How to get back into the swing of things in 2021

Posted by Ben Whittacker-Cook on 14/01/2021 10:00:00 AM

Well, that didn’t seem very long, did it? Two golden weeks of summer (three, if you were lucky) and now in the blink of an eye, mid-January sees the big return to work. So here are a few ideas to make life in your workplace a little more bearable this month.

2021 Back to Work

There are two schools of thought on coping with the post-holiday blues. Do you leap in with both feet or ease yourself in slowly? Whatever your preference, the new year can be an excellent opportunity to reflect on what you did well in 2020, address what you’d like to do better in 2021, and develop some new habits and strategies to succeed. 

The sun is shining 

January in NZ is different from most Januarys around the world and returning to work in a UK or US winter, for example, is a daunting challenge. That’s worth celebrating – especially from a health and well-being perspective. It’s still early summer, so going back to work doesn’t have to curtail your fun time. It’s important to keep doing all the things you like to do to stay relaxed and healthy. Plus, we also have a long weekend to look forward to in February due to Waitangi Day and upcoming regional Anniversary Days if you’re in Wellington, Auckland or Nelson. 

Act like it’s your most productive month 

Try not to think of January as, well… January. Can you adopt the mindset you had during your most productive month last year? Prioritise what needs to be prioritised, make lists (see below), and don’t waste time chasing the stuff that can wait.

If you need to ease yourself into things, then try to do a little more each day in the first two weeks, so that each day is busier than the previous one. However, if you want to go hard and go early, there’s no point delaying difficult conversations or making big decisions. 

Keep the team happy 

If you’ve got the January blues, then there’s a good chance your team will have, too. Take them out for lunch, surprise them with a mid-morning tea or, if you’re feeling very generous, offer them a surprise day of working from home or a slightly earlier-than-planned Friday finish. More and more evidence suggests that employers respond positively to emotionally intelligent and empathetic leaders. 

Be fearless with your inbox 

Prepare yourself for the fact that your inbox will be bulging. As with your daily tasks, prioritise and take your time sifting through what needs to be addressed immediately, what can wait, and what can be delegated.  

If you’re an owner or manager, chances are you probably had a sneaky look at your inbox during the holidays anyway so, hopefully, there won’t be too many nasty surprises lurking there. Rather than scheduling meetings or calls that can wait a few days, actively schedule some time in your calendar on day one or day two to attack your inbox. 

Make a list 

‘Create a list of items that must get done on your first days back,’ says Stuff. ‘When you’re struggling to focus and don’t know where to even start, this is a great way to stay on track and accomplish the bare minimum. And try prioritising your tasks. 

‘It could also be the time to look at the little jobs that got left behind in the lead up to Christmas and work on those easier tasks, even if it was something like filing or cleaning out those cupboards that no one had seen the back of for months.’

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Topics: Leadership, Business Strategy & Planning, Wellbeing, Team Building