A new year is upon us which means that everyone is highly focused on new goals; both personal and professional. I hesitate to call them resolutions because we all know how those end up:
But of course, I’ve promised myself the obligatory things I do every January: eat better, get more exercise, exact revenge on my enemies (kidding!). But what about professional goals? What are some realistic goals I should be setting for myself from a professional perspective? Here are a few I have come up with that I think will make me a better, more productive associate and peer. They are easy enough that if we all adopt them, think how productive we will all be!
It was fun while it lasted.
#1 – Quit over-relying on email
Sometimes I find myself feverishly typing away on a lengthy question/situation that would probably be better handled by picking up the phone and talking to a live, actual human. We are all buried up to our eyeballs in emails. I have noticed a few times when I see people’s inboxes, there are tens and sometimes hundreds of unread emails. I don’t know how these people function because that would completely stress me out! But the point is that I have no reassurance that they are ever going to get to mine. And even if they do, they are so covered up with emails that they might not give it the attention I want them to. I spend a lot of time formulating my emails to be sure the reader will fully understand my message. If I am actually speaking with someone, I will know this right away.
#2 – Keep the desk tidy
Ew. This is a tough one for me. I am one of those people with papers everywhere who declares that I “know where everything is”. First of all, I do not know where everything is. I know where most things are, but there are so many papers scattered all over the place that I have no idea what lies beneath the things whose whereabouts I know about. Just this morning I came across a post-it note with a name and number I’m not sure if I ever called back. Yikes.
#3 – Be a better teammate
I once worked with a lady who would end many of her emails or conversations with a “how can I help?”. At first, I thought, what planet are you from, weirdo?! But the longer we worked together, I realized that a. she was, in fact, human, and b. she actually meant it. She was someone who looked at the team’s success rather than just her own. We had a very collaborative environment because of her attitude and accomplished a lot as a team. Regardless of our roles within our organizations, we can all help our teammates achieve something. So, I am going to do a better job at asking how I can help.
#4 – Put the phone down
I am so tired of looking at the tops of people’s foreheads I cannot put it into words. At any given time, you can look around a meeting and no one is looking up. Yes, we are busy and need to respond to emails. Yes, we are bored and need to connect on LinkedIn. Yes, a cat juggling bananas is hilarious. But seriously, can we all just start tuning into what is happening right in front of us? I am as guilty as the next person of overuse of my phone. In fact, I’m more likely to forget to wear pants than I am to forget my phone. But it’s got to stop. We are all missing out by not being present to those around us. Of course, if you are reading this on your cell phone, I am not talking to you.
#5 – Don’t come up with too many goals
Good point. Four is enough.
Happy new year, everyone! Here’s to a great and productive year!