Tips To Beat Post-Holiday Procrastination

Tips To Beat Post-Holiday Procrastination

Late nights and sleep-ins, overindulgence, Instagram snap-happy pics and routine-less days are over. It’s time to return to work. If this idea fills you with dread, you’re not alone. 

Post-holiday procrastination is common but with the right strategies, you’ll find yourself easing back into the grind, even with a smile on your face. 

Post-Holiday Syndrome

The holiday is over, and if you find yourself feeling anxious and overwhelmed with an impending mood of dread at the thought of returning to work, then you’re most likely experiencing ‘post-holiday syndrome’.

It can be a jolting reality-check to switch from relaxing to working, and to be confronted with an endless email inbox and new projects the moment we get back. So it’s completely natural for anyone to feel stressed after a fun holiday. Most of the time, post-holiday syndrome only lasts for a few days. However, some people may experience it for longer and with it comes procrastination.

Post-Holiday Procrastination

When we feel sad, doubtful, and anxious about our work, or can’t tolerate the boredom or stress it induces, then we tend to avoid tasks that evoke such emotions and procrastinate. This is often heightened during periods of uncertainty or after returning from holiday leave. When you feel overwhelmed, you’re more likely to procrastinate. In this state, even simple tasks, such as replying to emails, can seem daunting. But there are ways to overcome procrastination and recover from your post-vacation blues.

1. Try Psychological Flexibility 

To know whether your emotions are driving you to procrastinate, it can be helpful to employ a strategy known as psychological flexibility. Ask yourself: How is my mental health? Do the tasks I avoid induce certain emotions? Do I feel anxiety on “blue monday”? Does work make me bored, angry, anxious, or resentful? 

When it comes to post-holiday procrastination and avoidance, it’s also useful to analyze how much each emotion is affecting your attitude toward a task. For example, you might find that writing a presentation for your manager gives you anxiety at a level of 8 on a scale of 1 to 10, resentment at a level of 6, and boredom at a level of 4. Once you’ve determined that, you can then address the emotions individually. The rating system will help you evaluate how effective you are at minimizing them. 

If a task bores you, you can schedule a reward for completing it. If a task makes you resentful or annoyed, find what you genuinely value about it. Maybe you get annoyed by having to make the revisions that your supervisor asks for, but it’s because you value fine-tuning your craft. You may feel resentful about cross-team brainstorming, but value the opportunity to improve your organization’s culture. You may feel frustrated by a teammate’s request for tech help, but value being a supportive colleague.

Starting with the parts of a task that make you feel the least apprehensive can help you overcome your anxiety. This is a type of exposure therapy where you gradually work up to what most scares you. Following this technique helps transform what initially seems unmanageable into something more achievable, once you’ve worked through the easiest steps.

This approach to psychological flexibility helps workers become healthier and happier in the workplace and perform better, according to psychologist Todd Kashdan (who coined the term). Psychological flexibility has been found to make a major contribution to daily well-being and lasting psychological health.

2. Plan For The Day

Having a plan helps you to stop procrastinating and establish your efficient work. Identify what tasks are top priority to get done, then rank them in order of importance. Keep this list visible throughout the entire day so you can refer to it as needed. Mark each task off as you complete it and enjoy that sense of accomplishment because it is very motivating. When you have a plan for your work day, it’s much easier to get back on track when your mind starts to wander. 

Plan to start working smart. If you work from home, have a hybrid work model, or engage in activity-based working, why not include a change of scenery to help you stay refreshed and focused? WeWork offers flexible workspaces designed to optimize your daily tasks. A mix of seating arrangements,  for either privacy or collaboration, along with a variety of environments and technology, provide the best options for those seeking an office that supports their performance, efficiency and innovation. Co-working spaces provide an array of benefits, including networking opportunities, convenience, structure, and enhanced productivity. Plus WeWork spaces have great refreshments available such as freshly roasted coffee, an array of teas and fresh fruit-infused water to keep you hydrated and focused. 

3. Develop Healthy Habits 

A common misconception is that procrastination is the result of a lack of discipline. This is the idea that those who procrastinate choose leisure and fun over hard work. A more accurate explanation is that it’s due to employing a lack of good systems and habits. Multiple studies have shown that strong habits reduce our need for self-control and have a strong impact on efficient work habits. They make it easier to stick to efficient behaviors and resist distractions. But the process of establishing a habit that confers such benefits usually takes a few months. 

4. Schedule Deep Work Routinely

Deep work is a state of peak concentration that lets you learn difficult tasks and create quality work quickly. Typical examples of deep work include researching, writing, data analysis, and developing strategies. This style of deeper work is generally challenging, but doing it consistently each day regularly as part of a routine, will make it less so. The ability to do deep work is a skill, and, like any skill, the more you work on it, the more proficient you become. 

Habits make sequences of behavior more automatic. Consider that once we know how to ride a bicycle, we don’t consciously think about what we do whenever we go for a bike ride. More complex habits, like going to the gym or learning a language, can also become more automatic. There’s a saying that repetition is the mother of all learning, and it’s true. 

Don’t attempt to do deep work at 10:00 am one day and 2:00 pm the next. Even if the exact time you settle into it isn’t the same, you should fit it into your day within the same pattern (e.g. after spending up to an hour on emails or administrative tasks each day, you begin your deep work session). 

WeWork offers comfortable spaces with private nooks and crannies, perfect for deep work sessions. Rooms can be scheduled for your regular session with an All Access membership that offers flexible access to multiple locations, which is useful if you’re trying to overcome your need to procrastinate and build deep work into a routine work schedule.

Looking for a coworking space to best suit your needs and help you overcome procrastination? Contact us and one of our representatives will connect with you soon.

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