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After a month of holiday fun and many days off, it can be tough to get back into the swing of things at work. After all, you’ve had lots of fun times with family and friends, logged a lot of late nights and enjoyed your temporary freedom. Now, it’s back to work in the dreary, dark days of winter. How can you bounce back into a state of productivity and get into a work mindset? It’s not that hard if you follow these tips.
1. Start Your Day Right
Get yourself off on the right foot before even stepping into your office building. Begin the night before by getting a good night’s sleep. Experts recommend about seven to eight hours per night, so count back from when your alarm goes off and be sure you get enough shut-eye. Kiss the late nights goodbye for now.
If you find yourself worrying about your to-dos, try keeping a notebook by your bed to write down anything that’s important to remember. Then you can sleep with a clear conscience and be sure your concerns will be addressed in the morning.
When morning rolls around, make sure you have a nutritious breakfast. Foods like oatmeal, yogurt sprinkled with fruit or granola, or scrambled eggs are a great way to get your metabolism humming. Skipping breakfast sets you up for failure by causing irritability, tiredness or distraction. Those are surefire ways to kill your productivity.
2. Take a Breather
Getting back to work after the holidays can be a tough transition for some. Keep in mind that it’s OK to take breaks because they can help boost your productivity. Take a quick walk outside for a change of scenery and to fit some exercise into your day. Exercise can help clear your mind and sharpen your focus, and taking in some fresh air and sunshine is a great way to ease stress. Taking breaks like this are great ways to help you with your productivity levels and boost your creativity.
3. Make a List and Check it Twice
OK, so maybe you still have Christmas on the brain. Take some advice from Santa and make a list when you return to work. Write down important tasks that need to be accomplished each day or each week to help you get back into the swing of things and stay on target. It feels good to check things off your list and see in a concrete way that you are getting things done in a timely manner. Make sure you give yourself a deadline for your to-dos and stick to it.
4. Limit Email and Social Media Use
Constant email checking is a sure time waster. Do you really need to have an alert go off every time you get a message? Unless you’re expecting something that’s extremely urgent, the answer is no. Turn off the alerts and check your email at certain times, like first thing in the morning, before and after lunch, and at the end of the day. That way you’ll never miss anything important and will not waste time throughout your entire day checking and responding to messages.
The same mindset should be applied to social media. Your boss may not approve of social media use during office hours anyway, but if it’s OK then only check at set times. Don’t leave the screen up and get distracted by the latest Grumpy Cat picture.
5. Give Up on Multitasking
Believe it or not, multitasking is a productivity killer. Don’t think you’re going to impress anyone by doing ten things at once, because none of those ten things have your full attention. It’s better to tackle your to-do list one item at a time in order to do a complete and good job. If you don’t, your focus will be all over the map and your work will suffer. Do one thing, do it well, and move on to the next task. It’s much less stressful.
6. Clear Your Desk and Your Head
Hopefully before you left for your holiday break you cleaned up and organized your desk. Having a tidy desk awaiting you each morning is a great way to start your day, because you have a fresh slate. At the end of the day, be sure to take five minutes to get things organized so you can have a fresh start the next morning. You’ll be much more productive if everything is easy to find and keep track of. Try using files or other storage solutions to keep your important projects in their proper places.
These ideas should make it easier to head back to the office and get back to work, even if visions of sugarplums or eggnog are still dancing in your head.