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Summary:

At this, the business end of the year, it can seem a bit like you’re stuck in a rut. While those in the U.S. may be happily heading for holiday season, most of the rest of us have a lot of plodding to do before any […]

green_signalAt this, the business end of the year, it can seem a bit like you’re stuck in a rut. While those in the U.S. may be happily heading for holiday season, most of the rest of us have a lot of plodding to do before any end-of-year-light appears in the work-day tunnel.

Northern hemisphere workers face the long downhill slide into winter, while those in the southern hemisphere strive valiantly to knuckle down and get things done before the summer and associated New Year business go-slow. There’s no time for holidays or breaks: it’s all action, whether we like it or not.

So I thought now might be a good time to talk about things we can do to make ourselves feel refreshed at work, even when we’re not. They say a change is as good as a holiday, after all…

1. Change where you work.

Remote workers needn’t be stuck at the same desk day in, day out. Try the library, a cafe, a coworking space or your friend’s studio.

Find it hard to work in public places? Fine. Change where you work at home. Move your office for a week — set up a desk in a different room — or revamp, rearrange or redecorate your current workspace. Buy a new album to play while you work, or try a new radio station. Paint the walls a different color. Make some changes, and see what happens to your mood.

2. Change your schedule.

If you’re right into routine — or simply find your life staked out by regular obligations — try a different approach for a week. Maybe you’ll work like you’re on vacation, chunk your work, or simply go off grid for a day or two so you can get more done.

You may also find it refreshing to blow off those regular events for a week, and do something different. Instead of your weekly yoga class, go and see a movie. Move your designated Invoicing Morning to some other time so you can use the time to go for a swim. If you prefer, try making more lasting changes to your schedule, building in regular exercise, lunch with friends or colleagues, or early finishes to help motivate you and mix up your week.

3. Change what you eat, and when.

Celine’s recent post about tactics to make sure you eat well may already have you reconsidering the way you fuel your work day. But changing your eating habits — how often, as well as what you eat — can make a real difference to your mood and motivation.

Since the seasons are changing, you might want to embrace the new-season foods. If it’s getting cold, cook up some hearty meals. If the months are getting warmer, lighten up with salads and fresh foods. Eat in a way you haven’t before — try new recipes, new foods, new eating patterns — and see what works for you. Even something as simple as taking a regular, away-from-your-desk lunch break outside in the sunshine can make all the difference.

4. Change what you wear.

We all know that what we wear affects the way we feel. If you’ve decided to spend the morning working in a cafe, you may wear different clothes than you would if you were at home. But you don’t have to leave your workspace to justify altering your work attire.

If you’re the type to do your first hour’s work in your PJs, change the routine for a week and start the day showered, dressed, and ready to roll. If you’re the sort who wears office clothes all day, consider trying more casual attire. Change what you wear — you’ll be surprised at the effect it has on your motivation, creativity, and output.

5. Take a mental health day.

Taking a spontaneous day off can be a great way to refresh and re-energise. It certainly breaks up the week, and can be a good motivator if you’re feeling sluggish about getting things done. A mental health day can be a soothing or adventurous as you like — it’s a day of complete freedom, so make the most of it!

I’m often trying different things to spice up what can otherwise be the monotonous work week. I like spontaneity, and no matter how engaging or inspiring our work is, we all need a change some time.

What do you do to boost your morale and motivation when things get dull?

  1. I just took a spontaneous vacation day last Tuesday, and it felt great! I highly recommend it. I went into the rest of the week feeling refreshed.

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  2. I can’t agree more about changing locations. In fact, it’s something that I’ll do multiple times in a day – I always get a productivity boost from switching where I work.

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  3. I normally take an hour out to get on the bicycle and go for a ride – whatever the weather. Just getting fresh air and time away from the screen is a great boost for when I get back.

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  4. [...] changes to your freelance work habits that are as good (almost) as taking a day [...]

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  5. this all sounds great for my many start-up ventures, problem is I have a day job, fixed vacation days, a non-stop phone, and a dress code :P

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  6. It’s finally clear to me! My company has had me move desks 14 times in the last 4 years. They’re trying to give me more vacation! Wait…I think I’d rather have more paid days off…

    In all seriousness, I believe that moving work spaces is a good thing. I find myself getting unblocked if I take my laptop outside or to another room.

    I also unplug, and find that I get much more done with pen and paper than sitting in front of the screen.

    Good suggestions.

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