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4 steps to regaining a successful work mindset after the holidays

By Ana Isabel Alonsagay | 21 January 2019

Regaining a work mindset can often seem like a bit of a struggle after a break. Now that the “silly season” has come to an end, the hubbub of Christmas and New Years’ is over, and it’s time to settle back into a steady work or study routine. 

While this is an expected reality – returning to your previously productive ‘work mindset’ can be much easier said than done. All goals and ambitions prior to the holiday buzz have been left to collect dust for weeks on end, and hitting the books or tending to pending duties once again can feel like a muscle that needs reworking.

If all this hits close to home, SkillsTalk has compiled a step-by-step guide to help you get back on track with your career, study, or business targets for the coming year. Time to turn off your ‘party mode’ and kick things back into gear!

Get that motivation back

4 steps to regaining a successful work mindset after the holidays

Your first step in getting back your working groove is to prep your mind up for a positive, productive road ahead. Get yourself re-inspired by envisioning where exactly you’d want to be in the coming months. Did you want to start your own business? Change careers? Go after that degree you’ve always wanted, but never seemed to come around doing?

Setting your sights on what you wish to achieve, and writing them down, can be a helpful reminder of why you’re working on yourself and your skills in the first place.

An effective goal-setting strategy that plenty of students, businessmen, and other driven individuals have adopted is the technique known as ‘SMART’. Used and valued by some of the world’s most successful people, ‘SMART’ stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time; and are the characteristics one’s goals should have to ensure they are ‘clear and reachable’. Use this tool when putting your ambitions down on paper, rather than leaving them as abstract ideas.

Having a set of new things to learn about or improve on will also help re-stimulate a keen interest in your work. Keep yourself excited at the prospect of expanding your knowledge and upgrading your skillset; rather than allowing the dread of returning to ‘old routines’ take over. As Claire Cohen of The Telegraph writes in her article of back-to-work blues: “Burying your head in the sand won’t bring Christmas back.”

Research, plan, prioritise, and schedule

4 steps to regaining a successful work mindset after the holidays

After you’ve psyched yourself up over your upcoming journey to a ‘better you’- it’s time to start planning! This may be the most crucial step in re-attaining an effective ‘work mindset’, as a lack of clear direction will lead to you flying blind – and likely, down the wrong path – towards the goals you’ve set in place.

To start, do your research on what’s needed to achieve your goals; for example, if you’re looking to finally start your own business, look into the online courses available that can help you refine your leadership and management skills. If you still wish to work while studying, find out what flexible options are available to suit your schedule.

Once you’ve gathered your information, it’s time to set your weekly and monthly priorities lists. Organise your ‘to-do’s from most to least urgent and break your goals down into smaller, more achievable tasks that you can aim to tick off within a certain timeframe. Be sure to factor other important appointments into your schedule too!

The key here is to take control of your time ahead, as research has shown that a greater sense of control can lead to less stress and an overall healthier mental state. Remember – the more positive your mindset, the more likely you are to get out of the post-holiday slump and pave your way for onward success.

Grant yourself a clean, effective workspace – and stop procrastinating!

4 steps to regaining a successful work mindset after the holidays

Research from the Princeton University Neuroscience Institute has revealed that physical clutter can hamper one’s ability to focus on tasks and process information. The messiness of your environment serve as distractions competing for your attention, stealing the mental energy you need to work on your goals to instead trigger frustration and irritability – not exactly what your mind needs after a long break.

Provide yourself with a comfortable, quiet study or work space free of mess and distraction, ensuring that you’re getting back into your daily grind with a clear and clutter-free mind. Though a clean and tidy work space isn’t the be-all, end-all key to get those gears turning - you’ve also got to learn to beat the worker’s worst enemy: procrastination.

This why your planning and scheduling stage is the most important on your path to regaining a successful ‘work mindset’; having your time budgeted for each priority and mandatory task may just be the kick in the head you need for when your brain refuses to work.

Students must especially learn to adopt this strategy; mastering the art of time management is a critical component to successfully achieving the grades (and thus, qualification) you’re working towards. Additionally, there are a plethora of productivity apps out there you can use to kick procrastination to the curb.

Connect with others

4 steps to regaining a successful work mindset after the holidays

Having a supportive network of colleagues, friends, and fellow students can help you maintain the motivation you need in order to work towards your goals. Join online social media groups and reach out to others who may be on the same career path as you are or are working on areas of similar interest. If you’re doing a course, there may be online privatised forums provided by your educational institution, allowing you to connect, advise, and seek help from other fellow learners.

If possible, you may benefit from having a mentor that can help guide you down your professional journey. When the path seems a bit too murky and discouragement starts to rear its ugly head, you can always count on these individuals to provide you with feedback, advice, and inside knowledge on your chosen industry, helping you achieve your maximum skill potential.

Read up on study and career tips with SkillsTalk

Getting back into work mode is often not that easy, but learn to embrace it – almost everyone else is on the exact same train of emotions as you are. Ease yourself back into the workload you have at hand; it will be a struggle at first, but before you know it, you’ll be kicking goals and winning the career you’ve been striving for. Would an online course help you gain the skills you need to achieve more at work?

For more study or productivity-related tips, be sure to check out our related articles here on SkillsTalk.
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