Founder Diary

January 10, 2023

Beginning of the year slump is no joke

Beginning of the year slump is no joke

You can wait for the post-holiday malaise to fade on its own. Or try these 5 down-to-earth tips.

AI-generated picture of a tired person. His head is resting on his arm and his face looks sad
AI-generated picture of a tired person. His head is resting on his arm and his face looks sad
AI-generated picture of a tired person. His head is resting on his arm and his face looks sad
Nikita Kazhin's headshot

Nikita Kazhin

Co-founder at Brick

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Hey 👋,

It’s the beginning of the year, and for many people, it’s not off to a great start: low energy, no motivation, and feelings of malaise. Hits me every year alright.

The holiday rush and the last-minute push to finish the previous year’s projects are now behind us. These two are powerful motivators for us to stay “pumped” towards the end of the year. But now that the thrill of gifts, holiday spirit and a string of days off has faded, it can be challenging to get back on track. Your regular level of work activity might feel like a little too much.

But trying to artificially boost your motivation doesn’t work all that well.

So instead of fighting the slump head-on, try these 5 down-to-earth things to get out of the rut (I did all of these myself in the past 9 days, so I vouch for them):

  • Go for a quick win. What can be better than a good ol’ dopamine hit? Quite a few things, actually. But in this particular case, it may be a good way to get a shot in the arm. You probably don’t feel like starting a new project, so why don’t you identify one that only needs a little push to go up and to the right? Find that little drop that’ll start a waterfall. Just solve something, anything. But focus on one thing only. Don’t try to move a mountain. For example, I had some website revamp leftovers from last year. With just a little push, it’s now fully complete. Progress begets more progress. And little gives us a better boost than closing an open loop and witnessing forward movement. Fewer things weighing over you. More freedom to create.

  • Declutter. Even on a micro scale. Clean your desk. Sort through your bookmarks. Get rid of open tabs. Exterminate those invasive post-its all over your workspace. Whatever feels like it’s weighing you down. I deleted what feels like at least a dozen marketing emails and killed at least 1/5 of my bookmarks. All in about an hour. Instant relief. Make sure yo don’t take too long, or it’ll become a form of procrastination. Even half-an-hour of clean-up can lift a mountain off your shoulders, and bring clarity and energy seemingly out of nowhere.

  • Fall back to the familiar. If creative work just won’t budge, get back to basics and do something that you can do on autopilot. Repetitive work can be surprisingly soothing. And even just a little progress is infinitely better than no progress. It might easily turn out that this little sprint of automatic work will get your creative juices going for those harder projects.

  • Add a little accountability. If going it alone is too much to ask, why don’t you schedule a session with an accountability
    partner. Tools like Focusmate make sure finding partners is now a breeze. Working together may well be the answer. Plus, it gives you someone to talk to. You’re not alone in this. So share, and you’ll see that a sense of community can work wonders. I hadn’t had a single session in two weeks, and this Monday I remembered why working together with a real person is such a treat. Give it a shot.

  • Break the mountain down into the smallest possible rocks. Still have to work on a big scary project? No way to avoid that now? It’s still in your power to make it small and doable. Just break it down into small tasks that don’t seem scary at all. Snackable and unintimidating. Then go tackle those tasks one at a time. Don’t let the whole mountain fall on your shoulders at once. I created Brick specifically to make this kind of magic as frictionless and fun as possible without ever interrupting you. Early access is now open. I hope it’s helpful.


The beginning of the year slump sucks. But it’s in your power to turn into little more than a fleeting moment. So try any or all of these:

  • Go for a quick win to get your progress flywheel going

  • Declutter and clean up. Create space for your creativity.

  • Fall back to the familiar. Autopilot work is a surprisingly good remedy.

  • Add accountability. Working together with another human being makes work feel less like… work.

  • Break your big and scary project into small and doable tasks. Starting and making progress will get so much easier.

Thanks for reading!

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