Instead of signing yourself up for guilt, why not spend this January getting to know yourself and work towards making business management changes that will have a lasting, positive impact?
Are you already jaded by the thought of another January spent making resolutions for your business that you know you won’t keep?
Maybe you need to change the way you think and, instead of striving for unattainable goals, focus on making small improvements that will have a positive impact.
The first step to ‘New Year Success’ is realising there is no one single formula to help you achieve business – or life – success. Instead, it’s about understanding what you do well at work and tweaking it so you can be a better you.
Here are four tips to make your New Year’s resolutions lifelong habits.
1. Just do you
The first step to making adjustments to business management is to understand how you operate in the first place. There’s no point setting the alarm for 5am and trying to squeeze in work/exercise/meditating before the sun comes up if you’re not a morning person.
If you’re not that into journaling and meditation, try exercising or talking to a friend instead. You’ll get the same results if you find an activity – any activity – that helps bring you balance, rest and clarity.
There is not a magic pill or a single method to follow to achieve work/life balance; it all depends on being honest with what you enjoy, understanding how you work best and capitalising on it.
Sit down and think long and hard about when you get your best work done and structure your working day around that cycle.
Find you get your best ideas or can really focus between 2-6pm? Then have a later start to the day and schedule meetings for the morning and block out the afternoon for getting actual work done.
Permit yourself to design your own work day, after all, isn’t that freedom and flexibility the reason you started your business in the first place?
2. Research, then experiment
Once you’ve spent the time getting to know how you work and have identified your strengths and weaknesses, you can move onto finding ways to turbocharge your good bits and patch those pesky flaws.
There are so many different work methods that can help overcome shortfalls, and it’s perfectly OK to pick and choose elements of each approach to work for you.
You might find the Pomodoro Technique is excellent for those admin tasks you loathe, but maybe it gives you anxiety when you have to put a time limit on designing new products or creating marketing content.
The Kanban Method might be a better fit if your work necessitates change and your priorities fluctuate daily.
Maybe your leave-everything-to-the-last minute way of working could be harnessed if you followed a Gamify Method and set little challenges for yourself with each new task.
That’s not to say your productivity will improve simply because you’ve subscribed to a particular working method; your productivity will improve when you understand what working method plays to your strengths and challenges your weaknesses.
3. Conquer the to-do lists and get organised
As a small business owner, you’re often responsible for, well, everything. And that can lead to feelings of being overwhelmed and inadequate as, even if you tick things off your list, there are still 100 more items to go.
Changing the way you set tasks for yourself might be the answer. Try out different methods of scheduling your tasks, like online tools Trello or Asana.
Whatever process you choose to use to keep your to-do list in order, most experts agree that not overloading your list is the key to success.
Having just three things on your to-do list each day has been proven to increase productivity, which helps with those feelings of achievement.
If you’re going to try a new approach, be it digital or the old pen-and-paper technique, be sure to stick with it for at least a month to iron out the kinks and give yourself time to adjust.
At the end of the day, you want your goals to be reachable and not put pressure on yourself to be constantly busy, which puts you at risk of burnout.
4. Prioritise learning
As a business owner, scheduling in time during your work week to keep abreast of the latest news and issues facing your industry will keep you on the front foot.
It can be as simple as subscribing to the newsletter of your favourite technology site, listening to business podcasts, following prominent figures in support industries, so you’re kept up-to-date with workplace culture trends, or setting time aside to upskill or update your qualifications.
By keeping yourself up-to-date and responding to industry changes, you’re keeping your business relevant.
It’s crucial to schedule in time during your working week to keep informed, don’t view educating yourself as an after-hours task, or dismiss it as a luxury you don’t have time for.
This New Year, if your goal is to improve your business management techniques, then one of the best habits you can adopt is to value learning and prioritise your personal development.