Have you heard of Blue Monday? It’s supposedly the most miserable day of the year, and it falls on the third Monday in January – this year, it’s on the 17th.
It was first conceived by an equation, which took into account factors such as:
- When most new year’s resolutions have been broken
- When the weather is poor
- When personal debt levels are typically at their highest
- How tired and low-energy people are feeling
- The time since the Christmas hype has ended
This year, you also have to contend with a bit more on top of that, if you’re a business owner. With rising costs, staff shortages, rising energy prices and COVID-19 related uncertainties, many of us are really feeling the brunt of January.
So how do we find the motivation to keep going? January is a crucial month for your business, it’s where you set the trends for how you mean to go on.
Let’s break down the challenges together into three, easily-achievable steps.
1. Set The Stage
If you’re working from home, like I am, you’re probably currently surrounded by the post-Christmas clutter and shivering while you work. In the office, you’re probably contending with getting up before the sun rises, defrosting your icy car and an equally-depressing attitude from those around you.
So before we take action, let’s create an environment where we can stimulate ideas, creativity and action.
Here’s a checklist to complete, before you move on to stage 2:
Deep Clean Your Desk
Get rid of clutter, dust and debris. Ensure the only things sitting before you are helping you to become the most productive version of yourself. Be ruthless, bin those papers you’ve been hoarding!
Tidy Up Your Computer
Spend 15 minutes going through your files, especially your downloads, and getting rid of the mess you don’t need. Clean out your email box and set up some new folders so you can organise anything that comes in new. Ensure there’s no useless icons on your desktop, and consider putting all your most used programs and files in one section for easy accessibility. Set a new background – treat yourself!
Combat the Cold
On a purely biological level, we think slower when we’re cold. We’re not as productive. Our brains are telling us that our main priority is to hunker down and survive. Get yourself some thermals, woolly jumpers and hot water bottles to ensure you’re at a nice ambient temperature when working. You could also have a flask of hot drink to hand, so you don’t need to get up to make fresh cuppas.
Find Your Fuel
What makes you thrive? What inspires you and helps you think more clearly? Whether it’s a great cup of coffee, a brisk walk or a Monday morning catch up with your colleagues, schedule time to kickstart your day.
2. Make a Plan
You can’t just hurdle head-first into working and expect results. The vast majority of us will end up off-piste without a plan. In fact, spending ten minutes every hour planning can make the remaining time in that hour much more productive than if you just tackled a task with no direction.
Fighting the business challenges we’re all about to face in 2022 is going to take consideration of a number of factors, so let’s review a few things we’ll need to be thinking of:
Where is the business right now? What are the challenges it will face this year? Once you’ve made a list, prioritise those challenges into high, medium and low priorities. For most of us, we’ll be looking at staffing and rising costs as our immediate challenges. Not far behind, we’ll need to consider our marketing and growth or survival strategies for sales.
Look After Your Staff, and They’ll Look After The Business
If your business has staff – if it even has just one member of staff, the chances are that they’re imperative to your business operations. You can’t run your business without them. All the sales, all the marketing investment, it won’t matter if your business can’t deliver a product or service.
January is a great time for reviewing staff training. The government has advised that businesses create a plan to operate on up to 40% staff shortage. A big way to make progress on this is to up the efficiency and productivity of each staff member. With training, they can make smarter decisions, prioritise their tasks better and utilise new software and equipment to meet goals quicker.
Work smarter, not harder, am I right?
Right now staff training can be funded by the government 95-100%, so let us know if you’d like some advice about that – it’s what we do!
Try Something New
In difficult times like these, only innovative business who don’t fear change survive. That’s the truth of the matter, and history proves it.
Expand your horizons. Consider taking a short course to learn a new skill, attend a networking event that you wouldn’t normally consider, or spend some time reading / watching content from someone new.
Don’t underestimate Youtube or even TikTok business gurus. You might learn something unexpected to inspire your strategy.
Break Down Your Goals
Every business course out there will preach about SMART targets, but how many of us actually use them? Personally I like the breakdown method. Set a goal, break it down into less than 5 core tasks, then break those core tasks down further into baby steps. Schedule those baby steps into your planner and you’ll be making strides in no time.
3. Execute Your Plans
We have a strategy in place for January now right? We’re cosy, inspired and motivated, so let’s do this.
Don’t Be Afraid To Designate
Ok, so staff don’t want more responsibility than their pay grade, but they do want to feel involved. Why not present your grand plan to the team and take in their feedback, they might think of something that you haven’t – or have a quicker technique for achieving something.
And for those who are at a manager’s level – assign any tasks related to their department, and set deadlines.
Set Regular Reviews
Review your progress at the start and the end of the week. Don’t set aside too much time – remember meetings are a big productivity killer. Instead consider using a dashboard like Asana or Trello to see how things are going.
Why not network and find yourself an accountability partner? Set up a friendly meeting on Zoom or over coffee once a week for just 15 minutes and discuss your goals and challenges. If you are accountable to a check-in, you’re more likely to prioritise correctly and make constant steps towards completion.
How are you feeling this January? Is your business optimistic about 2022? Let us know in the comments below, or chat to us on social media!
Don’t forget, if one of your goals is to get better at digital marketing this year, we’ve got a free 2022 Content Calendar available for download.