Apparently most of us who bothered to make New Year’s resolutions will have broken them by now.
This raises a question: instead of throwing ourselves into radical changes with gusto at the start of each year, perhaps we should pursue a more measured approach?
With this in mind, here are three achievable but worthwhile habits (NOT resolutions) to cultivate in the year ahead:
Find your focus
I’m currently reading a biography of Steve Jobs. One of Apple’s founding principles was to retain a clear focus on core products. It’s a principle that merits exploration. In today’s fast-paced, multi-channelled business environment, avoiding distractions isn’t as easy as it sounds. Regardless of whether your business is a one-man band or a multinational, it should have a clear purpose – and stay true to it. Not a business owner? As a staff member, you should fully understand – and be motivated by – your employer’s raison d’être and your expected contribution towards it. That way, when you write the inevitable ‘to do’ list at the start of each day, you can separate the urgent from the important.
Open your mind
Bear with me if this seems at odds with point 1. While clarity of purpose is crucial to maintaining a focused business, it doesn’t preclude you from exploring new ways to achieve these goals. Successful business people constantly learn and challenge themselves to do things better. More reading: I was fascinated to learn about one highly successful French entrepreneur who, even in his twilight years, aims to meet one new person each day. The takeaway? We need external stimulation to achieve our innovative potential. Can’t get away from that pesky desk? Find ten minutes to read a new publication, listen to a fresh podcast or check out a new online networking group. You never know what – or who – you might discover.
Sort your system
Oh yawn. Here’s the bit about folders and filing. Well – yes and no. It’s claimed that creative people and clutter go together, however few high performers thrive without some form of organisational system. With a bombardment of information from multiple sources, it beggars belief that any of us could manage without one. Find what works for you. Then – the monotonous but crucial part – stick to it. Most of us, myself included, have a tipping point where the information overload reaches a stage where it affects your productivity. Acknowledge that point – whether it’s with your virtual or physical filing system (or both). Identify a process that counteracts it. Whether you choose five minutes of maintenance at the end of each day, or an hour at the end of each week, your colleagues, your clients and your sanity will thank you for it.
Here’s to a successful 2017.
Clare Scott is a Communications Consultant and founder of CJS Communication & Marketing