Five ways to stay productive when winter hits - Michelle Gibbings

Five ways to stay productive when winter hits

In the southern states, you can undoubtedly feel the early onset of winter. The mornings are darker, and there’s been fog, rain and chilly days. The days feel shorter, and it may be harder to get going in the morning.

A range of studies have found that the weather impacts how we feel, think and act, so in the winter months when it’s darker, wetter and more gloomy, it can be natural for motivation levels to drop at work too.

Keeping motivation levels high in the workplace doesn’t happen by accident. It involves deliberate, focused and frequent steps to stay engaged.

If you feel like your or your team’s motivation levels may start to wane and fall as winter approaches, then here are five ideas to maintain the motivation engine:

1. Hold daily stand up meetings
At the start of each day, ask each team member to set clear intentions as to their focus for the day. Get them to write down their commitment and share it with the team.

The mere act of physically writing a goal, rather than just verbalising it, makes it harder to ignore. As well, when intentions are spoken and committed to publicly, it provides additional impetus to complete the task.

2. Shift the environment
Our environment has a significant impact on how we work, so if your or your team’s mojo is lacking look at how you can shake up the atmosphere. As more of us work from home and transition back to offices in staggered working shifts, there will be options to work in different spaces. Use the change to disrupt your regular pattern of behaviour, and you may find inspiration hits.

As well, music impacts how we feel, and while most of the research has been in the context of how it affects the motivation to exercise, it provides a useful perspective.

An article in Scientific American reports that “Music distracts people from pain and fatigue, elevates mood, increases endurance, reduces perceived effort and may even promote metabolic efficiency. When listening to music, people run farther, bike longer and swim faster than usual—often without realizing it.”

But music doesn’t just motivate how you exercise; it can motivate how you work. Select music that suits the mood and type of work you want to get done.

3. Promote healthy activities
We all know that exercise releases endorphin. Endorphins make us feel good about ourselves, and when we feel good, it is easy to get started on things that matter to us.

Go for a walk or run at lunchtime, or simply find time to step outside and notice what is around you. With the myriad of online exercise and yoga options, there are plenty of choices.

4. Talk about motivation
We have this curious notion that motivation somehow appears. It doesn’t. It comes from starting. So don’t sit around waiting for motivation to strike – because it won’t.

When you find yourself not wanting to do something, set yourself a mini-goal. Say to yourself, ‘I’ll work on this task for 15 minutes, and after that, I can have a cup of coffee’. What’s interesting is by the 15-minute mark you will likely keep going to get the task finished.

Talk to your team about what motivates them, and share tips and techniques on what works.

As well, research shows that making progress is a huge factor in keeping people at work motivated. Monitor how you and your team are progressing – keeping the results visible, so it is easier to see the progress. When you and your team are working on a big project, you will be motivated when you see that your daily efforts are helping you get closer to your goal.

5. Get connected
Connections at work matter. People in your team want to feel like they belong. Set aside regular times during the winter months for social engagements and opportunities where the team can share, laugh and connect – be it virtual or face to face.

Maintaining secure connections with work colleagues – sharing how you feel, talking to people and being open about experiences is critical for your health and well-being. When the team connects, it creates positive energy, which aids motivation.

As the author, Victor Hugo, once said: “Laughter is sunshine, it chases winter from the human face”.

Getting you ready for tomorrow, today®

Michelle Gibbings is bringing back the happy to workplace culture. The author of three books, and a global keynote speaker, she’s on a mission to help leaders, teams and organisations create successful workplaces – where people thrive and progress is accelerated. 

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