How I’m Getting an Efficient Start on the New Year

The last week of the year is a great time to get organized. Chances are good that many of your coworkers and/or clients have the week off, so it should be a fairly quiet week for most of us. We could spend that extra time goofing off, or we could spend it getting our acts together to get 2010 off to a great start. Here are the steps that I’m taking, and while it’s not quite as extensive as Meryl’s list, it should be achievable this week and set me up well for 2010.

Inbox Zero

I usually manage to get my inbox under control right before I take a week off during the holidays, but by the time I return to work, it has usually filled right back up with new email. This time, I’m making a real effort to keep it at inbox zero for more than a few hours. I went to inbox zero about a week ago, and I’ve managed to keep it at zero all week by spending a little time each day responding to what I can and moving everything else into areas for response or further reading while creating tasks for to-do items. By keeping up with this process during the holidays while the volume is more manageable, I hope that I’m building up habits that will help me continue to manage my email in 2010. Even if you don’t aspire to implement inbox zero over the long-term, there is something very refreshing about starting the new year with a clean inbox.

Paperwork, Planning and Finances

This is also a great time to get all your paperwork, planning and finances in order. I plan to tackle that pile of paperwork accumulating on my desk that really should be filed, and it’s a great time to get everything ready for your taxes. You should also take some time to set your goals for 2010 and come up with a plan that will help you achieve them.


Nothing helps me get a fresh start like taking a few days off to relax and recharge. It’s hard to get a great start on the year if you are overworked and exhausted. I took most of last week off to visit family, but the holidays come with their own stresses. I plan to work like mad on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to get the rest of my work done along with some paperwork and other business; however, I’m going to take a nice, long four-day weekend off at home to relax, read and hit the gym to start the new year feeling great.

What are your favorite tips for getting the new year off to a great start?

Photo by Flickr User Daniel Voyager used under Creative Commons.