End of Year Burnout? How to Find Inspiration.

End of Year Burnout? How to Find Inspiration and Motivation to Work.

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 while finding motivation to work. 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 inspiration and 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 your back.

“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 moment.” –Horace

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.