Whatever your motivation is—fear, reward, or a fresh start, it’s never too late to change for a new year.
It’s that time of the year again when we reflect on kicking bad habits and start on positive ones that we’ve been postponing for ages. Making New Year’s resolutions for your office life should be worth your time since you spend at least eight hours of your day on it, five times a week.
What will 2016 be for you? Is it going to be your year of ruthless execution? The year that you will move out to greener pastures? The year that you will finally get promoted? Whatever your goal is, here are ten 2016 office resolutions worth considering that may just change your career for good.
1. Get to work earlier
Do you notice that CEOs and leaders are the earliest to arrive in the office? Most people think this has to do with role modelling but there is a more functional reason behind it: they simply get more things done. Studies show that you’re at your best cognitive capacity within your first two waking hours. These are also the best hours to be “in the zone” while everyone else is still hitting the road. And don’t we all get that delicious feeling of being accomplished at 9 AM while we see an officemate just about to pop into her cube? If you want a more personal testimony, check out the diary of this guy who experimented waking up and working at 4 AM every day for 21 days.
2. Consume your vacation leaves
There was a time in the early 2000’s when bragging your unused VL’s to your officemates was sexy because you’ve worked harder than anyone else. These days we can only feel sorry for a colleague who can’t steal personal time for herself. This 2015 is the year that you should appreciate that life really happens when you exit the office doors. Take the time off to travel so you can be more inspired at work. Take a strategic Friday leave to fix your expired driver’s license, passport and bank accounts. Let go of your messianic complex and stop being paranoid that the world will stop because you’re not in the office. If the situation really calls for an emergency, someone will likely give you a ring.
3. Send shorter e-mails
Successful people get more things done because they keep everything short, including e-mails. They don’t have time to read or write novel-length letters—and neither should you. E-mails are documented impressions of how a person thinks and organizes his thoughts so write concise ones that are clear, straight to the point, and confident. When possible, use bullet points not sentences, tables not paragraphs, and acronyms not phrases. Not only do you save time from writing less, your colleagues will also thank you for reading less. Finally, don’t discuss ideas over e-mails like ping pong. Ambush the person at her cube, or make a quick phone call to get things settled immediately.
4. Cut the painful commute; move closer to work
It’s normal for Manila folks to averagely travel for 4 hours a day to work and it’s arguably the saddest reminder of how our taxes are spent. Remember that a) the amount of energy you put into your work and b) the good mood you bring home to your wife and kids are inversely proportional to the amount of stress you absorb along EDSA. Long commutes destroy happiness. People who have better jobs or bigger houses but live far away from work are less happy than those who enjoy shorter commutes. Aspiring to get promoted in 2015? If it is true that every factor to success matters, you might want to consider moving closer to work. You get bonus points for more sleeping time too.
5. Challenge the status quo once in a while
In 1993, Delta Airlines followed a suggestion of a cabin crew to take out the lettuce that served as base for salads because passengers rarely ate it. In one year, Delta Airlines saved a whopping USD 1.4M just by weeding out those leaves. Indeed, small ideas can deliver big things. This 2015, think of all your projects and reports and ask yourself: how many of these really make money for business, and how many of these are done just because ‘we’ve been doing it for years’? It’s time for you to speak up and share your ideas that may be as equally as good as your boss’s (or even better). It’s time for you to challenge the status quo, and it’s time for you to learn how to say no. After all, no one else knows your project like the back of your hand but you. You have all the credibility to back up your suggestion just like the Delta cabin crew member.
To read part 2 of the article, click here.