Avoiding the Post-Holiday Funk at Work

Sometime around the middle of December many offices start to slow down.  Colleagues in other organizations may be more difficult to connect with, and as the calendar fills with parties and reunions, our motivation for work slows way down.  Many of us may sign off all together for that dream-state, all-inclusive week between Christmas and New Year’s, which the Norwegian’s call Romjul.  In fact, many cultures have a term for this intermediary time in which all of us forget time exists. 

Suddenly it is the day after the break and being back at work seems like a foreign, far-away land.  You must dig a little deeper to remember where you left off and the abrupt change of pace from vacation mode to productivity mode may be difficult to manifest.  There are some well researched reasons for this feeling, and there are practices that we can implement that may support us in propelling forward and motivating.

Centering around the future – It is human nature to look back at the year(s) past during this time.  This constructivist approach is not only natural,  but is healthy.  It is one way in which we learn and grow.  It allows us to look back on our accomplishments or lack thereof and hopefully develop a plan for how we will improve.  These kinds of thoughts are usually the one’s positioned around many of our New Year’s resolutions; which are very applicable in our professional lives as well.

Get definitive and detailed – If our goals for the New Year are ambiguous and vague, such as “increasing productivity”, “getting a promotion”, or “networking more”, they can often be unmeasurable.  We tend to lose momentum wondering if we are actually making progress against these types of goals,  and can also have unrealistic expectations as to what is achievable on our first week of starting back.  Becoming specific about our goals and actually writing them down formalizes them.  It also provides a visual.  There is a reason for the ever increasingly popular “vision board”, because they aid us in actually sitting and thinking about how we will attain our goals.  They provide us short term objectives that help develop an intentional plan,  and in some small way, they keep us accountable to ourselves, even if it’s on a personal level.  There is no need to shout your wish list from the rooftop.

Be kind to yourself yet ambitious – Comparing ourselves to others during this time of year can be intimidating and discouraging, yet possibly motivating at the same time.  Beating ourselves up over resolutions not kept over the past year can keep us from that forward thought, and recognizing where we went wrong can also be the rousing factor.  When we contemplate our professional goals this year with the same type of sophisticated plan we bring to a project at work, we assist ourselves in not starting off the in a rut.  With some small changes in perspective, we can get back into the swing with fresh outlook and be better set up for success.