If you’re still shaking off that New Year’s Eve hangover or you’ve come to the grim realization that all that holiday feasting is going to take 6 months to work off, then you’re not alone. Every year is the same! The mad rush to make the festive season quickly turns into a smash and grab of food, booze, family and friends, a sensory overload of cheer, late nights, and early mornings. Burning the candle at both ends, leaving everyone drained by the time January 1st rolls around.
If you didn’t have a relaxing and refreshing break from work over the holidays, you’re not alone. In fact, many people arrive back at the office even more burnt out than when they left, making January one of the least productive months of the year. So, if you’re fully locked into an 8-hour procrastination session at your desk, then read on to find out how you can make January a blueprint for success that will last throughout the year!
Any blueprint for success in the new year should start with a plan to make the year ahead more sustainable. Job burnout is a real issue, and nowhere is this more evident than in the final, hectic days leading up to the holiday break. Looking after yourself now, means you’ll have more stamina to deal with everything the new year throws at you without feeling like you’re about to have a breakdown as the stress piles up.
During the quieter post-holiday season months, it’s a good idea to identify how last year’s workload affected you both emotionally and physically. Examine particularly challenging parts of the year and the reasons behind your heightened state of stress. Once you’ve done this you can begin to identify contingency plans for those times you feel pushed to your limits.
Consider meditation or other wellness practices, find refuge in friends and family, or simply take a weekend to connect with nature to recharge your batteries without the constant digital distractions. Sometimes, the work can wait, particularly if it means sustaining productive and creative energy throughout the entire year.
- Identify stressful moments of the previous year
- Make a contingency plan for when things become stressful
- Take up yoga or meditation
- Disconnect from the digital world
Set Out Your Goals and Ambitions
The holidays are often a time of reflection, giving you an opportunity to think about what you want to achieve over the next year. However, all too often those big dreams are undermined on day one, and as the daily grind begins to set in, the last thing on your mind are those lofty goals you dreamed about while zoning out to yet another showing of Home Alone.
However, while your goals and ambitions are still fresh in your mind, January is the perfect time to list and elaborate on exactly what you want to achieve. In fact, setting out your dreams, whether realistic or aspirational, will give you a solid foundation on which to build a blueprint for workplace success that will guide you throughout the year.
Begin your approach by focusing on results, then slowly boil down your priorities to bring greater focus on what you actually need to do to achieve those results. Critical tasks or hurdles that must be overcome can be split week-by-week or month-by month, allowing you to build a comprehensive blueprint for success in January that can be tailored to your progress as you move forward.
- Identify what you want to achieve
- Sort your priorities and focus on results
- Spread critical tasks across your calendar
Organize Your Life
Whether your office is deathly quiet during the first week of January, or you simply cannot face diving straight back into the same old tasks, then taking a few days to organize your life can do wonders for your productivity down the line. As part of your January blueprint for success, it’s a surefire way to clean the slate and ensure everything you need on hand on a daily basis is easily accessible and organized in a way that keeps you in the flow!
Whether it’s cleaning out your inbox, sorting out that year-old stack of papers, digitally archiving last year’s files and documents, or organizing your desk, taking a few days to get your affairs in order will unclutter your mind as much as it will your working space. Everyone has those must-do maintenance jobs that pile up through the year, and January is the perfect time to finally get around to them
Begin with the places (either digital or real-world) that you rely on the most. For many people this means sorting and archiving email, consolidating project files, or simply organizing your working space. Laying out a tentative calendar for the year is also a good idea, giving you the opportunity to add priorities, goals, and ambitions that you can integrate into your list of everyday tasks and responsibilities.
- Clean your inbox and organize files
- Organize your desk and working space
- Set out a tentative calendar that includes milestones and important dates
Broaden Your Horizons
Collaboration, networking, and education form the backbone of any successful career, and very often these three elements walk hand in hand. Using the first months of the year to reach out and broaden your horizons ensures you can lay a solid foundation for your January blueprint for success.
It can be as simple as wishing a long-lost contact happy New Year, reaching out to someone you’ve recently collaborated with to check out their new year plans, organizing a knowledge-sharing meet-up, or simply signing up for a course or two to push your skills to the next level. However you approach it, opening yourself up to new challenges and laying out a collaborative and educational calendar will help you develop and expand your skills and knowledge.
Consider combining your interests with your professional activities—for instance, if you’re big on sustainability, why not boost your office recycling program. Setting up after-work clubs, discussion groups, sharing circles, talks, and forums can also help encourage workplace collaboration and expose everyone to new ideas and perspectives. Additionally, scheduling time on your calendar each week to learn something new will keep you moving forward even when the winter stasis sets in.
- Reach out to existing contacts and collaborators
- Set up knowledge sharing forums
- Combine interests with professional activities
There’s something about January (and February for that matter) that just screams “stay in bed”! Those dark, damp, and cold mornings are always a little daunting after the decorations have been put back in storage and everyone hunkers down for that seemingly endless winter before the first signs of spring. However, today’s workplace is infinitely more dynamic than it used to be, and most offices offer the chance for you to work either from home or at hours more suited to your winter body clock.
Taking advantage of these benefits is the perfect way to set up your January blueprint for success, allowing you to treat your body and mind with a little more care. As previously highlighted, ensuring you’re prepared for everything the year can throw at you is the ideal way to start the year, and flexible working gives you a chance to achieve that perfect work/life balance.
Use your new-found flexibility to deal with a little “life admin”, set aside some time to follow something more creative, but most of all, enjoy new perspectives that ditching your usual routine can give you. You might just find that those previously intractable problems just needed a fresh outlook, while using your winter energy most efficiently will set you up for the rest of the year and help you avoid burnout.
- Get out of the office
- Work from home
- Make the most of flexible working hours
Here at Spike, we want to wish you a successful and productive New Year. There’s plenty of great things in store for the New Year so stay tuned for all our latest developments. Have your own blueprint for success? Tweet us @SpikeNowHQ and let us know how your new year is shaping up!