It goes without saying that 2020 is going to be a year that will go down in the history books. Of course, we are all acutely aware of the large-scale changes that the pandemic year resulted in. I am sure I am not alone in looking forward to the day that Covid-19 is not the number one subject of news reports, Twitter posts, parliamentary debate, and press conferences. 

While the pandemic was ‘unprecedented’ for so many reasons on a mass scale, people continued to face new sets of challenges and upheaval on an individual level.  

And so, it is amidst all the noise, the unprecedented challenges and ‘race’ to the 2020 finish line, that I challenge you to ‘switch off’, pause and take time to reflect.


Switch off and pause

On a professional level, I am sure that many unexpected ‘curve-balls’ were thrown your way in 2020, making for an even more compelling case for ‘switching off’ at this time of the year and hitting the metaphorical reset button on your brain. And consider that taking a ‘brain break’ by daydreaming isn’t necessarily a waste of time either; research found that “brain areas associated with complex problem-solving -- previously thought to go dormant when we daydream -- are in fact highly active during these episodes.”  It is thought that the daydreaming state of our brains is likely linked to our brains ability to be creative and problem solve.  The break may give you a new perspective on an issue or conundrum.  

I also challenge you to ‘live in the moment’ with those closest to you during this end-of-year period.  So many of us have been pushed and pulled in all sorts of directions this year, and for so many different reasons. Being conscious of limiting the amount of time you spend on work during this down-time is likely to make you feel calmer, more positive and may increase your ability to be in tune with your own thoughts/emotions and those closest to you. 

Take time to reflect 

As Benjamin Franklin said, ‘out of adversity comes opportunity’.  Amidst all the challenges that 2020 no doubt threw up, consider: what were the unexpected highlights?  Maybe it was the realisation that your company could still function with everyone working from home? Or was it that you replaced your daily commute with more family time?  

Think back to your ’December 2019 self’ compared to now: has your perspective changed over the last 12 months? How so and why?

If you are in a leadership position (manager, team leader, supervisor or business owner), I would also humbly suggest that you ask your teams to do the same.

It is natural to focus on the goal setting, action plans and the ‘what’s next’ to push yourself personally and professionally into a ‘better’ 2021 but I would hazard a guess that 2020 has bought up some unexpected highlights or shifts in perspective that would serve you well to recognise and take with you into 2021 and beyond.

I sincerely wish you a restful and ‘reflect-full’ break, and hopefully one that allows you the space to come back to work feeling revitalised and ready to take on 2021 with renewed energy and perspectives. 

Wishing you a wonderful and restful period over the season.


Nick Hedges is the founder of Resolve HR, a Sydney-based HR consultancy specialising in providing workplace advice to managers and business owners. He recently published his first book, “Is Your Team Failing or Kicking Goals – Take control of your people and their performance”. It is a practical response to the most pressing HR challenges, which can be found at https://resolvehr.com.au/.

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