Each year a lot of people make New Year Resolutions. I can see why, the turning of the year makes a good place to draw a line in the sand, and either start or stop doing something. For me though, if I see that something needs to change, I do something about it as soon as possible. I don’t always manage it of course, but why wait 3 months until the new year if you realise in October that something needs to change?
Because of this approach, I don’t actually make any New Year Resolutions myself. Something I have done for the past few years is have an annual mantra that I remind myself of daily though. This is usually a fairly broad statement that I apply across all areas of my life, but is often business focused.
In 2014 my mantra was “Simple and scalable” which was very much business related. When developing new products I constantly asked if what we were doing was simple and scalable. The end result was the launch of an off the shelf App aimed at eateries www.makemyrestaurantapp.com
In 2015 my mantra was “Effectiveness over efficiency”. One of the things I’m always striving to do, is to be more efficient in everything I do. That way, I create more time and freedom to do what I choose. What I found myself doing though, was concentrating on making a process as efficient as possible. That’s great but what if what your doing is actually the wrong thing. For example, you may make your email system super efficient with folders, rules and auto filters etc. That’s better than it being a big mess, but are all the things you’re doing via email best dealt with that way? At Appware we moved completely away from email for internal communication. It was the wrong tool for the job and we now use Slack. This has massively improved communication and therefore productivity and happiness for the whole team.
In 2016 my mantra was “Travel more”. I do consider myself fairly well traveled but the world really is a big place. Over the past couple of years I’ve realised that travel really does help me from both a creativity and focus point of view. Being in a different environment helps me see things from a totally different perspective, which in turn helps me solve problems. It also snaps me out of the usual day to day goings on, so I find this particularly helpful when working on creative concepts, and new projects.
And finally, what’s my mantra for 2017? Another really simple one of just the 3 words “Less is more”. What I’ve realised is that we all tend to overthink and overcomplicate things. Rather than just launch a simple product, we think of every way it could potentially be used, and keep adding and adding to it rather than just launching to a select segment of users that it suits perfectly. There are lots of books out there on this subject (1000 true fans by Kevin Kelly, is a great example) and it’s something I’ve already started to implement myself. Why I’ve only just realised that this works in all areas I’m not sure! We’re constantly advising customers at Appware to keep their Apps as simple as possible. Those Apps that just do 1 job REALLY well, are the Apps that are the most successful.
Also, rather than try and run 100 things at once (or add 50 things to a to do list) I now fully focus on one thing at a time and then move on to the next. This stops the feeling of being overwhelmed with a huge list of things, and ideas constantly flying round your head. I’ve also started to say no to things a lot more. It’s all too easy to say yes to everything, and finding yourself constantly busy with things that aren’t really driving the important things forward. I heard a great saying about this a couple of years ago which sums up why beautifully; “When you say yes to one thing, you’re saying no to absolutely everything else”. We all have exactly the same amount of time each day, and it’s very limited, so do use this time wisely.
So that’s what I do instead of making New Years Resolutions each year. How about you?