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Post-holiday blues!

Mindful tips to get ready for work with a productive mindset.

Photographs: Unsplash

Text: Ophelia Wu

We all know that drop of energy and dreading the days with shorter sunlight again. So while we get ready to resume work after the dream holiday, some might need a little booster of motivation to kickstart productivity and get the machine running again.

There has been lots of research on how mindset determines a person’s performance, conquering goals, and getting through daily life. Positive psychology has become more prevalent in recent years, and it can help us navigate through emotions and take a different approach toward many things in life. Here are some very simple and doable practical tips to get ready for work with a productive mindset that I find helpful. Not only can they build a positive mindset, but they can also be part of the daily mindfulness practice in almost every situation.

Spend two minutes centering yourself, imagining or visualising how fantastic the day will be as soon as you wake up.

Do you sometimes wake up in a hurry, panicking, stressed about being late for work? That first few minutes as soon as you wake up is so crucial in determining how your day will go, so make good use of that. Simply allow two minutes in bed when you wake up, take some deep breaths, and imagine or even daydream how you would like your day to go- will you run into that very cute guy at your local café and this time say hi to each other? Will your commute be smooth like Moses has parted the Red Sea for you with smiley people? If you find yourself smiling- that’s what we want to set the tone of the day.

Break down the daily tasks into small chunks and feel accomplished with each completed task.

This is really helpful, especially when you feel like there is a big, heavy project that seems never-ending. While we can’t dodge the tasks, breaking them up into small chunks make them easier to tackle, and when you finish a few small tasks, even if it’s just an email reply, you feel more satisfied with completing more.

Spend the first hour at work checking, replying and deleting emails. It does help get a lot of

small stress out of the way.

Personally, I find mornings are usually the make-or-break window of the day. If the mornings went well, the rest of the day usually seemed easier to get through. Spending the first hour at work to filter and detox the mailbox is both productive and therapeutic. You get to screen what’s essential and what’s useless - deleting them instantly helps your mind to feel less burdened with information overload, and you also gain better clarity of the daily tasks.

Write down to-do lists in priorities is a great way to offload the mental stress but having a

reminder in writing.

While going through your mailbox, writing down a to-do list according to urgency is also a good idea. Prioritising tasks will help with time management, making the day more organised and smoother. We all want to know what’s next and be prepared - this list will give you a good indication and mental preparation.

Take little breaks whenever possible.

We can easily be consumed with work and forget to take a break. There are some apps allowing you to set a reminder for a mini break. Even if it’s just to leave your seat and go to the pantry or walk, let your senses have a break and refresh them.

Leave work at work. Don’t bring it home.

Spend 2 minutes appreciating all the good things or positive moments during the day and imagine how great tomorrow will be before bed.

Now before bed, we reverse what we did in the morning.

When you go over your day and be grateful for all the good things, you relax your mind and shift it into a gratitude mode. While in that mode, imagine how you want tomorrow to be. Going to bed with a smile and feeling calm and relaxed will improve your sleep quality. When you’re well-rested, your mental state and productivity will surely improve. Start planning your next holiday ( I mean, who hasn’t done this before?) so you have something exciting to look forward to.

Give these a try and see how your day goes. Your mindset is very powerful - sometimes, it only takes simple changes in how we think and feel to notice a profound shift. When you free up the clutter in your mind and feel great and fresh about yourself, it’s only a matter of how much more productive you will become.

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