Having no work from home during the coronavirus lockdown can be a pro or a con depending on how you use your time.

10 Tips to stay motivated during the lockdown when you aren’t working from home

People go on and on about the pros and cons of working from home during the coronavirus pandemic. But if you don’t have the work-from-home option, that can have its own pros and cons. Pros include no work stress, being able to focus on home chores, more time to relax, etc. The main con, on the other hand, is reduced or no income. 

That said, all this extra time can be seen as both a pro and a con. Initially, you may have enjoyed having endless hours to yourself, but now that two months have passed, it may have started to feel like an endless drag. With no answer to when all this will end, it can seem hopeless and your days can seem dull and repetitive. But it’s essential to stay motivated despite this. 

Here are a few tips for refocusing your time and energy in a productive and positive way. 

1. Do guided workout sessions

Staying at home all day every day due to the lockdown has only worsened our already sedentary lifestyles. Working out is essential, but finding the motivation to work out is hard even in normal circumstances, let alone during the lockdown. Guided workout sessions can be godsend at a time like this. Whether it’s dance sessions or cardio, there are many workout and fitness apps with both live as well as pre-recorded workout sessions. A lot of them (such as Nike Training Club) are absolutely free. 

2. Make cooking fun

When you have the time, space and patience, you’ll find that cooking can be a real joy and a form of therapy too. Even if you’ve never made anything other than Maggi, you can look up recipes for your favourite dishes online and get started. Video recipes may work best – you can see all the steps and ingredients clearly and follow them, which increases your chances of getting good results. Put on some music, pour yourself a drink, and make cooking a relaxing and fun experience. Don’t forget to put up artfully clicked pictures of your dish on social media!

Related: 5 Smart tools for your kitchen that will make cooking easier 

3. Practise mediation and mindfulness 

People keep talking about mediation and mindfulness, and it’s become a trend – that's how powerful and effective it is in improving one’s life. At a time like this, meditation can really help. Even five minutes of it is good to start with. Apps such as Headspace guide you in your meditation journey and are great to get you started. As for mindfulness, it is a way of life, and involves training your mind. You don’t need to head to a mountain or sign up for online yoga classes. Begin by doing simple things like quitting multitasking, putting your phone away while having meals, listening carefully and wholeheartedly while having conversations, and being more present in the now. 

4. Apply the worry postponement technique

Everyone is stressing about the coronavirus pandemic, but since you have more time on your hands, it’s easier for you to worry excessively. They say an empty mind is a devil’s workshop. So, in addition to positively engaging yourself in cooking, working out, etc. you can try using the technique of worry postponement to manage anxiety and stress. This is a healthy way of acknowledging everything that’s troubling you without being completely absorbed by it through the day. Set a specific worry period, say 15 minutes every evening, and only indulge in worrisome thoughts during that period. If you find yourself worrying at any other time, simply remind yourself that you have your worry period scheduled for later. 

Related: Expenses that have decreased since the lockdown and how to use that money strategically 

5. Make lists for the future 

If you’ve lost your job or are on unpaid leave, it’s hard to stay hopeful. There’s a lot of uncertainty about the pandemic and nobody is sure when it will end. One thing is for certain – life will have to continue even if it’s a ‘new normal’. So, try making lists for the future. These lists can be of two kinds. First, lists related to work – the workplaces you’ll apply to, the roles you want to explore, etc. Second, lists related to fun – things you plan to buy, restaurants to explore, friends you’ll meet, etc. once the lockdown is over.  

6. Sign up for an online course

If you’re afraid that you’re losing out by sitting at home and not working or doing anything productive, you can sign up for an online course. Coursera, Udemy, edX, and other platforms offer hundreds of free courses across various disciplines. These courses are offered by prestigious universities, and you can access all the content for free. It’s only when you want a certificate and take a graded exam that you need to pay. This is a great opportunity to explore areas you didn't study in college but were always interested in, such as art, philosophy, neuroscience, etc. You can also indulge in niche interests such as Shakespeare’s plays, Roman architecture, etc. 

Related: Here’s how to manage your money differently post the lockdown

7. Contribute to the community 

This may well be the first time in history that everyone in the world – irrespective of country, age, or race – is going through a crisis. At a time like this, it helps if you can contribute to the community in any way possible and make these trying times slightly better for the disadvantaged. Yes, donating to organisations is a noble way to do this, but there are several other ways too. For instance, if you’re a psychologist, you can offer therapy sessions online at subsided rates. If you’re a content creator such as a blogger or YouTuber, you could create and put out more content to keep people entertained. If you have specialised knowledge in a field such as marketing, economics, baking, etc., you could conduct online workshops for a nominal fee. 

8. Indulge in old hobbies 

Indulging in hobbies such as reading, painting, baking, singing, and playing video games can seem frivolous or a ‘waste of time’ in your usual busy routine. But now, it’s the perfect opportunity to get back to them – and without any guilt! For instance, many of us often say we want to feel like a kid again. Maybe that’s because childhood was a time when we did everything that brought joy to us without thinking if it’s productive or not. One silver lining of the lockdown is the chance to experience such joy again. 

Related: 5 Hobbies you can turn into assets for long-term benefits

9. Review your investments 

The most common excuse people give for not having a budget is not having the time to make one or keep up with it. Right now is the perfect time! With the coronavirus pandemic, your financial situation may have changed too – your income may have reduced and the same goes for your expenses. Review them and come up with a financial plan for the next few months. This is also a good time to review your investments. Ensure you have enough liquid funds, and if you want to invest, consider investing in digital gold. It’s prudent to stay away from taking on new debt and curbing your discretionary expenses.

10. Maintain a routine 

Not needing to go to office and having the entire day to yourself can be disorienting. Since you don’t have to maintain a schedule, meet deadlines, or attend calls, it’s likely that your sleep cycle is messed up and that your days seem to merge into one another. The best way to do the things mentioned above is to first set a routine. Whether it’s working out daily or indulging in your hobbies, you’ll be able to do that only if you’re mentally prepared and have made time for it. It’s easy to go down the rabbit hole of mindlessly binge-watching shows or scrolling through social media when you have nothing else to do. So, you need to sit down, make a list of some things you want to do daily, and then do them. You’ll end up feeling happy and productive and less bored.

Related: 7 Benefits of having a routine in place and how to build one 

Last words

Finally, it’s essential to remember that everyone has a very different life. So, while some people may be taking on passion projects such as writing a book or losing weight or being productive every single minute during the lockdown, you don’t have to aspire to do the same. You simply have to do what is best for your mental, physical and financial health and tide over this global health crisis safely and sanely. Read this piece that talks about some effective ways to look after your mental health and well-being during COVID-19. 

Disclaimer: This article is intended for general information purposes only and should not be construed as investment or legal advice. You should separately obtain independent advice when making decisions in these areas.