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3 Tips for Surviving Project Withdrawal Syndrome


After the turkey has been consumed and the thanks shared around the table there is a lull in the frantic storm.The days of planning, preparing, cleaning, and cooking are crazy busy and yet there is a sense of purpose, a sincere drive to make this the best Thanksgiving ever.   The day arrives and the day seems to fly by and before you know it Thanksgiving 2009 is done. The question is now what do we have to look forward to?

This is a similar scenario that is played out in organizations. You have a team that is focused on a project and they are motivated to deliver the end deliverables and day-to-day they are consumed by timelines, resources, and budgets, oh my! But once the deliverables are completed and the project is closed out there is typically a lull. The common focus and drive that existed for the team no longer exists. So how do you keep a team that was humming along motivated during the down times?

Here are a couple of tips:

Project Close Out  Meeting

During a project things are hectic and busy so take some time to reflect once the project is complete. Conduct a lessons learned meeting to capture what worked well, what are some areas of opportunities, what skills were in high demand, what were the surprises, and what do you want to remember for the future. Going through this type of exercise allows for closure and celebration.

It’s Ok to Regroup and Reenergize

Give the team permission to reenergize – it is ok to take time between projects to regroup, this could mean cleaning and filing all of the piled up papers on one’s desk or reconnecting with colleagues who were not on the project. It is important to pull up from the project and look at the big picture again and remember that there is life after a project and to regroup and reenergize before the next project begins.

Share With Your Team What’s Coming Up

It is important that the team knows what is coming up for projects so if there is anything that they would really like to work on they know about it early enough to let you know in advance of the project starting. This gives the team something to look forward to and something to strive for if they know there are some projects coming up that may tap into their skills, talents, and passions.

These are just a few tips that will help a manager or project manager survive project withdrawal syndrome. Just like we survive Thanksgiving withdrawal by looking forward to the Holiday Season, great teams will survive project withdrawal by looking forward to what is on the horizon.



Tricks to keep yourself motivated everyday

It is hard to keep myself fully motivated everyday. I tend to have days where my motivation keeps me energized and engaged so much that I don’t realize how much time has passed. Then there are other days where I don’t seem to get the wheels turning at all. This is not uncommon. Through the interviews and focus groups we’ve conducted, we’ve found that many people (and groups) go through this ebb and flow of motivation. We tend to have periods where everything is clicking and others where we just can’t get started. The trick is to be able to understand that this happens to all of us, recognize when it is happening, and then put in place some “habits” that can help us get out of the doldrums and back to peak performance.

For me, I’ve found a few “habits” that really help:

1. Get moving. I find that if I can get up and move around for 10-minutes, I come back refreshed and more motivated. We know that moving pumps more blood into our brain, allows us the chance to see new scenery and provides a break from our routine. I try to walk outside if I can or go down and spend 10-minutes on the ellipse. I come back ready to go!

2. Start something.I am a procrastinator. If I can put it off until later – I usually do. However, I find that if I just start something, I can get going on it. I typically start with something small (i.e., write a few lines for the next blog posting, put a rough outline together for the next team call, create the timeline for our next project). What I’ve found is that this can get me going and then I just keep working.

3. Read our Credo (i.e. Mission Statement). At The Lantern Group we have a credo ( that is all about what we believe in. When I re-read the credo it energizes me to think about what it is that we are doing and why. While I don’t expect everyone to have a credo (although it might be a good idea) the same process would apply to reading one’s goals or mission statement. The idea is to refocus on the big picture and re-energize oneself.

Would love to hear how you keep yourself motivated everyday – leave a comment and let us know! Thanks.



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