The start of the year is usually a time for setting goals and making resolutions. But this New year the mood was quite different. There is still a weariness in the air as lots of people around the world are experiencing pandemic restrictions. Life is far from normal and will be for some months yet. It is hard to focus on long-term planning with so much uncertainty afoot.
My advice this year is to make plans one month at a time.
Reflect on 2020
Last year was an extraordinary year. As people dealt with many challenges they have shown amazing resilience. People were forced to rethink how to work and live. They adopted new habits and routines. They found new ways to connect with each other.
These new ways of living brought some benefits but some downsides too. This is a good time to reflect on your 2020. What was good about the changes you made? Did you bring anything forward into 2021?
A Route through the Winter Months
January, February and March can be tough months even in normal times. As the excitement of Christmas fades, the weeks can stretch out endlessly in front of us.
This year we have lockdowns and Covid-19 restrictions. It can help to view these months as a journey with a destination rather than endless days of the same thing. Focus on small habits and routines. What do you want to start doing each month? What worked for you in previous restrictions? Was it exercise, cooking, a new hobby?
Reflecting back on my recent lockdowns I know that routine helped me through. I tried to focus on what we can do rather than what we can’t do.
But in January I eased into some new routines. I started taking an evening class to learn a new skill and I walked every day. I had planned to read each night but I have to be honest, I didn’t find the motivation.
My gentle approach to January worked and by the start of February I felt more energised and ready to tackle some new challenges. Sometimes it takes time to get going at the start of the year and that’s okay.
Plan One Month at a Time
At the of each month, reflect and decide what to focus on for the next four weeks. Chose a new theme or habit each month based on how you feel and what you need to get done. These challenging times won’t last forever. You have the power to take control, set small targets and succeed. Plan one month at a time.
Tips on Forming Habits
A new habit can take a while to develop. Sometimes we get frustrated and lose motivation. At the outset expect it to be hard. Don’t aim for perfection straight away. Try not to give up if you falter and need to start again. A good target for a daily challenge is not to miss two days in a row. Keep restarting if you stop.
It can help momentum if you track the new habit. This helps you stay motivated because if you get on a “streak” you won’t want to miss a day! You can download our Habit Tracker template here.
Other Productivity Resources
We have lots of other resources to help people be productive while working from home. Checkout our Covid-19 Resource page here for Productivity articles, tips and templates.
If you would like to book a Productivity and Time Management Webinar, Training session or Coaching programme please contact Moira.
Written by Productivity Consultant Moira Dunne, founder and director of beproductive.ie.