2017: Get Off to a Good Start

Whether or not you believe in making resolutions, the beginning of the year is a good time to take stock of where you are professionally, set some goals, and do some housekeeping.

Get electronically organized

Set aside an hour early one morning to get your computer organized. Create folders and subfolders for important projects. Find a home for your photos and gather them all in one place. Likewise, make sure all music and video files are stored in their proper folders. Clear your cache, delete unnecessary downloads, and remove unused applications from your phone and computer.

Take a moment to run a scan of your system with an anti-malware program, like Avast Free (PC) or Sophos Home (Mac). Now, back everything up and take the time to automate your system to back up regularly.

Set some goals

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Start by making a few lofty goals for the year. Consider picking one goal for each different area of your life–health, family, career, etc. Divide up the year by quarter and then by month, and set smaller goals for each timeframe. Finally, determine what specific tasks need to be done on a weekly and daily basis to accomplish each goal. Do you need to spend 30 minutes a day reading up on the latest trends in your industry or take time on Sundays to make meals for the week? Block out your calendar, so you have time for these activities.

Set aside time to learn

Self-improvement and professional development are all about continued learning. We are lucky to live in a time when so much information and so many opportunities for education are at our fingertips. Browse the lists of classes on Coursera, or master a new skill on Skillshare. Or just create a bookmark folder where you collect (and read!) interesting articles and whitepapers.

Make time for self-care

We all get busy with family and work obligations, often foregoing the simple things we need to do to take care of ourselves. When you sit down each Sunday to schedule out your week, block out time to exercise a little every day; pencil in 10-15 minutes for meditation, quiet reflection, or some stretching. Take a few minutes in the morning to start your day with a healthy breakfast. Even if you eat out for lunch most days, keep a bowl of fruit on your desk to snack on instead of hitting the vending machine. The small things you do to take care of yourself are as important to your productivity as answering emails and attending meetings.

Tell us how you prepared for 2017.

Author: Maribeth Neelis