits and vegetables I’ll get to eat if I just finish weeding and mulching the yard.

Pace Yourself For Optimal Motivation and Change

I’m actually off next week.  Part of my employers Coronavirus economic response is to force everyone to take some time off.  I’m looking forward to using a big part of that time to get some of these things done I have been procrastinating… But..

That brings me to my other bit of advice.  We all have our limits on the amount of change we can absorb at a time.  When I go in and do a process redesign for a group of people, sometimes I will take a sub optimal design simply because I realize changing too many things at once will result in failure.  The reality is, people can only process so much change at a time.

So my second recommendation is to consider taking some time off as we go to the new normal.  At the very least stagger your re-entry into society.  Say you are going back to working in the office.  Go in once or twice a week for the first few weeks until you adapt.  Going out to eat?  Don’t do it every night, but perhaps adjust in a single visit that first week while you adapt back.  

Don’t Try to Rush Change

 I don’t recommend a pull off the band aide change approach.  I see that often for things like new weight loss schemes or financial plans.  The reality is, they don’t work.  Why?  Because if you take too much pain or change at once it becomes a period in your mind that you just want to get out of, rather then a habit to be maintained.  Ease into it, and try to make new processes and habits as you go.

For this blog I will be doing just that.  Starting with this post and easing back into a two post a week writing rhythm (but a one post a week posting rhythm). For my honey do list, I will knock out the weeding of some areas, but I’m not going to work so hard on week one I can’t stand. Pace yourself.  The new norm, and sadly the partial unlock, will probably be with us for another year. There is no point in burning yourself out of motivation by trying to speed adapt.

Seek Support from Others To Maintain Motivation and Change

The final piece of advice I have to you is seek support.  Your friends, loved ones, and everyone else are also adapting back to this new situation.  We’re all feeling the stress.  Talk about it with others.  Complain about it, but also talk about how you are attacking it.  And remember to joke about it with others too.

Human beings are social animals.  Knowing you are not alone can help along the way to adapting to change and the new normal we are all entering.

How are you adapting as things open back up from coronavirus?  

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