Carols were sung, gifts were exchanged and fudge was consumed. After all of the holiday hub-bub, it’s easy to feel a bit deflated. Instead of the excitement of finding the just-right gift and anticipating the look of glee on a kid’s face, you’re left to fight the crowds for exchanges of the too-small sweater.
Instead of feeling flattened, the week between Christmas and New Year’s is the perfect time to reflect and rearrange in preparation for 2016.
Reflect. Take a bit of time to review the year. What worked; what didn’t and what did you learn? For example, this past year I invested in the study of neuroscience as applied to leadership. Upon reflection it is easy to see how that knowledge benefited my clients and my personal work processes. Neuroscience made fuzzy-sounding concepts tangible. I learned that tangible rather than lofty thoughts are easier for people to apply to their own work and lives. Specific, real-life examples are best.
What actions and choices are you pleased with? What would you do again? And what did you learn?
Similarly, what could have gone better? What will you adjust going forward? When I reflect I recognize the frantic busy-ness of 2015 – pushing and pushing to accomplish a long list of goals. There was no time to think and create. I dropped balls, had limited focus and rarely enough rest. Maybe you can relate to that one. What is there to learn from reflection? It’s hard to admit but the push to do more and more didn’t serve me or some of my clients. A rested and thoughtful me would have brought more value. What about your reflection? What did you learn?
It’s easy to pass over the year without a thought. But true learning happens with reflection because when one reflects it embeds memories into the brain. Memories are essential if you want to take advantage of learning for use in future situations.
Rearrange. The first thing you are going to want to do is to declutter by packing up your Christmas decorations and storing them. If you have nowhere to store them, you could look into 12×20 portable sheds. It might seem a bit early to pack up Christmas so early, but this week is the perfect bridge between last year and the next year. Use it to rearrange your workspace and your work approach for optimal performance.
For your workspace, clean out the sticky notes, scraps of paper, piles of DVDs and random trinkets that have accumulated over the year. Think about what you could add to make it a more productive space, for example, plants are supposed to be really good for this, and phs Greenleaf are the UK leading supplier of these if you’d like to give them a try. I’m embarrassed to say that my desk is dotted with conference giveaways that seem useful in the moment, but never seem to live up to their potential. So, there they sit contributing to the clutter.
Now is the time to be ruthless. File what needs to be kept and pitch the rest. The goal is a clean, clutter-free area. Research shows that the brain functions better without the visual distraction of clutter. Give your brain a head start for a productive new year by rearranging your space and eliminate the clutter, and perhaps invest in some storage sheds to ensure you keep everything clutter free for the rest of the year!
Of course, there are other benefits of clearing out the clutter too. For instance, it is no secret that clutter can attract pests. Junk provides a perfect hiding place for common household pests like spiders, moths, and bed bugs, and therefore keeping on top of your cleaning is crucial. If you do happen to discover an insect infestation while going about your decluttering then do not panic. Nowadays, there are pest control companies like terminix pest control that can help you to combat any unwanted pests in your home or workplace. Put simply, pest control services can get rid of any unruly insects for you so that you can enjoy a clean, tidy, and hygienic environment.
Once you finish rearranging your work space, rearrange your thinking time. Based on your reflections on what worked and didn’t, you may want to provide more time for what works. That means rearranging your work flow for better results. Distractions are significant time drains that exhaust the brain. How can you rearrange your day to de-clutter time? Here are a few thoughts that have worked for me. Allocate specific hours of the day to review and answer email. Provide closed-door time for projects that need focus. Schedule important work during your most productive periods (for me, that’s the morning). What about you?
Take a moment to consider how to rearrange your day for creativity and productivity.
As you reflect and rearrange, you will re-inflate yourself in ways that position 2016 for success.
And take a moment to give away the last piece of the fudge.