Covid-19 – Staying motivated when the work you’re doing has changed
by Adrian Holmes /3 min read
As I’ve been grappling with all the changes Covid-19 has brought to my work and home life over the past couple of weeks, I have noticed myself having times of feeling a bit lost and not as purposeful or effective.
I think this is due to the combination of trying to work with my (almost) 3 year old at my feet popping up every few minutes to close my laptop and declare, “it’s playtime now”, and the change in the type of work I’m doing. This has included a move to phone and online counselling, as well as more project work for what may be around the corner for us as human service workers at SKATTLE.
The other night I was talking to my husband about this feeling of not being as effective and missing face-to-face counselling work. He was helpful in reminding me that Covid-19 is actually changing the purpose of our work for the time being, whether we like it or not!
As well as my work with SKATTLE, we run a structural landscaping business and my husband has been subcontracting himself and our employee out to other builders to fill in gaps where his own work has been cancelled or postponed due to Covid-19.
He made this comment about how what is keeping him motivated in doing this less satisfying sub-contracting work at the moment is that “it’s providing income to two families”.
This comment pulled me out of my moment of feeling a bit ‘stagnant’, and is something I’ve held on to since to keep propelling me forward with the work I actually can focus on and get done during this time.
It’s helped me realise just how much we are experiencing a different time where life isn’t so much about feeling ‘self-actualised’ (at the top of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs!) but rather closer to the bottom where we just need to concentrate on meeting each other’s health and safety needs first and foremost in our communities.
We are so used to being purposeful beings and working hard to do ‘the next thing’ that out of habit you might be finding yourself, like me and many friends I’ve spoken to, feeling like your ‘real work’ or ‘preferred work’ is on hold.
So how are you keeping yourself moving forward with work you can or must do? We would love to know!
What I’ve noticed has helped me is:
- Holding onto conversations like the one I had with my husband the other night to remind myself that this is a time to look after our more immediate needs of income, health and safety and be ok with just getting through each day with some level of purpose and intention.
- Having regular conversations with colleagues, friends and family about their experiences. I have found these conversations to be a source of comfort and offer new ideas of what is still possible during this time.
- Thinking about important people in my life who’s stories represent a certain ‘strength’ in ‘keeping on keeping on’ in the toughest of times, as I have found their stories transport that bit of ‘strength’ I might need in different moments.
Just some thoughts I wanted to share in case you or your colleagues are experiencing similar moments. Hopefully this offers some ideas that might help you make sense of the work you’re doing at the moment! Please also enjoy this video interview I did with a friend recently that relates well to this blog post – hope you get lots out of it!
Article written by counsellor Alex Amiet