The parties are over, the festive decorations are finding their way back to storage boxes and the vibe is shifting from the holiday cheer to jump start the New year. It is time to look forward to setting new targets, creating new plans, new directions and new processes. But am I really ready to dive in yet?
After the celebrations die down, I often go through the holiday-blues and find it hard to get back in sync with the onslaught of mails, deadlines, targets and reports. It does take a while before it all settles in and the blood starts pumping again while looking forward to another year full of surprises. I’m certain that just like me, many of you are returning from the end-of-year celebrations. And just like me, facing the same dilemma.
So here are some ways in which you could jump start and be better equipped to take on the everday challenges that the new year presents.
Ways to jump start
People who know me would describe me as a person who has an eye for detail and a through planner; flexible yet has very high regards for perfection. I like to plan, I like to make lists of my work and in the old school way strike out the completed tasks one by one. I’m also an avid traveler and manage the operations of my travel to the ‘t’. I love experimenting while planning and have been fortunate enough to come across these seven out-of-the box ways to kick start a new year of opportunities. These would seem simplistic when you read them.. But these tricks have worked for me time and again. They not only helped me put the past year in perspective but also have had a huge impact in the way I’ve dealt with my business operations.
1. Give yourself some thinking time
Frequently, we get torn in between the need to achieve our targets within tight deadlines and managing day to day business operations. So when do we actually get to sit down quietly, introspect on our past actions, decisions and ideas and give ourselves some quality thinking time? The answer is almost never.
Research says that managers and organisational leaders need to invest some time off their busy schedule to encourage themselves as well as their people to spend some more time to think and reflect.
So maybe, you can start this new year with a new trend of realising the value of “thinking time”.
2. Prioritise items on your task list
Thinking helps put the future in perspective. Likewise reviewing the year-end checklist that you painstakingly made in the previous year will help bring the past commitments into perspective. Of those, things that you decided to keep for the upcoming year, need to be reorganised as per priority. Because the New Year brings in few unplanned events, activities and situations, that need to be taken into consideration.
3. Develop, upgrade, update
If the junior team members need to be trained, and put forward for development and upgrading their skills, the senior managers and organisational leaders too, should not be left out. Because, as the juniors grow, so must the ones to lead them to that growth. Hence, it is important to identify an area of development for yourself as well as for the organisation.
Perhaps, start the year itself with training programs and developmental workshops for every level in the organisation?
4. Increase your network
For surviving and growing in a connected world, networking is one of the biggest assets. And to be on the top of the ‘connectivity chain’, one needs to be ‘in-the-know’ and across digital platforms. Sharing viewpoints, following other peoples’ thoughts and ideas, developing one’s own theories and learning the whereabouts of the important people in the industry, can go a long way in establishing a robust network. Consider meeting people (even if it is virtually) as a part of your responsibility area. Make time for networking, as it is not just the responsibility of sales team/person of your organisation.
5. Clean up for a clean start
As clichéd as it may sound, a clean slate always contributes to the freshness one needs to start something new. Whether it’s your personal workstation or overall department, a round of spring cleaning can leave the office space feeling anew. I remember when I was working with a social enterprise, though I worked with them in the marketing profile, I had the opportunity to refurbish the office space. It was a cumbersome project but when we celebrated the ‘office-warming’ celebrations, we invited the families of all our employees. It turned out to be a fabulous evening. As insignificant as it may seem, the offiice’s new looks and feel became yet another reason for all our employees to enjoy coming to work every day. Also, studies show, that such refreshing environment can motivate people better. And people include you too.
6. Change your work location
To contribute to the ‘newness’ of the year, your work desk could also be new. I often change places where I station and work. It varies from sitting in the office on a desk, to a comfortable spot in a café, to working from home, from a friend’s home, from a co-working space, etc. Each new space brings with it a new energy, new thoughts and ideas. Reinventing your workplace with simple DIY ideas can help in boosting the mood. Alternatively, (or additionally) taking a break and leaving the desk for a while and working in a different location altogether also proves to be helpful.
7. Just go for it
Sometimes, neither everything can be planned, nor do they work according to a plan. Just like going for a sky-dive or bungee-jump, one needs to simply jump into the workload and take each day as it comes. And it all starts with the mind. De-cluttering the mind with lesser analyses and thoughts, can go a long way in making workload easier on oneself.
People often feel inspired by the quote “I want a life from which I need no vacation”; I feel quite the opposite. Vacations are a must. Any strategies that help us de-clutter, rewind, unwind are all forms of vacations that help us find a window to improve our productivity.
We all need vacations! And I love taking time out to be in the forests of India but when I’m back, getting back to work after a period of holidays, means a slow start and a little irregular schedule, which leaves me feeling the blues.
However, over time and with the above stated ways, I have learned to accept that we have been ‘off-routine’ and it’s essential that we jump start with full vigour and encourage our teams to do the same. And all it takes is a little time and a few innovative ideas.
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Author Profile: Deepam Yogi is an adventurer at heart, socially conscious in her gut and professionally a strategic consultant. She co-founded Yellow Spark to support organisations to build workplaces that people love being a part of. Deepam describes herself as a shy yet opinionated writer, and firmly believes that most answers to complex issues lies in simple communication.