Why don’t we keep up our January level of productivity throughout the year? Through this article, I will cover how we can keep up our high level of productivity throughout the year into December.
“January. You start to put things together; this is when you accept that some things are only supposed to fall apart”.
Much to the delight of the cynics, every year many of us insist on using January as a fresh start. Using the New Year to be a better version of ourselves is not a bad thing. The issue begins when our goals and resolutions are if we are honest, not likely to see the warmer weather.
Self-change is FAR from easy, so why set your expectations so high that they are actually beyond our reach. So let’s just do ourselves an enormous favour and be realistic about what we will push ourselves to achieve. Otherwise, when utopia catches up with reality what we are faced with is a stark realisation that we have under-achieved. Cue an overwhelming amount of crippling self-disgust and doubt! Which I would like to point out before we continue that is exactly the opposite of WHY you are making the resolution to begin with.
When Mark Zuckerberg told the world that he was going to run 365 miles in 2016 (more than 10 marathons), my first thought was, “Are you ok?”. But when he revealed that this is a mile a day, my level of respect for him went up. Why? Because this is an entirely realistic approach and one that is more than achievable.
How to Make Every Month Through Until December Count
The New Year’s resolutions made me think back to December. So many things in business and personal lives are put on hold. And the only reason for this is because it was December and you can right all of your wrongs in January.
Am I alone in this frame of mind? Absolutely not, in fact, productivity drops by 26% in December. There is no denying that as a B2B business there will be a December slump. However, upon reflection, this is no reason for your own business to raise the white flag and admit defeat mid-way through the month.
Let’s stop for a second and reflect on December 2015. Did you make the most of your time at work? The probability is that you didn’t. We are all guilty of being in the mindset that there is little point in wasting our time doing the work when everyone is winding down for Christmas.
Stop Sending Emails and Instead Re-Focus, Re-Engage
Yes, you are entirely right – if you send an email in December, it will be at the bottom of the pile when it comes to being acted upon in the first week of January! However, what if we used December as a month to re-focus, re-engage and set expectations for the coming year. This will give them time to be digested over the Christmas break. By re-affirming the purpose and value of your business with your team, it will give them the opportunity to make excellent use of the period of reflection that comes hand in hand with the New Year.
Ultimately – When the team have clear goals and expectations set along with the possibilities of promotions, it encourages them to make tangible personal resolutions that will enable them to achieve. Imagine the possibilities!
What Creates Engagement?
When you are in throes of time constraints, endless emails and demanding clients, it’s almost impossible to find your way out to an objective view of your role and how it contributes to the success of a business. This is why it is so crucial to take the time to engage with every member of the team, to assure them that their efforts are of value.
Employees should be involved deeply in organisations, and their talents, expertise and ideas should be drawn upon wherever possible; nothing says “we value your opinion” like asking for it…
Be open and honest, too many times employees are the very last to know about the overall plan or change in business strategies and processes. To be motivated and enthusiastic you must buy into the direction and mission of the company.
Set Positive Goals
Use December to provide feedback on the team’s performance over the last year. Develop plans that will support any weaknesses rather than dwell on mistakes. Thank team members for their work and look forward to the New Year with ideas for team building and bonding, we all need small things to look forward to and validate hard work.
Skip December and Give Back In January
January is ripe with inspiration, so why not forgo the traditional Christmas hamper – HEAR ME OUT- and opt for a ‘welcome back’ hamper of tools that will cement the positive mindset instead? Items such as a book that is relevant to their role or your industry, a notebook and branded gadgets to reinforce the business mentality (and the year, which is 2016 so don’t opt for a stress ball.)
“Many businesses only opt for branded items for promotional opportunities when exhibiting. But workplace branding is just as important; we spend most of our waking hours in the workplace, so using the time to reinforce your brands identity is a smart move and create a sense of community” Richard LeCount from USB4Photographers explains.
You may want to include a sugary treat, just to soften the blow…
Set Milestone Markers
At this point in a perfect scenario, you will have reflected on the highs and lows of last year. Then set clear business goals for the next 12 months that your team have been involved in. Now it’s time to make them measurable. Using projected milestone markers will allow you to monitor the success of your projected goals and the growth of the business.
James Schramko suggests using markers, for instance, every quarter. This will provide an achievable deadline and add integrity by ensuring that your plans stay on track. They are an invaluable tool that will enable you to keep the whole team focused, especially if they have helped to create them!
Could You Be Invested In?
Milestone markers also make the business an attractive investment opportunity They communicate that the key drivers for growth have been identified and by focusing on them will lead to increase in profits.
So be proud of them, sing them from the rooftops but best of all- have them on display in the office as a constant source of motivation.
What I’m trying to say is –
Be honest with yourself, to be successful we need to have routine and structure. Don’t kid yourself by attempting to implement faddy and unrealistic goals. Or perhaps even worse – achievable goals that have no structure.
Wanting to better yourself in your personal and business life should be commended. So do yourself justice by ensuring that every goal that you set out to achieve is always supported by a solid reason for being created and a measurable way that it will be achieved.
Let’s leave, “My New Year’s resolution is” behind and instead let’s begin 2016 with this sentence, “I am going to achieve _______ this year and this is how I’m going to achieve it”.