How am I Going to Make this Year Better?

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Making Better Use of Options and Being More Effective

The truly wonderful thing about a new year, if you are that way inclined, is the idea of a blank slate with which to start everything 'right'. I have always been an optimist, and for me the beginning of a new year is always a redefining moment. I spent a few hours this week metaphorically clearing out my desk – which for the digitally minded amongst us means our computers (although I also cleared out 4 desk drawers' worth of old notebooks and paperwork!) – and deciding to change a few things in the year ahead.

As we are all into sharing this first week back I thought I would share how I am planning to 'do things better'!

  1. Spend at least five minutes every morning unsubscribing from all the junk that finds its way into my email – that does not include the SSON newsletter (!) – But it does include the various nonsense that we inadvertently sign up for. I figure I'll make progress slowly but surely.
  2. Make better use of team meetings. We had just moved over to Uber conferences and I have to say that while I miss the video aspect, it really is easy to use and easy to invite others. We will save ourselves valuable hours a week without the familiar-to-all conference dance of, "who's online?", "can you resend the conference PIN to Sally”, and “it won’t let me join!”. Plus, the option of recording and sending that recording on to anyone who missed the meeting is fantastic.
  3. Set up a Council of experts, let them know you need them, and use them. Every year I plan to do this, but the idea always loses steam. We all face content or expertise challenges throughout the week, and being able to tap into a knowledgeable, informal resource is invaluable.
  4. Brainstorm with outsiders. I've learned about some of the most interesting ideas not by sitting in inhouse team meetings, but by listening to what other people do at other companies. Airline magazines are great for ideas! So is the Sunday newspaper. Thinking outside the box is refreshing.
  5. More and better networking. I’ve set up one hour, three times a week, to spend on LinkedIn: reading the things I normally skim; commenting; adding relevant tags and links; connecting with more interesting people; initiating a few random discussions. These connections are everything to me in my job – but their value extends into any aspect of work.
  6. Adding personality. I think it's safe to say we have left the cult of business language well and truly behind. Today, it's more acceptable – and enjoyable – to read personal opinions and recognize personality than it was in the past. Twitter is great for this – I love reading about people’s sailing exploits alongside their operational tips! And I have noticed that I tend to click more on tweets from people who I know combine both. It's a smart way to differentiate who YOU are.
  7. Try new things – for me, specifically, that means recipes. I subscribe to the New York Times food section and my favorite email every Friday is “What to cook this weekend". It's kind of like outsourcing the planning to an expert, and all I have to do is implement. (I've also started getting my groceries delivered via Instacart.)
  8. Put my money where my mouth is: in robotics. Obviously I am not a stockbroker and in no way am I offering advice – but there is something to be said for an ETF on Global X Robotics and AI that looks like this, right?
    robotics stocks
  9. Finally get involved with a local organization that 'does good,' not just talk about it.
  10. On a more personal note, prepare for changes that are coming. We all hate surprises and unexpected events. I think the trick is probably to take better notice of signs, and manage expectations. I say that thinking of my dog. He's 15, and has spent most of his life being a passive assistant editor, lying next to my desk. He's currently not doing so well and I fear is on his way to a better place. Preparation is everything.

I wish everyone within the extended Shared Services and Outsourcing Network’s global ‘family’ the very best for 2018. As always, we are here for you – just drop me an email if we can help you with a particular challenge.


Barbara Hodge, Editor