Can you believe the holidays are over? It seems like they go by faster and faster every year. And now, January is here… already. It’s the time of year for new beginnings and renewal. This should be inspiring, but if you’re anything like me, this month can be tough to get through: No more cookies at the office, the days are shorter, colder, and we’re six months away from summer.
Looking on the bright side (because we have to), now’s the time to set this year up for success. Might as well make the best of it, right? While many Americans make New Year’s resolutions based on wellness-oriented goals, I recommend committing to at least one that will help with self-improvement at work. Consider the following:
Help your company better understand your role: With the rapid and changing pace of the digital landscape, chances are, many people at your company don’t fully understand what you do day-to-day. Take the opportunity to help them better understand. It can lead to opportunities for collaboration and expansion.
Create space for collaboration: It’s true what they say: millennials like to collaborate, work together and embrace the team mindset. Many times, the reason people don’t collaborate is because they don’t have an area where they can do this effectively without disturbing others. To help do this more often, find space where your team can meet regularly. Book a conference room in advance or find a space in the office that’s not disruptive.
Set time aside to better your personal brand: You have a brand whether you decide to work on it or not. Remember, what you don’t say says a lot about you. Maintaining your personal brand is an on-going effort, so make time to work on this each day. If you’re not sure where to start, try some of the following: write a blog showcasing your expertise and interests, curate content for social media, engage in online conversation, or clean up your social profiles.
Commit to a conference: Continuous learning is the key to success. It can be hard to get away from your daily tasks, but try to find some time in your schedule (the earlier the better) where you can focus on your professional advancement and learn from others in your field. Conferences are great not only for learning, but for networking too. If you’re restricted by budget, search for local opportunities that may exist.
Get to know somebody from a different team: Most of us have a core group of people we prefer to work with and surround ourselves with during the day. However, make sure you aren’t denying yourself the opportunity to get to know somebody new. My recommendation: go out to lunch with someone from a different team, so you can learn more about what they do. Not only will you expand your network, but you’ll learn more about your company.
Block time on the calendar for yourself: It can be hard to find time in your day to do simple tasks such as catching up on email when your schedule is jam-packed with meetings. To ensure that you get this necessary time set aside for yourself, block a time slot off on your calendar in advance. It could be as little as ten minutes or up to an hour. Either way, you are doing something for yourself that will help you focus and perform better.
Have more productive meetings: How many times a day do you hear that calendar alert go off on your phone? Many, I’m sure. A lot of our days are packed with meetings, resulting in less time to work. And too often, the meetings we go to aren’t as productive as they could be. To help solve this problem, make sure you put together an agenda, recap email, and action items for those involved. This could help reduce wasted time and leave everyone with a clear idea of what was accomplished, what needs to be accomplished, and who needs to do what after you’re finished.
Better manage your email: We hear this one all the time, right? But it’s still surprising to see how many employees don’t do this effectively. The New Year is the best time to get on track, so take advantage of threads and folders. My personal recommendation: once you open an email, file it immediately. Even if you cannot respond right away, put it in a “to-do” folder. This will help you remember that you need to respond, and it’ll be in a place where you can find it quickly.
Take lunch breaks outside of the office: Getting out of the office can be tough, but it can help you refuel and recharge. Getting some fresh air doesn’t hurt either. Removing yourself from the daily environment can help put things in perspective and lead to better productivity during the second half of the day.
Set-up team building activities: Too often, we don’t realize that people on our team may have skills outside their current role that could be incredibly valuable to projects and the company as a whole. To learn more about the people on your team, set up activities to focus on things that aren’t in line with the projects they’re currently working on. By tapping into their underutilized expertise, you’ll have a much better understanding of whom you work with.
What New Year’s Resolutions for work are you focusing on in 2015?