January can be a tough month. After all the anticipation, buzz, and excitement during the holidays, we now go back to regular programming. Ho hum. And with the pandemic limiting options for travel and recreation this year, we have an extra challenge.
It can be a hard to lift your motivation level back up but it can be done. Here are our suggestions:
Make a to-do list
Seeing everything that needs to be done on paper can shift your perspective. It can help develop a sense of urgency or get you excited for what’s ahead. Start by writing down all that you need to do for the week. Arrange tasks into smaller groups so you won’t be overwhelmed. You can categorize by priority or by day. Make sure that your list is doable so that you don’t feel bogged down.
If you have more time, consider making a vision board. This activity will stir your creativity and imagination. It’s also a simple visualization technique has been tested to boost motivation.
Start with small tasks
Do easy tasks to start the ball rolling. These should be essential but don’t require heavy lifting. It could be answering emails, arranging your files, or anything routinary at work. If you’re job hunting, you can start by reviewing and gradually updating your resume or scanning job boards for openings. It will be satisfying to tick off these small tasks one by one from your list. It can also encourage you to take on heavier tasks.
You can also build momentum by doing something that is engaging or doing a task that provides an early win. An example would be to start an exciting project or making that follow-up call to a client to close a sale. Achievement can light the fire under you and make you eager to do more.
Shock your system
Do something different to break your usual routine. Start the day by going out for a short run or a brisk walk. Listen to upbeat music. A change in scenery can help too. Move your work area if it’s possible or re-arrange your office (or just your desk) to make it feel clean and fresh. Maybe consider setting up a standing desk this year to get you off of sitting too much. It will make it easy for you to do quick leg exercises as well.
If you’re a people person, schedule a Zoom/Skype meeting with your team to brainstorm, plan for the new year, or just to share updates. Sometimes group energy is all you need to lift your spirits and push you out of a rut.
If all fails, go back to self-evaluation. There might be other reasons why your motivation is down. If you’ve been staying inside most days, maybe you need some sunlight to improve your mood. Watch what you’re eating too. Fatty and sugary foods can drain your energy. If your lethargy comes with other symptoms like headaches, it’s time to consult your family doctor.
Check if there might be deeper issues like unresolved problems at work or in the family. The first step is to recognize them and see why they’re pulling down your motivation. Remember that it’s not wrong to ask for support when you need it. Talking to someone can help you sort issues out and address them properly so you can move on.
Sources: 7 ways to get motivated and break out of a work slump, Deep Patel, Entrepreneur; and 5 tips to get out of a post-holiday work slump, Lisa Day, The Edge. Accessed January 11, 2021.
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