10 Ways to Power Up Your New Year
Make the most of 1999 by taking action now
10 PRODUCTIVITY BOOSTERS
1. Go for the goals
Write down each of your goals in the form of a question, such as “How can I be more productive?” and come up with 20 different ways in which you can meet those goals, says radio personality Barry Farber in his new book Diamonds Under Pressure (Berkley Books, 1998).
2. Make a statement
Write a mission statement for your life, says education administrator Sonya Ptah in Get Organized (Amacom New Media, 1998). It should include personal growth, family involvement, and career advancement. Also, list what you want to do, be, and have in your life. Set forth long-term, intermediate, and short-term aims. Remember that the purpose of the list is to inspire and empower you, not to impress anyone else.
3. Be realistic
When deciding to learn a new business or personal skill, be specific and stick to a strict schedule, says Sandy Ehrhardt in Get Organized. Make sure that the goal is focused, challenging, and achievable. Also, limit the time for acquiring new office skills to about four months while allotting more time to, say, learning a language or gaining a professional certification.
4. Give yourself a wake-up call
To maximize your daily performance, wake up early and do something that stimulates you emotionally, physically, and mentally, says Olympic athlete and businessman Carl Lewis in Priorities, a journal focusing on personal and professional effectiveness.
5. Plan to adapt
“People and organizations should embrace chaos and uncertainty,” advises UCLA executive-education professor Moshe Rubinstein, who says businesses must learn to adapt better to dynamic environments. “Plan 50 percent, adapt 50 percent.”
6. Tune in
Listening to Mozart is said to raise your IQ, but that’s not true of all music you might hear while working, says L.A.-based ethnomusicologist Elizabeth Miles. Choose music without vocals; lyrics tend to distract listeners from their tasks. Go for baroque, and tune in to Bach, Telemann, and Vivaldi, whose varying melodies help expand attention spans.
7. Pick inspiring melodies
Music can, moreover, be a powerful tool for brainstorming, says Miles, who is also the author of Tune Your Brain: Using Music to Manage Your Mind, Body, and Mood (Berkley Books, 1997). Listen to music that surprises you. You may notice a word, note, or chord that sparks a new idea. The wild diversity in John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme, Eric Korngold’s Violin Concerto, the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s, or Liz Phair’s Exile in Guyville will shake up your neurons every time.
8. Redraw your circle
Figure out whom you’ve contacted most in the past few months. This is your inner circle, says corporate trainer Jim Cathcart in his new book The Acorn Principle (St. Martin1s Press, 1998). If they can’t help you reach your goals, look for more people to add.
9. Extend yourself
Make a list of the most important people in your life, and “reach out” to one of them when you have a free 20 minutes. Extend yourself to others, and they’ll do the same for you, says Steve Chandler, author of Reinventing Yourself (Career Press, 1998).
10. Build your own support system
Find a handful of people at or just above your level of achievement who are willing to grow and help others do the same, says corporate trainer Cathcart.