It’s 2021. For many of us, the new year brings a renewed dedication to things like exercising more, being kinder, re-engaging the swear jar or finally cleaning out the garage. But the events of 2020 may have had more sinister impacts on our work habits that require a bit more introspection and self-awareness. Is it time to tighten things up, professionally?

Goals and performance: Just because you aren’t at the office under your boss’ nose doesn’t mean that performance goals and reviews go out the window. If your boss has let this slip – or you’ve let it slip for your own team – get back on track, stat. Without goals and expectations, you’re not achieving, you’re just working. This can also be an effective way to help your employees re-engage and renew their focus after a tough, isolating year.

Teambuilding: Before you shudder at the thought of another awkward Zoom happy hour, try something simpler and less forced. Use your phone. It’s not just for Insta and DoorDash. Email, Slack, Trello, Teams, and Hangouts have their purpose. But there’s more humanity in 1:1 verbal communication. Have a question? Ask it with your voice instead of your fingers.

Workspace: Whether you’re sharing your work area with a spouse, three kids, a dog and a partridge in a pear tree or you’re solo and free to roam from spot to spot in your home, you may have trouble keeping your “desk” (lap? counter? guest bed?) free of clutter so you can focus. Move the stack of mail, Legos, last week’s coffee mugs, and cat. Clutter can create stress. Just ask National Geographic.

And last but certainly not least…

Work attire: Who ever thought wearing pants would be a workplace “best practice”? Let’s be honest, nobody wants to be the office oddball wearing a Brooks Brothers suit while Zooming from his kitchen counter. But maybe the pants-optional (or footie PJs) approach isn’t helping you as much as you think it is. Sure, it feels good to be comfortable. But when you’re going from bed to coffee to office in three steps, the line between work and home gets blurred. And guess what? Your clothes do influence your performance. It’s science. PS – nobody needs to see your Chipotle lunch crumbs on that grubby college t-shirt.

It’s 2021. We all knew that January 1 wasn’t going to bring us a panacea. We still have many difficult rivers to cross. But we’re doing our best to remain optimistic that good things are coming. And if nothing else, the new year gives us the opportunity to shock our systems out of any sluggish habits we’ve formed in this odd new world. Let’s make this a year of personal and professional success.

Also, Target is having a sale on fancy new yoga pants.

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