New Year’s Reflections….
New Year. New Budget. New Strategy. New Direction. New new new new new….
For me, the day marks an opportunity to make attitude adjustments. After all, the only thing we can really control is ourselves. This week is a great time to evaluate how the past year has gone. Are you happy with the year end result – professionally and personally? If you are unhappy, was there anything you could have done personally to have influenced the outcome? If you are happy, what did you do last year to make things go in a good direction? Once you figure out where you stand with your own head, you can make plans for how you can impact the coming year in a positive way. And who doesn’t want that?
Here are some good self-evaluation questions to help prepare for the kick-off of the New Year:
Am I managing my time well? Being disorganized and wasting precious time one of the biggest ways to get off the path to your goals. We all have limited hours to put into our work and if we use them wisely, we can be a super-star at the office and still find time for ourselves and our families. What is your biggest “time waster?” Can you find a way to overcome it? Are you doing things that you don’t really need to do? What can you take out of your schedule?
Am I organized? Take some time in the next few days to get organized. There are so many great electronic tools for getting and staying organized. Find one that works for you. If you prefer the old fashioned way, treat yourself to a new datebook or journal or find some new folders or filing system. Be real about this though. Don’t spend the money if you aren’t going to use it or if it won’t really help. Many times the answer to organization is just a little more self-discipline. Taking time to make your to-do list for tomorrow before you leave for the day or taking a few minutes to put away the last project before starting a new one can go a long way to help you keep the clutter out of your mind and your workspace. Don’t let the organization project be just another time-waster. Take action!
Are my goals and objectives clear? As mentioned above, most of us have already submitted our budget and strategy for next year so we know what the goal is. Many times the overall objective is so big and daunting that we become intimidated by it and lose faith that we can obtain it. Don’t let that happen to you. The best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. So break that annual strategy down into monthly or weekly “bites.” Achieving most objectives will require benchmarks along the way. Make sure you know what they are and how many are required before reaching your goal. Then start tracking your progress regularly so you can celebrate those small victories along the way.
Who is my Coach? My Team? Unless you are a sole proprietor, you will be taking this journey with a team of people who share your goals. Be sure to evaluate who contributes to your success. Even the best athletes in the world have coaches. Know who your coach is and who will be in your corner when you need help. And by all means, be coachable! Your manager’s success is dependent on your success and vice versa. In addition to your coach, ask yourself who really helps you get the job done on a daily basis? And remember, this probably includes people who are not necessarily in your department. Make it a point to know where your work touches others. Find time to ask them how you can provide better “customer service” to them. As Bill Gates once said, “We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.” And when someone asks you that question, take the time to give them an answer so they can improve as well.
Do I have a system for success? W. Edwards Deming once said, “If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you are doing?” Too often we don’t clearly understand that process and therefore we can’t repeat our successes or figure out why we fail. A great way to start is to write down your work processes and procedures as if you were training someone to take your place. As you document what you do, take the time to ask why? Or what else? Sometimes we follow processes and procedures that were handed to us by someone else. Sometimes that process has not been updated for many years. Why not take it down and kick it a few times to look for holes? Think about how you could improve it. Then make the changes, document what you did and see if it works better. You can always try something else if it doesn’t. One thing is for sure – you won’t get a different result if you don’t do anything differently.
Have I looked in the mirror? Attitude is everything. In life and in business. The most successful people I know have a unique way of getting the most from themselves. Start this New Year with a long talk in front of your mirror. How can YOU make a difference? Only you can answer that question.
OK 2015…..Bring it on! We are ready for you and it is going to be a great year!
What are some of your best New Year’s tips for starting off on the right path? We invite your comments and sharing!