January 8, 2014

Getting Back to Work After the Holidays

Businessman dragging a computer monitor on a city streetIt’s rough. We’re used to sitting around with a beer in one hand and drumstick in the other. It’s funny how getting used to doing absolutely nothing can be a habit in three days. Why can’t workout routines or healthy eating become habit in that amount of time? In any case, it’s back to work, and that actually means more than your body occupying a seat. Time off usually means extra work when you get back to the office.

Write a Ransom Note

I know you aren’t by jazzed about the idea of doing anything besides eating mashed potatoes, (and I know that because the feeling is mutual) but start slow and small. Realize that there will be repercussions if the work ahead doesn’t get done. Make a list of all the fun (or lazy) things you could do this afternoon if you didn’t have make-up work to do.

For many of us, work doesn’t just stop because it’s 5 o’clock. Bringing work home is a necessary evil, but one that, in all honesty, is usually very preventable. Keep the list of things to do in plain sight. Whenever your brain starts to wonder over to the Twitterverse, ask yourself which you would rather be doing come Friday at 6. Think of it as a ransom note for your weekend.

Get Others to Hold You Accountable

Face it, if you could hold yourself accountable you wouldn’t be reading this. Deadlines that we create for ourselves are quite easily pushed back. We create these schedules so that everything is done by thus and such a date or time, but when everything gets pushed back, we can often procrastinate ourselves right into a hole.

It can be a slippery slope, especially with loose, or undefined time lines. When communicating with your team, employer or client, spell out a deadline, even if they don’t. By simply adding a “I will have this to you by noon on Wednesday,” you have created accountability with someone else. This is a great way to establish credibility and take control.

Make a Deal…With Yourself

Like just about everything we don’t want to do, getting started is the hardest part. Getting to the gym is absolute torture, until you’re there, then it’s the best idea you’ve had all day! Getting a project or task started is where most of throw in the towel…until tomorrow.

This is my favorite anti-procrastination tool. Make a deal with yourself about starting the project at hand. Reward yourself for defined preliminary work. This can be an outline, first paragraph or draft. Once this first step is done, you can go have lunch, or window shop online for a bit. By breaking up a dreaded task at the very beginning, you get the hard part out of the way. Quite often I will find that once I get started, I will keep on going to the end, or a solid stopping point. If you do only get the beginning stages done, at least you’re farther than you were!

Now go have some mashed potatoes, you overachiever. And hey, did you know there’s an app for that? Procrastination, not mashed potatoes.

Read more in Project Management

Maren Hogan is a seasoned marketer and community builder in the HR and Recruiting industry. She leads Red Branch Media, an agency offering marketing strategy and content development. A consistent advocate of next generation marketing techniques, Hogan has built successful online communities, deployed brand strategies in both the B2B and B2C sectors, and been a prolific contributor of thought leadership in the global recruitment and talent space. Hogan speaks and writes on all career and workforce related subjects. Her clients include Fortune 500 companies and SMBs around the globe. Red Branch Media was formed in 2006 as a simple consultancy. Today, the firm is a full-service B2B Marketing Agency that serves clients in the U.K., Africa, China, Israel, Europe and North America. Primarily focused on the Human Resources and Global Workforce vendors, Red Branch Media handles clients of all shapes and sizes.
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