It is that time of year… where we all set crazy goals for ourselves and go full in on creating the “new” you. We wake up hours before dawn to hit the gym and spend countless minutes weighing food and measuring thighs - just to get frustrated and throw in the towel after a week. These stereotypical resolutions focused on physical appearances only fuel our self-doubt. Shouldn’t our focus be on creating well balanced lives at home and in our careers? The resolutions below could really improve your life in ways that last beyond January — and even beyond 2019.
1. USE YOUR VACATION DAYS
This is a no brainer…..! More than half of Americans don’t use all their vacation days each year according to Project Time Off. While they are seeing an increase in the over-all number of days used, 212 Million vacation days were still left on the table at last reporting. and that can hurt everything from our health to our relationships. Make it a resolution and tell yourself that this is a priority. Your performance at work will more than likely improve when you take time to decompress and your health and family are way more important than the size of your paycheck.
2. ASK FOR A RAISE
Since we are talking about the size of your paycheck, having more income will certainly relieve financial stress in the coming year. If you haven't received a pay increase in the last 12 months, you are overdue. Create a plan to highlight your accomplishments, show your employer what you can contribute even more of, and find out if your employer can offer you anything extra. It doesn't even have to be financial. Maybe what you really want is more vacation time or the ability to work from home once a week. Whatever it is, they might say no, but as long as you're respectful, they can't hold it against you for asking.
3. OPTIMIZE YOUR WORK TO PAY RATIO
If you freelance, are self-employed or work more than one job, it's easy to end up working more hours than is healthy for less than you're worth. The best way to prevent this situation is to do regular checks of workload vs. profitability. List each project you are working on, how much time it takes, and what it pays, and see what you can cut out without much sacrifice to get more free time or more time to chase higher-paying work.
4. TURN IT OFF WHEN YOU HEAD HOME
Technology is great at keeping you connected to anything and everything in your life—except when it keeps you connected to the office. You can get in touch with your co-workers or access office files 24 hours a day, which can be detrimental to your social and family lives. It is critical that you learn to create boundaries for when you are at work and when you are at home. Your family deserves your undivided attention when you are home just as much as your boss and/or clients expect it when you are at work.
5. LEARN A NEW SKILL
It is important to think about what you'd like your job to look like years down the line and how you'll get there… unless you want to be in the same job, same company, same pay a year from now. If you want a promotion or a switch to a new job role, more than likely it will require some new skills. Figure out how you can pick those skills up in or outside the office. Perhaps your company will sponsor some continuing education in order to promote from within instead of outside hiring, or you could sign up for online training classes through companies like Udemy. Take responsibility for where you end up down the line instead of just hoping you'll get where you want to be.
6. OPTIMIZE YOUR PRODUCTIVITY
Free up time for yourself by dropping tasks that aren't absolutely necessary. Maybe you have email notifications turned on and stop what you are doing each time an email comes in. Or maybe you answer emails that do not really require a response. Get distracted on Social Media? Time block your schedule. When time is up move on to your next task. Stay focused and keep in-mind the time alloted. Then, you can spend the extra time you've freed up getting more crucial things done and reaching for bigger goals.
7. RAMP UP YOUR JOB APPLICATIONS
If you've been wanting to leave your job but are only halfheartedly applying for other ones, set a quota for yourself that forces you to get on that. Maybe you want to aim for a new job application every day, or maybe one a week is all you can handle. Whatever it is, it'll put you on the way toward improving your situation rather than just waiting for something to come along.
8. FILL YOUR FUNNEL
It is important to remember that eventually all projects end. If you don’t consistently work on finding new clients and creating new revenue streams, eventually the work will stop. Quotas can also be applied to developing new business. How many new propsects did you reach out to this week? What new avenues have you used to solicit new business? Who do you know that could refer business to you?
9. MAKE FRIENDS WITH A COWORKER OR COLLEAGUE
We all need a support system and friends around us. But, sometimes, you have to go a little out of your way to befriend a coworker because everyone is focused on getting the job done and getting out of the office. Having a coworker or colleague as a friend will be worth the effort when you have that person to vent to or lean on when you're struggling with something. They can be a source of understanding and may even have insights you have not previously thought of. Obviously, you can't force a friendship, but resolving to chat with someone new at lunch, sharing a snack with the person in the cubicle next to you, or reaching out to a vendor you work with can go a long way to increasing your overall enjoyment of your job.
