We have an opportunity, every year, to make some fresh choices. We can go back to work and resume where we left off, or we can decide to make it work better for ourselves. Those few days away from our normal routines give us a chance to notice how well or poorly those routines work for us. Stepping away for a little while always gives us more perspective. So before you just fall back into old habits, stop and assess.
Firstly, notice what really works for you, what allows you to be at your best. Do you prefer working to a deadline or being prepared and having things sorted in advance? Do you function better at a particular time of day? Do you have some meetings that really feel productive, and what makes them different? We can learn from our own preferences and find ways to implement them more often.
For example, if the meetings that work for you are shorter, or have less people involved, maybe you can transfer that awareness to other meetings and suggest that they are shorter, or that they involve less people.
Then look at what puts you in a bad mood or makes you irritable. The question is less about what it is than how you can make it a bit better. Maybe you need to take a few more 5-minute breaks, to recover yourself before you tackle the next task. Or maybe you need to spend a bit of time just improving your relationship with a colleague, so it is less transactional and impersonal. Just getting to know each other a bit more can change a relationship and help you to have fewer misunderstandings.
Maybe you need to find a quiet space where you can complete difficult tasks in peace, or talk things through with a colleague to clarify your thinking. No matter what we are doing, we can all find small ways to improve the way we work, so we can feel better about it.
And what’s one way you can contribute to making work feel better for someone else? Can you encourage or overtly appreciate someone more often? Can you give someone your attention for a little while when they ask for it? Making life feel better for someone else also makes us feel better – it’s always good to treat someone else more kindly, and helps our own spirits.
And all those small improvements can be made at home too. You could indulge in things that delight you in your life a little more often. You could go home a little earlier more often, and spend time with the children or your partner. You could appreciate the things that friends and family do for you that you normally take for granted.
If we all made a few slight improvements to our own lives, it would make a big difference to all of us: so much better than big resolutions that we don’t maintain, don’t you think?
So make a fresh choice for 2017, and help to make the world a better place.