Unless you’re an avid ski junkie, wintertime can come with a very “blah” feeling, especially when it comes to getting things done at work. (And hey, if you are a ski junkie, the last thing you want to do is go into the office and bang out a TPS report). But that actually makes winter one of the best times to consciously work towards shaking things up work-wise. In fact, because an innovative mindset and initiative don’t come as easily when you’ve got the winter blahs, it can actually be a great time to push yourself creatively in the most mindful sort of ways.
How can you do just that? Let’s take a look.
1. Find Yourself a Mentor
Do you take the long view of your career? That’s great if you do, but it’s also important to break down your career growth into small, achievable steps. And the very first one of those very well could be mentoring. A good career mentor should be someone whose career you admire and possibly want to emulate. Pick someone within your company who can help grow your career as you grow yourself, someone outside of the company who is influential in your industry, or someone who is simply wise. Even better: reach out to someone who intimidates you — someone who you think would never want to work with you. You just might be surprised how willing veterans are to share their hard won expertise.
A good mentor will meet with you regularly, listen to your woes while also challenging you, and push you to set calculated goals. Your mentor should be both a release and a breath of spring air to get you motivated despite the dull winter colors.
2. Take a Risk
Risk may be scary, but it can also be exhilarating. And when a risk is calculated, it can have big payoff for your career. Just what constitutes a risk depends on your psychology. A risk could be something as big as going with your gut on a big company decision (finally, you’re learning to trust yourself), or something as small as eating at a different table during lunch in the company cafeteria (we believe you can do it!). Pitch a new initiative to your boss, suggest a new way of doing things based on research you’ve done, or finally pipe up in a big company meeting when you disagree. While a risk might not always result in the outcome you had hoped, you are likely to impress your bosses and colleagues as you go — and that’s a great payoff on its own.
3. Reach Out to Someone New
Sure, your team members are great, but after too long, if it’s just the same minds exchanging the same ideas, those ideas tend to get stale. You can also stagnate if you settle too deeply into a certain role on a team, like being the Quiet One or the Funny One. To shake things up, reach out to someone interesting on a different team for a casual conversation, just to exchange ideas. The goal here is to get your mind thinking in new and creative ways, and in turn to create unexpected neural connections. You might also consider a creative collaboration if things go well.
If you work at a small company or on your own, reach out to members of the community instead, or head to meetups. This differs from mentoring in that you may not be looking for coaching but instead for a more equal exchange.
4. Change the Routine
Do you always bring the same thing for lunch? Do you always check your email first thing in the morning, or complete a certain process in precisely the same way? And does it really have to be done that way? If not, change it up! Even going for sushi one day rather than eating the same old ham sandwich can stimulate your brain in new and unexpected ways. When it comes to processes, you just might find a better way of doing things and if not, just flexing your muscles like that will spark more creativity and will give you an energy and motivation boost.
5. Go Ergo
It sounds silly and strange to think that your office environment could be sapping your energy and motivation. But if you’re slouching at work or suffering from workplace injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome, the pain you’re experiencing is a serious distraction. And it’s not like you feel at all creative when you’re in pain mode.
Ergonomic equipment to the rescue! Give a standing desk a try as a new way to keep your muscles moving and your blood flowing to your brain throughout the day. Go for an ergonomic desk setup, complete with an ergonomic keyboard, ergonomic mouse, and tablet and laptop stand to make your days at work as comfortable and as pain-free as possible. No matter what, going ergo will kick start your energy and your motivation on the job.
There are plenty of ways to jumpstart your mood during wintertime. With a little creativity, you’ll be ready to take on the whole world!