How to plan for your next year at work
How to plan for your next year at work
In honour of the closeout of 2017 and with 2018 sneaking its nose just around the corner, here are 9 tips that you can take to plan for your next year at work.
Tip 1. Think beyond the first week of January. It’s so easy to start with good intentions, but have them then fizzle out. Every year I swear it will be the year that I get fit and skinny. By about lunchtime on my first day back at work I am prepared to do a great evil to get my hands on some chocolate. The same can be said for a great plan around work. If you plan to get your reports in a week prior to submission, is this feasible for a whole year? Can it be sustained, because if it can’t, then its doomed to fail, like my January diet. Plan for the whole of your next year at work.
Tip 2. Plan your holidays. Maybe this should have been tip 1? For goodness sakes, know when your next time off is. Not only does it give you something to look forward to, but it helps break up the monotony.
Tip 3. Set some goals. I am not rigid in thinking that setting strict goals is the way to go for all of us. But I do think that it is important to know where you are heading. Your goal might be simple, like making it through one more year so you can get to long service leave. Or it might be a bit more complex like: finishing a course that will open up career opportunities for you. Whatever the case, know what you are aiming for, that way you have something to go back to if you find you have lost your way.
Tip 4. Have a plan B. Even the best of plans rarely go off without a hitch. Some plans are spectacular failures, so what can you do? One year I had meticulously planned a professional development day for my team. I had considered the team’s individual needs and planned activities around all of the staff. Not only did the facilitator fail to show, but two of the team came down with a stomach virus and another was called away to his son’s school. Down a third of the planned numbers for attendance and without a facilitator we had to move quickly to a plan B. We moved to focusing on smaller elements of the team and how we could design workflow to make everyone’s work life better. We achieved so much that day, and implemented a system that was better for everyone in the long run. Not the original plan, but our plan B was still great.
Tip 5. Plan to take a step at a time. I am the worst for wanting to make change straight away. I become impatient (usually with myself) and I forget that to get to the top you have to walk up every stair. You will not last the year out if you plan to get an outcome without walking the steps to get there.
Tip 6. Work out how you will recover. Very few of us can manage life at a sprint for an extended period. Know how you will recover from major pieces of work or long stints without a break. It might be a long weekend, or a walk. Put recovery into your plan, all the best athletes do.
Tip 7. Set boundaries. Have a think about how much more you spend connected to your workplace than you did, say three years ago. I bet that you spend more time on your mobile devices and that also translates to more time doing work stuff when you are not at work. Unless you are one of the enlightened who turns off their phones at a prescribed hour every night, then chances are you are spending more time at work. Set yourself clear boundaries, even if it is, “on Saturday’s I won’t answer emails”. Be ruthless, you won’t perform at your best if you never leave your workplace. There is a really excellent article titled ‘Why checking email after work is bad for your career – and health’, click here to read.
Tip 8. Get in early. With whatever you are planning. If you want to put yourself forward for a intra-company transfer, don’t wait until Easter to do it. Start as you intend to go on. Get on with it, otherwise you can run out of steam before you’ve even started. The saying goes along the lines of… you are guaranteed to fail 100% of the time if you never start in the first place.
Tip 9. Work your way towards something, not away from something. In the workplace, we can have a tendency to work away from stuff. Whether we are desperately trying to leave a company or get out of a big piece of work, we can fall into the trap of working away instead of towards. Say you want to find a new job. Focus on planning towards getting a new job, not leaving your old one. Plan to work your way towards a goal not away from another issue.
Plan for your next year at work
Planning for your new work year will help you achieve what you want in 2018. What are you waiting for?
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