I’m in a Slump
Posted on July 15, 2019
woman in a slump
This edition of Morning Buzz is by Lynn Kelly-Lehner (LinkedIn)
Hey there ELGLers! Happy Monday! My name is Lynn Kelly-Lehner and I am psyched to be in the rotation mix for the Morning Buzz. Let me tell you a little bit about myself before we get down to business.
Fun facts about me: I’m an INFJ. I’m an Upholder. I grew up in the lovely state of NJ. I am a fitness fanatic. I run 200-mile relays with my friends. I love to travel. I have a spoiled dog named Snickerdoodle. And of course, I am a #localgov nerd. I work for the City of Temecula as a Principal Management Analyst in Community Development. (You can learn a bit more about how I got to where I am here.) The best parts of my job are the tremendous day-to-day diversity of my work and that I am always learning. I also get to spend time with some pretty fantastic co-workers.
So down to the topic at hand. Have you ever found yourself in a bit of a slump? I recently wrapped up two major long-term projects that I had been working on for over three years. As I neared the conclusion of one of the projects, I had quite a few long nights, worked over weekends, and the culminated with a big presentation at a City Council meeting. I really wanted to prove myself and the hard work paid off – but now that the adrenaline is gone from the highs of success, I have to admit that it has been difficult to motivate myself to get back to my normal pace and focus on other projects. Unfortunately, my other deadlines didn’t magically disappear.
If you have ever found yourself in this position, I am sure you can agree it is a bit frustrating. Here are some things I am doing in an effort to get beyond this frustrating phase and move back into peak productivity.
Acknowledge it. If you can, identify what caused the slump. Are you overworked? Have you lost your motivation? Did something specific happen at work? Or outside of work? Identifying the problem is the first step in finding the right solution.
Celebrate the little things (and the big things too!). In the daily rush of our local government jobs, it is easy to skip right by acknowledging big milestones. As for myself, did I take the time to properly celebrate and acknowledge my accomplishments before moving on? I did have a celebratory beer with my husband, but it would have been better if I had taken time over the following days to process what I had accomplished, what I learned, and what the next steps were.
Make yourself a priority. Make the time to get enough sleep, exercise, and eat right. Studies show that there are many psychological benefits to exercise including decreased stress, decreased depression, and is a proven mood booster. I’m a firm believer in the old adage “you are what you eat.” Fill yourself up with healthy, nutritious foods that give you energy. Stay away from the heavy, fried dishes that make you want to fall asleep when you get back to your desk. Literally slumping in your chair is not going to get you out of your metaphorical slump.
Schedule time doing things you love outside of work. We are more than just our worker bee selves. Be sure to schedule time to hang out with your family and friends, as well as enjoy your favorite hobbies!
Watch cat videos. I am partial to puppy videos myself, but studies have shown that watching animal videos can boost your spirits and even increase resilience to stress! So take a five-minute break and boost your spirits.
Set a 20-minute timer to tackle a task. You can do anything for twenty minutes. Set a timer and just plug away on a project. When twenty minutes is up, you may just want to keep going afterward!
Gamify your tasks. How many emails can you respond to by the end of the day? Can you finish reviewing that report by the end of the hour? How many ideas can you brainstorm for the next Parks and Rec event in 15 minutes? If you are competitive like me, this strategy really helps knock out some administrative tasks.
Do an easy task. Pick the easiest thing on your to-do list and get it done. Give your brain that dopamine hit by crossing something off your to-do list. Checked off a task that you have been hitting snooze on for the past few weeks? Grab yourself a celebratory iced coffee to pair two of these strategies together.
Don’t overburden yourself. Take out the extra fluff from your calendar. Do you really need to have that sales call that is really just a sales pitch for a product that your organization doesn’t even need? Probably not. Set some boundaries. Your time is important.
Be kind to yourself. You have been working hard and you can’t keep up the breakneck speed forever. This downturn is likely your body telling you that you need to take a break. Be kind to yourself and be kind to your body. If your schedule allows it, take some time off to rejuvenate and refresh.
Have you ever been in a slump? What strategies did you use to get yourself out of the funk?