When you're running a business, you may feel as if you never have time to get out of crisis management. There's no time like the present to sit down, take stock of where your business is right now, and plan how to move forward.
These five habits can help you get 2017 under control. They might even make it your business's best year yet, and help you manage your time a little bit better so that 2018 won't catch you by surprise.
1. Assess Your Organization
The beginning of the year is a great time to reassess your organizational strategies. You can always find ways to streamline their organization, better manage their time, and keep track of what's coming into and out of their office.
Look at what you already do. Is there something you regularly forget, such as meetings, conference calls, returning emails, or a particular weekly task? Or is there something that takes up too much of your time, such as responding to social media or dealing with one-on-one meetings?
Strategize to improve your organization in targeted ways. Talk to mentors in your industry, as well as colleagues, about what tools they use to stay on track.
2. Consider Your Priorities
When your company first started, you probably created a mission statement, a brand statement, and other key documents that defined what your company was, and what it stood for. Return to those core documents and decide: Are you living up to your own expectations?
Does something in your business need to be adjusted so that you can move forward? Is it possible that something in your mission statement needs to be clarified, simplified, or expanded upon?
Go through your business documents carefully, and make a list of anything that you feel needs changing, or which is not being adequately addressed. Meet with other high-level team members to address any concerns that they might have, and create an action plan to address each issue.
3. Plan Time To Manage High-Level Concerns
Too many CEOs get caught up in everyday detail work. Make time to address your company's high-level concerns, as well as managing whatever details are necessary from day to day.
You can create a schedule block, every day or every week, where you look at high-level goals and assess what steps can be taken to move your company in the right direction. You can then delegate tasks and set up times for your reports to update you on progress.
You can create meetings to talk about how departments are functioning, and better understand the next steps that need to be taken.
Or you can work in the other direction, limiting the time you spend on day-to-day tasks every day, committing to delegating what cannot be handled personally.
4. Make Time For Education
The best CEOs and executives are always learning. Make time to learn more about business, about history, about management techniques, and about diverse perspectives in the world around you.
There are more educational opportunities now than ever. You can pick up a book or an audiobook, join a group, attend a seminar, or meet people online. The key is to cultivate curiosity and to seek out opportunities.
Determine the most important things for you to learn this year, and make a schedule to help you stay focused. Whether it's spending a certain amount of time reading this year, or going to a certain number of classes, you can develop these skills if you work at them.
5. Improve Your Work/Life Balance
In France, a new law protects employees who do not answer their phones or check their emails when they are away from work. It'll be quite some time before the United States adopts a similar rule, but you can protect yourself and your employees from burnout by instituting your own version.
Working 60-hour weeks is unhealthy, and people deserve fair compensation for the time they put in at their jobs.
As a manager, the best way to encourage this balance is to take time for yourself. Your employees will follow your example. If you constantly eat lunch at your desk and work hours late every evening, commit to changing that in the new year.
These changes can all be made at any time, but there's something about New Year's that makes it a little easier to consider what's come before and what's up next. What are you doing to make sure that 2017 is the most successful year yet for your business?