• Ontario Tech Women in Business

Finding Your Motivation in a Virtual Environment

Updated: Feb 9

Do you find yourself dreading opening your laptop? Potentially the thought of going to work remotely makes you want to crawl back into bed. Maybe the classic “I am going to drop out” thought runs through your mind for the fourth time this week.

Ten months ago, the lives of students across the globe changed forever. Suddenly, our in-class lectures were replaced with Zoom calls. The lunchtime hangs out with friends was replaced with Facebook chats. Some of us might find this time relaxing. Maybe you thrive in your home and hope never to go back to in-person learning/working. Or maybe, this past year has been a huge learning curve for you.

I know for me, the virtual environment has been less than enjoyable. Despite the new opportunities we have such as connecting with people around the world, from our laptops, or being able to make lunch from your kitchen every day, virtual learning has had its ups and downs. However, the ‘Zoom fatigue’ is very real. With less time with people, less time outside, and more time in front of a screen, I often find myself tired and unmotivated.

It seems like I often wonder when things will go back to ‘in person’ (this seems to be the common phrase). The weeks quickly turned into months and soon it will turn into a year. This has led me to reflect on how we can find our motivation in a constant virtual environment? Here is what I have learned

Separate Your ‘Work’ and ‘Life”

Literally, separate the two environments. If you do your work in areas that you usually relax in, it might leave you feeling anxious during your downtime. I have struggled with the consistent fear that I always have something to do. Recently, I have forced myself to only do work at my desk. This way, at the end of the day, I can turn off the laptop and actually enjoy my time away from school and work.

This might not be possible for some people. If you are confined to your bedroom all day, this might be difficult. See if you can get a table, desk, or work area somewhere else in your home or in a corner of your room! This will help prevent the dreaded burnout and help with ‘work-life balance’ that might seem difficult when working remotely.

Find What Motivates You

People are motivated by different things. The big motivators are put into two main categories; intrinsic and extrinsic factors.

  • Extrinsic motivation: Performing a task for the reward. For example, studying for an exam to get the reward of an A.

  • Intrinsic motivation: Performing a task for your own sake. For example, studying for an exam so you can learn the information

Once you identify what motivates you, you can use this to your advantage! If you are often extrinsically motivated, create very tangible rewards for yourself for putting in the extra effort. In order to motivate yourself intrinsically, you usually have to enjoy the world you’re doing. Start off with the harder tasks when you have more energy and then when you get to the tasks you enjoy doing, you won’t need as much motivation.

Reward Yourself

Not everyone thrives in a ‘constant working’ environment. Most of us need times of relaxation to refresh our brain. I find a good tactic that works for me, is by rewarding myself after completing a task. For example, I will watch a youtube video or go for a walk after reading a chapter of my course. This way, I have something to look forward to when I am done with my task and it leaves me refreshed.

What are some ways that YOU motivate yourself?

Written by Hannah Oegema

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