10. GET A SIDE HUSTLE
You're much more than who you are from 9 to 5, and exploring your interests outside your day job could really help you express different parts of yourself. The other cool thing about a side hustle is that if it takes off, it could become your main hustle. So, consider working on that startup you and your friend have always wanted to create or getting back into painting or tutor underprivileged kids or whatever makes you happy after work.
11. COLLABORATE WITH SOMEONE YOU ADMIRE
You know that person you think would be awesome to work with but are convinced is just far too awesome to ever want to work with you? They might be thinking the same thing about you! If you feel a connection with someone, they might feel it too. So get coffee and figure out if there's a way you could work together, even if it's not totally clear at first what that is. Learning about each other will help you identify opportunities to collaborate as they come along.
12. GET A MENTOR
It can't hurt to talk to people you look up to and develop a relationship. You can learn a lot about your potential career paths by speaking with people who have already gone down them, even if it doesn't evolve into a full-fledged mentor-mentee relationship.
13. BE A MENTOR
We can all both use mentors and be mentors. Offer career advice or job help to someone junior to you at your company or someone interested in getting into your field. The mentor-mentee relationship doesn't even have to be one-sided. Your mentee might know someone who can help you or have insight into how your field is changing. If you don't want to offer unsolicited help, consider posting your offer on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn and seeing who takes you up on it.
14. VOLUNTEER YOUR SKILLS
If you want to give back this coming year while building your resume, one excellent way is to do some volunteer work for a non-profit. If you work in marketing, maybe there's an organization that needs help running its social media account. Run a small business? How can your company help your local community? Volunteer work and giving back will not only give you satifaction of helping others, it will also help develop your reputation within your community as a person and business who care.
15. REVAMP YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE
When you're facing deadlines and just trying to get projects completed, things like your website, Twitter account, and LinkedIn profile can fall by the wayside. But these things can really make a huge difference toward finding good work and meeting inspirational people. Even just a quick update while you're watching the latest season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel can go a long way.
16. THERE IS NO JOB TOO SMALL TO SUB OUT
No time to think about posts for Facebook or what to write about on the company blog? Sub it out! You would be amazed at how many things you can delegate to others to free up time on your plate. And, that gives you time to focus on making more money. Our company is built entirely around the concept of providing small business owners with the added time they need to run their business rather that trying to speak to their potential audience. Virtual assitants can respond to emails for you or handle scheduling appointments. Don’t be afraid to consider ways to save yourself some time!
17. CREATE AND STICK TO YOUR TO-DO LIST
Failure to plan is planning to fail. If you don’t take time to set a list of priorities every day, week, month, and year - you will fail to accomplish any of your goals. Interruptions will get in the way of projects, deadlines will fly by, and you will find yourself in a whirlwind of stress and disorder. Instead, think about the assignments on your plate and actionable steps to achieving them. Work backwards from the bigger picture and determine what you can do today to get you closer to that end-game.
18. MAKE A BIG PICTURE TO-DO LIST
Sometimes, we fill our to-do lists with tedious, day-to-day tasks and we end up with a list of responsibilities with nothing interesting on it. According to a Fast Company article by psychologist Art Markman, we'd be better off including long-term career goals, not just day-to-day tasks, in our to-do lists. You might even want to start off your year with one big-picture one. That way, you'll remember what all the smaller tasks are for.
19. TAKE MINI-BREAKS
Have you heard sitting is the new smoking? Prolonged periods of sitting can cause injury, heart disease, and fatigue. Experts recommend standing 5 to 20 minutes each hour. Use a stand-up desk, walk to the water cooler, step outside to breathe in some fresh air. A combination of sitting, standing, and moving over the course of the workday—and not too much of any one activity—is the best approach to managing the balance between health and comfort.
20. CELEBRATE YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS
We can get so caught up in always striving toward the next goal that we don't acknowledge the goals we've already reached. But reminding ourselves what work we've done and why it's important to us — and rewarding ourselves — can help provide the motivation to keep doing it. We can provide this same encouragement for our friends by texting each other our accomplishments and congratulations and going out to celebrate the big ones. Maybe you can even incorporate them into your New Year's toast next year.