We are now past Christmas Day and quickly rolling into the New Year celebrations. Soon, it will be time to set fresh goal and new year resolutions yet again. It seems we just did that not too long ago.
I'm a big fan of goal setting. I do it every year and my clients average 74% completion rate irrespective of the number of goals they put down. I'm a big believer in the power of our minds. Focusing is brilliant for getting our brains to perform well. But before we get into proper goal setting, a topic for another blog, let's consider a smaller version of productivity - making the first two weeks of January fantastic! If you're one of those people who came into Christmas super tired, begrudged the work days sandwiching Christmas and are not really looking forward to returning to work - this blog may help!
Let's face it, who in their right mind feels excited about holidays being over, late sleeping and the festive cheer all around. For many people whether self-employed or working for someone else, holiday period makes the work stuff go away into storage until January. As employees slowly trickle back into work from vacations, family visits or time off, it will take about two weeks to really get back into normal business. For those self-employed and keen to get started, those first few weeks can be frustrating.
Majority of people are not back until Jan 6th for starters and many may take extra days for holidays, late arrivals back due to canceled flights or mental resistance to return to a job they don't want! So much for work-based productivity! Let's admit it. Things won't be up and running until the third week really! But, wait....it's not all bad news! Those first two weeks of 2014 could be a great opportunity to substantially raise your productivity and help you have a great year. Here's 5 tips to get you started.
Focus on making January great - forget the rest of the year for now
Organise your key projects / work that you want to accomplish in January and park it into a monthly diary so you can see what's coming up ahead of you. While you're at it, note down key actions needed to support these outcomes and slot them into your diary before others claim your time. Then get excited! If you tackle this work, you're way into having a productive year. Hurray!
Make space for new ideas and inspiration
Spend a day on de-clutter your work space. Throw away everything you accumulated but didn't acted on unless it's an existing commitment that needs your immediate attention. Create a list of 3-5 highly beneficial actions that remain from 2013 and which you can tackle one per day over the next 5 days. Viola! Get on with it by starting your day with it.
Build a new habit of taking rest and refuelling so you can be super effective
Start a new habit and take those all important work breaks. Have a coffee. Take a short walk outside. See a short inspirational Ted talk. Invite your office colleagues for lunch. To make this happen, focus on doing one task and then have a reward. Task - reward. This pattern helps you be effective and helps you regain energy and motivation for the next one. And, avoid Facebook as a form of restoring. Looking into other people's lives is no way to spend your time productively unless you're into copying, feeling bad, feeling superior or simply want to waste time. Facebook is work! Best uses for it are to share information that's of use/interest to others, post short updates that matter to people you're connected to (your dubious Christmas party photo doesn't qualify sadly), gather information from those you trust or plan social events and travels. If you know of any other productive uses, please share them. I'm still figuring Facebook out so that it enhances my life instead of draining my time.
Plan in fun, joy, peace and laughter
People never regret good times but it's easy to get sucked back into 7am to 7pm work schedule, catch up weekends filled to the brim with chores and before you know it another year slips by without much enjoyment. Some of the people I see in my coaching end up in this rut and I for sure have been there before which is what made me learn about the need and benefits of good work-life balance. So if you tend to work hard give yourself a pat on the back and keep at it. But use your work productivity to also improve the quality of your life more generally for you can have holistic productivity. Brainstorm at least two specific activities that will help you have fun, bring joy, restore peace, or make you laugh in the next 4 weeks and schedule them into your diary. Keeping a healthy mix that restores you is key for handling life beyond January.
Book your holiday so you can work hard knowing there's a reward in sight
This seems hard to do when many of our bank accounts may be overdrawn from Christmas spendings and January pay check seems far away in sight. However, having a booked holiday helps us focus and work harder in January as we have certainty there's a specific rest planned into our lives. Create concrete holiday plans so you know there's a specific docking station for you. Draw up a short list of places and don't forget cheaper options like visiting your friends or doing house swaps. Look for special offers and deals. This is the time holiday travellers discount packages as they know we are short on money. Whatever you do, book something specific. If nothing else book the time off.
These are my 5 tips to get a good start in 2014. I'm sure you have your own and I'm interested in finding out how you make your first days back at work into a good start.
Share your ideas below.
And, if you're interested in:
Join me for my 1 day workshop
In December I did an interview on productivity for Psychologies Magazine and I know there's many of us out there that can use help! In this session I share my own system for work-life balance and many useful tips and exercises to help you stay productive and healthy.