It may sound cliché to promote the New Year as a time for new beginnings, but there are many good reasons that January 1st can be an excellent moment for a fresh start in your professional life. Not only is it the start of a new calendar year, but also many businesses start their new fiscal year, the holiday rush is finally over, and new projects and initiatives frequently begin at this time.
With the start of a new year, it is best to begin with a fresh frame of mind. Here are a few steps you can take to start 2015 off right.
- Outline your professional goals for the year.
Take time for yourself early in 2015 to reflect on and outline your professional goals for the coming year. Without this time for reflection, many people continue their work at status quo and do not think seriously about what challenges and accomplishments they hope to meet in their job.
A year’s length is the perfect amount of time for this kind of planning: it is a short enough span to foresee the end of attainable goals, but long enough to achieve something meaningful or make a significant change. It is through self-evaluation and reflection that you can begin to recognize what you would like to accomplish in your career.
- Review and refine your schedule.
The holidays can be so busy that we often do not take time to think about whether we are maximizing our productivity through an organized schedule. Instead, we simply scramble to get it all done.
If the activity slows down somewhat after the holidays, review your recurring schedule as well as the deadlines approaching in the coming weeks or months. Even the simple act of looking over your calendar can help to inspire ideas for upcoming projects that you previously pushed off as “next year” in your mind. Additionally, revisiting your regular schedule can help you to consider changes that will allow you to maximize your productivity in the New Year.
- Clean up your office space.
The physical spaces in which you work can impact your productivity, attitude, and outlook, as well as the way others perceive your company. After the holidays, an office clean-up is especially necessary: no one benefits from tinsel and stale Christmas cookies as we head into the New Year.
Ensure that someone is accountable or that there is a group effort to tidy what is left of the holiday decorations. This could even begin before December is over, depending on when your office closes for the holidays. Take additional time to prep your personal office or cubicle space for the start of the year.
- Clean up your inbox.
Just as we spend many hours in our physical office every day, we also spend many hours in our digital spaces. An overcrowded inbox can leave you feeling already behind on your work, even when the New Year has only just begun.
At the start of January, set aside a few extra hours to archive the emails you don’t need, categorize what you have read, respond to any outstanding requests, and catch up on what you have flagged or marked unread. Little can be more overwhelming than the feeling of unfinished tasks following you from the previous year.
Happy New Year! For more posts on the season and its new beginnings from previous years, see “Time and Dedication are Your Keys to Success in 2014” and “New Year’s Resolutions for the Workplace.”