The month of January is typically synonymous with “reset”, “restart” and “resolutions”. However, this January is once again introducing more COVID-19 restrictions in certain provinces and adding more stress to our everyday lives. You may find yourself lacking motivation to get back into the spirit of your workday, especially if you had a longer holiday break. Fret not! Here are a few tips to help find motivation and push forward, even when you don’t feel like it.
- Build a morning moment
Motivation is unique to everyone. And you know what else is unique? What you do first thing in the morning. Whether you get up at 6 a.m. or 8 a.m., how you spend your morning hours can influence how you feel during the day, how motivated you are to complete tasks, and most importantly - your mindset.
Should you be a coffee drinker, a tea drinker, only water or a full breakfast type of person, it’s important to take the time that you enjoy doing one of these small things in the morning and set it aside for yourself. As per the McGill Journal of Law and Health, “Practicing mindfulness, typically through meditation in groups or alone, allows us to be fully aware of our environment and our inner thoughts, feelings, and emotions on a moment-by-moment basis, without judgment or criticism. Mindfulness can help reduce stress through working as a circuit breaker for the cycle of stressor and reaction, because it helps to counteract our unconscious reactivity to stress by bringing it to our awareness. This in turn allows us to acknowledge, but take a step back from the stress and to see it from a different perspective, rather than repressing it and allowing it to fester”.
Sitting with your morning cuppa whatever and practicing mindfulness by letting your thoughts be on how you feel, what you want to look forward to in your day, and not on what tasks you need to accomplish can also build important mental skills. According to the Mindfulness in Law Society, “practicing mindfulness cultivates many skills and mental qualities that can be helpful to those in the legal profession, including the ability to focus, concentrate, recognize and let go of distractions, manage stress and other emotions, and accept others openly, compassionately, and authentically”.
- Plan out your entire day.
Creating a guide for your work day can help establish structure and build time management skills. When your work day begins, we suggest taking 15-20 minutes to consult your calendar, jot down your tasks for the day, and look at your emails. Doing so will help you determine how many hours you have in your day to complete tasks vs. participate in meetings. By jotting down your tasks, you can designate specific hours to specific tasks, and by looking through your emails you will be able to prioritize your responses.
- Create bite-sized tasks
It’s much easier to eat 5-6 timbits than it is to eat 5-6 donuts, no? Completing a large project is daunting when you don’t know where to begin. Rather than focusing on a large task, break it into smaller tasks you can accomplish one at a time. A 2020 study conducted by Giessner, Stam, Kerschreiter, Verboon and Salama from the Rotterdam School of Management and Freie Universität, determined that work performance and satisfaction is stronger when smaller goals are pursued and completed.
- Find a motivating work playlist
In this new WFH era, you might find yourself with a quiet backdrop to your work. The silence, in lieu of a busy law office, for some can feel stagnant and unmotivating. Whether it's a general playlist you download or find on YouTube or a curated list of songs (or a podcast), including music in your work atmosphere can help you feel more relaxed when you feel unmotivated or anxious. Check out the Sounds of CiteRight playlist on Spotify - these are the tunes our team members use to get into the groove, boost their mood and find focus.
- Set a quit time
Ever heard that 4 hours is really just two 2 hours blocks, which is really just two 1 hour blocks…. ? Similar to creating bite-sized tasks, having a timeframe for your work can help you break down the hours and help you reach the end of your work day. Setting a respectable quitting time for yourself, and sticking to it most days of the week, will help you feel more relaxed in your off hours. It’s also more likely to help you perform hard in the hours that you allot for work.
P.S. The same can be said about setting or scheduling breaks throughout your day. Learn how to indulge in guilt-free time away from the demanding work life to reconnect with essential time management, relaxation, and emotional intelligence skills through the The Ontario Bar Association’s Mindful Lawyer CPD series.
As always, if you found any of these tips helpful or have some more tips you want to share with us, feel free to reach out!