Before the holiday hits in December in South Africa, everything starts winding down and you can almost feel the holiday approaching. There is a mad rush to reach deadlines and get everything done to go on leave and have a restful and rejuvenating holiday; well most of the time. Holidays are spent with children, family and often having to entertain a fair amount and catch up on relationships that are neglected during the mad rush of the year. Going back to work can be bitter sweet.  We can all relate to the feeling of a little sadness and at the same time an urge to start achieving goals and make the year one to look back on with pride.

The first week of January is generally a bit of a grey area, not all companies are open and you have the opportunity to get into the swing of things without too much pressure. This time can also give you a head start to get moving and get ahead of schedule to start the year on your best foot.

In this guide we share some tips on how to create productive habits for the new year:

The Early Bird Gets The Worm

If you have remote access to your emails and calendar and can check in a day early, turn your email syncing back on. Respond to meeting requests and check on your meetings for the week to get some prep time in.  Clean out any spammy emails and make notes for mails that need your attention on your first and second day. This opens up your morning to touch base with colleagues and work on valuable relationship building.

On your first day get in early. A quiet office is a productive office. Make a clear “To do” list and clean up your desk. Bringing in a plant or something new, a framed picture of family can also have a positive impact on your serotonin levels which make you feel happy and ultimately affect your productivity levels.

Master the Art of Delegation

Roy Varden’s Ted Talk  speaks about creating a funnel where you automate, delegate and procrastinate. In this quiet time at work, us this space to automate whatever you can. Setting reminders, creating recurring invoices or even scheduling regular and predictable payments. This time investment now will save you precious moments when you are under pressure later in the year and save you face for not missing anything.

Once you have digitized as much as possible, see what can be delegated. Giving staff the opportunity to show themselves and take on responsibility will better your team and give you time to focus on the work that you are really best at. Every moment of the day needs to be the best use of your time, so free yourself up to bring out your optimal performance.

Finally procrastinate. While procrastination is a demon, when a task is not a priority it is standing in your way of a successful day. Go through your list and move out items that are not urgent, paying close attention to the difference between urgent and important.

Set deadlines, even on tasks that you have procrastinated you need to have deadlines or they just become baggage eventually. Decide when a deadline must be met and stick to it.

Create a Calendar for The Year

Looking at the year in advance and making notes on when to pay attention to what will give you a head start on all your planning. Knowing when your next leave cycle is may just give you the boost you need with something to look froward to! But in all seriousness, a clear calendar with what to expect week to week will give you an edge and impress your peers.

Take Care of Yourself

This seems like the basic advice that we throw around over and over again but seldom keep doing consistently. This doesn’t have to be a mammoth undertaking, take baby steps. Decide to drink more water, take a lunch time walk, start a Fitbit Step Goal with a friend or work colleague.  Little changes lead to big results eventually. Now more than ever healthy living is easily available to us with recipes at the tips of our fingers and a world of information on how to improve our lifestyles.

You are your own secret weapon and getting the most from your health is the fastest way to perform on any level.

We are all about happy, healthy and productive staff and we wish you all the best for 2020 and the decade!