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Charmaine Wu

SFU Co-op Student
Communication, Art + Technology › Communication, Communication, Art + Technology › Interactive Arts + Technology

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Allowing yourself time to hear your own thoughts without the distraction of life’s flurry can be incredibly beneficial to your personal and professional growth.

Let’s be honest – although it’s incredible news to get your work term extended, being immersed in an environment of regular full-timers for an extended period of time can start to feel comfortable. It’s crucial to keep in mind that these experiences and opportunities you’ve worked so hard to land are only temporary, and you have one shot at making the best of them!

As my co-op was extended to a full year, I noticed that going to work on a daily basis started to feel routine. And as routine began to sink in, that sense of urgency to actively seek new opportunities and build new skills with an upstream mindset started to fade. Motivation is key when it comes to keeping that initial vigor to succeed.

1. Set Goals 

Take the time to set Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time targeted goals (Co-op knows what they’re talking about). Writing them out on a “goals” whiteboard or sticky note on your mirror can help keep them at the forefront of your mind and your main focus at work.

2. Work to a Beat 

If your office allows for it, listening to upbeat music quietly or via headphones can make the world of a difference on a slower day. Playlists like “Uplifting Indie Motivation”, “Uplifting Pop Motivation” or “Tropical House Beats” can improve your mood and even boost your productivity.

3. Talk to People

What a concept, eh? As an introvert who loves people, you can see my struggle here. It takes me a bit of warming up before I can throw myself into a conversation with someone I’m not familiar with. Although this is an area that still requires constant effort on my part, what I’ve learned to realize and remember, is that we’re all the same – introvert or not, people can be shy beings and could just as well be afraid to talk to you than you are to them! Break the ice yourself and you may learn fascinating things about your coworkers you would have never known if that ice was still intact!

4. Read Books & Listen to Podcasts

Reading inspiring or uplifting books can really put you in a better place mentally and even instruct your daily life. Pick something that gives you purpose, something you’ve always wanted to learn how to do, or something that can instruct or comfort you in an area you struggle with, like introverted-ness (Shonda Rhimes’ Year of Yes is a good one for this I hear!).

Hearing about successful people’s stories and how they got to where they are – their struggles, their failures, and how they overcame hurdles can be both comforting and inspiring. This is an exceptional way to relax and still learn something new on days when you come home exhausted from work, and don’t have the energy to pick up a book. Newly-learned facts double as great conversation starters the next day at work too!

5. Reflect Religiously

There’s no better way to assess your progress in reaching your goals and to re-assess any new alterations in your plans than to reflect regularly on the daily happenings of your work experiences. Through reflecting and note-taking, you realize and learn new things about yourself and even develop new goals to reach your destination. Allowing yourself time to hear your own thoughts without the distraction of life’s flurry can be incredibly beneficial to your personal and professional growth.

In essence, no matter your circumstance, by actively staying motivated, not only will you increase focus and productivity at work, you’ll learn things about yourself that can ground you as a person, and that can help you be more resilient through any curve balls life throws your way.

About the Author

Image of the Charmaine

Charmaine Wu

SFU Co-op Student
Communication, Art + Technology › Communication, Communication, Art + Technology › Interactive Arts + Technology
As a SIAT & Communications student, Charmaine has completed Marketing, Communications and Design co-ops with SFU's Health & Counselling and Faculty of Environment. She worked with the OLC at Work Integrated Learning, and did visual design for Embark Sustainability Organization. Connect with Charmaine on Instagram & Linked In.
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