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Written by: Dawn O’Connor

The holiday season brings excitement, festive cheer and overindulgence. But what happens when the action dies down? We go back to work to face all those frogs we decided to put off until after the holidays.

January can be a month of winter blues and under-performance for some, especially in the face of Alberta’s economic challenges.  But this doesn’t have to be the case.  We can all apply a few simple ‘Productivity Ninja’ tips to generate playful productive momentum for the start of 2016!

High expectations for high quality work

There’s no getting around it, January comes with a heavy workload and often self-imposed expectations of new and better work habits. But we need realize that it’s impossible to be on top form all of the time, particularly in the first weeks back.

  • Set realistic expectations…and maybe even lower them! We realize that may sound negative or defeatist, but it’s a secret weapon if you want to stay motivated. Don’t worry if you and your staff don’t get everything done – even Ninjas are human, not superhero!
  • Set small and manageable goals when you first return to the office.  Ease in gently and build momentum by celebrating the accomplishment of each task.  This allows you to enjoy small wins and get traction as you work up to more challenging projects.

Suffering from post-holiday ADD?

Likely, many of us will have been a bit lazy at some point over the holiday. So, going from lounging on the couch with a box of chocolates and surfing the net, to trying to be 100% focused at the office, might be tough. Concentration is like a muscle that needs to be exercised in the sense that it may take some time and effort to regain to focus at work.

  • A great way to boost your attention span is by using the Pomodoro Technique. This involves completing a solid 25 minutes of work, followed by a 5 minute break. It sustains focus and increases productivity - try it!
  • Create a little room for thoughtfulness and mental clarity by cultivating a Productivity Ninja’s mindset of zen-like calm.  Dedicate 10 minutes daily to mindfulness. Increase your success rate by being accountable to a few co-workers – book a meeting room every day for 10 minutes and bring a few friends along for group mindfulness session.

Whether for yourself or your employees, these ideas are all quite simple to implement, and they all yield great results. Try using them in team meeting agenda and see which generates enthusiasm. Before you know it you’ll have a workplace full of productivity ninjas! Happy New Year!


Dawn O’Connor is the Director and Master Productivity Ninja at Think Productive Canada, personal productivity and time management training company serving knowledge workers, business owners and leaders across Canada. With a team of Productivity Ninjas in most major cities, they deliver a range of stress-reducing and time-savings workshops including their most popular session—Getting Your Inbox to Zero, where participants walk away with transformed inboxes, increased focus, and a greater drive for productivity.