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12 ways to be more effective this year

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How often do you make big New Year’s resolutions, only to fall off the wagon in the second week of January? If this is ringing a bell (step away from the chocolate!), fear not. You still have ample opportunity to realise your potential and fulfil your aims this year, especially in the workplace.

Instead of trying to change everything at once (a recipe for disaster), making monthly resolutions offers more achievable goals and a much greater chance of long-term change. To help you along, we’ve set out some manageable goals for each month of 2016. Say hello to a more creative, focused, happier you!

Learn to say no

Start the New Year with a bang and change your mentality about how you work. Productivity is not about hours clocked, it’s about output. Research has shown that you hit a wall after 56 hours of work, no matter how much effort you put in. Make this year the year you’re more effective at time management by knowing when to say no and prioritising your workload.

Digital detox

Smart phones, laptops, tablets, wearable tech – we’re constantly connected and it’s stressing us out! Being contactable 24/7 can lead to burnout and lack of clarity. Devote one day a week to being disconnected from the world – walk, read and make time for what you love and value most.

Stress management

Breathing is the one automatic function of the body that we have control over. When you’re stressed you take shorter, quicker breaths. If you find yourself in a bit of bother, close your eyes, relax your shoulders and focus on each individual breath. This will have a huge positive effect on your wellbeing and help to reduce your stress levels.

Get more rest

How can you lose up to eight IQ points a day? Not sleeping properly! Lack of sleep impairs your reaction speed, problem solving skills and attention span, making it harder to complete tasks and feel happy. There’s never been a better excuse to nap!

Do some exercise

As the summer creeps in, be inspired to get out more. Exercise helps you sleep, keeps stress at bay and gives you more energy. Don’t use work as an excuse – swap the bus for your bike or go for a walk on your lunch break. You’ll be reaping the physical and mental benefits in no time.

Learn to take breaks

Hit that mid-afternoon slump? The best thing you can do is take a well-deserved break. Breaks every 90 minutes lead to 30% more productivity and 50% increased ability to think creatively. Next time you feel a yawn coming on, stretch your legs. And don’t mind those break shamers in the office!

Start eating right

What you eat greatly affects your productivity. Bad decisions at lunchtime can impair your cognitive function and lead to procrastination and poor focus. Choose whole, unprocessed foods that release energy slowly and consistently throughout the day. That means no sneaky McDonalds!

Take notes

Jotting down your thoughts each day is a fantastic opportunity for some self-reflection, which can in turn improve the way you do business. A simple step towards gaining more self-awareness is to keep a journal and jot down three things that you are grateful for each day.


In the digital era it’s easy to forget about how amazing books can be. Reading has plenty of perks – it heightens emotional intelligence, improves your memory and allows you to escape reality for a little while. Try reading something every day – it doesn’t matter if it’s Harry Potter, Twink’s autobiography or ‘Ulysses’.

Take on a challenge

Don’t fear challenges, embrace them. Often the happiest people are those who are challenged inside and outside of the workplace. Why not sign up for a 5k run or offer to lead a training session in work? Succeeding will work wonders for your self-confidence and help you to thrive in the future.

Cut out interruptions

Did you know that every time you get interrupted by the ping of an email it takes on average 25 minutes to refocus? Assign set times to deal with emails, unsubscribe from distracting newsletters and talk to your colleagues face-to-face if you can.

Make the most of your network

As the year draws to a close and people gather to celebrate use this opportunity to reconnect with those that you have dealt with over the year. Attend events, arrange a working lunch and reach out to those you haven’t heard from in a while. You never know what connections you can gain!

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