Are you working this week? Take advantage of how many other people took end-of-year vacation and use what will hopefully be a quiet week to get organized for 2016. Here are 7 things you can do to prepare for the new year.
- Unsubscribe to emails you never read. During the year you had good intentions of reading industry newsletters and staying on top of breaking stories from international, national, local and trade publications. But the reality is you spent most mornings deleting unread emails while you drank your coffee. Give yourself permission to unsubscribe to anything you don’t read regularly and remove the guilt and burden that goes with a cluttered daily inbox. If you find you’re missing out on critical information, you can always resubscribe.
- Go for inbox zero. Speaking of email clutter, why not set one more goal for 2015 and get your inbox to zero? First, sort your email by sender. Admit it, there are people whose emails you never read. Delete them. Next sort by subject. Delete all but the last emails in a chain. Next, sort by date. Delete any emails that are older than three months. By now you should have cut your email 40-60 percent. Now, it’s time to get busy. Scroll through your remaining emails and do one of three things: delete, take action, or file. And no fair sorting emails into folders called “To Do” or “Read Later.” The only emails you should file are emails you need for reference or back up. This whole process may take a day or a few days, but inbox zero is one of the best feelings you can feel at work.
- Organize your electronic files. Does your computer screen look like a teenager’s bedroom floor – stuff everywhere? Time to clean your virtual room! Think about how you will search for items and then set up folders to match that thought process. Will it be by project: marketing, sales, recruiting? Will it be by client? Will it be by action: hot, pending, on-hold? The only right system is what works for you. And when you’re done, set your background image to a picture of your next vacation destination; you’ve earned that future time off.
- Thin out paper files. Electronic files aren’t the only ones that need a tune up. Take a few hours to go through your paper files too. Make sure things are filed in the correct places then thin out what you don’t need. You should take only three actions during this process: save, recycle, or shred.
- Update your LinkedIn profile. This is a good week to update your online image. How are you showing up on LinkedIn? Look to the right of your page and see how complete your profile is. Are you missing a profile picture? Add one. Is your current picture from a keg party in college or your last vacation? Is it blurry or black and white? Make plans to get a professional head shot taken. It doesn’t need to be expensive; it just needs to be polished. Do you have recommendations from coworkers and clients? If not, ask for some. Create a headline: instead of your job title and current company, use descriptive terms about your skill set and value. Finally, make sure to fill out the summary section.
- Read up on your industry. Remember all of those industry newsletters you skipped during the year? Now is a good time to read a few key articles. What are the thought leaders talking about? What skills should you hone for the new year? What trends do you need to aware of?
- Scout some new lunch options. This is a good week to venture out of the office. Why not scout some new lunch spots? Find a new I-only-have-15 minutes-to-grab-a-sandwich option, a healthy option, an I-deserve-a-treat option, and a place-to-impress-clients option.
You might not be able to do all of the above by January 1, but any amount of organizing will have you better prepared for the new year.