Ahhh the first Monday after the New Year. The email is starting to pour in and fill up your screen after the nice trickle of the last two weeks. Hopefully you had time to have fun over the Holidays; perhaps you had time to write down your resolutions. If you didn’t, don’t despair, all is not lost. Tomorrow is a brand new day and you can decide to start your new year on January 5th (my sister’s birthday, so technically a New Year’s day for her – you can borrow it).

5 steps for a great start to 2016Today do these 5 things to get yourself off on a positive path for 2016.

  1. Clean your desk.

    Nothing says decks cleared, organized and ready to go like a clean desk. Take everything off of your desk and wipe it down with a good cleaner. Turn your keyboard upside down over the trashcan and tap the bottom – pay no attention to all of the stuff that falls out of the keyboard – that’s from last year. As you reassemble your desk, wipe everything clean as you put it back in its place. Done? Now take one thing off your desk that you don’t need every day. Throw away or shred old, never-gonna-look-a-them-again papers, put your file folders away, go through your pens and pencils (yes I still use pencils) and get rid of the one you don’t like or are past their prime. There you go. Clean Desk – Clear Deck.

  2. Find Inspiration from what you already know.

    No need to make everything new in the new year, bring out your favorite business books, mine include Kim Krisco’s Leadership & The Art of Conversation and Daniel Goleman et al.’s Primal Leadership. I’ve written a bunch about both of these men here and here. Skim through them and jot down one or two reminders from each that resonate today and write them down as reminders for the year.A couple to chew on are:1) “conversation if your most precious asset” as a leader (Krisco); and2) “the fundamental task of a leader is to prime good feelings in those they lead.” (Goleman)You know these things, you’ve done these things. Double down on the positive things you’ve learned in the past to get you moving in 2016. Now’s not the time to rush to learn something new – now’s the time to apply what we know with intention and consistency.

  3. Resolve To Be More Productive.

    Everyone I know is seeking to be more productive. One thing I’ve recently learned about is “batch processing” your time – doing like tasks in the same time block to get into a flow and plow through tasks that have to get done, but tend to be forgotten or delayed or distracting. You can read more about batching your time from Paper & Oats here and from Cristina at CMR Strategies here. Take out your calendar and find 3 chunks of 2 hours of time this week and block it off – you’ll figure out what to do with it later. Another thing to consider is The Peak Work Performance Summit, a free video series starting tomorrow. Ron Friedman, an HBR Contributor has assembled 25 experts including Dorie Clark, Dan Pink and Shawn Achor who will be sharing how they have wrestled their calendars and the distractions of the day to the ground to drive more efficiency into their lives.

  4. Write down 3 things you want to get done this year – personal, family or professional.

    Don’t think about it just write it down. Now put a deadline on each one. Now take the half way point between today and the deadlines and write down where you need to be on your path to achieving those goals by “half time.” Now half the time again and set milestones for your “quarter – time.” Later this week spend one of your blocks of time on each goal and map it out. The people over at Passion Planner and Nice Ops have some great planning resources here you can use to help you do that.

  5. Take Lunch, Take a Walk, and Leave On Time.

    Start 2016 off on the right foot by actually taking your lunch away from your desk. Grab a colleague and go out or if you’ve brought your lunch, find a different place to sit to eat. Around 3 take a 15 minute walk. And Leave or close up your computer on time. As in standing up at your desk, closing your computer and walking out the door. You’ve just set a great precedent for the rest of the year. ‘Tomorrow do the same thing and call it a pattern. And so on.


2016 is here – let’s make a great one by taking these 5 simple steps to a positive new year!