This weekend I was chatting on Google+ with Abigail Markov. What would we do if we didn’t have to work? The answer is, of course, work anyway. Working is fun.
But working for yourself means managing your energy and motivating yourself when you need to. Although you’d think drag racing is just about who’s the fastest, it’s actually about who has the most intuitive understanding about when to let off the throttle and when to hammer it again.
2015 is breathing down our necks, and with it tends to come a lot of energy and enthusiasm. Everything seems fresh– a chance to begin anew.
So the corollary is that January isn’t a good time to be tying up loose ends. You want to do new fun stuff! Not boring old stuff that isn’t quite finished yet!
At least that’s how it is for me. And so every year I make sure to do these 5 things before the new year gets rolling:
#1 Clean Up The House
Not the most inspiring thing to do, but you know what also sucks? Getting three weeks into the January and having to take time away from all the absorbing new things you’re doing to put away Christmas decorations. Get stuff put away and vacuum the floor at least, or you’ll be picking tinsel off your socks until Valentine’s Day.
#2 Clean Up Your Bookkeeping
Whatever your filing system consists of, you’re going to have to make room for the 2015 bills and paperwork. And, you’re going to want the paperwork for taxes all organized in one place. What I do is just lift last years folders out of the filing cabinet, tidy and sort them, then make new ones for with the same labels. Boom– new year ready to roll.
What’s even better is if you start putting together the paperwork you’ll need for taxes. For me, this means printing out reports from Amazon and Paypal. You might use invoicing software like Harvest, or budgeting software like YNAB. Obviously, you’ll want to wait until Jan 1 to do this, but I always find it a lot easier to do it right now when the year is wrapping up than wait until April and try and figure out what information I have to track down before I can figure out my taxes.
#3 Pay It Forward
In the Commonwealth, December 26th is Boxing Day. Traditionally, people would box up the things they didn’t need and give them to charity. It seems easy at this time of year to look in your closets and cupboards and realized that you didn’t use or wear that thing last year… or the year before that. So pull it out and get it out of your house. Pass it on to someone who can actually use it. As a bonus, you will free up space and you won’t have so many items to keep clean and organized.
#4 Make a List of Things That Will Make Your Life Easier and Acquire Them
This year on my list? Smaller dinner plates. A USB adaptor for my microphone. Organizer racks for canned goods. A cream-and-sugar set for coffee. A tall stool for my standing desk. These are little ways of removing friction and frustration from my life. Take some time to reflect on the little things that could make your life better.
#5 Make a Plan
After the holidays, getting back to work can feel weird. Your routines are all messed up. You’re suffering from an overabundance of enthusiasm that may make you dive head-first into projects without thinking them through. And you’re all rested up and raring to go. So make sure you steward that energy wisely.
Make a plan, ease back into your routine, and focus on the fundamentals. You’ve got the whole year ahead of you, and you want to begin as you mean to continue.
If you’ve got big plans for 2015 (or you don’t know where to start) check out my brand-new program Practical Planning. Registration is open until Jan 1!)