My End of the Year Routine
The end of the year is a special time for me. It is time for reflection and I don't do it often enough. Next week - the New Year - will be time for new directions, but the week between Christmas and New Year's has always saved for thinking...and cleaning.
My ritual for this week starts with a giant trash can: the big grey one with wheels like we used in the warehouse. In the days of magazines, I would have a huge stack that needed to be recycled. My client files from the past year need to be kept, but I could dump all the inactive files from the year prior. Mail, notes, brochures, product sheets - there's a lot of stuff to get rid of. My rule of thumb has been, "If it can be found on the internet, throw it away."
Nowadays, my trash can is on my computer.
Anything that I can't let go of goes into a pile for consideration after the first purge. Then I begin the cleaning and dusting. I usually turn on some music, after all the phone isn't going to ring this week.
While this manual work is going on, I am keeping a list of ideas, thoughts, plans, or whatever else pops into my head. This is the real work of this exercise. A clean office is just a bonus.
My new list will include things I still need to get done - or at least thought I needed at one time. You can purge a lot of these while you are at it. Here's another rule of thumb: If something has been on my to do list and been passed over three times, cross it out. It wasn't worthy. Maybe it will be again one day, but you need to make room for the things you will do.
I think it is OK to have some regrets - they feed the new beginnings. When I talk with my clients and as I reflect on my own list of regrets, the one that matters most is this:
I need to have more fun doing what I love.
Poor choices, mistakes, and missed opportunities are just learning experiences. Real regret should be saved for things that cannot be replaced. Lost time is lost forever.
That pile of stuff left over after cleaning? Now is the time to go through it again. Is this really an achievable goal, usable information (that can't be found elsewhere), or idea worth developing? If the action item requires thirty minutes or less to achieve, do it now. That's what this week is for.
BTW - I am ordering a new printer. Color laser. Any suggestions?
I am not a big New Year's resolutions person. You can resolve to do something any time of year. In fact, if it is important enough then you find a way to live it everyday.
But if you have to make one resolution, then resolve not to repeat a mistake from this past year.
Remember what makes you happy. Make choices that you look forward to. Have more fun. Why else are we in business for ourselves?