Five New Year's resolutions for CAs

New year plan
By Eleanor O'Neill, CA Today

3 January 2017

Alarm clocks have replaced sleigh bells and most businesses are re-opening their doors this week. If you are looking to set your goals for 2017 but don't know where to start, here are a few ideas from CA Today.

1. I more productive

If you feel yourself flagging in your job or worry you spend all of your time on menial day-to-day work instead of important and innovative projects, productivity may be something you need to work on this year.

Longer hours are rarely the answer, as being productive tends to have more to do with attitude and habit than time. Sorting your priorities more efficiently and making a concentrated effort to be more organised can be a big help.

Distractions like overflowing email inboxes and internet browsing are the biggest enemies to your productivity during the work day. A study by the University of Columbia recommends checking your inbox just three times a day to prevent a downward spiral. For example, first thing in the morning, right before lunch and about an hour before you leave at night.

Try productivity apps like RescueTime and Buffer that are designed to help you identify websites and social media that pull you away from work and block them during office hours.

2. I will...learn new things

Whether you want to pick up a fun hobby or expand your career skill set, putting time aside to learn something new is a great way to start off 2017 and indulge in some self-improvement.

Simple commitments like reading more or listening to podcasts regularly can open up a range of opportunities and topics for exploration. TED Talks also offer a wide variety of informative perspectives on interesting subjects for free.

If you want to go a step further and undertake training or gain a new qualification, it may be worth looking into which skills are going to be most useful in the coming years. For those really dedicated to further education, there are many options for online or flexible degree programs offered by most colleges and universities.

Continuing professional development is a key part of being a CA and ICAS provides many learning opportunities throughout the year with online courses, webinars and professional conferences.

3. I will...get a promotion

Wishing to move up the ladder or earn some other accolade for your work by the end of the year is an admirable goal. 

Consider what the needs of your company are and how well you currently meet those requirements. Try talking to your manager about what may be on the table within the organisation and what you can do to be a more outstanding candidate for recognition. 

This will hopefully provide you with some specific tangible goals to work toward, but just bear in mind that planning on a pay rise to motivate you may not pay off.

On the other hand, if you are solely looking to get a higher salary this year, make sure you go about it the right way and really put in the effort to earn it.

4. I will...strengthen my network

Improving your relationships with your co-workers and becoming a more effective networker outside of your organisation is a key element in enhancing your professional life and your career progression.

Face-to-face networking may seem like an intimidating and time-consuming project to embark upon but is generally thought to be essential in professional circles. Realistic goals like attending a networking event every quarter, perhaps with a colleague, are a great way to start.

ICAS regularly hosts such events that are often free for members to attend and feature engaging speakers on entertaining and educational topics. You will likely find that your efforts to connect are more successful if you are able to share genuine interest in the subject with other attendees. Planning ahead and coming prepared really pays off.

You can also take steps to reach out online and make the most of resources like your university alumni network, suggested connections on LinkedIn and the ICAS digital networking tool, CA Connect.

5. I will...reduce my stress levels

Hopefully you will have had a chance to unwind and enjoy yourself after the hectic work and home life sprint that is the festive period. Now that business is starting up again for a new year, it may be time to take a fresh approach to how you cope.

Research has suggested that workers in the UK lose nearly a month's worth of productivity due to stress-related issues a year. If you think you may be putting too much pressure on yourself, step back and try a few basic things to improve your well-being.

Ensuring that you get a good amount of sleep and trying to adopt a few more healthy habits in the office will do wonders for your overall energy and mood. Further changes to how you manage your workload and interact with colleagues may also make you happier.

Apps like Headspace encourage users to take 10 minutes for themselves to relax and meditate, no matter where they are. Undertaking this practice could improve your perspective, build motivation and generally reduce your stress levels at work and beyond.

What are your New Year's resolutions for 2017? Tell us in the comments below.


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