January is already proving to be the grueling endurance test that it always is, and with so many challenges looming up in the months to come, we need solutions this year more than ever. As things get tougher, we will need to be more productive, more effective. So for today, I thought I would do something practical, and provide you with my five tips for personal effectiveness in 2016
1. Review Today, Improve Tomorrow
To succeed in any endeavour, you need a plan. But not all of us are great at planning, especially if you haven’t already formed the habit over the years. For those of us who were not born with the Planning Gene, one good way of ensuring that you don’t fly blind through 2016 is by carrying out a simple exercise before bed every night. Make two lists: first, a list of what went well that day, and second, a list of what you will do better tomorrow. When you wake up, use your second list as your guide or plan for the new day. Repeat every night for 365 days.
2. Be Accountable to Someone
So you have a goal for 2016. You made a resolution at the beginning of the year, but you made it to yourself. That is sometimes deliberate. If you make a promise to yourself, then the only person you are letting down when you fail, is yourself. When the only person you’re accountable to is yourself, there’s not much to motivate compliance, is there? So make yourself accountable to more people. Share your promise with someone you trust – someone who you’d hate to disappoint. That alone will double or triple your motivation to achieve your goal.
This year, I resolved to go to church more often. So every Sunday, on my way to church, I make a short video and put it up on social media. This is my way of making myself accountable to those I trust, and hate to disappoint: you, the public. So any Sunday that you don’t see a video, you’ll know I didn’t make it to church. This renews my motivation every week to meet my goal.
3. Value your Critics:
As humans, our sole purpose in life is to improve. Every act we perform, from breathing to building is done with the aim of making our lives better. This is because no matter what we achieve in this world, we will never be perfect. If you accept this premise that you cannot possibly be perfect, then you must also accept the fact that you make mistakes. Lots of them.
A person who doesn’t accept their mistakes has no hope of improving. In order to improve, you need something to improve on, so this year, instead of resisting criticism, embrace it. Whether you agree with your critics or not, you must always ask yourself three questions when you hear criticism:
• What makes them say what they are saying?
• Is that what I want them to say about me?
• If no, then what can I do to make them stop saying it?
Bottom line, you need to value your critics and own your mistakes, otherwise, you’re not going to develop much this year.
4. Increase Your Capacity… for Disappointment
This year, many things are not going to go your way. You will not get everything you want. Not every project will be a success. Not every day will be a win. And let’s face it: every time things don’t go our way, it can be a great source of disappointment and de-motivation. The amount of disappointment and de-motivation you feel depends on the level of expectation you have for your progress this year. So have a word with yourself now, before you proceed even one more step this year: It’s gonna be tough. But you can handle it.
And I mean everything. Good, bad, assets, liabilities, success, problems… everything! In a year of austerity, one of the great ways of magnifying the impact of success and minimising that of failure is by sharing. When things go well, don’t be shy to let the world know about it. Put up a post on social media. If one team member hits a target, let the whole team join in celebrating him. Take them all out for drinks. In the same way, if things don’t go well, you must share, but in a very different way. Pick someone who is doing well, or someone who has succeeded where you failed. Talk to them about what you experienced. Take their thoughts back with you to the drawing board, and start again.
On a more practical level, look into ways of sharing the cost of things that are more expensive this year, like office space, staff and fuel. If you share a building with other businesses, there may be opportunities to share a receptionist. You could take turns fuelling one generator instead of each company buying one of their own. At home, you can car-pool with neighbours if your kids attend the same school.
Finally, don’t let the anticipation of a tough year force you to stop being charitable. There is more blessing in giving than receiving, but again, you can share the burden here by giving as part of a group. You end up spending less, but raising more for those who need it most.
So there you go – five simple tips for maximising your personal effectiveness in 2016. Get started mow by sharing this article with as many people as you can.