How to Stay Motivated During the COVID-19 Pandemic
- Written by Julian Kunz - IMBA Student - Germany
- IMBA Student Blog
During this difficult time living through a pandemic on an unprecedented scale, everyone is facing day-to-day issues with handling everyday life, getting tasks done, and preventing procrastination. The motivation that usually comes from the anticipation of certain things like meeting with friends for dinner in a restaurant or weekend trips is impossible in the current situation. Even watching your favorite club's soccer game, a date in a bar, vacation planning, or strolling through shops in the city center, which used to be a festive highlight in weekly planning, are hardly possible. Habits and regular daily routines can often become obstacles in adapting to changes and new things.
Still, habits can be essential for us to master our everyday tasks efficiently and with motivation. Specifically, while studying, where no daily schedule exists and motivation and internal strength play a significant role. Moreover, fears and questions arise as the study process changes too. The anticipation of "in-person" classes or the possibility of going abroad is no longer a given. Does the perception of the study content change? Do I experience the same from online classes as I do from "in-person” classes? How does my outcome change as it is currently impossible to discuss the cases together in the classroom? These thoughts can further inhibit motivation and create a sense of unattainability for the tasks ahead.
However, what has helped me to reclaim my productivity is accepting the situation as it is and building a new everyday life around it. Again, for me, the most important action was catching up with current opportunities and setting up a roadmap, including milestones and a time frame, for my personal goals. To illustrate the journey's progress, including the milestones, I wrote it down and drew a map. I tried to create new habits around this timetable and reschedule my everyday life—for example, with cooking sessions on the weekend, home workouts, or having virtual meetups with friends or student colleagues. Try to keep mostly fixed appointments instead of being spontaneous. Anticipation and a fixed schedule can help prevent procrastination. Instead of avoiding work that can make you feel deflated and often leads to feeling even more emotionally drained, it is better to tackle the task and get those assignments done. Do not blame yourself for procrastinating. Instead, it’s best to acknowledge your procrastination and limit the time you spend doing it. Personally, I attempt to use the time I’m “procrastinating” for other interests and research instead of spending it uselessly.
Furthermore, you must try to understand yourself and your studying habits. As we are all prone to pleasant experiences, try to make your study experience as attractive as possible for you personally. In my case, it helps me to visualize myself starting to work. The hardest part is the beginning, to actually sit down and start to work, but after around 20 minutes, I often feel very focused and progress very quickly and efficiently. It is also essential to prioritize and structure my assigned tasks instead of trying to multitask. I try to share my progress with other close student colleagues and discuss problems or questions I might have. This can also help you become more engaged and understand new perspectives. Overall, reaching out to others and scheduling meetings with them helped me become more in the flow of progress and setting timelines. All in all, I recommend trying to find new habits, reschedule and restructure your everyday life during the pandemic and avoid negative thoughts that can easily make you upset. When I started trying to get out of the procrastinating comfort zone, it led me to face the bigger picture with my personal and professional goals.