Article | Five New Year’s resolutions for busy people

We, busy people, have a business to run, a meeting to schedule, a plan to come up with, a new skill to learn, a design brief to prepare. We hustle 24/7, fail and succeed, learn and break the rules. We want to be good at running our startups, being self-employed, and being a significant part of the team.

The new year is a perfect place to start changing your busy person game to keep on making an impact without feeling you are missing out on life. Here are five solid resolutions you can implement to make that happen.

#1 Know yourself

A resolution is a habit in the making, albeit a very delicate one since the majority of the new year resolutions fail miserable. Hence I propose approaching the whole thing methodically like a real strategist would. Meaning, doing your research i.e. getting to know yourself first to know what habits are going to work for you and which you should forget.

I have already written on the Impact Hub blog about types of habit personalities developed by Gretchen Rubin so have a look and put your finger on the kind of character you have. Make 2017 your year of discovery – find out what motivates you, what dampens your energy, what scares you and what drives you forward.

#2 Take time off from hustling

*at this stage some hurry away scared and recommence hustling*.

I saw multi-tasking being praised for a valuable skill and years later being condemned as the new smoking. Yeah, it’s hard to catch up.

“Wilson showed that the cognitive losses from multitasking are even greater than the cognitive losses from pot smoking. Russ Poldrack, a neuroscientist at Stanford, found that learning information while multitasking causes the new information to go to the wrong part of the brain. If students study and watch TV at the same time, for example, the information from their schoolwork goes into the striatum, a region specialized for storing new procedures and skills, not facts and ideas. Without the distraction of TV, the information goes into the hippocampus, where it is organized and categorized in a variety of ways, making it easier to retrieve it.”

Daniel Levitin, The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload *

*This is an affiliate link – if you click on it and decide to purchase the recommended product, I will earn a small commission.

Currently, everybody is about hustling. Gary Vaynerchuk made hustling a synonym of his name. Guides and books explaining how to become a professional hustler pop up like mushrooms after a downpour. Everything well-known entrepreneurs said in the past is translated to the modern version of being a hard worker: ‘they know how to hustle’.

You know what? As much as I love being busy, I wouldn’t be as productive as I am, without taking time off. I do not mean a ten minute break or actually sitting down at a table without screens to have a meal. I mean having a cut-off time in the evening when you won’t touch your mobile and computer anymore. Weekends off work. Having an hour in the morning just for your pleasures. If you are working hard, and I bet you are, you will get what you are after without self-inflicted exhaustion anyway.

#3 Find mentors

Not just one- find as many as you can. Do not get lured into thinking that you know everything because there will always be somebody, who has a little bit more knowledge, experience or insight. Identify your weaknesses, seek people who inspire you and follow their lead. Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you.

#4 Be mindful of your achievements

Whether it means patting yourself on the back for sending that e-mail or practising gratefulness in the evening, take the time to appreciate what you have done and set yourself on track towards empathetic life. That alone is one of the most powerful tools to rewire your brain. Change your thoughts, and you change your world, wrote Norman Vincent Peale.

#5 Learn to say no

Remember the movie ‘Yes Man’? Jim Carrey plays a frustrated guy, who turns his life around with one powerful word: yes. However, as fantastic as his transformation was, the real world is not as kind to self-employed, start-up workers and entrepreneurs as the Holywood would like it to be. Sometimes, you got to evaluate, weigh the pros and cons and not take that crazy opportunity, which makes people’s jaws drop when they hear about it. Sometimes, you have to say no because chasing stars can break your contact with the earth and leave you hanging when you least expect it. Know your goals, know your worth, and choose what brings you closer to your dreams.

This article was originally written for the Impact Hub Vienna blog and published on the 13th of January, 2017. Access it online here.