It's a new decade and people are filled with resolutions and BIG plans. And I am no exception. Like the OCD, type-A event planner that I am, I have made quite a list of things that need to be done to be successful this year and while I'm sure you don’t want to hear about most of them, I thought I would share the top five things I’m spending my time on in 2020.
Time for Review
As I go through the year, I’m often flying so fast. Jumping from one client project to the next and just trying to keep my head above water. But as January is often a slower time of year, it gives me some time to reflect. I like to take time to look back at all the projects I’ve worked on and think about how I could have made them better. I use this time to follow up with those past clients and see if I can secure their business for the coming year. And I also look at the projects I lost. I like to follow up with those people as well, but also just to reflect on what I could have done to win the business. I look at what I've accomplished in the year and who I’ve met – and really just take time to celebrate all of the things I have done in the midst of what often just feels like craziness.
I find that this kind of reflection is really important because as an entrepreneur, it’s easy to get down on yourself and feel very alone. It’s easy to look at all the challenges and feel pressured by the need to drive more revenue and find more security. But taking time to celebrate the successes and troubleshoot the challenges really puts me in a better mental state for the new year. I go into the new year with a lot of hope and even a specific strategy on how to make that hope come to fruition.
As I said, I have 1 billion things that need to be done and one of the things that I do each week is to create a master to-do list. I then prioritize that list and use that to drive my workload for the week. But around this time of year, I also like to make a list of priorities for the entire coming year. These are often business development ideas, new service line items, things I need to update on my website or in my brand, or sometimes just things I want to read or try. I’d like to spend some time brain dumping all of the things I would like to do in the coming year on paper and then I prioritize them.
Sometimes the top priorities are the things that will drive the biggest revenue for me in the coming year. Other times, my focus is more on personal development or building a team. It all depends on what I’m trying to achieve in that year, but it’s important to get a sense of all of the things I’d like to do and to set certain things as a priority so that I can attack them right away.
Another project is to let my inner geek flag fly. I am not someone who is great with finances, but I love a good Excel sheet. So I lay out my financial projections for the coming year. I look at all the anticipated expenses and all of the revenue and I like to fill in my revenue column with places where I think I can bring in new business and new revenue streams. This gives me such a clear look at what I can expect for the coming year and helps me focus my business development time on things that will really move the needle financially. This is a task that I know so many business owners completely ignore because it can be uncomfortable and, sometimes, even scary. But heading into the new year with a fresh perspective on your finances is important – even if it means you go in driven to make some big changes because you were terrified when you look at your finances square on.
The Great Clean Out
Something about the new year kicks off an inspiration in me to clean out my inbox and get organized. Now is a great time to unsubscribe from emails that I no longer find valuable (or that I was added to without my permission). I also use this time to clean out my folders, back up my files, empty all the photos from my phone and organize things like my calendar. Doing this in a new year gives me such a great feeling when January 1 comes. I feel like everything is well organized and I have clean systems in place to tackle new workloads.
Time with Family and Friends
Now I know this doesn’t sound like a business priority, but it truly is. I have found that whenever I prioritize work at the cost of family and friends, everything suffers. My mental state, my relationships, and yes – my business. So I have learned that whenever I want to see growth in my business, it’s important to focus on the things that matter the most to me. A night out with my siblings and their significant others. Time with family on a snow day playing board games and enjoying life without an attachment to my phone. A quiet night with my husband while our son rests in my arms. These things may seem insignificant, but they are the things that give me life. They give me the energy I need to tackle my business priorities and spending this time over the course of the next few weeks is one of the huge things I do to prepare myself for success in the coming year!