Those warm, vibrant summer months have been replaced with the brisk chill of autumn. That means shorter daylight hours, cloudier weather and frostier temperatures as winter is almost round the corner. You might also notice a dip in workplace motivation or even performance along with this seasonal shift. And it’s not just your imagination.
How to successfully thwart autumn slump
Brain mass can decrease by as much as 10 to 26 percent from the summer to the fall and winter, reports a study in the Brain Structure and Function Journal. This affects cognitive function and energy levels, which in turn, can make it hard to concentrate.
Cold weather with overcast skies and minimal sunlight can also impact mood, weakening motivation even more. In fact, depressive symptoms will often increase in November and December.
If you’re feeling unproductive this time of year, rest assured: it’s both normal and avoidable. Use the strategies below to refresh your motivation during autumn and winter.
Challenge yourself with a new goal
Now is the time to reflect on what you’ve accomplished and evaluate what you still want to achieve. The pursuit of a fresh, new goal will be just the incentive you need to close out this fourth quarter strong.
There’s a direct correlation between goal orientation and a growth mindset. Ultimately, this fuels intrinsic motivation, according to the Brain Sciences Journal. Turn your attention towards finishing a project, honing a skill, exceeding a quota, investing in a relationship, or creating discipline.
These questions will help you choose a goal to pursue:
- What area of my work performance still needs improvement?
- What do I want either more or less of in my life right now?
- What action will move me in the direction of a positive change?
- What healthy habit can I form or recommit to in this season?
- What subject or skill set am I interested in learning more about?
- What efforts have I made this year that weren’t successful?
Look for collaborative opportunities
Maybe the reason you’re unmotivated is that you feel siloed. When was the last time you learned from a colleague’s perspective? Or had the chance to produce a valuable outcome alongside them?
A recent study in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health reached some interesting conclusions. When leaders encourage team collaboration and interpersonal bonding, workers feel empowered to make significant, impactful contributions. However, dreary seasonal weather can also build a sense of isolation or disconnect. Resist the urge to withdraw this time of year and seek out opportunities to collaborate with your coworkers.
When you join forces as a team, you’ll increase momentum through creative brainstorms, shared objectives, and lively human interactions. Feeling like a member of the group will reinforce your commitment to the overarching mission.
Create healthy work-life boundaries
After almost three years of business upheaval, burnout is at an all-time high across many industries and organizations. Research from the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health delivered pretty straightforward insights. Burnout is a key predictor of chronic stress, detachment, low concentration, fatigue, and lack of motivation.
One of the simplest and most effective strategies to protect yourself from burnout is to focus on creating a healthy work-life balance. This starts with establishing clear boundaries between your personal and professional time. When you’re on the clock, job commitments take priority. Once the workday is over, shift your focus to being present with family and investing in self-care.
Here are a few ways to create and maintain a work-life balance:
- Mute the notifications on your business email, chat, and other communication platforms, so you won’t be tempted to answer messages after-hours.
- Shut your computer down altogether (don’t just close the screen or turn on sleep mode). This will minimize the impulse to continue working late into the evening.
- Let your team know when you’re unavailable. If you use Hubgets—like I do—you won’t need to do that manually. Its Artificial Intelligence layer will automatically adjust your availability. When anybody reaches out during your off-business hours, respond the next morning to reinforce the boundary.
- Practice consistent, daily self-care, so you’ll have the stamina, energy, and rejuvenation to function at full capacity. And this is valid for both on the job and in other areas of life.
Give your workplace motivation a boost this autumn
In autumn, there are beautiful days like the one pictured above—I took this one while doing my fast-paced walking exercise last week. And there are also rainy, cold days. Just because the weather changes frequently doesn’t mean your motivation has to fluctuate in response. With autumn in full-swing and winter around the corner, your motivation definitely needs a boost.
If you’re struggling to stay on track, use these tips to bring a fresh wave of motivation into both your personal and professional life.