Still breathing? I stuck to my word…except for a few routine jobs, I did no other work – no writing or blogging or networking – nada! Feels good though and somewhere along all the New Year cleaning, feel like my mind is refreshed as well.
1. Let’s get started with planning your work week. Do you use a print or online calendar or diary to schedule your dates and appointments? I use Google calendar on phone, laptop and iPad but also use the American Express Appointment Book (leather bound standard paper sized book) as my back-up calendar so if ever any confusion about appointments arises then I have two sources to check up on. Pencil in important dates, events, etc. that you need to remember.
2. Now take a look at the month. Have you marked in monthly chores? This includes a term I recently learned called a PFD – Personal Finance Day. Make sure you have once a month to review finances and know where you stand with income and expenses. When you allot specific time to the activity you tend to focus on it more than when you just try to fit it in with everything else. Give yourself the time you need to figure out your finances.
3. Of course you must consider planning your day. You may not stick to the plan and some say they feel restricted by such a thing but at least it gives you a framework of what your day looks like, what you need to work on, who you need to meet, where you need to go, what must be accomplished for the day before you call it a day. I do more writing and editing during the day and marketing and pitching in the afternoon.
4. Important things to include in your plan are exercise – whichever form of it suits you best, and food – that thing you tend to overlook when you are typing away endlessly. These are two very simple elements of the whole that most of us don’t give much thought to but once you decide what it is and when it will be, it takes so very little time and effort but contributes to your health and your wellness - that cannot be denied!
5. Lastly, do you have everything you need to be professionally productive? You don’t need an office cubicle set up at your home to be productive but you do need some sense of a professional home office, even if it is just a desk but do you have reliable systems in place – phone, computer, internet connection, copier, scanner, fax, supplies, recorder, etc for you to be 100% happy that you are working from home and good at it!
Taking the time to plan, however little (or much) will help you be more organized and efficient in everything you do. A game plan is always good-it’s a sure sign you plan to be in the game! Get yourself ready to get set and go next week!
Don’t work the first week of the year. Revel in the holidays and memories of sharing with near and dear. Use this time to nurture that good feeling and let it ooze into your life. Do a few things that will set you up for the year instead of start burning you out already.
1. By this time, most greeting cards and postcards have been cleared out so send your thank you or New Year cards out now. Your recipients will find them this weekend or next, it will stay fresh on top of mind. A simple ‘thanks for the opportunities to work with you last year, looking forward to more occasions to collaborate in the New Year’ will do. I buy blank cards in bulk over the holidays and print a simple message created/designed on my computer.
2. I also use this time to send cards out to close friends and family, although, over time, these have ended up being electronic considering how many such cards have to be mailed. Past the Thanksgiving flurry and definitely after the Christmas and New Year greetings have done their rounds is a good time – I know from experience, I have had friends commend me on waiting out the yearning to quickly mail holiday cards all around.
3. Clear out your emails during this first week. Your vacation response from Christmas and New Year’s better be active! Clear out all folders on your email and ensure only what is absolutely necessary stays on. Clear out folders on your computer as well. Label them right, organize them for future ease, do the groundwork you need to do to ensure the rest of the year is smooth sailing, at least from your end. And clear out those spam and trash folders as well as the recycle bin.
4. As an extension of the point above, this is a good time to start preparing for your taxes. If you need forms coming in from employers, that can wait but make sure the papers you need in place are all sorted and organized in aptly labeled folders. You will be thankful in April when tax deadlines close in and all you will do is simply add in the forms sent in by employers and you are good to go. Works like a charm every single year, I tell ya!
5. Also a good time to engage in some well-deserved new year cleaning if you must. If your home or office witnessed holiday parties last year, do a quick look around and make sure you have cleared up all signs of the shenanigans that ensued. If you are a freelancer working from home then clean up that dirty work desk, drawers, et al and do give your laptop bag, work purse, etc. some TLC as well.
Try it. I officially began working only from the 13th onwards. You will see how much you will be relieved to start the year on a fresh note instead of what seems like a continuation of the scurrying and disorder that was 2013.
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