Happy Holidays!But, after all the cheer, hustle, and bustle is over you may find yourself pausing, sinking into your favorite chair, and asking yourself “Now what?”Business pretty much comes to a screeching halt the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Instead of getting frustrated that no one is returning your calls or emails, just relax or tackle some projects that you’ve been meaning to do uninterrupted by the usual distractions and get ready for a de-cluttered 2013.I’ve compiled a list of things that you can do in those days that seem to lull after all the gifts are open but before the ball drops in Times Square. (Psst… these activities will also help you save money by keeping you out of the hectic mall and their alluring after Christmas sales!)Some of these tasks can be tackled in just a few minutes but will give you a tremendous boost of energy and feeling of being in control and centered. You may even want to get yourself on a regular schedule of doing some of these projects every quarter or every six months.So let’s get started!Update All of Your Online ProfilesMake sure your contact information is correct and the profile still “fits” your personality and what you want to project about yourself. You may even want to create a list of all the sites, user names and passwords to make this task easier to do next time. While you are there updating your profile, you may want to turn off emails coming from your social media sites. What a distraction! Do you really need to know every time someone starts following you on Twitter?Delete, Delete, Delete!There are so many things you can delete to make your planner, phone, computer, closets, and cabinets less cluttered. Here area a few suggestions:
Old apps you no longer use
Old contacts you will never call again or that you can find the info elsewhere
Junk on your computer desktop
Old browser bookmarks
Old songs or podcasts you never listen to
Paper and electronic files
Hundreds (maybe thousands) of unimportant or duplicate photos
Magazine, trade journal, newsletter subscriptions
The useless stuff in your junk drawer
Clothing that doesn’t fit the “you” right now (physically and emotionally)
And, the biggest one of all emails! You may even want to create a new email address and only give it to those who you really want to hear from. Let your old email address go to your assistant or virtual assistant to monitor for important straggler emails.
Evaluate Your MarketingLook at everything you did for your sales and marketing last year. You will probably find that 80% of your sales came from 20% of your marketing efforts. Be ruthless! Delete all activity that isn’t bringing in the cash and focus more on the marketing activities that take less effort and bring in the most revenue.Evaluate How You Are Spending Your TimeTake a look at your social and networking meetings of the past. Decide if there was enough return on investment to continue devoting time to these meetings next year. Or, look for new gatherings that match your target market or lifestyle a little closer. Are some so-called friends or co-workers draining your energy? Make a conscious plan on how you are going to eliminate them or how you can avoid them next year.Make All Your Routine Appointments For the Entire YearWhy write “make hair appointment” twelve times in your planner when you can make one phone call at the beginning of the year and make them all. You know you need to go every 4-6 weeks to look professional and not stress about your roots showing! You can use this same strategy for any reoccurring appointment such as routine home maintenance, doctor and dentist visits, hair, nails, massage, housecleaning, etc.Automate, Delegate or Delete Tasks What tasks on those lists could have been deleted? Was it really necessary to file all your utility bills even though they are all online? Did you spend a lot of time on a website when one page could have done the job?What tasks could have been done by someone else? Errands, shopping, cleaning, appointment setting, research, shipping, etc. You will be surprised how much time these tasks actually take – start keeping track. These tasks do not require your “gift” or “genius” work – someone else can do them for a very small investment in compared to the time it takes away from what is important to you. And, the best part is you are giving someone else a job they need!What tasks can be automated? Take an hour or so now to set up a system so next year you can alleviate these from your schedule. Examples could be tasks like social media posts, bill paying, email auto-responders, shopping, password management, and sending out cards to clients.Evaluate You AccountsThe end of the year is a great time to review all of your accounts. Do your investments need rebalancing? Can you get lower insurance rates now that you work from home and don’t commute? Is your will and/or trust up to date? Some financial agents and advisors are not very busy this time of year so you’ll be at the top of their to-do list and get elevated service.Order Next Year’s Planner and/or RefillsIf you feel like you are always busy and not getting ahead it may be time for you to get some coaching on using your planner to the fullest extent.If you don’t get some coaching on how to use your planner and other productivity tools, they often become clutter themselves!Ask yourself “How are things ever going to get better?”Invest in coaching!Enjoy the time off!Stop being such an over-achiever for just a few days! Take your dog to an off-leash dog park, watch old movies, drive around and look at the holiday lights, cook something from scratch, finally read that trashy novel everyone is talking about, the possibilities are endless.See you next year!