How to keep motivated during furlough

 Well hello to you my reader chums! I've been on furlough since April 2020 and first, it felt like a blessing as I got a bit of time off work and a chance to relax. However, the days then turned into months on furlough and I've only recently got back to work on a flexi-furlough scheme working 11 hours a week, compared to my usual 40.

Now, it's safe to say, I've been on furlough for a very long time and it feels like forever ago that I did a 40-hour working week. As the length has been so long, I feel like I'm in the position to share my experience on furlough and how I've managed to keep motivated and productive.

Furlough hasn't been an easy experience. I'm used to having a very busy life of work, socialising, my blog and really, always doing something so when the pandemic started and everything came to a halt, it was a strange adjustment period.

How to keep motivated during furlough

Being on furlough gave me the time to work on myself in terms of healing and confidence but also a period to pursue different projects, and have more time to focus on friendships. That's not to say it was easy to stay productive and motivated and some days, I really did struggle to keep my head up, and stay positive.

Whether you're new to furlough or have been on it for some time, here are my best tips on keeping motivated.

Take one day at a time

This piece of advice can be applied in all aspects of life, as sometimes, overthinking the future and what is to come can really make your anxiety spiral. I found it especially to take this advice on board during furlough as each day can mean something new and will be different for my mental health, as I'm out of whack with no routine. Taking a day at a time means if you don't feel like doing much that day, simply relax, or if you have a spur of motivation, run with it.

Don't put pressure on yourself to be productive

This leads me to my next point to stop putting pressure on yourself to be productive. Furlough is an uncertain and worrying time as a lot of us are unsure whether we have a job at the end or if/when we'll be called back into work. And, therefore doesn't mean you have to spend every minute of every day being productive to compensate for the fact you're not working. Once you take the pressure off, you'll find, you want to be productive.

I'm massively guilty of this and kind of pushed myself a little too much during furlough to work on other projects and write books, but that's just the way I am. You can use it as a time to focus on you, chill out or really, do what makes you happy.

Write a to-do list

The best way I've found to keep myself motivated on furlough is to write a to-do list each day. This can be anything from getting the housework done, journalling, going for a walk to writing a blog post. Your to-do list will be unique to you but try and fill it with realistic goals of how you're feeling that day, and then you have something to work towards.

Separate your days 

This is one thing that has helped me massively. With furlough, you need to have that separation of what is a weekday and a weekend - as if you're like me with a typical 9-5 job, it's important to treat your weeks like that too, to keep in that frame of mind. What I've been doing is on the weekends, trying to do more fun activites, have lie ins and really separate my routine from what I'm doing in the week.

Try and have a routine

Having a routine has never been more important as it'll give you some structure into your week like separating yoru days. I'm not saying you need to make sure you have the same routine every day but have some loose structure to give the day a puropose, and you'll feel more motivated. For instance, set time for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and a window for when you do your work out - this will help reinforce the idea of a routine.

Get out and about

The one thing that has kept my mental health at bay is exercising and getting out. I like to work out everyday and do a routine and on the days when the weather isn't bad, I'll go for a walk outside. With lockdown, it has really helped to utlise the one walk a day as it gets me out into the fresh air, which not only boosts my mental health but keeps me motivated to get other things done.

Stay social

Due to the pandemic, staying social wasn't what it used to be and I think we've all become more accustomed to speaking vitrually to our family and friends. However, ensuring you're staying social by checking in with family and friends will keep you motivated as it'll give you that does of human interaction we all need.

Have time away from you phone

I'm guilty of the fact that furlough has caused me to spend an unnecesary amount of time on my phone, scrolling endlessly on social media. It's not healthy at all and makes me a lot less productive. To battle this, I would recommend having times in your day when your phone is not in sight so you don't have the temptation to go on it.

I hope you enjoyed this post. What other tips do you have?

Thank you for reading <3

91 comments

  1. I won't lie, there have been some days that I wish I was furloughed! But in reality I think I would really struggle with the lack of routine.

    This is really good advice for us all really, furloughed or not. Being motivated is really tough right now x

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  2. Mostly at the beginning I spent entire days watching netflix, not knowing what to do and feeling lost. But as soon as i started making a to do list and give myself objectives, added work outs and walks it got better!
    I can't think of going back to normal now for some reason. Thanks for sharing Della x

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    1. I'm so glad it got better for you! Yesss, same here xx

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  3. This is such a great post with so many great tips. I've not been furloughed because I've always worked from home, so I was able to keep chugging along. Totally agree with making a to do list it's a huge help and I know I would be nowhere near as productive without one xx

    Hannah | https://luxuryblush.co.uk/

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  4. Thank you for your valuable advice. I always get anxiety attacks when I have to stay home or work from home so this hopefully will help me manage my time.

