January is frequently labelled ‘Janu-worry’ in South Africa, with a shortage of cash and motivation, but an abundance of the January blues.
This, however, need not be the case for you as you return to work because if you are a frequent reader of our newsletters then you probably remember how we encouraged you to do your annual plan last year, thinking it through and providing a solid set of goals with corresponding actions to get you closer to the desired state for your business.
There are some good ways to ensure that you get into the flow of the new decade with a spring in your step and tools in your belt to be more productive in what is known to be the least productive month of the year.
Plan a buffer day
Taking a day before you actually return to work to prepare yourself mentally helps to boost productivity. If you weren’t able to do that this year then make sure to work it into your schedule next year. This is a day when you plan the week, grocery shop, go to the gym or rest, while thinking through what you’d like to achieve during the week. It’s a small pause in between the holiday and returns to work that will have you feeling prepared for rather than assaulted by the lows of returning to work.
Make a priorities list.
This may sound simple but usually, the simplest and most obvious solutions aren’t the ones we typically deploy.
The very process of making a list of priorities in January helps to focus your mind. Usually, we are caught up in either reminiscing over the holiday, catching up on social media etc. and our frame of mind is anywhere but back at the job.
If things are a little slow at work, then this is an opportunity for you to clear up some work that was important but not urgent from last year, review your schedules, systems and/or processes.
Similar to the above- ensure you start each day with a to-do list and tackle your least favourite task first.
Take breaks during the day
Going full work mode without any breaks is a recipe for disaster. Be sure to take about a 10- 15-minute break every 3 hours to decompress a little. Easing back into things is a kinder and more productive way to return to the business of work.
Work can be invigorating and fulfilling, we need it to be able to enjoy our vacations.
I find that the stress that tends to accompany the return to work after a holiday especially one as long as the December one is unnecessary.