For those of us who have begun working from home in recent weeks, the transition has been trickier than many of us anticipated. Not only are we thrown out of our regular rhythm, but we’re strapped with a whole new set of challenges in the new work environment. The best way to manage the speed bumps of being stuck at home is to develop a healthy growth mindset, and today we’re sharing four keys to help you succeed.

What is a growth mindset?

“A growth mindset is the belief that one’s skills and qualities could be cultivated through effort and perseverance.” – Dr. Carol Dweck

A growth mindset means you take ownership and responsibility for your situation and potential outcomes. Individuals with a growth mindset are able to try new things, face difficulties, and bounce back from failures because they know it’s where improvement can take root. 

The opposite of a growth mindset is a fixed mindset, in which you believe that your qualities and abilities are fixed and cannot change or improve. A fixed mindset limits your response to challenges and can leave you feeling inefficient and unequal to the hiccups you’ll face stuck at home or adjusting to the “new normal”.

Why do I need a growth mindset now?

As most businesses transition to work-from-home, limited shifts, or other modified work routines, there is a significant risk that employees will lose steam. It can be difficult to stay motivated and connected to our work when we lose that daily reinforcement. Many employees report that the isolation and lack of routine negatively impacts their mental health, and the drawbacks can compound the longer this quarantine lasts. 

A growth mindset can be a shield against the setbacks. Anyone can develop a growth mindset, but it can be particularly useful to those of us adjusting to this new work balance and the financial uncertainty that may be ahead.

4 tips for maintaining a growth mindset

1. Acknowledge the struggle

It can be tempting to ignore or downplay the struggles you face in a new work rhythm. It might even be hard to pinpoint the reasons you’re feeling “off.” But one key to having a growth mindset is embracing the challenges that lay before you. 

Sterling Snow, Divvy’s Senior VP of Revenue, shared “This week we’re going to need real leaders. They won’t be naive about the challenges we’re facing but they’ll be optimistic and they’ll find a way to get it done.”

Don’t be afraid to list the challenges to your productivity, your attitude, your overall mental health, your family life, and any other areas being affected by this change. Maintaining a work-life balance, keeping focus when you have kids in your “office,” inadequate workspace environments, and more can significantly slow you down.

Acknowledging the mountains makes them easier to climb, and problem-solving is more likely to be fruitful. Try looking at your specific problems as opportunities to grow stronger or learn something new.

2. Dream big

Take some time to dream up the ideal situation and outcomes of being stuck at home. Consider the opportunities you have now that you wouldn’t have in the office, and how you can seize them. What would your ideal work-from-home day look like? How can you integrate things you love and want into this current environment? 

Some ideas for dreaming up your best work-from-home life might be: 

  • Enjoying more communication with your family 
  • Wearing your favorite casual and comfy clothes
  • Working outside or going on walks for your breaks
  • Making your favorite meals
  • Enjoying your favorite entertainment as you work (music, tv, movies, podcasts)
  • Taking in a virtual conference from your couch
  • Adjusting your work hours to allow sleeping in, or a midday nap
  • Completing a big project that impresses your boss

Most business leaders want to protect their employees through these work changes. Divvy’s CEO Blake Murray said of his employees, “their well-being—both personal and professional—is held in the highest regard.” We’d do well to hold our well-being in high regard as well.

3. Set goals

Working from home can distort our sense of time. We might find that we’re working on a project for far longer than necessary simply because we don’t have the regular intervals of a workplace to trigger self-assessment. A lack of accountability can also contribute to decreased productivity and self-worth. You can empower yourself against these issues by setting goals with a growth mindset.

It’s become clear to me that setting goals, regardless of their size, or time-sensitive nature, is of great importance for home-based workers, myself included, since it not only gives you a time frame for completing your tasks, but more importantly, keeps you motivated.” – Chris Ducker, entrepreneur & consultant

Divide your goals into timeframes that will make sense for you—goals before lunch, daily goals, weekly goals. Write them down or share them virtually with your team to increase accountability. Goals are a way to remind yourself that growth, improvement, and achievement are still possible even when you’re in pajama pants for the fifth straight day.

4. Visualize

The most powerful way to develop a growth mindset is to regularly visualize where you want to be. Studies have shown that visualization paired with effort improves performance and helps achieve desired outcomes better than effort alone. It’s an incredibly simple and underused tool that can help broaden your horizons—especially when your horizons feel limited to your property line. 

Begin by thinking about returning to normal life. How do you want to walk back into your workplace or campus? What would make you feel proud and happy on that day? Visualize your boss, team, teachers, parents, investors, or any other stakeholder thanking you personally for the effort and progress you made. Visualize yourself successfully solving problems or creating something amazing. Visualize an improved connection with your family, friends, and yourself after mindfully using this time at home to improve.

Time to grow

No one is certain when the current measures will be lifted, or the state of the economy when we emerge from this crisis. The only guarantee we have is our effort and attitude within our own circles of influence. By maintaining a growth mindset we can tackle the challenges of working from home, social distancing, quarantines, and economic repercussions while becoming stronger every hour.

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