It’s that time of year again! Before you chalk off 2014 for the record books, dust off that memory bank and take time to truly reflect on the past 12 months. One way to grow in the new year? Make new mistakes. Look at the errors you made over the past several months in addition to strides and new skills obtained. Look at your relationships and your management of time, projects and productivity.
How have you grown in these areas? What has been squandered? Doing a full sweep can put you in good standing for a stellar new year beyond the month of January.
1. Evaluate your goals from this time last year. Go ahead, take a peek! Did you accomplish your goals? All of them? Some of them? None of them? Why or why not? Were they unobtainable, and were they not broken down or measured enough? Or, if you achieved all your goals, were they not lofty enough?
Many people are so concerned about setting goals and achieving them that in the process of being so forward-thinking, they miss the boat of reflecting upon what worked, what didn’t and how to do better next time. If your goals are the same this year, what can you do differently to achieve them? And can you redefine your goals? If you want to increase sales by 20 percent again, perhaps you can focus on intangible things, too, like building four new solid relationships each month.
2. Get organized. Considering so many people take paid time off this time of year and offices are virtually ghost towns, clear off that desk and clean it. Literally. Clear the energy, and clean the space. Imagine how incredible you’ll feel coming into the office on Monday with a brand new slate.
If you have a home office, mix things up. Perhaps move your desk to another location, or treat yourself to a brand new office lamp or bright, decorative pillow for your chair. Make your space as clean, comfortable and inviting as possible. What better time to do this than when no one else is answering your emails anyway?
3. Create a kudos file. If you haven’t been collecting praises over the past year from your boss, your boss’s boss, colleagues and peers, now is the perfect time. Even if you create it within Outlook, start storing all your positive accolades in one place.
The purpose is two-fold. First, for your next performance review and especially at year-end, you’ll have proof at your fingertips as to how valuable you are to the company. Second, if you’re having a bad day, it’s nice knowing that file even exists. Yes, people acknowledge your hard work, and yes, every now and then it’s good to be reminded of it.
4. Review your mistakes. Similar to how you reviewed your goals and accomplishments toward them, the same task holds true for your mistakes. Did you make new mistakes? Were they big and costly or small and trivial? Did you make any faux pas? If not, why not? And if so, what did you learn from them?
Maybe you got involved in social media, and one error (not so much a mistake but moreso growing pains) involved time management and how to properly do your job while juggling this new, additional task. Go ahead and reflect on how you messed up. Embrace mistakes to think differently, think bigger and – most importantly – think better.
5. Evaluate your time and productivity management. Is there anything you can do differently to reorganize your day in the new year? Perhaps vow to ignore emails between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to get your “real” work done. Perhaps schedule meetings for first thing in the morning and leave the afternoon for lighter tasks. Perhaps delegate more to your team, or train others to do a few tasks so you’re not redundant with responsibilities.
While New Year’s resolutions may easily be forgotten, if you start creating healthier habits within the first few weeks, chances are they’ll stick.
6. Review your work relationships. What could you do differently this year? Re-engineer to be beneficial for not only yourself but the team and organization as well. Take a look at your interactions with others, and maybe you'll find that flexible work arrangements have led to less face time with colleagues. Perhaps be more conscious about seeing people when you are physically in the office to kick it old school with a coffee break or lunch to check in.
Vicki Salmi - US News