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Coming back to work in the new year is like getting the Sunday scaries — times 1,000.
We all aim to feel refreshed and re-energized, ready to start fresh and crush all our goals and deadlines.
In reality, heading back into your office can be a real letdown from the high of the holidays, when you had free time, togetherness with friends and family and a generally festive spirit.
But this time doesn’t need to be a bummer. Here are 10 ways to avoid January job burnout.
Schedule Some Fun
If your work calendar only marks meeting times and deadlines, you probably won’t feel much of a thrill when looking at what’s ahead. Infuse your schedule with some things to look forward to. Seeing your coworker’s baby shower, office happy hour or the next holiday weekend in the mix can help break up the monotony. And if your calendar is private, add non-work events like dinner with a friend or a weekend getaway.
Take a Break
We all glance at our phone from time to time or pause to make a cup of tea, but taking a more noticeable break sometimes feels wrong. But guess what? It’s nothing to feel guilty about. Research shows taking breaks throughout the day can actually make you *more* productive, so take a walk around the building, meditate in an empty office or enjoy that hot drink – and don’t answer emails at the same time. After a real break, you’ll feel ready to continue your day.
Ask for Flexibility
If you’ve been at your job for a while and have proven that you’re organized, communicative and an all-around star, then there’s a good chance that you can negotiate more flexibility in your schedule. Maybe you want an earlier start-time because you’re more productive in the morning or want to work from home one day a week to get a break from the commute. Whatever change you’re looking for, creating a schedule that fits better with your lifestyle can make you appreciate your job more.
Learn Something New
Taking on more work may seem counterintuitive, but learning something new can be inspiring. New skills help you feel more fulfilled in your current role and boost your resume, too. Many companies even pay for educational resources like online classes, and you can practice what you’ve learned by requesting to work on new projects (which shows initiative and can score you big points with the boss).
Attend a Conference
Physically getting out of the office might just be the thing that helps fight cubicle fatigue. Plus, it's a great opportunity to meet people in your industry and remind yourself why you’re passionate about your career.
Take an interest in teams other than your own. Request informational interviews throughout your company to learn more about how the organization functions, opportunities for advancement and your industry as a whole. Passion can be infectious, so seeing why other people love their jobs may give you a new positive perspective.
Start an Office Book Club
Or an intramural soccer team, or movie club. Bonding with your coworkers over shared interests can help improve your productivity during the day and make you excited to get to the office again.
Go a Step Further
How could you be doing your job better? Could your team be more efficient? Have you been mulling over creative ideas but not taking action? Do your research, prepare a plan and propose a new project or initiative that could improve your or your team's performance. Have a stake in something of your own creation and watch your motivation soar. And make sure to take note of it for your annual review.
Talk to Your Boss
Feeling bored at work may mean you're too comfortable and that it's time for a new challenge. You can’t resent your boss for not knowing what you want if you don’t tell her. Have a frank (but positive) conversation about where you’d like your career to head this year, be ready to graciously accept constructive criticism and then get to work on landing the promotion.
Consider a Move
If you’ve been feeling really down about work for months, then it may be time for a new job or career altogether. Start reaching out to contacts, updating your resume and applying for new roles. There’s nothing like a complete change to kick work boredom to the curb.