Ah, Winter. Somehow, you’ve managed to become a great friend and also my worst enemy.
While I love the festive spirit that you bring and the bountiful opportunities to spend time with loved ones, I hate the lack of preparation and the loss of personal drive that I experience every time you sneak around.
And it’s not your fault, really. For as long as the world continues to turn, you’ll continue to come around, unknowingly wreaking havoc on those of us who may not have the best foundation in place for maximizing productivity.
But enough is enough! I have chosen to not fall victim to yet another Winter season filled with stress, anxiety, and burnout, and I invite you to do the same.
While you can’t hide from Winter (or your workload) forever, you can take the time to prepare as best you can in anticipation of the colder months ahead. I, for one, am a firm believer that when it comes to anything in life, the foundation of your learning can either make or break the actual implementation, and this time around, I’m not taking any chances. So, let’s review the basics of how to be (and stay) productive during the Winter season!
1. Create a Plan (and stick to it!)
A plan can look different for everyone; it just depends on what works best for your workload and/or personal goals. Personally, I love a good daily task list, but I also know that some people like to have their week or even month prepared beforehand to anticipate their upcoming workflow. I recommend creating detailed goals or tasks to help lift any fatigue that may occur later in your workday. It’s also a good rule of thumb to rank or list your plan in order of priority and also the exertion of effort required. I hate busy work (and I’m sure you do too), so creating a plan that aligns with where your workflow strengths and weaknesses are may be the answer to avoiding Winter burnout!
2. Moderation is Key
As much as I love being productive and getting things done, I also always have to remind myself that I’m human, not a well-oiled machine, and you should too. I get it; once you get in the groove, you just don’t want to stop, and sometimes the groove leads you to go way past your working hours or keeps you up at night, wondering if you should just bite the bullet and finish that task you left for tomorrow. But I’m here to tell you that the purpose of this blog is all about how to maintain productivity, and what I’ve just said is the perfect recipe to burn yourself out instead. To avoid burnout, you first have to acknowledge what productivity looks like for you and the measure of output required to reach your goals and ensure that your output is being balanced out accordingly. Without moderation, you could fall victim to excessive stress, fatigue, insomnia, and more.
3. Be Honest with Yourself
A hard lesson that I’ve learned in my pursuit of a healthy relationship with productivity is that, while it’s definitely easier said than done, the best thing you can do to maintain not only the integrity of your wellbeing but also the integrity of your work is to be honest with yourself. If you’re prone to procrastination (like I am), then setting a timer on your phone or working at a designated space void of distractions may be your answer. If you tend to lose track of time and work longer on tasks than you’d like to admit, you might want to consider setting up a clock at your workspace that you can reference or setting a timer for yourself to keep track of time. All this to say that the sooner you admit what may be holding you back from reaching your productivity potential, the sooner you can start finding solutions and reworking your workflow.
You may be underwhelmed by the lack of points made, but I promise you, these foundational steps are needed to not only optimize your output of productivity, but also to help realign yourself with a workflow that works for you! The bread and butter for maintaining productivity in the upcoming Winter season isn’t in working long hours or neglecting your physical and mental health; it’s in spending your time both efficiently and effectively, and these steps are going to help you do just that!
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Written by Micahrae Osteria