Was Monday (and the rest of this week) totally crazy for you?
Someone actually called me without an appointment and it wasn’t spam! Old school, I like it! But, everyone who was too worn out to chat in December said “Let’s talk in January” and they weren’t kidding.
January becomes this catch-all time for all the things we didn’t want to deal with in December. And, it’s meant to be this time of renewed purpose and energy but, in reality, it’s just over-booked.
I’m hearing that the post-holiday readjustment period seems harder than in other years. Are you feeling the same way?
Perhaps it’s because this holiday season you actually took a break. You didn’t travel, you got a break from the hybrid school schedule, you didn’t cook for 30 people, and Santa shopped on Amazon (hopefully with on-time delivery). Perhaps for the first time in a long time, you actually rested.
But, now that your rest time is over. Re-entry is even harder. Your head is not in the game. You were at inbox zero on New Year’s Day and now people are firing emails at you faster than you can keep up. Right when you are supposed to feel re-energized and filled with hope for the new year, you feel inefficient, overwhelmed, and less productive. Already behind. Great 2021. Just great.
Hang on a second, let’s not give up just yet! You can successfully get back into the swing of things.
Here’s what to do on those first few days back to work after the holiday break.
- Give yourself a grace period. One of my dearest friends suffered a bad knee injury this year. All she wants to do is get back on the floor to play with her kids and go back to the gym. But she knows she can’t push it too soon. And when she does get the green light for the gym, that is doesn’t mean running a marathon (which she has done). It means walking slowly and stretching. Building her strength back up slowly. We try to hit it too hard the first week of January and then by the second week we are burned out. If you worked out every day this week, today you probably crashed. You can’t walk down the stairs without feeling it. That’s what overdoing it after a break feels like. I took my Christmas decorations down on Sunday and my house was looking empty. So, I left the garland on the mantel. Sure, technically it’s a “Christmas” decoration but this year I’m saying it’s “winter” decor and I’m leaving that up because it’s pretty, it makes my living room feel cozier, and it makes me happy. This January, take fewer meetings, stop working at 5 pm, respond to emails later. Cut yourself some slack and give yourself some room to ease out of the break and back into work.
- You still need breaks. It’s not like January should mean no breaks at all. During the day, take a lunch break, go for a walk, or call your co-worker who is your friend, and don’t talk about work. Act like you would if you were working in an office. Also, it seems like all the fun stuff gets scheduled for December making January feel like a natural downer. Schedule something you love to do…a fun workout, cooking your favorite meal, watching your favorite show. Try to schedule something you enjoy each day so you have things to look forward to.
- Don’t judge yourself too much. Why is it that if you don’t lose 10 pounds in January you feel as if you’ve completely failed? If you put too much pressure on yourself in January, you will fail. I’m not saying don’t set goals…no, I’m ALL about goals. I’m saying make them realistic with the tools and resources you have. And if you do a little bit better in January…say you lost 4 pounds instead of 10, that’s amazing! Don’t make these goals all or nothing. Instead, celebrate small improvements.
- Make your intentions clear and block schedule your priorities. There is a ramp-up period to get into the work you need to do. Your mindset needs to get right. Your environment needs to be conducive to working. You need access to the right tools and software. You need the right browsers open. It takes a little while to set all that up. But once you do, you can enter into a state of flow. Your cruising altitude and the place where you are in the zone. Set your intentions and schedule the important things physically onto your calendar so your days don’t feel like a waste.
- Speak up about what you need or what’s not working for you. Know that this is a tough week or two. You have permission to feel that. But instead of bottling it up and suppressing it. Share it. That’s how change happens. Your co-workers or boss might be feeling the same way. Talking about it openly could help solve the problem and ensure these issues don’t linger into February.
We recorded a great discussion about how we plan for the year and manage January on Monday. You can find it here.
Then, go on Stella, get your groove back! Make January a super productive month.
If you need help to implement any of these strategies, I’m your gal. If you need a focused, concentrated time to work, book a Productivity Power Hour. It will be the most productive 52-minutes of your week!