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The January blues may be hitting you hard as you return to your desk to tackle 2020, and even if you love your role, it is completely normal to have times when you feel your biggest asset to the firm is your procrastination skills. As it’s a common issue facing the workforce in 2020, we have put together a few tips on how to kick start your motivation again.

Set aside some time to identify the whys 

It’s easy to say ‘it’s just the January blues’ but be sure that is all that’s hindering you. Be honest with yourself and look at anything that might be causing your lacklustre approach - boredom in your role, feeling unappreciated or overwhelmed, or even external influences at home such as family stresses might be holding you back at work. Look at all the factors and help yourself by identifying any issues first. 

Review your techniques 

How do you stop yourself procrastinating? Do you even know? And if you do, do these processes still work? As we professionally develop, so do the tools we use to be our best self at work. Maybe your motivation is missing because the means you’re using aren’t working anymore. Perhaps as a newly qualified, you relied on paper piles on desks and to-do lists to get work done, but now technology is more appealing to you. Be sure to keep your devices for motivation in keeping with your way of working for maximum effect.

Take a break 

It seems counterproductive but procrastination usually begins when your brain starts to wander and if you’re not being productive, is there any value in you staying at your desk?

Listen to your body when it starts to move away from the task at hand – have you eaten enough, have you moved your body recently, have you engaged with another person today? All of these things will be a welcome pause and will encourage you to get back to your work with vigour afterwards.

The Pomodoro Technique is a highly valuable method for breaking down bigger tasks and ensuring your brain gets a break. It is simple and effective – pick a task, set a timer for 25 minutes and try and get as much as you can done in that time. When the timer goes off, step away from your desk and have a 5-minute break. Check your phone, make a drink, catch up with a colleague. And when you’re ready, do it again.

Cut out the unnecessary 

To-do lists can be helpful when tackling a day’s work, but if it’s an overwhelming rollcall of jobs, many of which are uninspiring or laborious, it’s unsurprising that you may not feel driven to get them all ticked off. Take a long and critical look at what needs to be done and sort it into new lists – strike off anything that isn’t even needed, make a demoted list of less-pressing issues and leave yourself with just the time-sensitive and critical pieces.

A great tool we recommended to candidates and clients alike is The Eisenhower Matrix. It allows you to look at your work, and segment it into four quarters: important and urgent, important but not urgent, not important but urgent, and not important and not urgent. By having these quadrants, you can look at tasks more logically and effectively delegate work, prioritise your own workload or even remove things from your list. It’ll be a great jumping point to making your workload more manageable and to encourage your motivation to return.

It is very common for even the best of workers to feel unenthusiastic or apathetic to their work from time to time, but it's how you tackle it that speaks more about your professional character.  And of course, if you are starting to wonder if the lack of motivation is actually down to a desire for a new challenge, you can always look at our current legal vacancies here.

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