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3 Top Tips for staying motivated during the winter months

If you read his first blog, you’ll know that Alex is shortly heading off to begin a career in the RAF, but for now he’s honing his social media and digital skills and doing a great job.

We’re delighted he’s going to be around for a few months longer and will continue to contribute to our blog spot.  We love the links he makes between motivation, energy and productivity and hope you do too.  Enjoy…

Fighting the winter blues

Staying productive during the cold winter months isn’t always easy.  And motivation is much like a wood fire, when it’s alight,  it’s great; but if you forget to add fuel to the flames, you’re likely to find yourself burnt out.

In winter it’s much more difficult to motivate yourself to do anything, whether it’s exercising or an important tasks or project. It’s much more appealing to just hunker down under the duvet in front of the TV, or with tablet in hand, and while away the hours.  But aside from he obvious waste of time and energy, do you really want to miss some of the great things the winter season can offer you?

Here’s three quick tips on how to stay motivated and productive during the winter months…

Time to say goodbye?

1. Early to bed, early to rise

Think in the morning. Act in the noon. Eat in the evening. Sleep in the night.  – William Blake

You might not realise it, but the colder nights can have a profound impact on your sleep. How?  Well, for starters, it can disrupt your daily commute to work.  You’re likely to find yourself either waking up earlier than usual to make the same daily commute.  And how often have you woken up in the middle of the night feeling cold or tossed-and-turned in your sleep and woken up feeling unrested?  I know it’s so hard to get up early in the morning when it’s cold, dark and wintry outside, but sleeping in won’t help either and worse, you’re likely to end up feeling more sleepy and tired.  A quick search on Google will pull up study after study showing the health risks of not sleeping enough. Weight gain, susceptibility to cancer, and heart disease have all been linked to sleeping less than “normal.” But what’s really interesting is that those same studies also show that getting enough sleep leads to higher creativity, problem solving, and productivity.  So why not try going to bed earlier so you get up earlier to enjoy more daylight hours and get more things done?

Looking after yourself is so important;  our self-care blog is a great additional read!

2. The long (icy) road ahead

The colder weather makes the little voice in your head that tells you “but it’s so much effort” all the more enticing to listen to!  If your ‘new year, new me’ goals were to get fitter and be more active, it’s made all the harder when it’s cold outside.  You say to yourself, “I’ll start tomorrow.” But tomorrow’s even colder and before long all good intentions turn to excuses and it snowballs – pun intended – out of control and you end up giving up on your goals. Don’t let that be you!  You don’t have to go to the gym, or run a 5K in subzero temperatures. Go for a walk, or park the car further from your office to encourage a longer walk. Use the stairs instead of the lift. Just do something to get those endorphins activated and boost your energy and mood.  And if you’re still fighting the urge to stay inside where its warm, getting out encourages you to interact socially, which in turn boosts your positivity and thus your productivity, motivating you to continue these good habits and stay active!

If you’re really struggling to get started, why not have a read of our “9 top tips for getting off to a great start” blog?

3. It's all about the plan!

No winter lasts forever, no spring skips its turn.  – Hal Borland

We all know that with winter months come less daylight hours. And again, the voice in your head will be complicit in coming up with all manner of excuses for spending your time lying under the blanket moaning about cold weather and lack of energy.  But whatever the excuse, planning your day around the darkness will improve your motivation and your productivity.  Creating a to-do list at the beginning of the day or week can help you feel more focused and motivated.    Start with getting clear on when you are most productive and motivated – in the morning or afternoon? – then prioritise your tasks around the daylight hours. When you see what you should do, you have less excuses for not doing it!

We’ve got a simple planning tool here.

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If you want to find out more about our productivity work sessions, leadership development programmes or learning journeys you can email directly or visit The Extraordinary Training Company website.  

Author: Alex

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