Do you realize that there is only 9 weeks left until the end of the year?
It feels like it wasn’t that long ago I was toasting to the exciting new year of 2014. Time flies when you are really busy (and aren’t we all?).
How are you planning on spending the rest of year?
Are you ready to start 2015 locked and loaded?
Well if you aren’t, you will be, because this post is going to work you through creating an action plan for the rest of your year. That way by the time 2015 comes around you will be all geared up for your best year yet.
Sound good? Let’s get started then.
Ending 2014 with a bang!
Alright, let’s get started. We have 9 weeks. So for the next 9 weeks I want you to set aside one thing you can do each week to get your house in order (and I mean all your houses – where you live, your work, and even your mental state!).
I want you set aside at least an hour each week to put your items into practice. Set an appointment with yourself (these are your most important appointments) and make sure you keep it each week. So your first “to do” is to block that time off on your calendar.
I plan to work on my action items each on _______________ (weekday) at __________ (time).
Now let’s talk about how to spend your next 9 weeks.
Week 1. 2014 Retrospective
Before we start on any ambitious projects, let’s reflect on 2014. The most successful people become more successful by learning from their past. This week I want you to reflect on the following questions:
- What was the best thing that happened in 2014?
- Of all your work this year, which accomplishment are you most proud of?
- What were you doing when you had the most fun?
- Did you achieve all of your goals? Why or why not?
- What are 5 things that went well?
- What are 5 things that could be improved?
These questions are just to get you thinking, and hopefully you will have some realizations on what you want to tackle in 2015 and the weeks ahead.
Week 2. Get Organized – Physical Space
Look around you. How does your desk look?
When you walk in the door at home do you feel refreshed, or do you feel like there are a bunch of chores you should be doing?
This week I want you to spend your time tidying up your personal space. Throw away old papers and clean up the clutter. Having a messy desk can decrease your productivity and motivation and can affect the way people see you: “With so many open office plans today, more people can see into your workspace, and they do judge […] It’s often personal. They think that you must be a slob in your real life.” (source)
Week 3. Get Organized – Digital Space
Last week we focused on your physical space, and this week I want you to do the same thing with your digital life. Is your desktop a mess of icons? Are your files organized in file folders making it easier to find what you want? If it is hard to find what you are looking for, adopt a naming scheme going forward.
And if your computer is already organized, you can use this week to organize your online presence. Is your contact information up to date on all your social networks? Do you use the same avatar across social profiles like twitter, facebook, etc.? This week it’s your task to make it happen.
Week 4. Express Your Gratitude
As the year goes on, lots of people give us a hand along the way. I want you to think about who helped you in 2014.
Then I want you to send a note of thanks to at least 2 people. The best notes are handwritten cards (because it is such a treat to get something other than bills in the mail!), but if you are pressed for time a thoughtful email will do.
Let them know what they did, and what it meant to you. I guarantee your note will brighten their day (and it is awesome to make people’s day better, right?); and there is a good chance it will also make them more willing to help you the next time you need it.
Week 5. Maintain Your Network
This week is about connecting.
Did you meet fantastic people this year? Send them a note and reconnect them.
Maybe you attended an event and didn’t follow up? Take the time to connect with them on LinkedIn or send them a note via email (if you have their address); it is better late than never.
If you are searching for what to say, try to find an article that is relevant to them – maybe news about their business or industry, or a story they might enjoy. You don’t have to write a long note, a simple “I was thinking about you and wanted to see how you were doing?” is often enough. :)
And if you are searching your head for people, then reach out to your mentors, or people you haven’t connected with in while. See how they are, wish them happy holidays, or get a coffee date on the books.
Try to reach out to at least 5 people this week.
Week 6. Create a Healthy Habit
Are you waiting until the end of the year to get healthy? Why don’t you get started now?
Instead of tackling a big thing like a whole diet or fancy workout routine, I want you to do something small you can do *every day* for the rest of the year. Try to pick something that will take less than 10 minutes so you will actually do it.
Like compound interest in your bank account it will add up quickly. And you only have to do it until the end of the year! How is that for an easy commitment to keep?
Here are some examples to get you thinking:
- Go to bed 10 minutes earlier than you normally do (more sleep makes you smarter).
- Walk an extra 1000 steps per day (you can take the stairs, park a little further away in the parking lot, or get up and walk during a conference call, etc.).
- Skip one treat or indulgence per day. Remember hunger isn’t necessarily a bad thing now and again.
- Floss your teeth.
- Do 10 push ups before you go to bed or right when you get up in the morning.
This week I plan to start a habit of _______________.
Week 7. Make a Reading List
Did you read a lot of good books this year?
Do you know that if you read just 10 pages a day of a good book you would have read about 12 books by now? If you did that I bet it would have made you a lot smarter and improved your career.
What do you plan to read in 2015?
This week I want you to make a reading list. Pick out 3 books that you want to read next year. And you get bonus points for actually starting – just 10 pages per day.
Week 8. Polish Up Your Appearance
Are you presenting the person you really want to be?
When I was growing up my grandpa used to tell me to dress for the job I wanted, not the job I had. You rarely see executives in a company in wrinkled clothes; most of the time they are polished and professional.
Clean out your closet. Get rid of anything that doesn’t showcase the “you” that you want to present. Donate things that don’t fit you well (or if you can’t part with them for some reason, fold it up and put it in a duffel bag on the top shelf of your closet – you can always retrieve it later). If you have a stack of dry cleaning in the corner, well, get to the dry cleaner and drop it off.
If your hair is growing unruly, go get a haircut.
If you want to be more confident, it helps to feel good in your skin (and that includes your clothing). Start 2015 as the polished version of yourself.
Week 9. Set Your Goals for 2015
This week let’s take a different spin on goal-setting. I want you to pick just one thing for 2015 in each of these categories:
- Career (resume)
Focus is key, and having just one things increases the probability you will achieve it.
Write us and let us know how it went! We love hearing about your goals and progress. And if you have other ideas for your weekly milestones leave a suggestion in the comments – we are always looking for new ways to get our year started off right.