It's not just the start of a new year but, when the clock ticks midnight on December 31st, we'll be into a whole new decade. The end of the aughts. As in "we ought to have just skipped the last ten years." Fortunately, with our book I Hate People! now available as your guide for navigating the office oafs in the workplace, it's a perfect time to make some resolutions. Changes designed to allow you to be a highly productive Soloist who has also learned how to enjoy your job.
1. I Resolve To Grab A Quick 10
The Quick 10 is the Soloist way to start slicing out a little "me" time in the middle of what could be a hectic day. It's not a coffee break or some other corporately dictated downtime, but ten minutes of your very own. So pick your spot. Maybe it's 9:40 in the morning. Or 2:12 in the afternoon. Whenever that Quick 10 time is for you, grab it and stick to it. Let everyone know you're "tied up for a few minutes". Then maximize those precious Soloist minutes to do what you need to do. Whether it's the crossword puzzle or finishing a report doesn't matter. What matters is that you've staked your claim on ten glorious minutes. Use it wisely.
2. I Resolve To Clean My Cave
A Soloist's Cave is that spot where you can hide away from the world for a bit. Maybe you use it so you can hyperfocus on the day job tasks. Or perhaps it's the space to tinker on that screenplay, novel or invention. You might even just grab a snooze. One thing is certain about Caves regardless of their purpose and that is that they gather clutter. That's okay -- creativity is a messy process. But when your Cave gets too out of control, being productive becomes more of a challenge. So make an effort to toss out old papers. Wash that coffee mug. Defrost the mini-fridge. Heck, you could even break out the vacuum cleaner.
3. I Resolve To "Efficient-ize" My Workspace
Keeping your cube or office tidy is pretty much a no-brainer for being productive at work. But have you taken a good look at how to make the space more conducive to the way you work? Simply by rearranging a chair or your desk even slightly can discourage drop-in visitors. And take a good look at the patterns you've developed doing even simple tasks -- we often have things inconveniently out of reach or placed so that accessing supplies keeps the easiest stuff from getting done in a timely manner. Shuffle the things in your desk drawers so that they make more sense and it will help put the "less" into "effortless."
4. I Resolve To Create A New Ensemble
A Soloist's Ensemble is that neat and nimble replacement for the corporate team. Just a few trusted associates who interact in true productivity to get a specific task done. Chances are you've already got at least one together. The problem is that even an Ensemble gets stodgy and slow after a while. So mix yours up a little. Bring in some new blood or even give your current crew a break entirely. Consider bouncing ideas off an out-of-the-office friend who doesn't do anything close to what you do for a living. The fresher the Ensemble, the fresher the Soloist's ideas.
5. I Resolve To Find A New Route To Work
For some, given their location and situation, this may be an all-but-impossible resolution. But however you can manage it, discovering a new way to get to the job (and get back home again) can spark a whole new wave of creative productivity. The new sights, sounds and people you'll encounter can't help but have you seeing the world in a different way. If you normally drive, try public transit. If you normally bus it, jump on a bike. Remember that the journey is the destination. Not to mention if your usual route goes out of commission -- be it by traffic accident, bureaucratic blunder or natural disaster -- you're still good to go.
6. I Resolve To Find A New Job...In My Old Job
As 2010 is unveiled, the economy is still in (hopefully) recovery. But it's still not a great time to be looking for a new gig, especially if you've already got a job. Still, there's little more exciting than starting something new. So find ways to "remodel" your current employment to make it fresh. Set new goals for yourself. Meet with your boss and discover some new things you can be doing while retiring other tasks that have become tired and maybe redundant. Even think about doing some "task swaps" with other people in your department to both learn some new skills and refresh the way you look at your job.
7. I Resolve To Help Someone Else Become A Soloist
While it's not your job to help others (unless that actually is your job), letting someone else in on the "secret" of becoming a Soloist can often help you discover new Soloist ways yourself. Step One, of course, would be to get them their own copy of I Hate People! Beyond that, inviting them to be part of your Ensemble is a way to let them see how to form their own Ensemble to get things done (don't be offended if their Ensemble doesn't include you -- you've got better things to do, anyway!) Take them on an out-of-the-office Island Hop sometime and your protege Soloist will start to figure out there's more to work than the daily grind.
These are just some resolutions that come to mind when it comes to becoming a better Soloist. This blog has a lot of regular readers who have discovered the Way of the Soloist for themselves -- what are some other ways that the enterprising Soloist can kick off the new year?
Marc Hershon is the co-author of the business book with attitude, I Hate People (Little, Brown and Company; June 2009) with Jonathan Littman. Marc is a branding expert who, through his Simmer Creative Studio, has created such memorable names as nüvi, Crackle.com and the title for Dr. Phil's book Love Smart.