The holidays are over, the new year is here, and it's time to get back to the grind. Struggling to wade through a bottomless inbox and never-ending list of to-dos? The post-vacation blues are real: it can take up to three weeks after Nnew Year's Eve to return to pre-holiday productivity!
Most of us can't afford a three-week slump so soon after returning to the office. But with a little focus, faith and effort, you'll be back in the flow in no time. Here's a round-up of my top tips from the last year to make 2018 your most productive year yet.
Learn the power of prioritization
When you dive back into work after winter break, it's tough to know where to begin. You have emails to answer, meetings to attend, old projects to wrap up and new ones start. It's important to get clear on priorities — as soon as possible. Here's a simple system I use to map out my top three tasks every day.
Embrace a 'WTF' attitude
No, not what you're thinking (although, you're probably saying that a lot this time of year!) For us, WTF stands for Willing to Fail, meaning we lean into failures as learning opportunities. We believe the only way to grow is to try new things, and more often than not, this means we make mistakes. We've created a learning culture at our offices where everyone feels safe to embrace a WTF attitude.
Don't let stress get the best of you
Your workload has probably piled up while you've been out of office. With the stress of looming projects, it can be tempting to pull all-nighters to get everything done. But the last thing you want to do is burn yourself out — this will only make you less productive in the long run. Listen to your body, take breaks when you need them and stick to a regular sleep schedule. These, and many other tips, can all help prevent stress at work.
Race to conflict
Tensions might run a little higher this time of year, as everyone settles back into their routines. Conflict resolution can often take a backseat to the million other things you have to do. But avoiding problems won't help you get ahead. Instead, race to conflict, be empathetic and deal with it head-on. Remember, you're not the only one suffering from a post-vacation hangover.
Delegate as much as possible
Prioritizing effectively makes a huge difference on your productivity, but you can't do everything, nor should you. Don't get bogged down in time-sucking, energy-killing tasks that distract you from the more important stuff. Instead, pass them off to someone with the bandwidth and the skill, and get back to the bigger picture. Delegating can be hard, but it's a skill strong leaders take very seriously.
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Make a bucket list
One of the best ways to beat post-vacation depression is to have something else to look forward to. We encourage all our employees to create a list of 101 life goals so they always have something new on the horizon, whether it's a trip to Peru or learning to speak French. Turns out dreaming on the job is better for productivity than you might expect.
Choose a positive mindset
The bottom line is this: your attitude will determine how quickly you reach your pre-vacation productivity levels. Our thoughts hold a lot of power over what we can accomplish. If you constantly sulk about your overwhelming workload, it's unlikely that you'll get anything done. This year, choose to have a positive mindset about everything you do. I promise, it's your secret superpower to blasting your goals in 2018.
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