I have a hard time getting motivated after the holidays. The weather sucks, the fiscal year has just started so all the projects are admin heavy (start-up mode), and if I won Lotto I’d resign in a minute. If I can make it till spring I know I’ll be fine but I’m concerned that now that I’m a manager my work is going to suffer. Thoughts? – S.D., Hoboken, NJ
It’s not usual to have the winter blues for the very reasons you state. It’s worth a conversation with your doctor just to rule out specific cause(s) in case you need to make adjustments.
There are a few practical steps you can take. Make sure you are exposed to natural light regularly. It will help both your energy and your mood. Structure and clear milestones will help you establish that momentum—especially since your projects are all in the beginning stages. Part of what makes us feel satisfied is feeling that we’re making progress. Set milestones for work that isn’t part of your normal project list.
For instance, say you’ve identified issues with projects you finished at the end of the year. If you’re confident you know how to solve them, put safeguards in place to keep those issues from reoccurring. If not, bring your teammates together to figure out what you can do to avoid those problems in the future.
Make an effort to keep your language (including your self-talk) positive and future-focused. It will help you and your team feel more energized. If one of your direct reports is in the constant “glass half full” mindset, take them aside and make them aware of it. You want them to understand that you’re concerned about the effect of negativity on both the person and the broader team. Most people don’t realize they’re being so negative.
It’s great that you’re aware of your pattern. Focusing on taking action—and on the impact of the winter blues on your team—will help you weather this time period.
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