The long stretch of cold weeks that set in right after the holiday season can push an individual's career in either of two directions:
- Towards a steady routine that helps us stay on track and keep our noses to the grindstone until the break of spring and new seasonal interruptions, or
- Driven into a state of restlessness and boredom that makes the workday harder, not easier.
If you're one of the lucky few in the first category, you can stop reading. But if you know the grey days of winter are about to make you desperate for a day off, here are a few ways to protect your motivation and your passion for the tasks in front of you.
1. Stay focused on the long-term future. If you have five hundred reports to staple and the work will take hours to complete, focusing on the moment may make this chore seem like a climb up Mt. Everest. So don't focus on the moment. Keep your thoughts on your long term goals and the larger meaning behind this seemingly insignificant task.
2. Enjoy any sunlight you can get. With shorter days comes less sunlight, which can have a powerful impact on your state of mental and emotional health. Specifically, low light levels can actually alter the way you see the world and the way you feel about your life and job. Make sure you're getting enough sleep at night (aim for at least seven hours) and during the day, try to get outside for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, open the blinds near your desk and let in as much light as you can handle.
3. Don't hoard your PTO days. When you need them, you need them. There's nothing wrong with taking a paid day off once a month to catch up on other priorities and to simply give yourself a little boost and a change of pace.
4. Perspective is everything. If you don't have a close group of family members or friends who can listen while you talk about your day, consider reaching out a little more aggressively and actively building a community sounding board around yourself. At the very least, find a walking partner or lunch companion who you can connect with on a personal level. Sometimes a few minutes chatting over a sandwich can make you feel ready to run back to your desk and tackle the rest of the afternoon.
5. Change what needs to be changed. Have an open and honest conversation with your boss about taking on more responsibility if you think you're ready. Don't let the cold weather and grey days push you into a state of career stagnation.
And of course, if it's time to leave this position and start looking for something a little more fulfilling and meaningful, there's no need to put off your plans until the spring. Start now by setting clear goals, exploring the job marketplace, and creating a resume that can give you a new sense of purpose and direction. Visit MyPerfectResume for tools and resources that can help you get started.