When making New Year’s resolutions, it is easy to relate them to your personal life but seemingly not so easy to relate them to your professional life. In fact, the majority of people who make resolutions don’t even consider their work life or setting goals to achieve in office! January a great time to give your professional life a boost and set career goals for the coming months! Why not use some of the ideas below, and tie them into your yearly plan?
Let’s start simple…
1 – Organize your files, desk, drawers and general work space
This should probably be done several times a year, but let’s start at the very beginning…a very good place to start. You will feel refreshed if you clear the clutter. Ridding of useless stationary, empty or old files and buying a desk organiser are all ways to improve your work space ‘feng shui’. It is also a good idea to do a digital-cleanse of your PC files. Sort through your documents (which are likely to be within files, within files, within drives) and get rid of those that are no longer needed. Don’t be too brutal, as you never know what you may need to reference in the future – but there will definitely be some things that are no longer needed. Even if you just create a clean archive so you can easily find document, you will feel better.
2 – Be more productive
This doesn’t mean you weren’t productive before, it simply means that instead of taking that extra-long tea break, or checking your phone every hour…you spend more time perfecting that email to a new client or only check your phone at lunch. Make 2017 the year you work the same (or even fewer) hours and get more done. Need some ideas…..?
- Turn off notifications from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram etc. unless you run your company’s social media. If the constant buzzing of notifications is gone, you’ll feel less tempted to keep checking.
- Organize and prioritize your daily, weekly and monthly tasks. This can be done online, on paper or in your email diary. Keep track of dates and visit your check list every morning to make sure you’re focused on the high priority projects and important deadlines.
- Instead of spending 20 minutes faffing in the kitchen (or the like) making coffees, teas and breakfast, start bringing your coffee to work. Better still, pre-caffeinate on the way or at home and be ready to start when you sit down at your desk.
3 – Be kind, patient and happy
Sometimes it is very difficult for us to hold our tempers if we have had a long and stressful week, but occasionally a kind word, smile or complement to our colleagues or professional acquaintances will go a long way. ‘You’re looking very lovely today’ or ‘morning, would you like a cup-of-tea,’ can really brighten up someone’s day, through doing very little. Hopefully, the gesture will be repaid in future and your office environment will become an even nicer one.
4- Find a healthy work-life balance
All work and no play is no fun for anyone, and it isn’t healthy! Creating a positive balance between work and leisure is the best way to keep on top everything, both in and out of the office. Here’s some ideas to help:
- I would advise taking your work email off your phone so you’re not tempted to respond to emails in the evenings…but this is quite extreme. Simply, try checking emails between 7-7.30 or 9-9.30. Then leave the rest for the morning! Remember, people won’t reply to you until the morning if they don’t check their emails! Is everything really that urgent?
- Plan a holiday or break away. Even if it’s for 7, 8, 9 months down the line…it’ll give you something to work towards and feel excited about.
- Find a hobby so you can unwind. Join a club, sign up for classes or become a regular at a gym. This could also tie-in with your personal goals!
- Make sure you schedule some quality time the people (and pets) that matter (not that your colleagues don’t matter). Whether you take your prized-pooch to the park, work on a DIY project or share cooking duties with your partner a few times a week, it’s all worth it.
5 – Learn some new skills and become an expert in your field
Improve your professional skill-set and learn how you can become more efficient / better at your job. Why not try these:
- Let your Manager / Director know you’d like to upskill, or improve a skill – be proactive in asking for advice. A good and helpful Manager will hopefully listen and help figure out a plan such as mentoring you on a related project, giving you opportunities to learn that skill on the job or book you onto an external training course.
- Spend a few hours researching the top blogs related to your industry and subscribe to their newsletters (if they have them).
- Get a professional Twitter and LinkedIn account and follow industry leaders and local businesses. Be as active as you can be in retweeting and sending out your own tweets – business related, of course.
Try to give your past year a detailed review. Use a bit of spare time to assess whether you want to grow and progress in your current role or hunt for a new one. If you’re thinking of taking your talents elsewhere, these following questions will help you gauge what is working for you, what is not working for you and what to look for in your next company.
- What is my proudest professional accomplishment from the past year? Did I have one that is notable? If not, why not?
- Did I receive the support and resources needed to effectively do my job and progress in 2016? What could help me hit my goals in 2017? Did I ask for help where needed and was this responded to positively?
- Have I learned something useful from my Manager or Director? Is there a team within the organization where I could learn more /feel more supported or challenged?
- Are there any new skills I gained this year? Does my CV need an update? What can I add that will be of value?
- Is where I work a positive and motivating environment? Am I excited about coming to work each day? Do I feel fulfilled and like I am progressing in this role?
This post was written by Emma Jones