For many companies, January signals more than the beginning of a new year. It is also the start of a fiscal year with new goals, deadlines, and challenges ahead. December is treated as a period for reflecting on the past 12 months while gearing up for the year ahead. Thus, it’s the perfect time to prepare for a successful new year.
Just do it!
Here are 10 steps to get ready for the year ahead, no matter what industry you are in. If you manage a team, then you can also empower your colleagues to hit the ground running in January and start on the right foot from the very beginning.
1. Make sure every employee has professional goals
Growing employees are engaged employees. Before the year ends, sit down with each team member and discuss their goals for growth, advancement, and learning. This way they can enter the new year ready to invest in themselves while helping the company.
“Employees are realizing that they need to broaden their skills in many areas to keep fresh, focused and current and move forward“, says Stacey Berk, founder and managing Consultant at Expand HR Consulting.
Employee engagement and team communication are very important in general. Now, even more so, in the hybrid work era.
2. Check in with your clients
You don’t have to wait for quarterly meetings or annual reviews to meet with your clients. While you wish your clients Happy Holidays, let them know that your door is open. Discuss about the year ahead or any concerns they might have. Even a quick call can help everyone start the new year on the right foot.
3. Set concrete goals for growth
Identify a few measurable key performance indicators (KPIs) that you can track throughout the year and measure your growth. These could include your monthly revenue, the number of new clients you bring on, or the number of projects you accept.
These can be modified throughout the year, but you want to look ahead with an optimistic viewpoint for growth as a starting point.
4. Identify any upcoming periods of stress
No one can predict every crisis or problem within your organization. However, but you might be able to identify periods where you may have tight deadlines or major projects to deliver.
Look to the year ahead to identify where these will most likely fall on the calendar. If possible, schedule vacation time after these events so you can rest and recharge.
5. Schedule an office clean-out day
Set aside a day (or a few hours) between Christmas and New Year for employees to clean out their desks, organize their files, and get rid of papers or items they no longer need. This can be done with your in-office and hybrid staff. Ask employees to set a clean-out period if they’re gone on this dedicated day so they can also remove junk from their desks.
Don’t forget to clean up digital clutter as well. Your employees need time to delete emails, clear out folders, and organize shared folders and drives.
It has been proven that decluttering makes you more productive at work. And it will make it easier for everyone to come in with a fresh slate in a successful new year.
6. Cancel tools you no longer need
Software counts as digital clutter. Triple check that you’re still using any apps, tools, or subscriptions you pay for or have accounts with.
Consider whether you actually need each one, want to downgrade, or need to upgrade. Then close the accounts for anything you no longer need.
7. Find conferences and learning opportunities
Many conferences and professional meetups announce their dates months in advance or schedule annual events around the same time each year. Make a list of the top events you want to attend in order to grow your knowledge and network in your industry.
Don’t forget to check for digital options if you’re not able to travel to many but still want to leverage the opportunity of being there.
8. Rethink your day-to-day actions
Consider how you operate day-to-day and if there are new strategies you want to try in the coming year. For example, perhaps you want to focus on adopting an inbox zero work style, implement agile project management systems with micro goals. Or simply hone in on your peak work times and drop distractions to get more done.
That’s the beauty of a new year—it’s a chance to implement new ideas and make yourself better.
9. Rest during the holidays
Rest looks different for everyone. Some people want to curl up with a good book in a quiet space while other people recharge by baking cookies with friends and family.
No matter how you like to rest, one of the most important things to do during the holidays is to step away from work. Don’t check your email and recharge your batteries so you can hit the ground running in January.
10. Do a gut check on your passion
Only 20 percent of workers are passionate about their jobs. Are you? If you run your company, you need to be excited about what you do. Otherwise, how can you get other people on board?
Spend some time reflecting on your career and what you do each day. Are you excited about the work? Are you happy? If not, you may need to make some changes in the new year.
Add your own new year preparation items
Everyone has their own traditions, tasks, and processes to close one year and start another. Use this list as inspiration for how you’ll prepare for a successful new year ahead.
Ultimately, you get to decide what you want to achieve and how good you feel—so go ahead and get a jump-start today!