After taking time to unwind through the holidays, you want to come back to your office feeling refreshed and ready to conquer the year ahead. But that’s pretty hard to do without setting specific, achievable goals. Here, seven tried-and-true methods for keeping your career climbing all the way to 2018.
CREATE A FIVE-YEAR PLAN
This is a great time to take stock of your long-term career aspirations. Do you want to be head of your department in half a decade? Do you want to be running your own consulting firm? Writing the dream down is the first step to committing to it. From there, write out the steps it would take to achieve your goal, then plan to hit a couple of them this year.
NETWORK OUTSIDE YOUR OFFICE
Knowing people in your industry is not only a smart business practice; it’s good mental practice. You’ll get to talk about the ins and outs of your profession, and even if you’re not looking for a new job right now, making those valuable connections will definitely benefit you in the long run. (Or at the very least get you invited to more office Christmas parties.)
MANAGE YOUR INBOX
This one is pretty straightforward, but it’s time to get your email habits under control. Set aside 30 minutes every day to go through and respond to requests—doing it during a designated time, rather than throughout the day, ensures nothing slips through the cracks. Start the year at 0 and keep it that way by subscribing to a service like Unroll.me, which aggregates the subscriptions that blow up your box daily.
LEARN A NEW SKILL
File this one under: personal development. It’s always a good idea to keep up on your industry practices, tools and technology changes and then educate yourself accordingly. Is your media firm getting into video this year? Sign up for a class so you’ve got a foundation and can hit the ground running.
STAY UP ON YOUR INDUSTRY
Find a blog or website dedicated to your profession and sign up for their daily newsletter. You can read it on your commute or as you ease into your day at the office. Keeping tabs on the changes taking place in your field will equip you with the knowledge to continue slaying far into 2017 (and beyond).
IMPROVE YOUR WORK-LIFE BALANCE
The ever elusive work-life balance is definitely hard to get right, but you can do it! It all comes down to boundaries: What are you willing and not willing to do? If you’re absolutely not answering emails at 11 p.m., let your supervisor know. Most (good) bosses respect clearly defined boundaries. Want to leave the office earlier? Start coming in earlier to even things out.
GET CLOSER WITH YOUR BOSS AND COWORKERS
No one’s asking that you become best friends, but we can all agree it makes the workday more pleasant when you get along with the people surrounding you. Set up a monthly happy hour with your team or find a group activity you can all enjoy together. Hey, you can probably even expense it!