Insights from practitioners in Information Management

What have you achieved this year

Is it just me or have you seen an increase in productivity at this time of year? One question – if we can be “this” productive now, why can’t we translate through the rest of the year? And before you jump up and down and say, but I was productive all year round, I have one word to say
In all honesty we can’t be productive 24/7 365 days a year because other people’s agenda’s and time frames get in the way of our own. Then there is what we call scope creep. We start the beginning of the year and then, thinking we do have all the time in the world, allow timelines to blow out, or are blown out by other people’s inaction. How many times have you sat and thought about how many times you have had to wait for someone to deliver whatever it was they said they would. How many times have you had to chase them? How many times have you been chased?
Which is something to think about. The second thing I would like you to consider as you ponder the answer to the first is this:
What have you achieved this year?
It is a serious question and one that you should consider answering with some honesty because ALL your significant achievements should be added to your CV at the end of each year. Your CV is (or should be) a working document, it’s also a great tool for appraisal time. If you don’t do it now, you are likely to forget. If you haven’t achieved anything you could consider being a significant achievement, then you really do have a problem. And the next 12 months will likely be the same as the last 12.
As you are updating your CV, it is a good idea to create a master plan for the next 12 months. What do you want to have achieved by this time NEXT year. Once you have the master list, start to break it down into the first month and then the first week back after the holidays. If you don’t then you will fall into the trap of doing the same things in the same way and of course then predictably you will get exactly the same result.
Write a to-don’t list. What are you NOT going to do in the next 12 months. What can you outsource? What can you delegate? What can you do now, to make your next year more efficient and effective. We don’t have to do it all ourselves, why should we even think we should have to. Repeat after me,I am not a martyr – I can ask for help. To don’t lists help you to focus on what you are going to do. One of the biggest time wasters is email, and we won’t talk about the social media sites. But consider this one interesting fact – every time you are interrupted it takes 8 minutes to get back to the same level of thinking you were at, before the interruption. 8 minutes. I am not a big fan of open plan offices for this same reason. So, one of my items for the new year is to reduce the time I have my email open – especially when I am working on a big project.
Oh and make time to get out of the office every single day too – rain or shine – walk for half your lunch break – your productivity will soar.
As you create your master list, consider your personal goals too. What do you want to have achieved personally in the next 12 months? How will that affect / impact your current schedule? What changes do you need to make to ensure that it happens? If it means a lot to you, you will find the time to do it, but in the first couple of weeks / months we may find we are not putting in the work required, thinking we have all the time in the world… Say you want to do a course of study, you sign up, you manage your first assignment deadline – then “life” gets in the way – and all of a sudden you have 3 assignments due by FRIDAY and …
One other thing I like to do at this time of year is to tidy my office space. I hate the idea of coming back to the office with clutter from the year before still around. Throw it away, file what needs to be filed, clear away the year – make way for the new ideas to flow. Consider it to be a new start to your career.