"Year's end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us." - Hal Borland
I tweeted this quote the other day. It resonates with me, because I have never been a big fan of the whole New Year's resolution thing. We all know that resolutions made on January 1 often fall short or become forgotten in the busyness of regular life, and then where are we? Many times, we're left to feel defeated and discouraged because we didn't live up to ourselves. Where's the inspiration in that? The slightly shifted idea that the end of the year is really a "going on", a continuance, an opportunity to keep learning, is very comforting to me.
And what's magic about January 1? Who says we can't wake up on say, April 18, and make a promise to ourselves to finally get the garage cleaned out? Goal-setting is a worthy activity any time of year.
January is National Get Organized (or "GO") Month, and I'm all for promoting it and spreading the gospel of de-cluttering and systematizing. But for my friends out there struggling with extreme situational or chronic disorganization, making a huge commitment to changing everything about their organizational systems (or lack thereof) can be overwhelming. Where to start? How to finish? How to keep from backsliding when we're tired, stressed, or just plain confused?
So here's a thought: don't make the resolution to "get organized". It's too big, and too vague. Instead, how about a commitment to One Small Thing, every day? One Small Thing that gets you closer to maintaining control over your surroundings. One Small Thing is just that...small. But imagine 365 of them all in a row. Here are some examples to get you started:
Tick the " One Small Things " off on a white board or piece of paper each day, and watch how they add up. You may miss a day here and there, or you may do 3 or 4 on a less-busy day. You might do the same One Small Thing several times. Flexibility is key. Some may become new habits, and others may inspire you to progress to that One Big Thing. Either way, you're better off than you were before, and that's something worth celebrating...whether on January 1, or April 18, or next December 31.
Wishing a very Happy and Healthy New Year to you all...
For many small businesses, the time between Christmas and New Year's can be pretty, well...slow. What better time to get prepared for a successful start to the New Year? Whether you work as a solopreneur, or manage a 10-20 employee office, here are some simple things you and/or your team can do before the countdown:
* Clear the spaces. You knew I was going to include this, didn't you? There is absolutely no denying that getting your office in order gets you set up for success. Block out time for a "Day of Purging" and take a hard look at the stuff that has collected over the year. Donate or recycle old, unused equipment. Sort through piles of paper and decide what could be scanned vs. what should be shredded. Make a quick inventory of what you have and see if it is still relevant to your business needs. Conversely, are there things you could use that you just haven't made the time to research and purchase? Start making the list...
* Check out some new technology. Did you purchase an iPad only to have it gather dust due to the lack of time to explore it? Well pull it out and see what wonders it holds. Now is also the time to REALLY learn how to use Evernote and all of it's helpful features, discover a more efficient way to process credit transactions, or check out the cloud backup system you've been wondering about. Why not review some new productivity apps while you're at it? Some good ones to try are Fuze, Promodoro, MindNode and Dragon Dictation.
*Review and update your business plan. It's a cliche', but you know that failing to plan is planning to fail. Attorney Adam Hill of Hill Law in Nashville has this advice for businesses:
"End of year is a natural time to take stock of where your business has been for the past year. Find the time to get back on track and familiar with your business plan - have you looked at it in a while, or have you moved from fire to fire without focusing on the big picture? Finding that time to look for improvement options, and reinvest in your plan, is the perfect type of thing to do at this time of year."
Additionally, look at your calendar for the past 12 months and make note of important dates and milestones. What worked in this past year? What didn't? Have you grown? If so, take the time to review your workflow procedures and meet with employees to see if these procedures still make sense for everyone.
* If you haven't already, thank your network. Notice I didn't say just "customers". When you stop to think about it, you probably have a wide group of people who have helped out your business in some way this year, whether through referrals, shared information, services or even shout-outs on social media. Take the time to let them know you appreciate everything they do for you by sending a handwritten note, or inviting them out for coffee or lunch. Another nice (and possibly tax deductible) thing to do: make a donation to a charity in their honor before the year is over.
So instead of hibernating and lamenting when end-of-year business wanes, put that time to best use (especially while your competitors may be relaxing). You'll find yourself in a much better position to conquer the world in the coming months. Here's to a wonderful holiday season, and a successful, organized New Year!
Sara Skillen - Certified Professional Organizer®, Certified Organizer Coach®, wife, mom, and serial list-maker. Learning to trust my intuition more every day. Shall we work together?