10 Things to Do Before the New Year

Whether you work for someone or yourself, things tend to slow down for many of us in the final two weeks of the old year. What better time to do a little business sprucing? Here are ten things to do before the New Year to feel invigorated and ready to whatever comes your way.

  1. Plan for a successful New Year. Do a review of your work and see how you can make the next year a better one.
  2. Clean your email box. Challenge yourself to reach inbox zero, or if you have thousands of messages, shoot for half. Delete newsletters, unsubscribe to newsletters you never read, file emails that require no further action on your part and address those that do. Don’t put it off. Make it a goal to complete the to-do emails by December 31.
  3. File papers. Not all of us have every bill, invoice and paperwork in electronic format. It’s easier to file paperwork on an as-you-go basis rather than let them pile up. I have folders for bank statements, credit card statements, business contracts and printed pay stubs. If you receive any other paperwork on a regular basis, create a folder. You may need folders for items related to health benefits, stocks and retirement.
  4. Update your resume and bio. It helps to update these on a regular basis as you take on more challenging projects or work with new clients. It’s easy to let these slip that when someone asks for a resume or bio, we scramble to provide an updated one. Do it now while you’re not rushed. It also helps to have a short, medium and long version of your bio. While you’re at it, review your LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other social media profiles to ensure they’re up to date.
  5. Organize your workstation. Take a look at your work area and see if there are improvements you can make. You may already have a great office set up, but it never hurts to make sure it’s optimal.
  6. Clean your computer(s). Cleaning includes both the inside and outside of your computer. Thursday gave some tips on how to clean the outside of your laptop and Simon addressed the cleaning the inside.
  7. Take care of administrative tasks. The tasks depend on whether you have your own business or work for someone else. For those who do the invoicing, take a look at your accounts receivables to make sure all of your invoices have been paid and take care of those that have not. You may also need to collect 1099s and W-2 forms.
  8. Review your address book. Consolidate your contacts, back them up and archive old contactd. Verify you have contact information that you need and put those business cards into your address book.
  9. Review your social media strategy. Whether you blog, tweet or update your statuses in Facebook and LinkedIn, having a plan in place ensures you remember to provide value to others rather than focus on you. Your plan doesn’t have to be formal; just one that gives you direction to keep you on track. Also, think about how much time you spend in social media, which is more about return on relationships than direct ROI. This might be a good time to review Aliza’s 10 Golden Rules of Social Media.
  10. Assess your marketing strategy. What’s working? What’s not working? How do you land new business or projects? You may need to up your marketing activities in one area and drop them in another.

Think about how great you’ll feel when you return to work after the New Year more organized and ready to take charge.

What are you doing to prepare for the New Year?

Photo credit: Jeff Hire

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