9 Tips to Help You Start the New Year with a Clean Slate

Clean Slate-1

Today, many people head back to work after the New Year’s holiday.

If this is your first day back at work after an extended break, you are probably dreading what you left behind.

How many projects are still unfinished? What obligations are awaiting your return? What tasks have you forgotten entirely?

Instead of worrying about how you will ever catch up, you need to give yourself a start fresh.

Start Your Year with a Clean Slate

The best way to start the New Year is to begin with a clean slate.

This doesn’t mean you have to take drastic measures such as declaring email bankruptcy or burning your todo list.

Instead, you can take some simple steps to ensure that you are ready to start the New Year on a solid footing.

Here are 9 Tips to Help You Start the New Year with a Clean Slate:

  1. Get a Head Start – Get to work early and be ahead of the pack. You can get started on your work before everyone else drags back into the office. As well, you can be well underway with your tasks before the holiday gossip sessions begin.
  2. Nuke Your Inbox – I am not a fan of declaring email bankruptcy, but I do recommend a clean start. Dedicate time to your inbox today. You can clean up any remaining emails from the end of last year and start the New Year with a clean inbox.
  3. Check Your Calendar – Many people don’t even know what’s on their calendar as they return to work. Take a look at your calendar both short-term and long-term. Know what is on your calendar not just this week, but the coming month or two.
  4. Schedule Time for Your Priorities – You’ll be walking into a chaotic environment this morning. People will start scheduling all kinds of meetings for their priorities. Get your priorities blocked on your calendar first. Schedule out time on your calendar for each of your important todos. Block your time before others claim it.
  5. Clear Your Desk – Not clean your desk, clear your desk. Keeping your desk clutter-free shouldn’t be an event that happens once in a blue moon. Rather, it must be an ongoing, constant activity that you do every day, using the ABC Method.
  6. Review Your Obligations – Did you say Yes to too much last year? Now is the time to review your obligation load. Saying No is an important skill in life. It allows you to do what you need to do and makes sure you don’t end up doing everyone else’s job.
  7. Clean Up Your Todo List – What tasks did you leave behind? What is still on your list form last year? Now is the time to clean up any necessary tasks and eliminate the ones that are no longer relevant. Groom your todo list.
  8. Rewrite Your Goals – The New Year is a great time to rewrite your goals. Even if you already have them documented, now is the time to clarify and even adapt them to the new year. Goals that aren’t re-examined are often lost or unfinished.
  9. Check Your Attitude – A positive attitude is always key to your ability to be productive. No matter how daunting your work appears, a positive attitude can make all the difference.

A Fresh Start to the Year

You don’t have to panic about returning to your work in the New Year.

You can begin with a fresh start and a clear outlook on your priorities.

Clean up what’s on your plate, so that you can start your year with a clean slate.

Question: How do you plan on getting started in the New Year? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Invest just 10 minutes a day toward the right ideas, behaviors and strategies to finally be more productive at work…so you can spend less time there! 31 Days, 31 Ways: Daily Tips for Time Management Mastery is my time management course, containing 31 powerful daily lessons and 31 actionable exercises designed to help you take action, reduce stress, and reclaim your time. Click here to learn more.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Thanks Craig – Always fun to stop, clean up, and start over. Nuke the inbox is great – and for me that was even some old folders in the email storing stuff I was “waiting for”

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  • Did No 7. It was long overdue!

  • Hi Craig,
    I’m a great fan of Time Management. Without it, one gets overwhelmed and therefore cannot complete anything…it slows down production. Although I’m back to work after a break, I do have my own business and all the above apply. Especially goals! I’ve written them down with baby steps as tasks to achieve the goal I want to achieve. Thanks!
    Oh yea…I love an uncluttered desk!
    -Donna