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4 steps to get a head start in 2020.
It's the beginning of a new year and even a new decade. You've likely been off for at least a few days, and if you're anything like me, have been surrounded by a swirl of events, visitors, things to be done and too much food. And now work is looming and I've had more than one person say "err...what was I working on before the holidays?" ! Getting back into the swing of things after a break is not always easy but there are things we can do to get back into the groove. Here are 4 steps to help you get a jumpstart on the year ahead.
1. Refresh your priorities
The beginning of a new year is a great time to check in on your progress against your strategic and operational plans. Look back on your progress and accomplishments in 2019. How are things going? What needs more focus and attention in 2020? What is going so well you can push your goal out further? Its a great time to create some momentum with the team (or even just yourself) by celebrating what you achieved last year and then to build on that momentum by identifying your key priorities for 2020. Interestingly, the brain likes the number 3. 3 anytihng... messages, projects, priorities etc. Less than 3 isn't memorable or exciting enough. More than 3 is overwhelming. So consider identifying 3 priority areas in support of your strategic and operational plans that you will focus on and talk about all year and that will be your main focus.
2. Refocus your attention
Once you have your priorities determined, take some time to look at how you are working. Today's world is wired for distractions and for every minute you are distracted you lose 15 minutes of productive time. That’s a lot of lost opportunity in the run of an already busy day! Planning your time is an important part of being productive, but planning is actually one of the most mentally taxing things we can do, so we need to set proper time aside to do it. Take a look at your week. How can you maximize your time to be your most productive? Try looking at grouping like tasks together as well as carving out time to work on complex or longer-term projects that get pushed off. Put time in your calendar for that work and be specific about what you will accomplish in that window so you don’t just push it off for more ‘urgent’ things.
3. Revitalize your team
Some of us come back after the break rejuvenated and firing on all cylinders. But not all of us! Vacation can help you recharge but it’s likely that the team are also disconnected from what needs to get done, and from each other. Consider holding a new year kick off meeting with the team to reset those priorities with everyone and make sure they understand their own contribution to the plan. Hold 1:1s with each team member in January to get them set up for success and help them be their most productive too. Consider a fun activity together to re-cement the group and get the team laughing together again. Team’s often have a lot of fun social time in the run up to the holiday break, but then there is often nothing in the new year. Consider how you can carry on the laughs together as you kick off 2020.
4. Reconnect with your stakeholders
Downtime can also mean creative time, thinking time and reflection time. Often when we have time ‘away’ new ideas and thoughts can emerge and plans can change. Take some time through January to check in with your stakeholders. Remind them of your focus areas, make sure they are on the same page. Take time to re-establish your relationship. Business runs on people and relationships; our brains are wired to want to work with people we like and who we have commonality with, so show your stakeholders that they matter by having a check in meeting.
The new year can be a great time to not only set good intentions but to build the plans and structures we need to achieve them. Take some time now to set yourself up for success and see what benefits you reap!
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