The days between Christmas and New Year are fantastic for helping us refocus, reconnect with our families and lives, and reflect on the year. There are plenty of useful things you can do during this time to get the most out of this experience – so here are our top 25 tips to help you refocus in time for the new year!
1. Take This Time to Clean Your Desktop
The end of the year is a great time to clean your desktop. Take some time to organize your physical and digital workspace, making things less cluttered and easier to find. This will help you start out on the right foot for the upcoming year.
2. Format Your Memory Cards to Avoid Issues
Although you should always format your memory cards before you use them, time has a way of getting away from us. If this is the case for you, this time of year is perfect to format your memory cards and avoid common formatting issues.
3. Conduct In-Depth Virus Scans on Your Computer
Quick routine virus scans tend to just scratch the surface when it comes to checking for viruses on your computer. Although deep virus scans should be done at least once a week, this time of year is great for getting caught up on it.
4. Back Up Your Data to Prevent Loss
This is another situation where more is better (in fact, some recommend that important data be backed up on a daily basis). Things can become busy, making it difficult to stick to that schedule – so use this time of year to your advantage!
5. Clean Out Your Email Inbox
There are two types of people: “zero-inbox” people who can maintain astonishingly spotless email inboxes, and the rest of us. If you find your inbox cluttered with spam, marketing emails, and irrelevant emails from months ago, you can use this time to clean it up.
6. Review Your Subscriptions
While you’re at it, take a look at the email newsletters you’re subscribed to. Evaluate which ones you open and adjust your subscription to receive fewer emails if you don’t open them often. (If you don’t open them at all, hit “unsubscribe” and breathe a sigh of relief!)
7. Update and Patch Your Software
Neglecting to patch your software can lead to vulnerabilities that hackers will take advantage of. Software that isn’t updated is a huge security risk. In fact, 57% of people who experienced a security breach “left the door open” through unpatched software. When you keep your software updated, you’re building a wall of protection around your infrastructure.
8. Update Your Resume and Create a Cover Letter Template
Even if you’re not planning to leave the company, it’s a good idea to regularly revisit your resume and cover letter template. Add relevant skills that you learned this year, along with accomplishments. It’s much easier to add these updates when they’re fresh in your mind than when you’re under stress to find a new job.
9. Take This Time to Build Your Portfolio
Likewise, you should take your time to build out your portfolio. Doubtless, you’ve had opportunities to enhance your skills this year and satisfy customers. Show that through your portfolio. If you work in a creative field, it’s especially critical to do this.
10. Ask for Recommendations Or Endorsements
If your goal is to provide exceptional customer service and help your team, chances are that you’ve got happy customers and good relationships with coworkers. Take this opportunity to request recommendations or endorsements.
11. Consider Ordering New Business Cards
If you’ve gone through a rebrand or gotten a new logo/website for your business, the end of the year is the perfect time to order new business cards – especially if the old logo is still on it. Business cards are often the first impression a person has of your business, so it’s important to give prospective clients something you can be proud of.
12. Go Over Your Yearly Budget
You don’t have to be a business owner to go over your yearly budget. You can also do this with your personal budget. Evaluate what worked financially and what didn’t, and plan for necessary upcoming expenses so you won’t be caught off-guard when the time comes.
13. Evaluate Your Apps on Mobile Devices
Let’s face it: some apps are important whereas others are simply time-suckers. Delete apps that you don’t use. You should also analyze them to determine if any take away from your productivity or detract from your emotional well-being.
In other words, productivity shouldn’t be the ultimate goal, but if an app makes you unproductive and negatively affects your mood, you should definitely consider deleting it.
14. Check Your Contact List for Duplicates
Whether it’s on your mobile phone, email contacts, or CRM, organizing your contacts will help you feel confident going into the coming year. Take this time to delete duplicate contacts and update information. If any contacts are missing, you can add them.
15. Take a Hard Look at Your Tech
Technology is an essential part of life, but if you aren’t paying attention, you can quickly get bogged down by cumbersome tech when there are better solutions out there. Audit your tech to see if it’s still serving you. If it’s not, see if there’s a better solution for you.
