Five top productivity and planning tips to set your next working year up right

 let us all work on a way to not be this guy next year - mmkay?

let us all work on a way to not be this guy next year - mmkay?

As the summer sun rolls in, and the days unfold languidly into long balmy moments of beach, bach and beers one might think to close the door on 2017 and simply pick up on stuff when you are back at the desk. But what if a little thinking right here and right now could make sure you are set up right for the year that comes? 

Reflect and Celebrate

If we approach life how we approach innovation or startup, we look at what has worked and not worked. We iterate our solutions and approaches, building upon success and moving away from problematic areas. So why not apply this same sort of thinking to our personal or business lives? In many cases, this is as simple as giving yoursef some time to dwell on the year that was, here you can look back at the last 12 months. What is there to celebrate? What makes you feel less enthused? What do you wish you achieved? What have you accomplished? 

Extra for experts: 
How to Reflect on Your Year in a Useful Way - Greatist
9 Questions That Will Determine Your Entrepreneurial Success - Fortune

Set Goals

Now that you have reflected, ditched the angst over the could have been and celebrated the what were's it is time to look forward. Using your last year as a jumping off point it is time to sketch out personal and business goals to help guide you in the next year. Do you want to produce award-winning work? Raise your personal profile? Or perhaps the things you want to achieve are more about balance and organisation. 

When setting goal's it is a good idea for them to be clear, concise, tied to date where they are to be achieved. Write them down, give them a home and commit to checking in with your goals, noting how you are going on your journey. Try the format [Present tense] [Specific goal] [Ring-fenced time]. 

Extra for experts: 
Goal Setting Template for a High Output Life - Medium
A Goal-Setting System I Learned From Google (And Still Use At My Current Venture) - Forbes 

Fill your own cup

Sometimes to move strongly into the year ahead you have to build some foundations. Before the year closes think about the skills you need to achieve the goals you have outlined above. How many of these skills can be met by your employer? How many can be met by mentorship, friends or family? If you are an entrepreneur or founder, how can your community support you in learning new skills? Or what events can you attend to take you to that next level.

Extra for experts:
Advice Worth Reading: 15 Self-Improvement Books That Will Motivate And Inspire - Forbes 
40 Amazing Places to Learn Something New Every Day

Learn the power of no 

"We've all been in that situation before: the ageing neighbour who wants you to stay for one more cup of tea, the painful friend that asks you to help her move at the last minute, the strange business idea from Doug that "just needs a little cash". Saying 'No' should be simple, but for a variety of reasons - trust, friendship, power dynamics, or a simple desire to please -  it can seem easier to say yes instead." 

Read more over in the blog post "Less Yessy More Sassy: The Art of Saying No (and Yes)"  

Approach your work with a must-do, can-do attitude

There are many tools on the market designed to help you navigate a list of things that you need to do. You can frame up projects on Trello, create check-lists on Asana or create a simple list of things to check off every-day via Todoist. And of course you can even do the ol' pen and paper if you are so inclined. 

Whatever way you choose to chart your tasks it is important to have a way. As well as creating a solidified point of truth for what you are meant to do, it also helps you separate out the must-dos from your list of things that would be good to do, or perhaps are not currently possible. 

Extra for experts:
How to Actually Get Sh!t Done With a To-Do List - Greatist 
What Successful Leaders’ To-Do Lists Look Like