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How to Reflect on 2012 and Set Yourself Up for Success in 2013

How to Reflect on 2012 and Set Yourself Up for Success in 2013

2012 is almost over and what a crazy year it has been!

At the end of the year comes the beginning of a new year, and with the beginning of a new year comes the beginning of a new set of goals. At the beginning of a new set of goals comes the opportunity to live a more satisfying, successful and happy life, and it’s how you treat this process that will influence your success in the coming year.

To ensure that 2013 is set to be the best year you have ever had, it’s important to reflect on the year that was. What are the things that you are most proud of? What are the biggest discoveries you have made this year? What has made you the happiest? Understanding the answers to these questions will give you a huge boost in ensuring 2013 is the year that you change your life.

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Every year I have a process of reflection that I go through to ensure that I am progressing in life and being satisfied and fulfilled. If we don’t reflect on our lives, we don’t know if we are heading in the right direction, and we don’t learn from the events that have shaped our lives.

People who do not take the time to reflect on their lives often feel “lost”, or that they are just drifting through life. It’s absolutely crazy how many people feel this way. In fact, I ran a survey a couple of months ago and the responses blew me away.

Although 91% of respondents noted that they feel it’s extremely important to have clarity about what you want to do with your life, only 34% of respondents indicated that they have some clarity about the direction in which they want to go—that leaves a whopping 66% with little or no focus. Out of a survey of over 200 respondents, not one individual mentioned that they get to live their passion on a daily basis.

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This is why reflecting on 2012 is vitally important.

Reflecting on the year-that-was helps you to identify your successes and help determine your strengths; it helps you to ensure that you are progressing towards your larger goals in life; and it helps you lay the foundation for goal-setting, assisting you in ensuring that 2013 is going to be the best year you have ever had.

Right now is the best time to reflect on your life and the year of 2012, so I encourage you to take 20 minutes to participate in the exercise below.

How to reflect on the previous year

Find yourself a peaceful and quiet location to reflect on the past year, a place where there are no distractions around so you can really focus your thoughts. An ideal location would be somewhere outside of your own home—perhaps a beach or a nearby park. Find somewhere you can set your mind free.

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Take a notepad and pen with you, or if you’re into technology, take your iPad or similar device.

Write down your answers to the questions below, but note that these questions are just a guide: depending on your individual circumstances, you may want to add your own questions that are more specific or relevant to your life.

Ready? Here goes:

  • What are the 5 things of 2012 that you are most proud of?
  • What new connections have you made, and how have these shaped your life?
  • What experience has made you the happiest?
  • Who has made you happiest?
  • What have been the best moments in your career this year?
  • What changes would you make to your career in 2013?
  • What challenges did you overcome this year? How did you do it?
  • What has held you back from achieving what you wanted to do this year?
  • What can you do in 2013 to ensure this doesn’t happen again?
  • What habit did you acquire this year that has made a difference?
  • What habit has prohibited you from achieving what you wanted this year?
  • What habit do you want to enable in 2013 that will make a difference?
  • What was your biggest mistake in 2012? What have you learned from this?
  • What else have you learned this year?
  • What are 3 words that sum up your year?
  • If you were to live 2012 all over again, what would you do differently?
  • Add your own!

The Next Steps

Now that you have reflected on the past year, keep your answers at the front of your mind, and file your notes about them nearby so you can refer to them regularly. Your reflections will become the starting point for setting your goals for the year, and those goals for 2013 will be much more targeted and more relevant to what it is that truly makes you happy.

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It only takes 20 to 30 minutes to do this, and this short reflection can have a huge impact on your overall well-being, your learning, and your success for 2013.

Let me know how it goes as I would love to hear your experiences! 2013 is going to be an amazing year. I can feel it!

Featured photo credit:  abstract image of a businessmen rushing in the lobby via Shutterstock

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Brendan Baker

Brendan helps people who feel stuck doing work they don't like start to make a difference and an income doing what they love.

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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Con #2: Less Human Interaction

One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

Con #4: Unique Distractions

Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

More About Working From Home

Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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