Feel motivated to make 2021 a better year? We can agree that 2020 was not remotely close to what we expected, but it came with a few (many) lessons to carry on into the new year and our workplace. If you are looking for a more productive, positive year, then you have come to the right place!
Building new habits is about taking a series of steps and open your mind to opportunity areas you can explore to try new things, and find what suits you best. This year, make your best effort to adopt work habits that are proactive and life-changing, like these ones:
1. Focus on what you can control
Set ambitious goals, but realistic ones. Make a plan, understand what you can and can’t do (yet). Setting goals far from your reach that you won’t be able to achieve will overwhelm you. Instead, make tiny changes with a positive mindset, and after a couple of months, your positive behavior will be automatic. At the end of every week, take 5 minutes to reflect on what is working and what isn’t, and do more of what works.
On that note, don’t let expectations (internal and external) run your life. Plan what is under your control, like activities that make you happy and how you react to news, events, situations, and work responsibilities. Shift your focus from what “should be” to what is.
2. Create a structured and meaningful routine
Organize your day and set deadlines. High achievers all around the world, from time-to-time, recommend having a structured schedule that will allow you to get things done in the time you want (or need) them to be done. Make the effort to intelligently prioritize tasks and add value to your work. You will feel so accomplished when you do follow your schedule. But remember, go little by little. Try planning out a few of your medium to long-term tasks first and then move to schedule your short-term ones. If you try structuring everything at once, you are more likely to not follow through.
3. Learn to properly disconnect from work
Find ways to disconnect from your work in the evening and create a night routine that helps you wind down. Leave your email and your work phone for working hours only. You must have heard this before, but taking a good break away from your work and recharging for the next day is crucial.
4. Organize your sleep schedule
The odds are you are not prioritizing your sleep hours. Adding to the point above, it is also crucial! If you haven’t been sleeping well, change some habits. Limit your caffeine intake past midday, eat dinner a bit earlier, reduce your phone usage an hour or two before bed.
If you are a person with a tight schedule until late at night, try putting your sleeping time on your schedule. If you don’t really have time to wind down 1 to 2 hours before going to bed, try reading an easy book (not digital) 10-20 minutes before sleeping. It will help your brain enter a relaxed state and you will be able to fall asleep easier.
5. Plan breaks in between work sessions
Many of us spend almost the entire day sitting on our desks, every day. It is important to move your body. Plan breaks every 45 minutes to stand up for about 5 minutes, move a little bit, and let the blood flow. It will keep you fresh, active, and it will improve your attention. 5 minutes can make a difference!
6. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket – learn different essential skills
Expand your skill portfolio and learn new, indispensable skills before you need to. There’s always room for growth and improvement, and having diverse skills you can apply to various scenarios and opportunities, differentiates you from the rest and will definitely play to your advantage for work and the future.
So, what are you going to do this 2021? Change the direction of your year, and, although it will require effort and discipline, the fulfillment and the accomplishment that comes after is priceless! Cultivate those habits that make you enjoy life and your work.
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