New Year’s resolutions are often made and dropped before the end of January. And it’s little wonder as to why: many resolutions demand a lot from the maker. It’s wonderful to start the year with the intention of self-improvement, but it’s important take it easy on yourself, and take a measured approach.
Small changes in your everyday life can have a major impact on your year and your progress. In this post, we will discuss implementing small behaviors that last, and that will do a world of good for you.
This one is easy. Throughout the year, keep a record of your accomplishments. Easy examples could take the shape of client feedback, coworker feedback, stellar project results, or more. You can create a folder on your desktop on inbox, so when the success and praise comes rolling in, all you have to do is drag and drop.
This could prove beneficial in many ways. The most practical, of course, is when you’re updating your resume, you’ll have plenty to refer to. You can also use your cache of success as a reference when preparing for a performance review or if you want to communicate your accomplishments to a supervisor. Finally, kind words always serve as a perfect pick-me-up when you’re having a bad day.
Reprioritize your task list
The critical way to accomplish your tasks and accomplish them well is to use the “less is more” approach. It’s best to write out your to-do list. Whether you prefer to compose tomorrow’s list at the end of the day, or write it out first thing in the morning is up to you. When your write out your short-term or long-term tasks, take the time to prioritize which is most important. This could be based on when they’re due, or how critical they are to business flow. Don’t be afraid to cut out tasks that absorb time and don’t contribute to ultimate business outcomes.
In addition, avoid multitasking. It may seem like doing a lot at once is the definition of productivity, but it is actually the opposite. Your brain does not maintain productive momentum when it is constantly switching tasks. Your results will be higher and of better quality if you allow yourself to focus on one thing at a time. And speaking of time, get into the habit of setting flexible timelines that allow for sudden changes. You never know when you’re going to need a safety net of time to fall back on.
Keep it tidy
Another excellent habit is including some clean-up time in your routine. Schedule a little time each week to de-clutter your work space. This will get you into a good habit of ridding your desk of unnecessary papers, and perhaps, implement a system of filing documents you no longer need. An organized desk or office will help keep the mind organized and diffuse stress. Also, a clean desk helps you depict yourself as a collected professional to coworkers and supervisors.
We’ve talked before about channeling energy: How to maximize your energy output, and the importance of taking breaks by physically stepping away from your workstation and walking outside or to another part of the office. Short, regular breaks will have you returning to your work with renewed vigor. If leaving your desk is not an option, take a break from whatever you are doing and accomplish an easier task. A short shift in concentration is still some respite for your brain.
Distractions are probably the biggest blocks to productivity, and our everyday devices and methods of communication are probably the biggest culprits. So while you’re starting fresh in 2016, get into the habit of mitigating your opportunities for distraction.
One method is to keep you cell phone in a drawer. It’s fine to stay connected with the outside world periodically, but seeing a phone screen light up with a message or email can be too tempting. Keep the phone out of sight and designate times to check. Do the same for email. It’s easy to get wrapped up in reading and responding to emails, especially if they just keep coming in. Like with the phone, limit the time spent on email. Every hour or so, check your inbox. If there is nothing pressing in there, close it and keep working. Set aside times to respond to emails. In fact, this time can be used as a break.
Starting your year off on the right foot is easy to do. It’s keeping up the momentum that can present a challenge. The key is to implement small changes that will yield a larger impact. These small changes will become almost second nature, and by the end of the year, you will notice that you’ll have been more focused, organized, and productive.