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  5. I loved reading this post Della, I'm on furlough at the moment and have been for the majority of the last 12 months and I could relate so much to how you have been feeling! I've lost some sense of motivation during this lockdown in particular and I'll keep all these tips in mind! x

    Lucy | www.lucymary.co.uk

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    1. Thank you so much! I'm glad someone gets me, it is so hard xx

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  6. Having time away from your phone is so important to staying motivated, when my blogging isn't going as well or I feel a bit down I put my phone away and just focus. I'm not currently furloughing, but thank you so much for sharing these tips to staying motivated with more time at home x

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    1. Yes, exactly that!! Thank you for your lovely comment xx

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  7. Great post, Della! I think routine and separating the days are super important. I still try and keep a Monday-Friday work schedule and weekends off. It's helped me a lot in productivity, knowing I can relax on the weekend while other people also have weekends off. I also love nice long walks. Thanks for sharing x

    www.lynnmumbingmejia.com

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    1. Thank you so much!! I'm so glad that has helped you xx

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  8. These are great tips! I wasn't furloughed, but my hours were significantly cut and the lack of routine is absolute killer. Having a to-do list is massively helpful for holding myself accountable and keeping some kind of routine xx

    mia // https://beautiful-inspiring-creative-life.com/

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  9. I was furloughed last year for two months. It was super rough to go through but thankfully I am back to work as normal now. This was a great post to help you stay motivated during these tough times!

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    1. I'm glad you're back at work now! Thank you so much x

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  10. Great post! As we're almost a year into this pandemic and all the changes we've had to make, things have been feeling heavy and monotonous. I've definitely been spending too much time on my phone lately! I'm going to make an effort to decrease that time and substitute a healthier alternative. Thank you for sharing!

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    1. Than you!! That's so true, I'm glad it's not just me xx

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  11. Super agree with #2! When I pressure myself to be productive, I notice that I'm just becoming more overwhelmed and less productive.😪 Thank you so much for sharing this! x

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    1. Thank you for your lovely comment! I'm glad you get me xx

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  12. Great tips, I do feel motivated as well when writing list to-do. Now, I feel lost without it. Thank you for sharing these awesome ideas.

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  13. I'm still working and busier than ever but my boyfriend has been on furlough more or less since last March and he's absolutely loving it! He's writing songs, making music, watching a ton of Netflix etc. He's having a blast haha! Which I'm quite glad about because I can imagine being on furlough is mega tough for some people x

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    1. I'm so glad he is utilising the time as much as possible and enjoying it!xx

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  14. I was devastated when I was first furloughed. I love working and love a steady routine. I've quickly learned new ways to fill my time and am actually worried about going back to work haha. These are great tips, thank you.

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  15. I’m so sorry to hear you have been furloughed for so long! Ive been lucky enough to work from home throughout the pandemic, however some these tips still apply! Thank you for the advice Della x

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  16. Really great advices! Love how you mentioned to not put pressure on yourself to be productive. I am guilty of that, but trying to change it. Thank you! xx

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  17. I genuinely really struggled when I went on furlough at the start because I'd previously been working two jobs. I found having so much time on hands just too much! So keeping ontop of my blog and working hard on it really kept me sane x

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    1. It's so weird going from all to nothing - I'm so glad your blog really helped you xx

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  18. Fortunately I am no longer furloughed but these are some really great tips!

    Katy | www.katystephenson.com

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  19. Really great advice and tips for such a difficult (and unusual) situation. I can only imagine how disruptive it can be and it sounds like you've made the most of your furlough and now flexi-furlough. I wish you all the best as we all continue to navigate all this!

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  20. While others may feel like this is such a wild difference from pre-Covid, my life hasn't changed much. I've been working from home for about 6 years anyways and I'm a massive introvert and homebody. So about the only change is that I literally *cannot* go to a café if I want a different work environment haha. However, these tips are still helpful! I certainly put pressure on myself nonstop, so I need the reminder to let things go sometimes!

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    1. Aw no way, well I'm glad things have been okay with you! Thank you so much xx

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  21. I can say i have 0 routine.. well i have a routine but its a routine of doing nothing hahah! I love the idea of to-do lists cause i love ticking everything off when i finally do it, but some really good ideas!

    Ellie // www.thediaryofellie.com

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  22. Covid has thrown up so many issues for people over and above trying not to get ill. I've not experienced furlough as I am self employed but I am sure these tips will be great for people who have.

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  23. These are great tips! It's a shame you haven't been able to work as much as you did before everything but so good you are finding ways to cope and sharing that with others! We got lucky, hubby and I were able to work from home and when we built the house it included a home office which was furnished and setup before the pandemic came, it's been really valuable! But we know not everyone is that lucky.

    Hope you are having a nice weekend :) We are celebrating Lunar New Year today :)

    Away From Blue

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    1. Thank you! That's amazing you were able to do that - hope you're having a lovely weekend too xx

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  24. Being on furlough is not the easiest, but we need to keep our heads up. This is also the time to take advantage of taking care of yourself a bit more, and looking out for maybe better opportunities out there. I am big on keeping yourself busy whether it's doing some self-care or activities.

