You’ve accomplished a hell of a lot this year.
You’ve tried your best to reach all your goals (it doesn’t matter if you didn’t get there, you still tried!
You deserve to wind down during December and start the new year with a BANG.
You’re ready to make 2017 even better than this year, doing things that you want to do and that you’re passionate about.
The path to get there is much simpler than what you’re doing right now. You don’t have to stumble your way through the year doing things you think you have to do and keeping your fingers crossed that somehow, some way, you’ll get that breakthrough.
Did you know that if you write down everything you want to accomplish, you’ve got an 80% more chance of making it happen?
But saying you’re going to make 2017 better and actually doing it are two different things, right? It doesn’t have to be that way.
You can make 2017 your best year yet through a little tactic of focusing on the right things.
Good job I’m here to tell you exactly what those things are 😉 Let’s get onto the good stuff.
#1 | REFRESH YOUR MORNING ROUTINE
Getting your morning off to the right start is something a lot of us want to do to make an improvement to our lives. Whether it’s making more of an effort with breakfast or simply having more time, the way you start your day is crucial.
The easiest way for you to make a difference is to move your alarm clock. And I don’t mean your phone - make an effort to purchase a proper alarm clock (like this cute one from Debenhams at less than a fiver!) Keeping this away from your bed forces you to get up and not hit snooze.
#2 | SORT YOUR INBOX
We’d all love to have inbox zero, but most of the time it’s just not possible. What is possible though, is making your inbox easier to maintain. You can start by sorting your emails into folders and unsubscribing from all the newsletters that you just don’t read anymore.
#3 | PLAN AHEAD
Starting your day not knowing what you need to be getting on with doesn’t do anything for your productivity. I always spend the last ten minutes of each work day tidying up my space and making a list for what’s on the agenda tomorrow. You can also prep by putting your latest meeting notes at the front of your planner, or whatever is going to be your top priority.
#4 | DON’T PROCRASTINATE
You might think that the morning is the best time for you to check all your social media platforms, but it’s actually the opposite.
Most of us are most productive first thing in the morning and our levels decrease throughout the afternoon. Obviously there will be things you’ll need to get done first thing (at my day job, it’s scheduling social media). But after that I focus on a task that requires the most energy from me, because I know that’s when I’m most productive.
#5 | LIVEN UP YOUR BREAKS
Your daily commute and lunch break don’t have to be average you know. If you work from home, you’ve got the beauty of being able to do whatever you want on your lunch break (with no commute either!) But with a day job, it’s a different story.
My lunch breaks are always used to work on my blog - 40 minutes is plenty of time to get a couple of things done! So make sure you’ve got a running list of blog tasks with you so you know where you’re up to. As for your commute, you could try listening to podcasts or even an audio book to make your journey just that little bit brighter.
#6 | STAND UP MORE
A study recently stated that sitting down all day can be as bad for you as smoking. I don’t know how true that statement is, but I do agree with the fact that sitting all day is bad for your health.
If you can, get a standing desk - we’ve just got them at work and they’re so effective. If you can’t get one (or don’t want one), then it’s just about making an effort to stand up more. Set a timer and every 50 minutes get up, whether it’s walking to make a brew, walking round your workspace, anything. It really helps to boost your metabolism.
#7 | STAY ON TREND
And I don’t just mean with your wardrobe 😉
Different things will happen in your industry all the time. I know in social media and marketing, things are always changing. Something new could pop up at any moment. Staying ahead of what’s happening in your field of work and with blogging helps to establish you as an expert.
Join an association, attend conferences or try and go on a training session. Even seeking help from others will help you grow.
#8 | TRY A DIFFERENT PRODUCTIVITY TECHNIQUE
If you’ve struggled with your workload this year and found you’ve not been accomplishing tasks as quickly as you want to, it might be time for you to try a different technique. There are loads of different ones available, and one that’s quite popular is the Pomodoro technique. So you work for 25 minutes then have 5 minutes off and so on. It’s alway worth trying out to see what happens.
#9 | BRIGHTEN UP YOUR WARDROBE
Obviously fashion was going to appear in this list at some point! The trend right now is a lot of black, white, grey and nude and honestly, that’s what my wardrobe is made up of right now. But there’s no harm in adding a little pop of colour to your collection.
It doesn’t have to be much - a pair of block colour pants, a bright sequin skirt or even a red dress. And studies have shown wearing red can increase self-confidence!
