It's cold, it's grey and it's blue. Come January and its really hard to get yourself out from under the warm quilt (in Delhi at least!) and be all bright-eyed for work. But fear not, our PR professionals have some great tips to beat the back to work January blues. And yes, chocolate and Netflix are featured!
Back to work tips: planning and more
Piyali Dasgupta, associate director, Knight Frank( India) Pvt. Ltd, recommends treating it as work, as usual, advising setting up, "Proactive meetings in the first 10 days of January with clients/managers to be on the same page as them and avoiding professional confrontation to as much as possible."
Anuradha Handique, manager, corporate communications, The Smart Cube, admits that, "The first day back at work is the toughest, but give yourself a dedicated hour to look back and think what is it that you need to do better this year, is something pending, what are your overall goals for this year - basically make a to-do list of all small and big things that you need to accomplish, and PIN these! But again, don’t be too harsh on yourself. If you feel like an extra cup of coffee, go for it."
"Continue the festive spirits and ask team members to leave a message from Santa as he heads back North." George Koshy, Glocal Konsult.
Gaurav Gautam, CEO, PRAG India, recommends, "Taking one day, one hour at a time is the top tip that we always adhere to."
"Without proper planning, there is no execution. “Alarmed ~ Reminders + Timers” is my one-stop solution to plan my day. Our work requires properly scheduled tasks and a checklist to keep track. Alarmed has always kept me high with my work." Kuresha Jain, PR Consultant.
Simran Ratnani, PR manager, NB Group prefers to plan and make notes the old fashioned way with a pen and paper.
Priyanka Potdukhe, public relations manager, Times Internet puts building media relations as a January priority, "As they say, 'early bird catches the worm' it's always a good idea to reach out to your key publications and understand their focus for the coming months. Try to see if you can align your content plan with their story requirements and how your brand and the journalists can collaborate better with mutual contributions."
Garima Sobti, consultant, Text 100, advises," Leaving work at work. Never take your work into your house (obviously until it’s absolutely urgent)!"
Ajay Muliyil, partner, Ogilvy says, " It's not only you who are going through the blues, but quite possibly everyone else around you as well. So use this time wisely to quickly reflect on things that worked for you over the year gone by and things that you wished to address this year, but is still on the back-burner."
Ajay adds in a lighter vein that, "The more you daydream about how fabulous your last vacation was, the longer you'll take to bounce back. Getting back to the grind is never an easy task, but we all need to unless you are the heir to Jeff Bezos!"
But if you do want to stay in the vacation flow and yet be on top of work in January, Shiv Rajvanshi, PR professional in a Gurgaon based PR firm, has some suggestions. He says, "One of the reasons we feel so crazed when we head back to work after a luxurious break is that we can lose me time, and often, any sense of slow leisurely time we might have had on break. Try and carve out some time for yourself in the morning. For some, this could be an hour for a walk or run and meditation, for others it might be about fifteen minutes for five minutes of journaling and a cup of tea of coffee."
Ayushi Das, senior manager, Adrift Communications and Influencer Marketing, says, "At Adrift we follow the 'Monday Blues' which is aimed at giving us a kick-start into the work week. Playing board games, encouraging fellow employees to showcase their talent on the companies’ social media pages or just having a group discussion on a trending topic has helped me kill my Monday Blues completely. I still remember being encouraged to showcase my singing talent on a busy Monday morning which made me perform even better throughout the week."
Motivation starts at the top. George Koshy, CEO and founder, Glocal Konsult, says, "The CEO should take a surprise floor walk and greets and wish colleagues - someone can flank him at each floor and beginning of each department feeding him names of key people, key successes and fab things done by each team to bring-up at each space."
Rumela Chandra, PR associate, Ideosphere Consulting. says rather cheerily, " A campaign is our happy pill, so, gulp it! Sip on hot chocolate and some nice coffee while writing articles. Curl up in your corner and see how you can relate your client to this particular season."
She adds, "Plenty of reports to do. Plenty of dialogues. READ UP. Winter and words go hand in hand. Don't forget your hot chocolate."
Rumela ends her suggestions on a practical note opining, " Let's face it. For PRs, there's no beating the blues. We are on our toes every season, every holiday. One fun fact is: we are fine with this because we love it. So, chalk out the milestones in January to see how exciting the year looks like. January will give you all the heads up.
A little bit of flexibility at work can do go a long way in helping feel on top of things in January.
"At Adrift we are a predominantly an all-women’s organization (as of now) and the only PR agency which follows and promotes a 4 day work week. Hence, Fridays are working from home for everyone", shares Ayushi.
Rajni Sharma, account executive, also with Adrift says that, " If you have completed your work at 4 pm, you can leave the office. I got this option even in my probation period (now I am confirmed) and it was a pleasant surprise for me."
Ride the hobby horse
Rajni Sharma says, "As my top tip, I would encourage picking up a new hobby. For example – I love cooking Bihari food and dream of opening my own restaurant in the future, so I keep cooking and getting dishes for the team to try and get their feedback. Something like this keeps me refreshed and happy."
Shreya Khatri, senior executive-media and advocacy, SPAG Asia, says, "From January I have decided to give preference to my hobby and will take out time to rejoin my classes for music. "
The best beat the January blues suggestions
Kunal Shahani, Simulations PR, who describes himself as a novice communicator, deserves a whole section to himself for his hilarious but great tips on handling the back to work challenge.
His top 3 tips? Kunal suggests, with wise Yoda hat firmly in place, "Avoiding irritating clients and colleagues on the first day of work! Creating that positive atmosphere is very important, if it means that a few people have to be avoided on the first day then that is okay!"
He also recommends, "Planning meetings on the first day, having meetings in the first week would definitely help you in finding the correct beat. Clients themselves would be in the new year’s trance hence it would be a good method to touch base and spend less time at the office."
He also has a top tip on rewards saying, "Start a new series and reward yourself with one new episode every day, (starting Bandersnatch now would not be a good idea, because it is super addictive)!"
On a more serious note Kunal says, "Planning and scheduling your work in advance is key to have a lighter January."
Long Term goal planning
Prajwal Vishwanath, Amstar Technologies , has a list of suggestions for long term plans that would help get January off on a strong start. He suggests, " Being active in events, seminars and conferences and learning the tactical art of saying no."
PrajwaI also uses Inshorts, LinkedIn, Twitter, Healthify, ET and the Slack app to stay connected about news, technology, collaborate about work and health extensively."
So there you have it. All the ammo you need to manage January in grand style.