Organizing fanatics can rejoice, as this is our best time of the year. As a society, we all collectively turn over our new leaves, promise ourselves progress, and let at least some of the past go. I always find the first week of January to be energizing, even if it is cold and dark outside.
There is something magical about the New Year’s resolutions we make, whether we actually keep them or not. I like to think of them as a little window into our best version of ourselves, who we really aspire to be. So let’s look at seven productive ways to rock your first week of 2017 to enhance your personal growth and enjoy the new beginning.
1. Out with the old
It is a great time to have a clear out. Your social life might be a bit quieter this month with everyone feeling the expense of the holidays. Take advantage of more evenings at home by having a little clear out. Getting rid of old clothes and things you no longer use is not just about gaining closet space, it can be quite cathartic too.
2. Start a routine
So, you made a few resolutions on New Year’s Eve? If you want to stick to any of them, then a good trick is to work it into your daily routine. And personally, I have found it best to focus on the small changes.
Drinking a glass of water when you wake up, just while you are waiting for your coffee to brew, is a great health hack and an easy habit to form. And we know how hydration is important for brain function, mood, and productivity.
3. Make a simple budget
If you are feeling a bit bad about what you spent over the holidays, then you do not have to bury your guilt under TV watching and comfort eating. Use that New Year energy to motivate you to change – a more productive use for your post-Christmas remorse. Make a simple budget that you can stick to, and start saving now for next Christmas.
4. Choose one item from your bucket list
If another year passing brings out the existential angst in you, then embrace that desire to live your life by planning something that would make you truly happy. What is on your bucket list? As a whole list it might be overwhelming, but how about picking one item to tick off this year?
5. Pace yourself
To a Type A person, meditation might sound like the opposite of productivity. But do not fall into that trap. Pacing yourself is an important part of sustaining your productivity over the whole year. Whether you try meditation, mindfulness, or journaling, find your own way to pace yourself and not burn out.
6. Rest and reset
Speaking of pacing yourself so you do not burn out; did you overstretch yourself in 2016? One of the best things you can do for yourself is rest and reset before you launch into your 2017 mission. Aim to work some down time into your schedule. It is a necessity, not a luxury.
7. Write it down
The best productivity hack I ever learned was one that I picked up at the university. One of our Neuroscience lecturers taught us that the working memory has a very finite capacity, and the more we are holding in our working memory, the less working memory we have available to problem solve.
For this reason, my top productivity hack is to write down everything I need to remember. The theory is that I am leaving the working memory part of my brain to fire on all cylinders. I suppose you might compare this to emptying your computer’s memory banks of unnecessary files. Whenever I am trying to make a big decision or plan something important, I purge it onto paper rather than juggle all the facts in my head.
So grab yourself a notepad and give it a try. The New Year is yours for the taking. Make it a great one!