From a mood, motivation and productivity perspective, January is about the worst month of the year.  Not only is the excitement and anticipation of Christmas parties and the New Year’s break over, but there is also enough people still on holidays for everyone to mope about where they’d rather be.  However, resolving to write off January and pick things up in February can be extremely unwise – work piles up quickly, and stress, long hours and panic ensue.  So, for those who wish to avoid a February meltdown, here are some tips to turn your mood upside down and maximize your January productivity:

Make realistic goals

One of the main reasons that people lose focus and motivation in January is because they think they can just pick up where they left off.  In reality, after a break, and when the office is quiet, it isn’t realistic to expect that you can, or will, work with the same intensity you previously did.  Trying to be more realistic with your work goals can really help this situation. Even ticking off smaller, more administrative-type tasks can help you feel more productive, as your brain will record a small win, and you’ll be able to move more easily on to more complex and challenging projects on your to-do list.

Change things up

The fact that you spend every morning browsing your friend’s holiday pictures and bemoaning the fact that you’re at work doesn’t necessary mean that you need to write off the whole day’s productivity, fortunately.  If you find yourself stuck in a moping rut, try to break your routine – head outside for a short walk, or move to a different working space, for example, a meeting or quiet room.  The change in scenery will help signal to your brain that something different should be happening, and you’ll be able to focus on your work more easily.

Try to be grateful

Attempting to be grateful whilst everyone else is enjoying themselves at the beach seems like an oxymoronic suggestion, which it may be, but it isn’t entirely impossible.  Research shows that positively psychology is so powerful that it is, in fact, almost impossible to feel happy and grateful, and sad and demotivated, simultaneously.  So if you’re feeling down, try to be grateful for the small things – for example, elements of your job that you enjoy, or events in your work or professional life you are looking forward to, etc.

Recognise big-picture issues

Whilst it’s normal to experience a lull in motivation and productivity in January, be sure to try and recognise if what you are experiencing is a sign of a bigger problem. Ask yourself – am I just feeling demotivated right now, or do I think it could be time to search for another role? Is there anything going on in my personal life that could be exacerbating my demotivation?

‘I’m always incredibly productive after the Christmas break!’ – said no one, ever.  However, if you want to save yourself the stress of accumulated work, and an incredibly poor attitude, try to employ some techniques, such as making realistic goals, changing things up, and being grateful, to try and lift both your mood and your productivity.

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