There’s still one month of winter left, which means many are deep in the throes of the “winter blues.” While the days are becoming longer, months of darkness, low temperatures and awful weather can still wear you down.
It’s difficult when the winter blues consume your personal life, but they can also slowly seep into your work. In the client services business, allowing the winter blues to take over can have detrimental effects on your work. For example, one recent study found unhappy workers are 10 percent less productive than happy ones (source). Below are common symptoms and recommended cures for the winter blues.
Symptom: Boredom / Cure: Get Outside (The Box)
It’s hard to admit, but we can become bored with a client. You can fall into a lull by pitching many of the same reporters, reading articles that seem to be variations of the same theme, and getting caught up in monotony of the day-to-day.
If you’re feeling bored each time you begin working on a client assignment, maybe it’s time to take a step back and do the following:
- Go for a walk outside to clear your head and start thinking of creative ways to move the needle for your client.
- Read news outside of your client’s industry to determine if there are any broader trends you can leverage for story angles.
- Conduct solo mind-mapping sessions to generate new ideas at your desk.
Symptom: Apathy / Cure: Get Social
Apathy is more challenging to overcome than boredom. It’s one thing to be bored with a client, but still care about the work you do. It’s another when you can’t even find the will to be bored. You go through the motions, but even when you’ve had a major accomplishment, you don’t seem to care.
A great cure for apathy is surrounding yourself with your team, and acknowledging the hard work you do together:
- Celebrate a good client win or the end of a campaign by popping bubbly in the office. Even a little party can go a long way.
- If the work alone isn’t enough to keep you engaged, make it competitive! A friendly competition with a teammate for most briefings booked or coverage secured can bring the passion back into your work.
Symptom: Low energy / Cure: Be Healthy
There are days when no amount of caffeine can keep you from becoming tired and lazy. Maybe that means you don’t have the energy to draft a client note or think through whether a new request is strategic and in the client’s best interest.
When you are feeling low-energy, take steps to be healthy as a team, both mentally and physically. This can help give you the motivational burst you need to get through the day:
- Touch points with the team can keep you on track and motivated, so encourage each other and check-in regularly.
- When you hit that three o’clock slump, take a fiver to play a mobile game. Puzzles and games can increase dopamine levels, giving you a boost of energy and motivation.
- Try snacking on energy boosting foods, like homemade popcorn, nut and dark chocolate to keep energy up all day.
Most of all, remember that although client winter blues can seem insurmountable, if you work through them, they can make you a better communicator. In the words of Albert Camus: “In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”