2020 was a tough year. A tough economic climate brought about by the pandemic has characterised the better part of the year. As a professional you must be noticing the changes happening in the workplace. Have you evolved enough to fit in the future? Here is what you should focus on.

 1.    Master data visualisation

This is one of the most crucial skills to learn in 2021. Data visualisation is basically presenting data in graphical format to make decision makers see visual analytics and grasp difficult concepts. Although this concept has been around for some time, technology seems to be lighting the fire on it by making it more exciting as a combination of science and art. It is a wise investment as it will help you and your company to identify areas that need special attention, improvement and predict patterns in your productivity. And don’t you want to be that person at work who can be counted on when needed?

2.    Manage cognitive load

This is basically finding out what makes you shine and focus on it. 2021 is your year to become excellent at filtering information for importance. It is the most effective way to maximise performance by focusing on only the most crucial matters to work on. We are encouraged to keep on learning, but the redundancy of reprocessing unnecessary information challenges the learning process.

3.    Up your game with cross-platform communication

Don’t WhatsApp your boss the meeting’s minute, just as you don’t email him about a simple matter that would have been served better on a phone call. Effective communication will always make work flow easier at the workplace. Thanks to technology, we now have different platforms to communicate. Be it email, text, phone, instant messaging, we need to learn the appropriate platform to use while being mindful of the message we are trying to put across.

4.    Exude flexibility

The ability to handle different people according to their personality requires creativity, logical thinking and excellent people management skills. People are different in their ways of thinking, how they express themselves and how they react to situations. This shows that we always have to be flexible in how we interact and engage with different individuals.

5.    Lose some digital weight

A positive digital presence is not only good for business, but it is an excellent branding platform. We may have accumulated so much unnecessary information in our social media pages and other business platforms. Review your digital image and make the appropriate changes. Click the unsubscribe button on emails that flood your inbox. Check your security settings on all platforms that you frequently use and get rid of pages you rarely visit. Go through your laptop, phone and get rid of those files you no longer use. Run some security scans and update your applications. You will feel happier and lighter once you are done.

6.    Journal

Write down your to-do list and ensure that you cover at least 90 per cent of what you wanted to cover. Remember to write down every idea, thought, dream, wish and goal that you may think of. Not only will this journal help you get more organised, it will also reduce the stress you get from over analysing issues. Whenever you need to get back on track, or remind yourself of an idea, you just need to check into your “personal black box” for that inspiration.

7.    Be grateful

When we are faced with tough situations, we normally wonder why such things happen to us instead of learning the lesson behind them. Sometimes we complain too much over trivial things until we see someone in way worse troubles. It is always beneficial to be grateful for what you have. This does not mean that you kill your ambitions; it only means that you appreciate every step of the way as you work towards your goals.

8.    Commit to new experiences

These new experiences will expand your thinking. For instance, you can choose to avoid sugar for 30 days in a row. You can also choose spend one more hour with your spouse every day, or call your children every two days just to catch up. At the end of the 30 days, assess the impact that new experience has made.

9.    Invest in a robust financial future

You definitely want your financial future to be bright especially as you are getting ready for retirement. Evaluate your cost of living expenses to see where you need to cut costs. Automate payment of essential bills. Mind your taxes, shed financial commitments that aren’t doing well and put more money aside. Ensure your personal and financial goals align.

10.  Write a personal mantra- if you do not have one yet

Think long and hard about phrases that express your basic beliefs. Brainstorm about who you are and who you want to be. What attributes do people use to describe you? Your mantra should paraphrase your best self in very few words. Keep repeating it to yourself and acknowledge that pursuing it is a special gift. It will end up having a lasting impact in you.

11.  Refresh your network

If you have lost touch with some of your contacts, it’s time to work on them and get the appropriate ones back in your circle. Connect with people outside of your immediate sphere of influence and make a good impression. Remember that successful relationships are founded on mutual trust.

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