Motivational tips - don't let Blue Monday get you down

Today is, allegedly, the most depressing day of the year. This unhappy 24 hours apparently falls on the third Monday of January – or at least it does if you believe a press release attributed to a well-known travel operator.

Of course, it is impossible to prove what is the most depressing (or, for that matter, the happiest) day of the year. But that doesn’t mean that January blues aren’t a real problem. Many people experience a dip in productivity around this period – but, as a business owner, you can’t afford to be operating at anything other than peak performance. With that in mind, we have compiled a list of tips to help get you through the dark January days.

1. Stick to resolutions - or don’t make them at all

According to the (pretty unscientific) theory of Blue Monday, broken New Year’s resolutions are one of the key factors bringing people down. There is certainly some truth in this. There are few things more depressing than breaking a resolution you have set for yourself; this can have a really detrimental impact on your happiness and, as a result, on your productivity.

If you do choose to make New Year’s resolutions, make sure that you stick to them. Just as valid, though, is to avoid making resolutions at all. Many people find them to be an unnecessary mental burden, even when they do keep them.

2. Do less - but do it better

Business owners are often spread too thin. There is a sense that you need to be doing everything all the time in order to give your business the best chance of flourishing. But in reality, by trying to do too much you often end up doing lots of things not very well. Learn to prioritise. By planning your time better you can significantly boost your productivity – and get the important things done.

3. Get some exercise

The value of exercise really cannot be overstated. The vast majority of people enjoy a clearer head and an increased ability to concentrate after even a few minutes of good cardio-vascular exertion. If you work from home, you could even try simply running up and down the stairs a few times. Getting the blood pumping to your brain properly will help to keep you in the best possible mental condition.

4. Set goals - but be realistic

Goals are important. You are much more likely to achieve your aims if they are clearly set out, and you have something tangible to aim for. That said, it is vitally important that your goals are realistic. There is nothing more likely to get you down than a goal that you have failed to reach, or a task that you have failed to complete. Make sure you set goals – but make sure that they are attainable.

5. Always finish what you start

Finally, it is important to remember the benefits of ‘closure’. Unfinished business hanging over you can be a major distraction, as well as a mental drain. You should therefore try your hardest to finish what you start. This is, of course, connected to the idea of realistic goal-setting. If you are sensible in your plans, you can help to ensure that they get completed – and this can help to give you a clear, focused mind.

Blue Monday is, of course, something of a fiction. But the idea of a January productivity dip is very real. Think carefully about how you manage your time, and you can help to avoid the blues.