Winters are long. Too long in the Western Hemisphere!!
And with winter comes shorter days, darker days, colder days, and a loss in motivation. As a result productivity declines for most of us. I have felt this first hand over the past week. I already feel groggy, tired, and unmotivated.
I don’t think I need to give you tons of scientific evidence to prove to you that it is harder to stay focused and work on during the winter. You know how it feels!!
I will be sharing some ideas on how you can stay productive during the winter months.
I know this sounds counter-productive.
If you are like most professionals- the last few weeks of December provides you with some downtime. Most of your colleagues & clients are usually away or have already shut down for the year. So, don’t try to climb an uphill battle. Instead, take advantage of the downtime.
Use this time to catch up with past clients. Meet up with colleagues and friends. Use the holiday spirit to boost up your spirits. A word of caution doesn’t go overboard with the celebrations. Too much drinking and eating during the winter months are detrimental. So exercise caution here.
Take some time to smell the roses. Reflect on the past 11 months. Review your successes, trials, tribulations, lessons, failures, etc. This will help you set the groundwork for the months ahead
2. Set Goals
Most people get too caught up in the Holiday celebrations. Carve out a day or so during this time to pause & reflect. Don’t wait till January 1st to start making resolutions and goals. Start Planning on your goals right away.
In fact, if possible start right away. For instance, if your goal is to lose weight. Don’t gorge until Jan 1st, gain 10 lbs to regret it later. It is impossible not to give in to the temptations of the holidays. Realizing that in advance will help you to be smart about your choices.
The same goes for career goals. If your goal is to have a stellar 2016 – start making plans now. Decide what you would like to accomplish, what action steps you will take to make it a reality. And most importantly start today. Take small action steps, so when 2016 comes you are riding the momentum.
3. Stay Active
You know that you will be eating a lot during the holidays. Trust me- it is hard not to.
To counter that – add more physical activity to your schedule. Use exercise as an excuse for you to indulge in the sweets & delicacies that come during the holidays. If you start the habit of exercising now – there is a good chance that you will continue the habit as the days get colder.
Your exercise schedule does not have to be crazy – even if you manage to spend a few minutes a day with some cardio, push-ups, squats, etc. That small habit will build momentum as the week progress.
4. Learn Something New
You might not be excited about heading outdoors during the winter. That is great!! You can use this opportunity to grab some hot chocolate and catch up on some reading.
I use the winter months to read a lot. Also, take advantage of online courses through Lynda or Udemy. Maybe you want to learn a new language. Now is the time to do it. In the summer months, you will be too busy, and you will not get a chance to do much learning. Take advantage of the downtime in the winter.
5. Be Smart With Your Money
It is hard not to indulge in over-spending during the holidays. Parties, events, family events, and before you know – you have burnt a huge hole in your bank account. And thanks to credit cards we feel invincible with our spending (at least in December we feel that way).
Then you spend the first few weeks of January guilt-tripping about the money you spent. The 3rd Monday of January (also called Blue Monday) is the most depressing day of the year. One theory is that – on that day most people receive their credit card statement on how much money they spent in December. And it does not help that it is dark and cold.
To avoid the predicament in advance by being smart about your money starting now.
I might have missed one or two other ideas. Tell me what are some other ideas you will use to stay more productive during the winter months.