End of Year Burnout? How to Find Inspiration.
“Operations keeps the lights on, strategy provides a light
at the end of the tunnel, but project management is the train engine that moves
the organization forward.” --Joy Gumz
We all have low points in our inspiration and motivation. Times when we just can’t find the
internal juices. For a lot of us it comes at the end of year. And this year has been
particularly rough. We have had to work in diverse situations, out of normal routines with
unexpected changes happening constantly. Our desire to “button up” the year with completed
projects is threatened by uncertainty that just won’t go away.
Where can we turn to find some inspiration to get us through to a new year and a new attitude?
Luckily, some really smart and thoughtful people have given us the words to keep us moving through
the more stressful, darker times.
“Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself,
vision, hard work, determinations, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for
those who believe.” –Gail Devers
Keeping a vision in the front of your mind. Remembering your dreams and what gets you up in
the morning. Reaffirming your determination to be the best you can every day. Finding that
touchstone again is key to reinvigorating your motivation. Believing you are doing your best
and making a difference will go a long way toward boosting your spirits.
“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.” –Michael Jordan
This guy knows a little about success. And while he is the undisputed GOAT (greatest of all
times) in basketball, he still gives credit to the need for a team to really get the work done.
When the going gets tough, remember you’re not alone. Project management is nothing if not a
team sport. And while the team members are selected for the individual skills and talents they
bring, the interdependency of the team means that you can all rely on each other for support.
It’s OK to not always be on your game because there is an engaged and motivated team that has
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more,
you are a leader.” –John Quincy Adams
You may not feel like a leader at the moment. You may feel like you have nothing left to offer
your team. But if you asked the team, they might not have the same feeling. When you lead a team,
you need to remember that it’s not always the big moves that have the most impact. If you don’t
feel like you can be the big cheese right now, look for little ways to inspire and motivate your
team. Catch people doing something right and make sure you recognize achievement. Neither of these
require a lot of effort but the benefits are outstanding. Your team will be inspired by the
gratitude and appreciation.
“It is a mistake to look too far ahead. Only one link in the chain of destiny can be
handled at a time.” –Winston Churchill
This is not to say don’t have goals and dreams. But the key to feeling overwhelmed is to make
sure you are handling your workload in manageable chunks. Keeping a manageable to-do list will
keep you from getting dragged down by everything on your plate. Divide large items into smaller
and smaller items until you get easy-to-complete tasks. This will help you keep the stress levels
down and the energy up.
“Remember the two benefits of failure. First, if you do fail, you learn what doesn’t work;
and second, the failure gives you the opportunity to try a new approach.” –Roger Von Oech
If your down spirits are the result of projects not going as planned. Make sure you keep setbacks
in the proper perspective. Every failure is a learning opportunity. Deconstruct what went wrong,
where a process can improve and how to get it right the next time and from now on. You will feel
a sense of accomplishment even in the face of disappointment.
“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
–George Bernard Shaw.
One of the best remedies for a feeling of overwhelm or stress is to talk through the issues.
Maybe it’s with your team or with your supervisor. People don’t know what they don’t know.
If you need some encouragement or to let off some steam, a healthy conversation may just be
the answer. Also, don’t assume that everyone can read your mind. The more you talk through
issues and problems, the more help you will get in solving them.
“Mix a little foolishness with your serious plans; it’s lovely to be silly at the right
This is probably the best advice of all. Don’t forget to mix a little pleasure with the business.
Tell jokes, swap fish stories, take a team lunch. You may find that your laughter is contagious
and vital for overall team health. No one can be serious and task-oriented 24/7; everyone needs
to take a break and if that break includes laughter it’s even more productive.
Words of inspiration and encouragement don’t have to just come from famous writers and thinkers.
These quotes may work well on the break room fridge or as your screen saver. But giving honest
expressions of gratitude for a job well done and encouragement for the task ahead will be the
greatest motivator of all.