How To Beat the Winter Career Blahs

by Pollak, Lindsey Thursday, February 03, 2011
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I am writing this blog post while watching snowflakes pile up on the windowsill outside my New York City office. The snow is beautiful and peaceful…that is, until I have to go outside and trudge through it.

As much training as I’ve had in “appreciating the moment” and “turning lemons into lemonade,” I’ll be honest: this freezing, snowy winter is starting to get me down.

If you’re feeling the same way, here are some techniques I’ve been employing to beat the winter doldrums. I hope they’ll help you, too:

Pep up your online profiles. When was the last time you looked at your LinkedIn profile? How old is your main Facebook photo? Have you followed any new people on Twitter lately? It’s easy to fall into a rut with social networking, especially when you’re busy with other things. But winter — when a lot of people are spending time inside, online — is a great time to refresh your online presence.I’ve just done a new upload of my contacts on each social networking site to connect with people I’ve met recently, and I’ve become a fan of a bunch of new Facebook pages to start filling my newsfeed with fresh info, events and ideas.
Cuddle up with an inspiring book. Whether you’re sitting by a roaring fire or a tiny space heater, reading from a hardcover, a Kindle or an iPad, a good book is great cold weather company. Some of my inspirational professional favorites include The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, A Whole New Mind by Dan Pink and Finding Your Own North Star by Martha Beck. Sometimes the words of a wise author can shift your thinking enough to solve a work problem, inspire a new business idea or just make you smile.
Spring clean in winter. I’m usually a neat freak, but for some reason when I come inside on a cold day, I can’t help but dump all my stuff in a big pile. Staying organized in the winter just feels a little harder. This past weekend I dealt with those piles in a big day of decluttering. It was unbelievably satisfying:I shredded really old files, made new folders for 2011 tax stuff (with my favorite office toy — my Brother P-touch label maker), threw away pens with too many bite marks, made a pile of old books and work clothes to donate to Goodwill, put inactive computer files into an “Archive” folder and finally took the time to untangle the phone cord that constantly gets caught on my printer cable and has been driving me crazy for months. Afterwards, I felt amazing and I’m still enjoying the benefits a few days later (especially those untangled cords — what on earth took me so long?).
Set one big goal and work on it every day of February. Most people’s New Year’s resolutions are a distant memory by now, so I challenge you to revive your biggest, most important career goal and recommit to it for the entire second month of the year. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you are laser-focused on one objective.Perhaps it’s finally completing that big project at work, securing a new position, writing a business plan for the nonprofit you want to start, launching a blog, deciding whether or not to attend grad school, asking for a promotion, hosting your own networking event, writing and submitting an article for publication or anything else you’ve been wanting to achieve. Just think how good you’ll feel on March 1 if you can accomplish that one goal. As for me, I’m focusing on a refresh of my website.