Staying motivated in a COVID work world

The VIEW from here



I picked up my phone the other day to see that I missed some text messages between my two best friends. They were catching up on various topics including work. “What I do just feels so meaningless,” one said. “Ugh, I know. At least Emily helps give people news in their community,” the other one text back.

I have to admit, it felt pretty good seeing that in writing. I don’t do nearly as much as our editors and reporters when it comes to delivering local news, but I’m so proud to work for a locally-owned newspaper company that does a fantastic job of informing — and entertaining —our readers.

Perhaps their words were especially meaningful to me because when we started our careers I made the least amount of money and worked the longest hours. Meanwhile, they climbed the corporate ladder, moved to exciting cities and made lots of money. Seeing that text made me realize that they understand any sacrifices I’ve made.

And while my career has grown and changed, I’m fortunate to continue to find meaning in my work. Sometimes that’s delivering local news, sometimes that’s working on a branding project and — when I’m really lucky and a pandemic hasn’t forced us to cancel nearly every event we host — that’s helping to raise money for nonprofits while providing a fun, community outing.

I say all of this not to brag, but to say that despite all of this, there are days when I can’t find the motivation to do anything.

Pre-pandemic, my days were jammed-packed. Now, thanks to COVID-19 and the changes it’s brought, some days are hard.

Knowing I wasn’t alone, I went to Google to find some inspiration.

Right away an article I found at explains what we’re all likely feeling. That pull between being thankful to have a job and the struggle to stay enthusiastic about it. On top of that, says Bruce Daisley, a senior executive at Twitter who wrote “Eat Sleep Work Repeat: 30 Hacks for Bringing Joy to Your Job,” and was quoted in the article, most of us are not searching for a cure for COVID-19 or taking care of sick people, making many feel work is a waste. That said, here are a few pieces of Daisley’s advice from the article that I think we could all use right now:

Cut yourself some slack: We are living in a pandemic! “This is a singular and hopefully once-in-a-lifetime experience. Don’t worry if you’re not doing Nobelcaliber work,” said Daisley in the article.

Keep a done list vs. a to-do list: From the article: “Harvard Business School professor Teresa Amabile, who studied thousands of diary entries from hundreds of workers, found that those who reported small, daily wins felt more motivated.”

Make it about people: “…you’ll be more inspired if you visualize those you’re helping, whether they’re clients, customers, or colleagues,” said Daisley in the piece.

If all else fails, text your best friends. If they’re anything like mine, they’re extremely motivating.

Emily Caswell is the brand manager for VIEW Group, the branding division of View Newspaper Group.