Toronto Productivity Expert Reveals What To Do If You Can Barely Focus On Anything RN

If you're finding it hard to feel motivated right now, you're not alone.
Toronto Productivity Expert Reveals What To Do If You Can Barely Focus On Anything RN

There's no way around it — the last year has been challenging in many different ways. If you're feeling unfocused, unmotivated, or just plain low, you're not alone.

We spoke to Dr. Jacob Hirsh, associate professor of organizational behaviour and HR management at the University of Toronto about how to feel more motivated, improve your focus, and tend to your well-being at home.

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Why am I so unmotivated, and what can I do about it?

Hirsh says that first and foremost, it's important to be forgiving of yourself right now.

"Other than this perpetual work-life conflict that the lockdown thrusts upon us, people may be feeling unmotivated and unproductive due to the broader uncertainties that we are currently facing," says Dr. Hirsh to Narcity in an email.

"This is not a normal time, so there is little value in judging our productivity in relation to pre-pandemic goals and expectations," says Dr. Hirsh.

He says that, given today's circumstances, "it's amazing that anyone can stay engaged in their jobs."

"When your brain becomes disinterested in your work, it's because there are many other pressing concerns that are happening in the world right now. It's okay to acknowledge this and get in tune with your feelings."

How do I deal with work-from-home stress?

Right now, people's work and home identities have been forced to clash, explained Hirsh. This blurring of boundaries can lead to what he calls an "identity conflict, where people are faced with incompatible demands, triggering uncertainty and anxiety."

Dr. Hirsh recommends setting aside time to "[carve] out a separate psychological space for work."

Ideally, this would be a separate room or space, but if that isn't an option for you, you can create "personal rituals that demarcate the beginning and end of the workday."

"It doesn't matter what form these rituals take, only that they are used consistently to separate one identity domain from another," says Hirsh.

It could be something as simple as five minutes of yoga before you start or after you finish work.

How can I stay productive while I'm stuck at home?

Dr. Hirsh says that improving productivity starts with making time for self-care.

"The more attention that is given to active self-care, the easier it will be to sustain a productive work life," he says.

"Taking time for yourself to process and reflect on everything that is happening will not only increase personal well-being, but it also increases motivation and productivity when you do get back to your work tasks."