The start of a New Year always seems like the most natural time to make adjustments in life, hence you have so many people making New Years resolutions. Whether they last throughout the year is another matter. But there is something cleansing about starting anew on January 1st.

Personally I am not a massive resolutions person. I think that sometimes if you try to make stark and abrupt changes to your life at the start of the year, you are more likely to fail at them later on. A more gradual approach, with smaller tweaks and adjustments to phase in the wider changes is a better idea, and lets you fit into these new routines and norms better, with less risk of you falling out of them quicker.

But, I still have some of my own changes I want to make this year, both in work and personal capacities, and I thought I would share some of them with you.

Use my phone less

There is no arguing with the fact that smartphones are a distraction. They have helped move the world on massively there is no doubting that. And in the workplace they are fantastic. But ask yourself, how often do you find yourself mindlessly scrolling down your Twitter or Facebook timelines. I know I do. Sometimes I don’t even realise I’m doing it which is the worrying thing. And if I’m doing it at work, then it means I’m not working, harming my productivity.

So, during 2018 I aim to reduce my time looking at my phone screen. That doesn’t mean cutting it out altogether. I still need to make and answer calls, texts, emails etc. But I do want to cut right back the time I spend wasting scrolling down my social media timelines. They provide little to no tangible benefit other than being nosey.

I still need to use my laptop and tablet of course, can’t work without those. But I have installed a number of apps that also work on my phone, so I have less chance of being distracted and being tempted to look at my phone, therefore keeping me focused on the screen I should be.

For example, I have installed WhatsApp on my tablet. Everyone I speak to is on WhatsApp, so if I can communicate from my tablet via WhatsApp, there’s less chance I’m going to pick up my phone. I have done the same thing with an app called MightyText. It’s pretty much the same, but for text messages. Not everyone I know is on WhatsApp, so if I get a standard text, again I can reply from my tablet.

I want to increase my productivity this year. Hopefully this will help.

Get on top of emails

If you emailed me last year and either got a late reply or no reply at all, and it was a genuine email, then I apologise. I promise you it’s nothing personal. As many of you know, I keep myself pretty busy with a variety of things, and sometimes those things get on top of me, so other daily tasks fail to get done, like answering emails.

So for 2018 one of my biggest aims is to make sure I stay on top of my emails in a much more up to date manner. If it’s a genuine email then I aim to respond within 24 hours. If it’s spam, or a begging email from someone I don’t know asking for guest posts or links back to their site, then you’re going to be ignored. Sorry. I have to prioritise my time and will only reply to things that are genuine and useful.

DGB Brexit

Leaving work at work…sort of

I am involved with a few projects. I have a day job selling windows and doors to the public for the family run business. I have this, and I have the NFAs. Free time isn’t exactly in abundance. Of late I do quite a lot of work at home to be able to keep on top of things as best I can. But this also means I don’t get the down time with friends, family and my other half as much as I should. We work to live, not the other way round.

So this year I want to be more productive throughout the day so that I can more often come home and switch off properly, rather than have work on my mind that I pressure myself into getting done. I get married in July, have a honeymoon to plan, a possible house move and perhaps even a DGB junior in the works after that. Work is important, but these are more so.

That doesn’t mean I won’t work at all from home, that’s just about impossible without falling massively behind on things. But I do want to make sure I create more free time at home and be with the people that matter more. Otherwise, what is life?

Eat better

Your body is your engine. What you put in it determines how well it performs. Now I’m pretty good at making sure I go to the gym at least a few times per weeks, so that isn’t a resolution of mine, I just need to keep doing what I’m doing. But I could be accused of being a tad lazy with my food and drink intake during the course of 2017. I do make sure I get a decent amount of fruit and veg in me, but there was also a good dose of takeout food and booze in the mix too.

So, if I am to be more productive at work, and to make sure if fit nicely into my suit for our wedding, the diet has to be refined. More fruit and veg, more meals cooked at home, far less takeout and less booze. The beer might be the tricky one. I do like to have parties at my place when the Six Nations is on, and I have a wide group of friends so birthdays are regular. I like my craft beer and BrewDog isn’t far away from me in Leeds. Basically there is always an excuse. I need to resist those excuses a little better!

Streamline things at work

During the day job, I would say time is my biggest enemy and the biggest barrier to better productivity. During the course of this year I want to vastly reduce the amount of time it takes to get from sales visit at home to quote in someone’s hand. That means streamlining what we do, looking at ways tech can help reduce the work load and speed things up. That means more cloud-based pricing. Better and quicker ways to process quotes. Basically analysing all our work processes and trimming down things we don’t need to do and doing more of what we need to do.

We have increased our 2018 sales targets by a good 20%. No small measure. We’ll get there by targeting sales of certain products we already do well in. But in order to do that, we have to be more efficient in what we do. The more time we waste on doing tasks that should be quicker, or just generally wasting time on things that don’t need to be done, the less productive we’ll be as a business.

I understand that streamlining is one of those jobs that is never done. You can always be more productive and waste less time. But as human beings we all fall into bad habits which take us off that road. I guess the key will be making sure those bad habits don’t manifest themselves.

What are your personal and business resolutions this year? Planning to grow and increase sales? Wanting to hit the gym more and eat better? Want to spend less or more time at work? Let us know via the comments section below.

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