It’s over a week into 2017, and you’re still deciding exactly what you want your New Year’s Resolutions to be. Sound familiar? Or maybe you’ve already started to slide on the resolutions that you DID make because they weren’t so motivating after all. Don’t beat yourself up too much – we all need a “buffer week” between the holiday break and diving into a brand new year. On top of personal resolutions, you should consider making professional resolutions this year as well. If you’re like most career-oriented people, you’ll easily spend half of your waking hours this year working. It’s worthwhile to strive to be your best professional self.
- Identify your top 3 priorities for the week on Sunday evening. Don’t leave your week up to chance. There’s nothing more valuable than your time, and if you don’t plan out how you’re going to use it, distractions and fire drills will come your way and before you know it, it’s Friday. What are your biggest professional goals for the year? What three specific things can you achieve this week to help you reach these goals? Don’t let the “urgent” supersede the truly “important.”
- Leave your cell phone outside of the conference room. If you haven’t had a chance yet to watch the recent Simon Sinek interview that is sweeping the internet, it’s 15 minutes well spent. Among other topics, he discusses Millennials’ addiction to the internet, their phones, and instant gratification. Meaningful relationships are formed via simple and everyday interactions, not technology. We need to spend less time staring at our phones and more time connecting with each other. If you just say “don’t check your phone during meetings”, it’s not enough… we aren’t strong enough to resist it. Remove the temptation by leaving it in your office, and use those moments at the beginning and end of a meeting to connect with your colleagues. It will pay dividends in your working relationships. If you need to know what time it is, wear a watch.
- Commit to 6 professional development activities this year. These activities can span the following - attending a conference, reading a business book, watching a webinar, listening to a podcast, serving on a committee, etc. The idea is that these activities stretch you, push you out of your comfort zone, and require you to think and act differently. Why six? The goal is to choose a commitment that is challenging but not insurmountable, so six = one activity every other month. Taking an ongoing class? If you’re tapped out with a full commitment in one area, then one could suffice. The most important part here – make sure you reflect on, record, and share what you’ve learned. Studies show that people forget 90% of what they learn within a week, but taking (and saving) notes and sharing your findings with others greatly improves retention.
- Demonstrate genuine appreciation to your team on a regular basis. Many organizations wait until year end to recognize, thank, and reward their employees. That seems to be the logical time to share feedback, celebrate successes, and hand out a company gift because that’s how the annual review cycle works. However, you can tell your employees, colleagues, and coworkers how much you value and appreciate their contributions any day of the year. Several studies have shown that feeling appreciated is the #1 driver of job satisfaction – not pay. Need a specific first deadline? Employee appreciation day is on March 3, 2017. Need a specific first idea? Pick out a nice yet work-appropriate gift, such as a branded bag, jacket, or notebook with your company’s logo on it. (Please – no cheap mugs or t-shirts.) Accompany this gift with a hand-written, personalized note to each member of your team. If you need any gift ideas, be sure to check out the ideas right here on Merchology.com.
There you have it – four ways you can make this year professionally challenging yet rewarding, not just for yourself but for others around you. You’ll be able to remember 2017 as the year you became more focused, present, challenged, and appreciative… even if your resolutions WERE a little belated. Hey – it’s where you finish, not where you start. Happy New Year!