• Rachel Mawhirter

How to Make the Most of New Years

This year, more than ever, I think we can all agree that we’ve lived MORE than enough of 2020 and we’re all ready to kick it to the curb! But New Year’s Day is always a holiday I look forward to because of what it represents. Fresh starts, clean slates, and an excuse to start better habits. And I’m not talking about weight loss!

New Year’s is often overused to sell gym memberships or discount furniture. But today, our goal is to change your perspective on New Year’s Day, or offer a different perspective on how you can use New Year’s to your advantage.

About ten years ago, while I was still working for my local Chamber of Commerce in marketing and communications, my boss at the time explained that she’d be working on New Year’s Day. After a few of us on the staff gave her a hard time about work-life balance, she explained why it was her tradition to work for a few hours every January 1st and it made TOTAL sense. Ever since then, I’ve shared in that tradition and it’s been a game changer for me.

But really think about it…

  • How many times have you been at your desk, wishing for a moment of uninterrupted time to work on all that “non-urgent” stuff that is piling up behind the scenes?

  • Or maybe you’ve thought “yeah that would be nice if I had some time to work on that.”

  • And while you’re so busy planning the best ways to serve your customers, who makes time to focus on the goals for YOUR business? Or to make professional goals for yourself to continue honing your skills?

Once I started the tradition of working every New Year’s Day, even if only for a few hours, it made me a better brand builder. And I know lots of entrepreneurs and leaders who leverage the quiet day alone in the office to set goals, organize files, and plan projects for the upcoming year.

Here are the seven things we recommend making time to do on New Year’s Day to set yourself up to be a better brand builder:

  1. Organize Your Files – It is so gratifying to spend 30-60 minutes focused on getting rid of things I don’t need anymore. Off my desk, off my hard drive, off my camera cards, out of my inbox, etc. For example, organize photos you’ve taken last year so they’re easy to find in the future with searchable folder names. Another example would be to unsubscribe from junk emails that are cluttering your inbox. Check out the free service called Unroll Me if you aren’t using it yet.

  2. Implement Activity Blocking – Start scheduling 10-15 minutes at the end of every day to block out the time for the following day. And while you’re in the middle of an activity block, avoid notifications for emails or phone messages so you can focus on the task at hand. Then take 5-10 minute breaks between each block of activity. You’ll get so much more accomplished and it’s easier to be realistic with your time this way!

  3. Update Your Website – Business owners get so busy serving their customers that sometimes they forget to work on their own brand. Spend some time going through your website and assessing what needs to be updated and who to delegate that to – your website company, your employee, etc. You don’t have to do all the changing on New Year’s Day, but spend 20 minutes thinking about it and getting the ball rolling.

  4. Plan Events and Promotions for the Year – Think about what promotions you’re going to run, if any, during the upcoming year, what days you’ll be closed so you can update your Google business listing, when you might want to schedule a personal vacation, and any other events you might want to host for customers.

  5. Email Your Accountant to Review the Prior Year’s Performance – Yes, they’re busy during tax season, but you can make it double duty – review your tax return information, but also ask them for help assessing your business performance the previous year and any opportunities for improving profit margins. This can also be a good time to plan your charitable giving for the year.

  6. Get a Massage - Do something quiet and relaxing, just for yourself. Maybe it’s ice fishing. Maybe it’s meditation. Maybe it’s seeing a movie alone in a quiet theater in the middle of the afternoon. Whatever you do for YOU, make time on New Year’s Day to reset.

  7. Set a Goal for Improving Yourself – And no, we don’t mean weight loss. Think of maybe a bad habit that’s making you less productive than you know you’re capable of. Or a task on your to-do list that you procrastinate every month because you don’t enjoy it. How can you optimize your working hours to make your job as enjoyable and productive and meaningful as possible? Write down WHY you do what you do. How does it impact other people? How could you make an even bigger impact? Now translate that into a goal and write it somewhere where you can look at it every day and put steps in place to make it happen.

Obviously, your list might look a little different, but the point is to work on making your space, your calendar, your inbox, your weekly tasks, and your outlook on life as positive and efficient as possible!

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