    Nancy ✨ mdrnminimalists.com

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    1. Exactly that, we've got to focus on the positives xx

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  25. I've been on furlough throughout too and I've found its been great for taking time out for myself and doing more of the things I wanted to do without feeling burnt out. Thanks for sharing some tips.

    Tash - A Girl with a View

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  26. I couldn't be furloughed in the first round (as I missed out on the deadline as I had to move jobs at the end of Feb), but I'm on flexi furlough now, and I couldn't agree more with all your tips!

    Katie | katieemmabeauty.com

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  27. I am on furlough from my bar job but my instagram is my main source of income so I have that to keep me occupied and also university work!

    https://www.emilyclareskinner.com

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    1. I'm so glad you've managed to work on your Instagram! xx

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  28. This is so vital! If you’re on furlough, you can get in such a rut! A good routine and steady times to do things can help a lot.

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  29. It's difficult to stay without job, thanks for the tips..

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  30. These tips are wonderful. I really like go out for walks. Also, putting the phone aside does great wonders. 😉

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  31. Great tips, I think that separating your days is so important otherwise you get lost and time flies so fast. Thanks for sharing

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  32. Sounds like you've found a great way to stay positive during furlough, I've still been working full time but I know some of my friends on Furlough have started to have enough of it so I'll pass these tips along!

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  33. All of these are great advice. When lock down start I was very busy and productive, but after that I relax and enjoy and slowly become lazy. But after that I back in routine and to do list help me a lot.

    New Post - https://www.exclusivebeautydiary.com/2021/02/lancome-la-nuit-tresor-scent-of.html

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  34. Thank you for sharing! While I have not experienced furlough, attending school on Zoom has meant much more free time. I am the type who likes to stay busy as well, but I have learned to be kind to myself. Taking breaks while we are in a global pandemic is okay. I can be lazy sometimes lol.

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    1. Thank you! I'm so glad you learnt to be kind to yourself xx

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  35. What a great post! It is so easy to put pressure on yourself to get things done, and then get in a rut when they don't. Breaking things up and making lists surely does help, but yes, the most important thing is not putting a time stamp on things. Thanks for this!x

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  36. I’ve basically been out of work in this period and it has been a struggle. I’ve tried to find things to occupy my time, and it’s placed a lot of pressure on trying to be productive. What’s surprised me is how difficult it actually is to find time to relax, which is good advice

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    1. I'm completely with you there! Thank you for your comment x

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  37. Great tips! Having a routine helps and it is important not to stress yourself about being productive.
    xoxo
    Lovely
    www.mynameislovely.com

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  38. Thanks for sharing these tips, even if we are not on furlough they are good generall tips :)

    Nic | Nic's Adventures & Bakes

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  39. I was on furlough for a couple of months last year but in reality I carried on working, combining it with homeschool. And it was the most stressful few months ever. Now I'm freelancing again but still homeschooling. So I relate to your tips about a routine and I'm hoping to get back to one once the schools go back!

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    1. Wow, that sounds so full on! I'm glad the tips are relatable xx

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  40. These tips are really great, for any situation during the past year. Taking one day at a time is definitely what has pullet me through lockdown. Having a vague routine helps me :) x

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  41. Going on furlough sounds amazing at the beginning but I can easily see how it can get very unmotivating, especially if you don't have an end date. You shared some brilliant tips x

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  42. I can't believe we're nearly a year into this! I think people who are furloughed are definitely starting to find it difficult but your tips definitely offer some kind of motivation and optimism for them. I have worked in a school throughout this pandemic so luckily I have had some structure (although when the schools closed last year, it was really hard to have a routine and I spent so much time just napping on the sofa!)

    Emmie | www.carpediememmie.co.uk

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    1. I know, it's crazy! Thank you so much. Oh wow, I bet that has been quite difficult but least you've had some structure xx

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  43. I can't imagine having to experience furlough because I'm scared to not earn and provide for myself and my loved ones! I'm glad you're doing well. Loved your tips!! But actually, not that I'm pressuring myself to be productive but I'm trying to be every day. I'm trying to make every day count and if I can't, then another day. I just keep trying! It's what keeps me motivated. Keep up the good work, fun read!


    www.lifebeginsattwenty.com

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  44. Great tips! I also try to just take it one day at a time, and sometimes it's tough. I need to remind myself not to be so tough on myself, I'm only human. :)

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  45. Loved these tips!! I've been on furlough for almost a year now and it seems like such a long time! But taking each day at a time and getting out and about has helped so much! Thanks for sharing! X

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  46. Thank you for sharing so many tips. One of my friends have been on furlough for 8 months. They have really struggled with the lack of support and structure! I'll be sending this post their way!

    Rosie

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  47. stop to spend an unnecesary amount of time on phone,keep motivated during furlough,thanks!
    hd wigs

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  48. Thank you for sharing some motivating and helpful tips. I definitely must try to keep my days separated. It's so easy to lose track of days and time if you aren't keeping a schedule.

    xo Erica

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