It’s hard to believe, but the new year is right around the corner. With just a few weeks left in 2018, it’s time to start preparing for 2019. Are you ready?
Maybe 2018 was a fantastic year for you, or maybe it was one you’d rather soon forget. Either way, it’s important for you to plan ahead for the new year. You won’t get a productive, prosperous 2019 without intentionally working toward it. Don’t just make New Year’s resolutions that are short-lived and leave you feeling disappointed when you inevitably give up on them. Rather than arbitrarily coming up with one goal for the new year, focus more on long-term goals.
If this sounds intimidating to you, here are four ways to make the most of the remainder of 2018 and get ready for the new year.
Clean Up Your Workspace
Before you can start fresh with a new year, you need to clean out your life. You need space—both physical and mental! If you don’t have this, you won’t have any room for new ideas and opportunities. Start with organizing your workspace. Archive and shred old documents and papers that you don’t need anymore. If they aren’t serving a purpose, they are needlessly taking up space. Don’t stop your purge with just paper items. Delete old emails and electronic files. If there are items you can’t delete, at least archive them so they aren’t cluttering up your inbox and computer.
Eliminating the items that you don’t need will help clear your focus. That pile of old business cards, notes, and paper scraps will distract you from the many things you need to do. Clutter also has a tendency to overwhelm us. The last thing you need is more stress in your life, but that’s exactly what you’ll get when you have a lot of extra stuff in your workspace. Your work area should be a place where you feel inspired and motivated to work—not one where you feel suffocated and unwelcome. If you find yourself scared of getting rid of things, remember your motto during this time: out with the old, in with the new.
Reduce Your To-Do List!
Have you ever thought about how your responsibilities are constantly growing, and you are always adding to your to-do list, but you never take anything away? After some time, you have to realize it’s impossible for you to keep up with all of these responsibilities. At some point, you are going to have to either choose to eliminate something, or it will fall through the cracks by default. This is especially true toward the end of the year when everything is piling up and will eventually reach a tipping point. Don’t let something important become the thing that falls by the wayside.
Take a long, hard look at your list, and ask yourself if each project you have listed is still relevant. Will they all tie into your priorities for 2019? Are there items you have on the list just because you think they SHOULD be, but you keep putting them off and you don’t intend to accomplish them? There’s no point in them staying on your list. Ask yourself if some of the items on your list are just busy work. Maybe you included writing reports and updates that no one reads. Choose to remove these items and replace them with more meaningful tasks.
In your new and improved to-do list, consider how you can showcase your strengths. Don’t forget to keep items that will bring you joy. Get clear and current on your to-do list.
Manage Information Flowing into Your Life
It’s very important you manage the information you are allowing yourself to absorb. Information overload is normal, but it shouldn’t have to be. Think hard about what you actually want to let into your life. Who do you follow on social media? Are there some accounts that make you feel bad about yourself rather than inspiring and motivating you? Unfollow the accounts that have a negative impact on you.
Don’t forget about junk mail—both physical and digital. Unsubscribe from promotional emails that fill up your inbox. You can use optoutprescreen.com to opt out of credit card solicitations and valpack.com to stop receiving coupon packs and catalogs.
Take Stock of 2018
Lastly, review the past year of your life. What did you accomplish either personally or professionally? Remember your achievements and be proud of yourself! But don’t just look at the ultimate results. Think about what led to those results. What books did you read that inspired you? What podcasts did you listen to, television shows did you watch, etc.? Did you go to any conferences or workshops? All of these things have an impact on your motivation and creativity. It can be good or bad. Make sure you weed out the influences that have the wrong kind of impact on your life. If you don’t have a lot of good influences, think about the type of results you want in the new year and what influences you need to start consuming to achieve those goals.
Don’t just focus on the good things. Think opportunities you missed or times when you think you failed. If you’re aware of these mistakes, you’ll be less likely to repeat them in 2019. Think about what you want more of next year and what you want less of.
If you’re intentional about the way you spend the final days of 2018, you’ll have a better 2019. Enjoy what’s left of 2018 and have a happy new year!
Carson Tate is a renowned coach, teacher, and creator of the Productivity Style Assessment® with expertise in providing simple solutions that transform individuals’ personal and professional lives. Learn more about her philosophy and strategies for productivity by visiting carsontate.com.