There’s nothing worse than the Monday blues...remembering how many tasks there are on your to-do list and wishing you hadn’t organised that client Monday morning meeting.
Yes, Mondays—to some at least—send shivers down spines. I used to know this feeling all too well, and I’m afraid I can’t say I’ve managed to solve how to reach payday each month without having a minor panic attack when I glance at my bank account. I hope that this blog post will at least get the excitement back into your Monday morning and give you some ideas of ways to reignite that passion for work.
1. Networking, networking, networking
DO IT! I know us Brits are an awkward bunch and the mere thought of catching someone’s eye on the tube makes your hair stand on end. But, if there’s one thing that is imperative to keeping you motivated about your field of work and will push you to improve professionally, it’s meeting new people and boosting your professional profile. If, like me, you find the idea of the more traditional networking event with one free glass of wine and a name badge cringe hell on earth, you’ll be glad to hear that there are easier ways you can widen your network that don't involve organised fun.
As someone who loves to travel, I use every opportunity to meet new people and expand my network in each different country I visit. Granted, it’s easier to get to know someone when they’re on holiday or outside of a professional environment, but this is a great place to start, especially if you’re at the bottom of the career ladder, or if all you’re used to at networking events is hanging out by the free food avoiding eye contact. There’s no need to jump in with the professional stuff first (remember, they’re on holiday to get AWAY from work), but it’s always a good idea when you meet someone, whatever age, to get a feel for what they do, if anything just to spark a conversation and show that you’re interested in their career. You’ll be surprised by the number of people I’ve spoken to who start to get excited about work when they see me showing an interest in what they do and asking questions about their job.
Most importantly, as you may have read in Elle’s recent blog post - Hate Networking? Read this: - always ensure you’re stocked with business cards when you’re out and about. It might sound like a no-brainer but there really isn’t anything worse than meeting your future client/boss/co-worker and having to write all your details down on the scruffy, coffee-stained napkin you’ve just used at breakfast. I always take a set of business cards with me wherever I go, even when travelling. After all, you never know who you’re going to meet on a sun lounger by the pool, or on a chairlift in the Alps!
If someone offers you their business card, always accept. Remember to invite your new contact to connect with you on LinkedIn when you get home as well and don’t be shy to add a personal message to your invite either. This will ensure that they remember you once they’re back at work and hopefully result in a useful new contact.
2. Teach Yourself Something New
We’ve all felt that afternoon slump and the inevitable pull of Facebook, so what can you do to make your afternoons more interesting when motivation is waning?
My failsafe go-to? Ted Talks! If you’ve never listened to one, it’s time to change. There are topics to suit all interests from design, tech, branding or my personal favourite “The Art of the Side Hustle”. They range from a quick 5 minutes up to an hour a talk - perfect to watch on a lunch break or with a cup of tea and a biscuit. You will be surprised how much more motivated you’ll be after listening to someone talking about their passions and experiences, you’ll also wow your coworkers and the boss, dropping in your newfound insights.
If TED talks aren’t your thing, then you may benefit from finding yourself a podcast channel to listen to on your journey to work. I used to live an hour away from where I work and had to fight my way onto a packed train and two different tubes every day. Trying to find my book and putting it away again at each stage of my journey was proving very difficult. Then my friend introduced me to the world of podcasts and before I knew it I was hooked. My travel woes were halved, as soon as I clicked on that little purple icon on my phone. Even if you’re not listening to something particularly motivational, a funny or insightful podcast will get your head into a better space and you won’t feel nearly as stressed as you used to.
3. Get Clued Up
No...the ‘TV & Showbiz’ section of the Daily Mail doesn’t count. Find some interesting blogs or articles that spark that fire inside of you. One little blog or snappy article is all it takes to get inspired!
For me, graphic design has always been something I’ve been interested in but never thought I could teach myself. I had a search on the internet for inspiration and to see if other people had taught themselves or whether it really was something you had to go back to school for. I came across the vlogger and Graphic Designer, Will Paterson who taught himself everything he knows through watching YouTube videos and reading books and articles. I became absolutely obsessed with his channel, there was something so relatable about his videos that made me think “well if he’s doing it then what’s to stop me learning?!” All of a sudden I found myself on the floor of my apartment, pen to paper, designing my own typeface. All it took was turning off Love Island (that was tough), blasting up the tunes on Spotify and having a search on good old Google to rekindle that energy to learn something new.
Obviously, I’m not saying that you have to learn a new skill, but reading about something you’re interested in, or taking some time out of your day to find something that makes you motivated to go into work and want to absolutely crush it surely can’t be a bad thing.
4. Go Out and About
We are very lucky at Drew London, in that we have flexible working hours. It’s a lovely perk of the job because it makes visiting events or exhibitions outside of work hours that little bit easier. But that’s not to say that it’s impossible to take an hour or two after work to find an inspiring event.
If like team Drew, you find you have similar interests to your co-workers, it could even be a great team bonding activity to find and circulate some events around the office. It makes going to these events much more enjoyable and you may find that it helps to spark ideas for your own projects at work or even to learn a new craft or skill outside of work. In our office we have two specific channels on Slack for this; one called “Events and Exhibitions” which is used for when we find an exhibition or an event we want to attend. We send the link and people can opt in or out if they want to come or not. It’s a great way of getting people to explore new places and try out things they wouldn’t necessarily have thought they’d be interested in.
One of the most fun exhibitions we went to was the Camille Walala exhibition ‘WALALAxPLAY’ at the NOW Gallery in Greenwich. Just taking 2 hours out of our day to run around this playful little exhibition was great for our frame of minds.
The other channel we have is “Inspiration Dump” where we post influential design work, website's, articles or useful short courses we could go on. It’s also a great way of bookmarking things, so if you’re having an uninspiring day you can go back through the channel and read something to give you that kick to work harder or put you in a great mood. Go on, give it a go, you might be surprised at what you and your coworkers have in common aside from what happened on Eastenders last night.
5. Dare to Go it Alone
This is probably one that people find the hardest. We are all creatures of habit and will do anything to avoid disrupting our routine. But why not shake things up? It’s funny that the thought of something as small as trying out a new class, learning a new skill or testing the waters in the weights section in the gym (not as terrifying as it looks) can completely stop us in our tracks. But 9 times out of 10, you’ll feel better for trying it out, however nerve-wracking it might be.
For me, I am all about going to new places and pushing myself into completely new things, (just ask my boss… she is forever having to sign my holiday request forms – thanks, Elle!) sometimes on my own it’s even better. But I wasn’t always like this; the idea of going out to lunch on my own was bad enough as it was, let alone travelling to a different country! “Oh god, people will think I'm weird? I couldn’t possibly…” But the day came when I got let down and my friend could no longer come with me. What to do? I’d done all this research, booked my flights and said my goodbyes...there was no going back. So I just did it. I got on the plane and travelled Australia for a year on my own, it was one of the most incredible experiences of my life and I am so glad I did it. All because I stepped out of my comfort zone and did something I never thought I could do.
Although it took travelling to the other side of the world to realise that doing things that scare you is actually good for you, I’m hoping that you’ve got this far in this blog post because you are open to trying new things and motivating yourself to do something you wouldn’t usually do as well, even if it’s just changing the route you take to work! I promise, it’ll make you more fearless and you might not notice at first but it’ll push you to make small changes in your day to day working life too.
So go on. Take up that yoga class you’ve been too scared to take. Go on that trip you’ve been talking about for years. Or, what the hell, just add that extra pinch of chilli to your meal. Just give it a go and see what happens. It might just be the start of something.