It’s the same story every year. After a much-deserved holiday break, we return to the office, list of goals for the New Year in hand. We say to ourselves, full of energy and determination, “this is the year I stick to this list!” Sometimes they make it into our plan for the year… most of the time, they end up in the pile of papers wedged between the desk and the wall…Only to be found in the annual game of “maybe if I put the desk over here, I really can increase my productivity!”
That spirit of determination that comes at the beginning of the year is a great one. It’s reminiscent of the feeling when you first decide to dip your toe in entrepreneurship (I’m ready, I can do this!). So why is it we always find ourselves midway through the year asking where that energy has gone?
This year, we are helping you combat the dreaded mid-year slum by providing you with 6 ways to keep your New Year’s energy going through the whole year.
1. Stay Creative
Part of the mindset of a successful entrepreneur is the ability to find creative solutions to problems. But we too are susceptible to our own form of writer’s block (solver’s block?). There are great ways to stay creative all year long, whether that means planning out some team building excursions for your whole team, creating a vision board (a New Year tradition for many), or even simply taking some time out of your day to journal new ideas, no matter how wild they may appear at first. If you are looking for more resources regarding keeping up your creativity or your team’s creativity, check out the article written by our friends over at the WBENC Blog, WBE Keys to Success: Staying Motivated with Creativity.
2. Make an Achievable Plan (And Stick to It)
Part of the reason we often don’t see our New Year’s Resolutions come to fruition is because we make grand goals and then our busy lives takeover. As the year passes, we look back over the past year and realize that we may have bitten off more than we can chew. Then we do it again January 1st of the next year. We’ve all learned the importance of SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based) and it’s a good model… if you to stick to it. The best way to set yourself up for success is to chunk out some small goals you’d like to achieve near term and build on them. Success breeds success. Is it time to revamp your strategy, update a marketing plan, scale your business, or enter the international market? Perhaps scheduling a consultation with a marketing expert, export specialist, legal or financial advisor to support your business resolutions. Every month commit to a few hours to your plan, make your actions manageable and aligned with your company goals. You’ll be surprised at your progress 6 months from now. As you move forward, create one or two overarching annual goals and identify the smaller incremental goals that will help you meet the annual target. Then there’s the stretch goal, the big bold bodacious ideas. We’ll leave that topic open for a future blog.
3. Taking Some Time for Yourself Everyday (Yes, Everyday)
Ok, I know what you’re thinking, but hear me out. You do have time in your work day to walk away, and it’s actually necessary to increase productivity. According to a 2016 Entrepreneur article, if you keep pushing through, singularly focused on your work, “The brain's ability to self-regulate--to stay disciplined--wanes with each exercise of self-control during the day. It's a loss of resources that must be replenished, or it becomes harder to stay on-task, be attentive and solve problems.” Taking the time every day to go for a walk, get a coffee, deep breathing, or grabbing a healthy snack, really helps your brain restart and improve your energy for the long haul. If you find yourself losing focus, having trouble concentrating, take a break. Maybe a short walk will reenergize you and kick start your thinking.
4. Shoot for Work Life Balance
This one sort of goes along with #3, so we’ll make it quick. Understanding how to manage and integrate your work and your personal life can be very beneficial with regards to your productivity. When you make sure to be present in your personal life and do things that relax you and that you enjoy, it’s easier to come into work with energy levels high.
5. Surround Yourself with Positive People
One of the greatest ways to fall out of the upbeat New Year’s energy is to surround yourself with people with a negative outlook. Pessimism can be like a virus if not addressed early. If members of your team, or people in your network are operating out of negativity, isolate it, correct it, or remove it. Definitely distance yourself from it. Negativity slows or stalls your energy. It is easy for anybody, even a CEO, to start feeling the energy drain. Make sure you lead with positivity and that the expectation is the same for your staff. Cultivating and maintaining an optimistic personal inner circle is imperative. These are the people who will lift you up and encourage you and you will do the same for them. It’s time to stay Powered Up.
6. Stay Kind to Yourself
Finally, as leaders, we can sometimes get caught up in the day to day of our work. It is our responsibility to meet deadlines, comply with regulations, and ensure that staff and customers are satisfied. At the end of the day, we are all human and breaks are needed. Take a look at what you’re doing, is it absolutely necessary, can it be delegated, find ways to manage your work so you can take a break. Beware of pushing yourself and your staff beyond reasonableness. Sometimes ‘it’ can wait. Schedule time on your calendar for lunch, walks, spa days or other activities. When you come back work is still there. I’ll admit there’s dig out time, but you will face it refreshed.
Take your year at the pace that’s right for you and your company, and you’ll be sure to have high energy and high productivity all the way through December.
So, going into this New Year, make every effort to be kind to yourself and your company. Celebrate your success.When you look back you’ve probably accomplished more than you thought you did.Give yourself credit.