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Back to work Blues? Here’s what to do.

After quite a significant year in 2020, of doing our best to adapt to the changes brought about by COVID-19, have you found yourself re-evaluating your priorities and what’s important to you?  Are you battling the back-to-work-blues?

Perhaps you have returned to work after some precious time out, reconnecting with your friends and family and immersing yourself in all those activities that truly bring you joy.  As you step back into the office it would be normal to experience a little sadness for the loss of the sense of freedom that comes with long days at the beach, the joy of settling into a good book or enjoying a long lunch with friends.

But if you are dreading the end of holiday time and wondering how you will survive the year as it stretches out ahead of you… then perhaps it is time to reconsider whether you and your job are meant for one another.

However, before you take this as permission to go out and quit your job, lets first look at a few ideas that might help you reignite your career mojo.

How to overcome the back-to-work-blues:

1. Clarify Your Goals.

I know you have heard this one before and you may have wondered if it’s really important. Well, it is! One year is much more likely to flow into the next without you actually making any progress in the absence of the focus and direction that comes from setting goals.

If goals are not your thing, then one idea I like to play with each year, is to set a theme for the year. For example, I had a year of focusing on taking action outside my comfort zone and another year it was about building relationships and connections. What will be your theme this year?

2.  Set Boundaries.

This one is for you if you have found yourself consistently working longer and longer hours. All of us know that we will need to put in some extra hours from time to time, but when it becomes the norm we have let it go too far.

I recently worked with a client whose average working day had stretched out to be more than 12 hours EVERY day. Her health was suffering, and she was beginning to resent the fact that she was spending so little time with her family. By simply setting some personal boundaries, identifying some opportunities to maximise her efforts and saying NO to the extra tasks that were not her responsibility, she reclaimed more than two hours a day of personal time.

3. Commit to working smarter not harder.

No matter how you juggle your schedule, the number of hours in the day will always remain the same. But it is possible to adjust your habits to create more time for the things that matter most.

Working smarter starts with planning regularly, carving out specific time in your diary for the bigger, more strategic tasks to be completed at your most productive time of the day and to delegate those tasks that don’t need to be done specifically by you.

 4. Focus on your strengths.

Ask yourself, are you working to your strengths or has your role morphed into a bunch of tasks that do not capitalise on what you do best? When you work to your strengths you are much more likely to enjoy the work you do and produce much better results to boot!

5. Strengthen your working relationships.

For many people the quality of their working relationships determine the degree of job satisfaction. And like any type of relationship… this takes some work. It is about staying connected, adding value, collaborating and supporting others to meet common goals.

6. Focus on your personal wellbeing. There is a growing mountain of research that points to the value of focusing on healthy eating, making time for exercise and taking time out to still the mind through meditation or mindfulness. It is hard to be at your best at work while also having energy for an active and fulfilling life outside of work, if you are not taking care of your heath.

7. Set an end point.

If, after all of this, you are still struggling to find enjoyment and fulfilment at work, then perhaps it is time to take the plunge and go after something new. Life is too short to spend most of your waking hours stuck in a job that does not “float your boat.” 

Commit now to an end point, a date by which time you will either have found a way to re-ignite your career mojo or to move on!

Now it is over to you. 

If you have been hit by the back-to-work-blues and are struggling to get fired up and motivated for another year, then it is time to do things differently. Without change you are destined for more of the same. So, go out and do what it takes to re-ignite the spark for more enjoyment and fulfilment in your work.

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