We’re now into the new year. You might have already made (and perhaps even broken!) a few New Year’s resolutions in your personal life. But have you made any professional resolutions to improve your work life?

We have resolutions that can inspire and enrich your professional journey next year. These fantastic professional resolution ideas can provide ideas for improving your work life this upcoming year.

1. designate electronics-free times

The majority of us have the bad habit of being attached to our phones and other electronics. We dare you to try to recall the last time you were farther than an arm’s length away from of some sort of electronic device. It’s a lot harder than you think!

However, just because the technology is there, doesn’t mean it needs to capture our attention all the time. A New Year’s professional resolution could mean designating a certain amount of time each day where you put down the screens. Try to focus on offline activities like reading a book, cooking, or spending time with your family. Not only will this make you feel good, but it's also good for your mental health.

2. give 'inbox zero' a try

A great professional resolution is getting your inbox into shape. Try using Inbox Zero, an email management style where you have no unsorted or unopened messages in your email. This style involves dealing with emails when you read them or sorting them to be dealt with at a later time. It also helps you to delete everything else, so you have a completely empty inbox.

If you’re sitting on a pile of thousands, or maybe even tens of thousands of unopened emails, that can seem like a pretty daunting task.

Our recommendation?

Start small. Unsubscribe from those daily emails, newsletters and promotional emails you never read.

Next, it's time to start deleting emails. Delete or save old unopened emails. If they're over a few weeks old, you won't read them.

Make it a goal to deal with all your new incoming emails each day. It’s amazing how an uncluttered inbox can lift a weight!

new year’s resolutions
new year’s resolutions

3. get active on LinkedIn

Like it or not, LinkedIn is the professional social network. If you’re serious about networking and building a personal brand for yourself, you need to be on LinkedIn. An active and up-to-date LinkedIn profile is a bare necessity for professional development in today's day and age.

Why not take it a step further?

Instead of being the LinkedIn user who only engages when you need something set aside some time weekly to post. When you want to grow personally and professionally, having content on your account will help others trust and support you.

4. step outside your comfort zone

A new year's professional resolution is all about stepping outside your comfort zone.

It can be really easy to get into a rut at work. This is particularly true if you have a job with many tasks that need to be done every day or week. You come into work, do what’s expected of you, go home, rinse and repeat until retirement.

However, a lot of workers are definitely stuck on the repeat cycle. Make an effort to take on projects that’ll stretch your abilities. And if you’re not regularly offered them, ask for them! That in and of itself might be stepping outside your comfort zone!

Do things that scare you a little bit. That’s the only way you’ll grow professionally.

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5. learn something new every day

Your skills can become outdated quickly in the fast-paced business world. It doesn't matter if you work for a small business or a large corporation.

The software we work with daily is constantly receiving updates, and new and more efficient tools are being churned out at a dizzying rate. To stay on top of the pack, you must be an adept learner. Now we’re not saying you should learn a new professional skill each day—that sounds exhausting.

Learning can involve small things, from getting to know a coworker a little better, to reading an interesting article, to trying that new G-Suite feature has been wanting to try. You will want to stay up to date with the top skills employers are looking for.

6. use all your vacation time

Work life balance is so important. A good new year's professional resolution is taking your vacation time. Did you know that26% of Canadians have admitted to not using the paid vacation offered by their employer? That means 1 in 4 Canadians ignore their right to get paid or taking a break from work.

At some workplaces, doing so is even considered a badge of honor, concrete proof that you’re a hard worker. This kind of thinking needs to stop. Using vacation isn’t weakness or proof of laziness.

All full-time workers in Canada are guaranteed at least 2 weeks of paid vacation. It’s a fundamental right and for good reason because work life balance is important for both your mental and physical health.

Overworking is real, and can cause burnout and a drop in productivity, no matter how much you love your job. So use your vacation. You deserve it!

7. leave the office at 5 pm sharp

We know that there are always going to be days where you stay late. You must complete that one thing you really need to get done ASAP. But those days should be the exception rather than the rule.

Hourly paid workers wouldn’t think about putting in extra hours without being paid for them. Salaried workers are expected to be available at all times, even outside of regular working hours.

Say goodbye to your guilt about leaving the office on time. And maybe even leave a little early once in a while.

8. take more breaks

Canadian law entitles workers to two 15-minute breaks, or a half-hour meal break for every 5+ hour shift they work. Many employers often offer more.

Yet, many people don’t take these breaks, and worse, some workers don’t even know they exist.

Research has shown that taking regular breaks and working for short periods is more effective. It also helps to keep you more focused compared to working without breaks. In fact, there are whole task management philosophies built around the principle.

The Pomodoro Technique is a popular one. There’s also evidence that it’s better for your health. In addition to reducing stress, it encourages you to move from sedentary positions and reduces your risk of heart disease, obesity and other chronic illnesses.

Our point being: taking breaks is good for you!

9. ask for help when you need it

We all want to be self-sufficient. There’s a certain pride in being able to do things on your own. That said, no one is an expert in everything and there are times when you’d be better off asking for help.

Now that doesn’t mean that you’re foisting work off on someone else. Try thinking of asking for help as an opportunity to collaborate.

If you're unsure about a task and don't want to do it poorly, ask an expert for help. They can teach you how to do it properly so you can eventually do it on your own. If you’re asking for help because you’re overloaded, there’s no shame in that either. Be honest with yourself about your workload and what you can reasonably handle.

10. reach the next stage of your career

It’s never a bad time to make career progression your goal. There’s no one right way to advance your career, either.

Your career advancement might mean a promotion to a management position. To someone else it could be taking on new responsibilities in their current role, or a change to a new department. For some people who are happy with their current responsibilities, a career progression could involve negotiating to work from home occasionally.

Whatever your career goals are (and it’s always a good idea to have a list!) evaluate the steps you need to take to make them happen in your professional resolution.

11. find a new job

If you’re not happy with your current job and no new year’s resolution is going to change your mind. So, make it your new year’s resolution to find another job.

January is a great time to launch a job hunt, because businesses have recovered from the holiday rush. They're often in a mindset to start fresh and re-evaluate their needs and budgets.

That means a lot of hiring decisions are often made during this time. Clean up your resume, think about your personal brand and get out there and find a shiny new job.

Is your work resolution not on this? We’d love to hear what you’re doing to enrich your work life in the coming year! Share your professional new year’s resolutions with us on social media!

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