The beginning of January is the perfect time to plan for the year ahead. Whether you are looking for a new job, aiming for a promotion, changing directions, or starting a new career, planning ahead will help you stay focused.
Sure, you can keep on working the same way you have been, but don’t be surprised if you find yourself in the same position when next year comes around. Why not take the extra time to create a plan for your future, worthy of your time and energy?
Plan your professional and personal year separately
While you may want to plan your professional and personal lives at the same time, these plans should be kept separate. The goals you have for work will be very different from your personal goals. That being said, your goals still need to be able be able to work in tandem with each other, otherwise you may not achieve as much as you expect to. Remember that you only have 24hrs in a day. Be kind to yourself when you plan your goals so that they are achievable, and you still maintain a healthy sleep schedule.
Review the past year
Before you can plan for the year ahead, you need to review the year you have just had. No doubt there were victories, mistakes, experiences that grew your skills, and those that didn’t. Look at what moved you forward and what held you back. Write the details down so that you can use them to make a strategically sound plan for this year.
Make a plan
Think of exactly where you want to be by 31 December of next year. Now, plan the steps you will need to get there. Note down key activities or achievements along the way that will help you reach that outcome. These could be projects, mentorships, or skills development. Also, take into consideration possible obstacles. Develop your SMART goals from there. Make them achievable and very specific. Be realistic about what is possible to accomplish in the time you have.
Create your not-to-do list
A not-to-do list is not just about getting rid of the tasks you don’t want to do; it is also about getting rid of the ones that prevent you from greater productivity and that will save you time, day to day. Identifying which tasks should be delegated will allow you to be more efficient.
Establish a routine
Think about those tasks that reappear regularly; those that you need to do on a perpetual basis. Add them to your calendar on repeat for the whole year so they become part of your schedule. Think about big quarterly events and schedule those in to. It helps you to plan you week instead of scrambling for time to get everything done.
While you are accounting for those tasks, plan time for quarterly reviews to monitor how you are doing in achieving your goals. Readjust your plans accordingly to keep you on track – or set new goals if you are ahead of your plan. Even if you find yourself not meeting the expectations you’ve set for yourself, this gives you the opportunity to reassess and reset those goals.
Set time for yourself
Plan and book your holidays in advance. If you know you want to go away in April, put your request in now. Don’t be one of those employees that brag about how many vacation days they have accrued because they haven’t taken a day off for 15 years. The stress and burnout of continuously working is not good for you personally, nor does it increase your work productivity. You have vacation for a reason – use it!
Work on a side project
Explore your passions by working on a side project. Side projects facilitate learning new techniques and skills that you may otherwise never learn in your daily job, and in doing so, can benefit your career. They encourage creativity, self-development, confidence and training. All of these are important skills that are often not developed in a traditional work environment.
Don’t dismiss your side project as that thing you do when you have some down time. You will need to set aside, and invest, the time and energy into making it work. Be patient with yourself. Get excited about all the things you are learning.
Commit to celebrating the wins, no matter how small
The year ahead will come with surprises and diversions no matter how much you plan. That is why it is so important that when you reach a goal, no matter how small, you take the time to congratulate yourself. Celebrate every win. Every step is an achievement that will help you on your way to reaching your goals for the year.
Give yourself some space
Make sure to leave yourself space in your well-organised year. Life happens. Things may not work out exactly as planned, and you may find yourself getting overloaded. Leave gaps of time within your schedule throughout the year so that you have a buffer to step back and assess any situation that arises.
Adjust your attitude
Remind yourself every day that your attitude determines everything. Life isn’t all roses and things will happen that aren’t pleasant. But how you choose to allow those things to affect your attitude will change how you approach every task and person you meet. The most important decision you can make is to be positive, hopeful, and open every day.
New year, new you!
Make plans for your future
At this time of year, we often think about career goals and start making plans for our future. If those plans involve a job change, our recruiters love helping qualified candidates move their career forward. Upload your CV, and search our job listings for roles that are relevant to your experience. Connect with one of us today!