#10 | START A JOURNAL
This was one of my goals for 2016 and something I’m definitely going to continue into 2017. When we get older, having something that we’ve been able to document our lives in is going to be so important. That’s where a journal comes in.
You can use it to write down your thoughts, feelings, emotions, adventures and even just to review the best moments of the day. Doing this for a few minutes before bed means you’ll end your day in the perfect way.
#11 | KEEP PHOTOGRAPHS
Now by this I don’t just mean ones on your phone (hello no storage space), but actual printed ones too. Get a collection together of old ones and new that you can revisit when you’re feeling down or just when you want to.
Plus, studies have shown that looking at photographs is a better mood booster than listening to music, watching television AND chocolate.
#12 | TRACK YOUR HEALTH
Exercising is great - but are you tracking your progress? This is a goal I’m going to be working towards next year. You can get an activity tracker like a FitBit if you want but for me, I find it easier just tracking it using my bullet journal and my FitnessBlender calendar where I plan all my workouts.
You can keep track of what workouts you do, what you eat and what progress you’re making. You could even take before and after pictures too and add them to your journal.
#13 | SPEAK TO ONE FRIEND OR FAMILY MEMBER EVERY DAY
On the phone, with your voice. Not a text or an email - make an effort to have a real conversation. Nothing is more important than your loved ones and staying in touch with them will allow you to strengthen your relationships and put a smile on both your faces.
#14 | SPEND YOUR MONEY ON SOMETHING MEANINGFUL
As you get older, gone are the days when you spend most of your wages on going out at night or revamping your wardrobe. As I’ve progressed through my twenties, I’ve become a lot more careful with my money and that’s something I want to continue with.
Don’t get me wrong, there’ll still be times when I want to treat myself (like Black Friday - hello 30% off River Island) - but most of the time, I’d rather save up and spend it on something I’m going to remember. You can apply this to all areas of your life.
#15 | WRITE DOWN YOUR THOUGHTS
Something a lot of us need to become more aware of are our emotions. Yes you feel worried - but why do you feel that way?
Carry a journal with you and write down whenever you feel worried or anxious, and most importantly - why.
#16 | GIVE YOURSELF SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD
Whether you’ve been in your career for five months or five years, we all know how crucial the weekend is. It’s something everyone looks forward to and even wishes for. That’s why you’ve got to make the most of them.
For the past few months, I feel like I’ve spent the majority of my weekends working, and when I look back at my twenties, that’s not what I want to remember. I want to have stories to tell, and things to write about in my journal.
So next year, I’m making more of an effort to plan my weekends. Having something to look forward to will instantly boost your happiness.
#17 | DRINK MORE WATER
If you were to ask me which item in this list was the most important, I’d pick this one. Not only does cold water make your body burn more calories by getting it up to body temperature, it also helps you snack less, makes your skin brighter and improves your overall way of life. Aim for four to eight 500ml bottles a day.
#18 | TRACK YOUR TIME
Do you know what you actually spend most of your time on in an average week? Try tracking your time for seven days and see what happens. This will help you see where you need to refocus your priorities so you can make the most of every minute.
#19 | CLEAN UP YOUR PHONE
How many apps have you got on your phone right now? Go on, have a look. Then I want to ask you this - how many of those apps do you use on a daily basis?
It wouldn’t surprise me if your answer was a low number. 80% of apps are downloaded and never used again. You need to take a good look through your phone and see what you waste most of your time on. If you’re waiting in a queue would it be a good time to play a game or do some networking on Twitter? Have the courage to delete what you don’t use or need.
#20 | DON’T MULTI-TASK
Steer away from multi-tasking in 2017 and try to focus on single-tasking instead. This will make you more efficient and you’ll have less distractions too. How to do it? Only have things open on your computer (files and tabs) that you actually need for the specific task you’re working on.
#21 | EAT THE FROG
I was at a school on Friday doing mock interviews and a lot of the pupils said they really struggled with time management. So this was the tip I gave them - eat the frog.
Safe to say a lot of them looked confused!
Eating the frog essentially means getting your most difficult task (or the one you dislike the most) out of the way first. If you get this done first thing, this eases your workload for the rest of the day. Plus, it gives you a big confidence boost for the fact that you’ve completed it.
A FINAL NOTE
So, are you ready to have a better 2017?
Some of the things in this list have seriously improved my life, blog and career for the better this year and I seriously recommend you give as many as possible a go. Remember, I’ll be doing them with you!
Which of the ideas in this list are you going to try out first? Tell me in the comments, friend!