Three Secrets to a Successful New Year

There's always a sense of urgency to wrap things up and prepare for a new year. You may have projects to finish, sales goals to reach or books to close. This added pressure can make it difficult to enjoy time with friends and family during the holidays. But a few simple secrets can help you "ring out the old and ring in the new" relaxed and stress-free. Here's how.

Close it Out

You've earned the time off. Use the holidays to recharge your batteries, so don't leave loose ends or deadlines hanging. Spending a little extra time earlier in the month to complete tasks will make sure you can sit back and unwind. Finish any year-end reports, turn in expenses, and file insurance benefits forms. Before leaving on holiday, inform your team and managers of how to reach you in case of emergency and don't forget to set an out-of-office response on voice mail and email.

Clean it Up

Whether working straight through the holidays or taking several days off, take time to tidy up your workspace before year-end. Start by clearing your desktop of extraneous files, papers, and clutter. Mercilessly attack drawers and paper files, shredding or recycling what you don't need. Re-evaluate your filing system and replace crumpled folders. Cull through business cards you've collected and place in a business card holder or rubber band them together. Do the same electronically, deleting and/or reorganizing emails, files and voicemails. Now's also a great time to stock up or refill office supplies. Returning to a neat and organized workspace will significantly reduce stress and give you a clean, fresh start to the new year.

Reflect, Remember, Renew

Many of us rush through year-end without reflecting on our accomplishments. No doubt you've had successes, so list them out in as much detail and as quantifiable as possible. Use this information later during your performance review or to update your resume. Once the frenzy of the new year begins, you'll find it more difficult to recall the results of last year's efforts.

Remember others too. The holidays give you the perfect reason to reconnect with contacts you've lost touch with during the year. Be sure to thank others who have helped you along the way. Letting them know you appreciate their efforts will brighten their day and ensure the good vibe continues.

Lay out your professional and personal goals for the new year. Are there individuals you'd like to work with? New skills to acquire? Areas of personal improvement? Write them down and keep them front and center at your desk where you're more apt to follow through.

Take advantage of this once-a-year golden opportunity to clear the slate and start fresh. Make next year your best yet.



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