I just got back from an epic adventure travelling across China, Japan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines. It. was. Incredible. Everyday I saw new sights, let new languages tickle my earbuds, chomped on new food, navigated new streets, people-watched and tried new things (such as swimming in a mudbath or ziplining across a river!).
I’m back home now, and extremely happy, but I’m continuing that "new" feeling. Each day I now try something different; whether that's a new recipe or my first ever run (!). It’s a tiny action with a monumental impact. It’s something that as we set our goals for 2017 as a company, I’m trying to hold at the heart of my thinking. Not just in terms of innovation, and pushing boundaries, but in terms of our practice as professionals - what ‘little bit of new’ can we do today to keep us moving forwards?
Before I went away I laid out a bunch of things we’re trying to do better. I’m buzzing to say we launched our socials, Headspace, with a fantastic turnout of over 80 young people, the vast majority of who we’d not seen before! I’ve started getting requests for meetings from my open diary, we launched our online feedback system and we’ve just finished our pay review.
In the spirit of ‘a little bit of new’, here’s my 5 top tips to getting your head back into ‘work’ this year, whatever that means for you.
1. Get your systems in place. Something’s missing from your processes. Otherwise you’d be smashing life. Do you track your to do list in a paper notebook so if you forget it one day you’re screwed? Upgrade to online. Do you need a better invoicing system to work out when you should be paid? Use a G-Sheet and track the date you sent the invoice and the date it’s due. To be really snazzy, ping up a reminder in your diary. Work on your systems and let them do the work for you.
2. Go back to your clients/customers/key collaborators from the last year. Ask them what you did well and how you can improve, see what their priorities are for 2017 and how you might be able to help them achieve it. Have a few clear strategic priorities yourself - it will keep you focussed and keep the conversation flowing meaning you’ll uncover more potential opportunities for yourself and for them! Get used to asking for feedback regularly. Get brave at asking how you can help them.
3. Merge yourselves. Work out who you are at work and who you are at home and find a comfortable way to balance both in a way that you’re not constantly sat in tension between your work self and real self! Merge them, marry them, try getting on board with the fact that both are important and they need to get on!
4. Innovate. It’s a heavily overused word (but a sexy one, right?) but think about what small differences would revolutionise your work life. Do you spend too much time on email? Be strict and check it once a day. Do you not chase opportunities enough? Highlight 3 things you’re eligible for and stick your name in the ring. Do you not produce high enough quality of work? Take stock and work out where you’re losing time, motivation, resources and readdress the balance. Make a little bit of time to do what you do really, really well and you’ll find things change pretty rapidly.
5. Chill. It’s January. You’ve got 11 more months of this. Make year long goals (I have 10 across the different priorities in my life: health, work, friends, relationship, art etc.), break them down into monthly objectives and track your progress in a way that feels encouraging and not stressful to you. If it’s new for you to take time to congratulate yourself, use these mini goals or objectives to show you’re on track.