Ten years ago, I became an entrepreneur. 2009 was the year that Intuit, where I previously served as an in-house GM, agreed to sell the division I managed, MyCorporation, to me. I made the transition from attorney to entrepreneur in the same year, and embraced small business ownership.
As 2019 wraps up, I almost can’t believe that we are on the heels of 2020. How did we get here already?! Sometimes I hit “replay” on the decade in my head and assemble a little clip show of standout moments. (This is easier said than done if you think about how certain social media platforms, like Instagram, didn’t exist in 2009 to record most of it.) We definitely had our share of “greatest hits” over the years. Some of the standouts included incredible business growth, awesome partnerships, and endless gratitude for our customers.
You might notice I used the word “our” quite a bit. Nothing about the success of this business would be possible without our incredible team of employees. This company isn’t about “me” but rather “we.” Our team members make every day one where I’m excited to come to work. I thrive on being surrounded by their positive energy. I enjoy hearing the team’s creative, fresh ideas and feedback. And, I love to roll up my sleeves and get to work right alongside them.
Not surprisingly, my workplace resolution for 2020 is to spend more time working with our team. Inspired by this resolution — one I am already actively achieving! — I thought about a few realistic resolutions that employees can make for the workplace in the New Year. Team members can take action with these resolutions, no matter where they work or what they do, year-round. As a business owner, I am going to encourage my employees to use these resolutions in the workplace — and you can, too.
1. Pack your lunch for work.
I thought about making this resolution specific for eating lunch away from your desk. The only trouble with doing that, however, is that sometimes leaving your desk means going out for lunch. The weather isn’t always warm enough to do this year-round either. So, I settled for a resolution built around making and taking homemade lunches to work.
Do a bit of meal prep at the start of each week. Make a handful of recipes, ranging from seasonal dishes to comfort foods, so you have options. Freeze items to last throughout the week, and pick and choose which meals to bring to work. Not only will this help you save money from eating out frequently, but you’ll start to look forward to lunchtime. So will your coworkers, who will likely ask for the recipe to the delicious dish you made!
2. Take a daily walking break.
Walking breaks are popular with our team members. They’ll often grab another coworker and go for a walk together during their break. I love to see it! Many individuals will use their break time to sit down and scroll through their phones, but it’s important to get up and get moving. Squeeze time in for a 15-minute walking break during your workday. Go by yourself or take a coworker with you. Use this time to enjoy the fresh air, get in some extra steps, and strategize about how to reach certain goals for the month.
[Related: Recalling a Christmas Spent with a Start-Up]
3. Clean out your desk (and inbox) once a month.
Sometimes our spaces — both online and offline — become cluttered and messy before we know it. Make it a point to tidy up each month. Wipe off your desk with disinfecting wipes. Make sure you don’t have any old, open snacks lingering in your desk drawers. Organize paperwork and toss the ones you know are irrelevant. File old emails into specific folders or categorize by color code. Clear out your email junk folder, too.
One more pro tip? Now that you’ve cleaned your digital and physical workspace, don’t forget about the communal office fridge. Clear out any old food or drinks that might belong to you, and encourage your coworkers to do the same.
4. Bring 110%, not just 100%, of your best self to work.
This is a difficult resolution for many employees in the workplace to keep, and is often a work in progress. Some days are decidedly more difficult than others. You might accidentally oversleep, spill your coffee all over your shirt, or find out you need to stay later to finish an assignment on a Friday.
It’s hard to ask that you give it your all each and every day at work, but it can be done. The secret is to come into the office with a good attitude. Try to leave a bad morning, or bad mood, behind when you start the workday. Create a to-do list where, depending on the day, you feel confident you can achieve most of the list’s items.
Don’t make it your resolution to be the “perfect” employee. Instead, try to be the coworker, or boss, that you would like to work with. That’s usually an individual who sees the glass as half full and maintains a can-do approach in everything they do. When you focus on bringing your best self to work, you gradually become your best self.
Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation.com which provides online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, startup bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent services, DBAs, and trademark and copyright filing services. You can find MyCorporation on Twitter at @MyCorporation.