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Whether your running your own company or managing a team for a larger company, says Richard Harris from Okappy, work can often bring big challenges, but the new year is a fresh slate and a chance to reflect on your goals. Whether you have 10 employees or 1000s, here are some realistic practises you can integrate into your work habits without dropping the ball.

New Year is an opportunity to slow down and reflect upon the bigger picture. Despite advances in technology, many of us find ourselves working harder and longer hours. However, this doesn’t necessarily lead to a higher rate of productivity. Productivity in Britain (measured as the hourly output per worker) has declined to 15 per cent below the OECD average.

Studies also show that people who work more than 55 hours a week are at a higher risk of suffering from a stroke, coronary heart disease, diabetes and depression. So it comes as no surprise that the “meditation and mindfulness industry raked in nearly $1 billion” last year according to a Forbes report.

Follow these resolutions and you’ll be well on your way towards a more creative, productive and effective 2018.

1. Say NoWhen running your own business or department, it’s unsustainable to go with the idea that you’re always at work. This will only leave you constantly wired whilst wreaking havoc on both your physical and mental health - and will eventually lead to burnout. How creative can you be if you’re fighting fatigue? How effective of a leader can you be if you can barely stay awake?

It’s important to have a divide between your work life and your personal life. It’s important that you recognise when it’s time to stop. Turn off work notifications and turn your phone to silent for certain contacts in your “out-of-office” hours. Set a time each evening where you will “clock-off” for the day. Rest hard before you work hard - not the other way round.

2. Throw Away Your To-Do Lists

As an entrepreneur or manager you will often find yourself juggling various different tasks at once throughout the day. Writing a to-do list may seem like an obvious thing to do, however, putting each task on your calendar rather than a list is far more effective. Instead of being left frustrated with endless pages of half done tasks, each task will be allocated a timeslot on your schedule. Instead of a daunting list, each activity will seem a doable part of your day and will help you better understand the order of priority.

This will also help you manage your time in general. You will be able to see what you have to complete each week alongside the time you have blocked out for family and friends.

The key here is time blocking. Break your day up into chunks. Set some time aside in the morning to reply to emails and schedule the rest of your day in order of priority. If you’re working from home, you could consider working from a local coffee shop for half of the day. Sometimes a change of scene can be refreshing and help stimulate your brain. If you’re office-based - make sure you get up and go for a short walk at some point. You can also time block for exercise and rest, which will essentially help you to achieve a better work-life balance whilst organising your “to-do tasks” more clearly.

If you are managing multiple staff members, you could consider using job management software such as the Okappy market network. The calendar view feature allows business owners and administrators to see all of the jobs of all employees and connections each day, week or month at one glance.

3. New Year, Same You

This may seem satire, but what I really means is - stay authentic.

It’s important to recognise that different people will have different approaches to work. It’s more important that you find the approach that best suits your needs than trying to copy the working lifestyles of other business leaders. Stay faithful to yourself whilst you and your business evolve and experience growth.

Realistically in this year you will make some mistakes, but make sure you don’t lose sight of how far you’ve come from since you first started out. Frequently take timeout to reflect and keep your focus on the long-term goals of your business. You were the one that decided to begin on this journey and that same person will be able to see it through.