You’ve probably already set some resolutions for your personal life: exercise more, make a budget, learn to cook a new meal a week, etc.
But have you thought about resolutions for your work life?
Here are a few small changes you can implement in 2017 with big gains:
1. I will not put off tasks that take less than 2 minutes.
Left ignored, small tasks can pile up quickly. It’s easy to procrastinate responding to an email, scanning a document, or filing something away, but it’s best to just get it done.
Why? If you’ve read the email/signed the document/finished with the file, you’ve completed part of the task, and putting off the completion of it ultimately adds more work. (Chances are you’re going to re-read that email again, right?)
Finish it up in the moment and move on. If I’m having a particularly busy week, I set aside 10 minutes a day to clear my to-do list of these small items.
2. I will block out my time to focus on tasks.
If there’s a major project you need to tackle, block your calendar for a set amount of time to devote entirely to that task, be it 45, 60, 90 minutes. (More than that and most people lose focus.)
• Sign out of email (or at least turn off notifications).
• Set your status to “busy” on any internal chat system.
• Put on headphones if you need to.
I’m willing to guess that this resolution will be met with the most resistance at your office. But I’d encourage you to try it and see how much more you can get done.
3. I will stand up more often during the day.
We’ve heard sitting is the new smoking, but a standup desk isn’t feasible for everyone.
Instead, pledge to incorporate small physical breaks into your day:
• Stand up and stretch between your dedicated time blocks.
• Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
• Walk down the hall to the good candy dish. (Hey, I’m not judging.)
I was once part of an office that would encourage a periodic collective break to stretch. Sure, it felt silly at first, but even those 30-second breaks genuinely refreshed me.
4. I will clean up my desktop once a month.
Does anyone else fall victim to saving everything on their desktop? At least once a month, take a look at your desktop and delete items you no longer need and properly file the ones you do.
You’ll feel more organized with less visual clutter.
I’ve been referring to your computer desktop, but this works on real desktops too.
5. I will take a few minutes each month to list my accomplishments.
Our office is in the middle of annual reviews right now, and I wish I had made this resolution for myself months ago.
I always think I’ll remember all the projects I’ve worked on, but I don’t.
Taking a few minutes each month to write down that month’s wins will not only make your annual review that much easier, but it will also inspire a sense of accomplishment and gratitude—fueling you for the month ahead!