With a few weeks left of 2019, I thought I would focus this article on hitting reset and preparing yourself for the New Year!
Many people I speak to are all saying the same thing – 2019 has been a hectic year. I am not one for setting New Year’s resolutions, but I do like to do the following steps over the November – January period to ensure that I am setting myself up for success when the calendar kicks off again:
Get your inbox to zero – do not leave for your end of year holiday with unattended emails. I have 3 x processing folders for my emails – Action; Waiting and Read Later. I like to ensure that each of these is empty at the end of the year, particularly Read Later – this is where I have stored emails throughout the year that have piqued my interest but weren’t a priority – such as a TED talk video, a webinar recording or an article.
Declutter and restock – One of the most therapeutic things to do is to reset your desk! Throw out your old receipts, archive files of events that have been and gone, and make sure all your personal items are clean and displayed where you like them. Then hit Officeworks and restock!! I am a self-confessed stationery nerd – I love a good notebook and anything that gives me a sense of organisation. I like to start each new year with a fresh notebook, a fresh planner and an organised desk.
Create a ritual – this is the time when we realise that all the good habits we put in place at the start of the year have slipped and our routine has gone as we just managed to get through each month. Hit reset and create yourself a new ritual. Figure out your routine and create a table that you can tick off as you go – this is a good visual reminder to do things daily. I have a weekly ritual that includes a certain amount of exercise, a walk with my husband and dog, a certain number of alcohol-free days, a learning activity and a nature connection – a walk barefoot on the grass, a swim or reading in the sun.
Create new connections – Whether professionally or personally, this time of year is when most new introductions are made. Be strategic and use this time to think about the people who have a positive impact on your life and nurture those connections. Grab a coffee with your friend you haven’t seen during those last few busy months; invite your favourite supplier to lunch to toast the success of the year and drop off your Christmas cards personally so that you have a chance to have a conversation.
Digital detox – aim for the entire duration of your holiday period; but at a minimum give yourself a week with no technology. Clearly Christmas is not a great time to switch off your phone completely, but turn off your email notifications, silence your social media alerts, turn off Netflix at night and play a board game or card game with your friends or family. Make use of daylight savings and go for a walk after work with no headphones – just listen to the sounds of your local community or have a conversation with your walking buddy.
Plan the year ahead – I am fortunate that I can normally start my year with a good indication of when I am going to be busy, when I will be away and when my down time will be. I know this isn’t the case for everyone – but before returning to the office, try to sit down and plan your year ahead. I love an old-fashioned pen and paper planner – at the start of each year I go through and write down everyone’s birthday, my planned travel, planned time off and the dates I know I have events on. I find this helps with goal setting and means that as the year ticks away I already have a visual reminder of the important dates!
The most important thing at this time of year is to focus on you. Take some time to find out what you need to gain mental fitness and get yourself in the best shape possible to tackle the year ahead – work on a plan and then create time to make it happen!