The beginning of the New Year is a great time to adopt a fresh workplace attitude and infuse your career and workplace attitude with new energy. Perhaps you resolved in 2013 to make more money, develop new business contacts, or get a promotion. Here are some tips for acquiring the motivated mindset you'll need.
Do an office makeover.
Rearrange your furniture, upgrade your computer, change your office artwork, or get a new desk lamp or ergonomic chair.
What it does: Changing your environment can be very energizing. One study found that when bank employees improved the furniture, lighting, sound, temperature, and spacial arrangements in their workspace, it made them more motivated and productive.
Keep busy; fight boredom.
Keep a daily task list that chips away at big goals. If you can't find enough to do, create work for yourself that enhances your career in some way, such as updating your contact lists.
What it does: Did you ever notice that the busier you are, the more you accomplish? A Cambridge University researcher found that boredom and not having enough to do lower performance considerably.
Treat your "to-do hangover."
If you have a to-do list that's left over from 2012, commit to working through it in the next couple of weeks. Or comb through it and resolve to do less. It's hard to do eight or nine things brilliantly. Sometimes by cutting back on your goals, you actually end up accomplishing more of them.
What it does: Stale tasks left undone from the previous year can have a negative drag on one'smotivation, akin to a hangover. To prove this, all you have to do is read last year's undone to-do list and notice how it makes you feel: bummed out, stressed out, and maybe even sick and sleepy!
In the spirit of the New Year, resolve to stop obsessing, worrying, and living in the past. Looking forward and seizing opportunities is the way to go in 2013.
What it does: A study published by the American Psychological Association found that people who chew on their regrets, old problems, or resentments become low performers. You'll soon feel victimized--not a good way to gain forward momentum in your career.
Revisit your network.
When you're feeling uninspired, revisit your professional network, whether it's on LinkedIn or in that stack of business cards you collected last year. Contact an intriguing person to find out what exciting plans he or she has for the coming year. You eat three meals a day--why should any of them be alone?
What it does: Your social network and contact database are living, changing entities that need TLC and maintenance. When you put energy into your network, you'll receive instant feedback and rewards in the form of new ideas, new relationships, invitations, and gratitude.
Take lots of breaks.
Instead of jumping into the New Year at full speed, resolve to set alerts on your phone or computer that remind you to stand up, stretch, and take a walk around the office.
What it does: A recent study found that workers who set such alerts were 13% more accurate in their work. Breaks increase, rather than decrease, our attention and productivity.
Vicky Oliver is the author of five bestselling books on personal branding, etiquette, and career development, including 301 Smart Answers to Tough Business Etiquette Questions and her latest, The Millionaire's Handbook: How to Look and Act Like a Millionaire Even If You're Not. She's a leading career adviser and image consultant in Manhattan.
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