16. Organize the Things That You Carry
We carry a lot of extra weight around (and we’re not talking about holiday pounds)! If you carry a briefcase, backpack, wallet, or purse, cleaning it out will add to your peace of mind and make it easier to find things that you need.
17. Think About This Past Year
Each year brings a whirlwind of activity, and it can be easy to get caught up in it. Don’t forget to take some time at the end of the year to review your successes and challenges.
- Your responsibilities
- Significant events
- Your response to challenges
- Your relationships
By doing this, you can spot patterns in your thinking and be more proactive about finding solutions. You can celebrate your achievements and make a mental note of what to work on the following year.
18. Evaluate and Reconsider Your Priorities
Speaking of making mental notes, another thing you should think about is your priorities. How well did your past year align with your goals and priorities? What can you do to adjust so that your priorities are put into focus this year?
When you evaluate your priorities and reconsider whether you want them to be your focus, you are able to live the life you want to have rather than simply going through the motions.
19. Carefully Deep Clean Your Home
The end of the year is a great time to refresh the inside of your home. Take this time to deep clean and work on tasks you usually forget to do.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Check and replace batteries for smoke detectors
- Clean the cooling coils under your refrigerator
- Clean out your dryer vents
- Unclog your drains using enzymes or drain cleaning tools
- Clean your range hood
- Patch holes on your interior and exterior walls
You can also deep clean by gathering up the items you no longer need.
20. Donate Your Belongings for a Write-Off
Once you’ve got your belongings arranged, you can either sell them or donate them for a tax write-off. Choose whichever option will work best for you (in other words, the option you’re most likely to follow through with).
If you choose to sell, have an action plan in place to drop off the ones that don’t sell. Put your things in a place where you’re least likely to forget since keeping extra items you don’t need doesn’t help anyone!
21. Finish That Project You’ve Put Off
We usually start a year with good intentions, but by the end of it, we’re still looking at that project we neglected to finish. To create a feeling of satisfaction and confidence going into the new year, take time to finish that project.
On the business side, if you’ve been meaning to revamp your website or rebrand, this is a great time to do that! Go into the new year with confidence that your new business assets will more accurately reflect who you are.
22. Gather Your Receipts for Tax Time
You already know it’s coming – so you may as well make it as painless as possible when the time comes by gathering everything you’ll need for tax preparation.
Here’s a basic overview of the types of documents you’ll need, but remember, your final list will depend on what changed this year in regard to your family, filing status, income, etc:
- Social security info
- Birth certificates
- Income statements (W2, 1099, etc)
- Other income
- Tax deduction documents and receipts
- Receipts for expenses (Medical bills, charitable contributions, etc)
23. Update Your Disaster Preparedness Kit
You don’t have to be a “prepper” to know that sometimes, life doesn’t go according to plan. If a natural disaster hits your neighborhood, it’s wise to gather some supplies. And if you already have a kit, you’ll need to check expiration dates and replenish anything that’s expired or about to expire. (If you’re concerned about wasting food, go ahead and have a “food kit party” with your family, or donate to a food pantry! Be sure to get a receipt if you donate.)
Here’s an idea of what you’ll need:
- Water (one gallon per person per day)
- Food (several days’ supply)
- Radio (battery or hand crank)
- First aid kit
- Extra batteries
- Manual can opener
- Local maps
- Sleeping bags for extreme weather (if you live in a cold climate)
No one ever thinks a disaster will happen to them, but being prepared helps you ensure your family has what they need if the unexpected happens.
24. Make Healthy Changes Early This Year
The major holidays have passed, along with the temptation to indulge in pies, cookies, and other unhealthy foods. Most people wait until the new year to make healthy changes, but why wait? You can start making healthy choices now, and hopefully, it’ll compel you to keep at it.
You can get a jump start on your health goals by planning a month’s worth of healthy meals in January or by joining a weight loss group. You can even start an exercise regimen in your home if it’s too cold and slippery to exercise outdoors.
25. Take a Break and Treat Yourself
Even if you haven’t done everything on this list, you’ve made some significant progress to prepare for the upcoming year. Take some time to rest and treat yourself. You can invest in new bathroom towels and then unwind in a hot bath or do anything else that brings you contentment.