Using Lockdown to Knuckle Down
The coronavirus crisis has disrupted ordinary life and daily routines for most of us. Time has changed all significance, lost its shape and may seem to be missing its usual meaning. Maybe we should take the opportunity to ponder some deeper questions?
Some have channelled their energies into reading great works of literature, finally penned that novel they know they have inside them, sewn scrubs for NHS staff or baked sourdough or banana bread.
All commendable activities. But with normal existence on hold, could the lockdown also be worth using to contemplate some deeper questions?
How about thinking long and hard about what truly motivates you, for example? This is a more valuable use of time than you may think. Those who genuinely understand what drives them are generally ideally placed to make decisions in the best interests of their happiness and wellbeing.
And it’s surprising how many people are vague about this when asked, despite understanding that motivation is a requirement for leading a fulfilled, effective life.
Crucially, if self-motivation is a discipline you can master now, during these most challenging of times, it’s a skill you’ll always have. You should find that you can then motivate yourself even when faced with a sometimes repetitive, dull or not especially appealing task (as, let’s face it, revision can sometimes seem to all of us).
Often, the obvious goals can initially seem materialistic, whether that’s money; social media fame and followers; or buying more and more things – none of which we really need.
But you’re far more likely to feel motivated, energised and happy if you honour your driving forces, and if your key human needs (which all of us feel) are met – needs such as achievement, belonging, connection and purpose.
Try thinking about this over the next few weeks as lockdown continues. What really drives you? Is it independence, freedom, community, family, competition, fairness? Many of us feel galvanised by all these things to some degree, at one time or another, but there’s usually a single dominating force, and it makes sense to know what that is.With normal existence on hold, could the lockdown also be worth using to contemplate some deeper questions? Click To Tweet
Questions to Ask Yourself
If you’re not sure what drives you, here are two key questions you could try to answer.
The first is, if you were a desert island castaway, what one object would you most want to have with you? For example, if you said mobile phone, perhaps communication drives you most.
The second question is what was the last thing that made you furious, even if ultimately that thing wasn’t so important? Did someone barge in front of you in a queue last week, for example? If so, perhaps fairness is the value you prioritise.
Spend a week noting in a diary what has motivated or demotivated you each day. Or think about the times in the past when you’ve felt most highly motivated and try to work out why that was.
Another trick is to jot down a list of potential motivating factors and rank their importance to you.
Matching Motivations to Tasks
Finally, when you have identified your driving force(s), match the task to which you’re least looking forward to whatever you’ve identified as being one of your major motivations. Competitive? Time yourself doing an old exam paper and see if you can beat your ‘personal best’. Sociable? Create a study group with peers (probably online for the foreseeable future). Keen to make a difference? Try to find someone else struggling with a topic that you feel you’ve ‘got’ and then have a go at explaining it to them.
Use the suspended routine to become fully aware of what pushes you, and use this information in your study, both now and on that eagerly awaited day when we’re tasked with returning to normal. Whatever that is.