It’s the first week back to work after taking some much-needed time off over Christmas and New Year. It’s tough to get back into the hustle and bustle of ‘normal’ life after what seems like a long time off.
Going back to work in the New Year is often negatively anticipated – as clearly shown by the trending Twitter hashtag #backtowork. For some it may be business as usual, but for others the small-talk and idea of getting back into a routine can be off-putting.
The start of a new year should be motivating and inspiring, so we’ve put together five ways to cope with going back to work after the holidays. Keep the momentum going and chase your 2019 ambitions!
1. Get stuck in
The best way to avoid discouraging thoughts and feelings about being back to work is to keep busy. It’s easy to start the first week back with meaningless, simple tasks to ease yourself back into the routine – although those on tight deadlines may not have this luxury. However this won’t make the important tasks go away and the work pile-up will only make you feel worse in the long run.
So get stuck in straight away and don’t avoid your more complex tasks!
2. Work smarter, not harder
Along the same lines, an important tip for being back to work in the New Year is to work smarter, not harder. This philosophy is practised in many sectors such as project management and IT in which agile, scrum and sprint methodologies are widely used.
Working smarter involves choosing the most important tasks on your list and prioritising them first. This will streamline your processes and get you back on the path to completing your client’s work efficiently. After all, as a contractor you can’t afford to feel demotivated and lose productivity – it could cost you your client’s trust and even your contract.
3. Start booking things in
It’s a new year and a fresh start. Booking in social activities and holidays will get you feeling positive and inspired. January is notorious for being a bit of a downer month socially. One of the best ways to counteract this is to start booking plans in for the coming months.
Many contractors and freelancers work hard and don’t take enough holiday, but make 2019 the year of change and start booking those holidays in now. It will give you something to look forward to; making plans for travel, social occasions and even self-care can increase your productivity in other areas of your life.
4. Ramp up your professional life
Making plans for holidays and your social life can help diminish the post-holiday blues, so why not create balance by making plans in a professional capacity too?
If there’s a specific skill you wish to learn, or if you have networking objectives then you can sign up to meetups and workshops to work on these goals. This will not only enrich your professional life, but it could also lead to new opportunities for contract roles.
Did you know?
Many contractors rely on their personal network over recruitment agencies for new projects, and referrals from past colleagues are a great way to land a new role in 2019. There is no better time than a new year to expand your network.
5. Start living with intention
Last but not least, our final tip for coping with going back to work is to start “living with intention”. Living with intention means to be purposeful and mindful of how you spend each day – including the food you eat, who you spend your time with and even the thoughts you dwell on.
We frequently let moments pass by because we aren’t living each moment meaningfully. Living with intention means knowing the kind of life you want to live, giving you the motivation to achieve your resolutions.
Living with intention requires you not only to set goals and to dream but to also prepare for hurdles and resistance. It sounds rather like a cheesy excerpt from a self-help book – but the concept is worth a try in order to have a successful 2019.
Read more about living with intent and how to align your thoughts and actions with your goals.
Start 2019 on the right foot
Some contractors and freelancers may be lucky enough to be able to work from the comfort of their own home, avoiding gruelling commutes and mundane small-talk. But for those who are out on site from the outset of 2019 this advice is sure to come in handy.
Put these tips into practice and you’ll be empowered to give yourself a positive start to the New Year. You may even open the door to new opportunities such as new contract roles, new skills certifications or starting your own business as a contractor.
You may also be interested to read:
- How to find new contracts
- Top tips for contract renewals
- Sole trader to limited company: a how-to guide
Don’t forget to try our take home pay calculator below to compare your 2019 take home pay through an umbrella company vs limited company.