With 2015 in full swing, the pressure to make New Year’s resolutions and stick to them is on. While you don’t need to wait until January to make a change, this month is a good time to reflect on the past year and set your intentions for the months to come. Whether you plan to tackle personal or professional goals, there are small changes you can make right now that will improve your life both at work and overall.
Consume the news
Lori Russo firmly believes that you cannot be a good PR professional if you do not “consume the news”. I agree with her, and think this statement extends to all professionals. Reading the news is a basic part of functioning as an adult in society. You are doing yourself a disservice if you do not know what is going on in the world, especially if you work in an industry like PR where news is paramount. We, as citizens of a developed society, have myriad ways to receive information and engage with the news on a daily basis. At the very least, sign up to receive TheSkimm or download the NY Times Now app which both provide daily updates on the day’s most important stories. This is a super easy way to catch up on reading during your morning commute.
Read for pleasure
Now that you are reading the news every morning, another simple change with great benefits is to read for pleasure. Reading for enjoyment boosts creativity and makes you a better writer. Reading encourages you to learn and process information continuously, expand your vocabulary, and to use your imagination. This change should not be viewed as a homework assignment. What do you like to read? Whether it’s a novel, a magazine, a newspaper, or journal or digital publications: find what you like to read and read that. If you don’t like the classics, do not keep Great Expectations on your bedside table. Do you have a personal or professional goal? Chances are there is at least one book about it. I like to read one “fun” book and one “career” or “serious” book at the same time. It doesn’t matter what subject you are reading about; the important part is that you read because when you are reading, you are learning and growing and becoming a better writer.
Write by hand
I cannot stress the importance of this enough: write by hand. With ubiquitous automation of all our daily activities, it is easy and convenient to type instead of write. Kids learn to write in school because it is crucial to learning and development, and adults can benefit too. Writing improves your ability to process new information and expands your ability to learn in general. Making notes by hand is essential for synthesizing information and representing it in a way that makes sense to you. An added bonus: when you write something down you will remember it better and for longer than if you type it.
This is the easiest change to integrate into your daily routine. You do not have to sign up for a marathon, or even exercise every day of the week, but making an effort to move more often throughout the day will benefit your brain and efficacy at work. Take a walk around the block at lunch, get up to speak with a coworker instead of sending an email (if it’s appropriate at the time), or try out these simple exercises at your desk. Taking a minute to get your blood flowing, even if it is a quick lap around the office helps to keep you alert and focused throughout the day.
By making small changes like this to your daily routine, you will reap many benefits with minimal effort and improve your life both at work and home. You do not need to consult your physician before starting this program.