I’m officially over winter, which is good because winter is officially over (in the southern hemisphere anyway). Unfortunately Melbourne didn’t get the memo because the winds are still cold enough to chill a bottle of champagne.
It never ceases to astound me how much human beings can drone on about the weather. The four seasons come around the same time each year yet we still feel compelled to comment (or complain) about the heat, the wet, the cold and the dry. And here I am, devoting an entire article to it, right when the seasons are changing. My excuse is, I’m cold. Really cold. And I need to find a way to get something done despite being… really cold.
Anyone with a sedentary job appreciates that sitting at a desk under artificial lighting with dehydrating heaters blowing all day can make us feel incredibly unmotivated. Add in colleagues (or kids!) coughing germs on us and sniffles set in. It’s enough to make productivity seem impossible.
I’m not going to tell you to get out in the fresh air and run a min-marathon in your lunch break. Nor will I recommend hot yoga while you’re on hold to a telecommunications company. Although there’s nothing wrong with either of those suggestions.
Instead, here’s a few things that work for me.
A desk spring clean.
Spring cleaning is not just for spring. You’re stuck inside anyway, you may as well make a start on the piles inhabiting your desk. I wrote about what your desk says about you in a recent article. There is value in a clean slate and orderly piles – they can make you feel more productive, even if the weather is sapping your energy. Whether the clean desk motivation translates to a reality of productivity is another question but at least it’s a start.
Sounds obvious but there are less outside distractions in winter because, well, who wants to be outside? Dreaming of the beach in summer or hanging for 5pm so you can have a wine on the deck are what summer work days are made of. Winter work days, however, are me and a desk and a hot cup of tea. Possibly a chocolate or two or three. The bonus in winter is I can get entirely focussed on what I’m doing because it’s the perfect time to be inside and get on with an indoor work-related project. Like writing a novel. Or something less labour-intensive like a to do list for my husband.
It isn’t what you’re thinking (if your mind was wandering somewhere it shouldn’t during work hours). I like to find something to look forward to at the end of each winter work day. Maybe it’s some hearty comfort food – a casserole, a curry, a big batch of vegetable soup with warm crusty bread. Maybe it’s lighting the fire and curling up on the couch under a Nana-knitted blanket and watching horrendous but addictive reality TV. It’s nothing so mammoth that it will draw the focus away during working hours but enough to feel encouraged to produce some great work and then close up shop for the day.
Whatever your strategy is to get through winter, be assured it is a time for productivity despite the lethargy and negativity that sometimes comes with the overcast days. Before you know it, we’ll be complaining about the heat!
What helps you get through work in winter?
About Kylie Orr, Kylie Orr
Her dream of becoming a back up dancer for Janet Jackson was quashed by a distinct lack of talent, forcing Kylie Orr into a day job of writing. She has four children and one husband to fuel her inspiration.
After eight years writing for Essential Baby, Kylie was keen to broaden into genres outside parenting. She found the murky waters and the swell of rejection in this cut-throat freelance writing business overwhelming. But 2015 is her year. She’s determined she will be successful, she will conquer the writing world and make enough money to eat more than 2 minute noodles.