It’s 2010, the beginning of a new decade. You know what this means; “New Year, New You” and all that jazz. I took a random poll of my friends for their resolutions and Googled the “most popular New Year’s resolutions.” Both resulted in the following perennial goals:
• Lose weight
• Exercise more
• Be more informed about current events
• Simplify my life
• Stay in touch with friends and contacts
• Reduce stress
We’ve all heard those before. But how can these apply to your work life? As we start the new year and seek ways to improve our lives on a personal level, we should also develop some “work life” resolutions.
Playing off the traditional resolutions above, here are my suggestions to get you started:
• Put your cube on a diet. Purge old files and cut down on the clutter. Recycle old files and print on the back side of old paper. My cubicle packed on the pounds in 2009. Scores of files, boxes, newspapers, magazines and Post-it notes made their home in my 6 x 6 foot space. Once I got rid of files I hadn’t looked at in two or three years, it felt like my cube shed 30 pounds.
• Office exercises. Create your own version of “Office Olympics” and come up with games like “office chair relay” and “magazine-board-Twister” (right hand on BusinessWeek!). Grab a timer and a few colleagues and race each other from the office to the parking deck. See who’s the quickest to cross the courtyard with the bone-chilling “wind tunnel” effect in front of our office building.
• Breakfast on Wall Street. Read the Wall Street Journal in the morning – in print – to get an in-depth look at news, trends and sharpen your writing skills. You’ll be surprised how much you’ll learn.
• Get caught reading. Read magazines and Web sites that are outside your normal routine to gain fresh perspective and spur creative thinking. Read an op-ed column in The Cleveland Plain-Dealer. Check out a film profile on imdb.com to see how movie summaries condense a big story into a few main points. Even scoping out the latest celebrity break-up on People.com can add fodder to media pitches related to legal divorce trends. And picking up a real newspaper or book with pages and ink – as opposed to scanning a story online – can be refreshing.
• Go back to basics with clients. While email, BlackBerrys, and other technologies have made communication faster and easier, take time to meet with clients and contacts in person. Have a real conversation face-to-face. Talk about non-work topics and get to know your clients as people, too.
• Learn from your colleagues. Talk about what’s going on with their projects, get input on pitches, discuss media successes. Some of your best resources might be sitting a few feet away from you.
• Stress busters. Find cheap, creative ways to blow off steam. My favorite: at random intervals throughout the week, carefully grab the small, foam-like sumo wrestler tchotchke with the word “attack!” written across his belly and throw it into one of my co-worker’s cubicles.
Good luck and best wishes for 2010!