This year has been unusual, right? As we continue to navigate through this pandemic, many are struggling to keep momentum, be productive and achieve results. But it’s time to put 2020 in the rear-view mirror. Here’s 7 tips to kickstart 2021 with renewal.
But wait! Before we jump into these tips be warned – these are gentle, baby steps to nudge you forward. It’s okay not to go after huge results. Instead, let’s just focus on clearing the clutter, and starting anew with a clean slate for when January rolls around. Here we go!
7 Tips to Kickstart 2021
Reflect on 2020.
Certainly, many people are excited to move on from this year of uncertainty. Having said that, it’s important to spend time in reflection as well. Set aside space to look back and celebrate the wins (yes, there are always wins). If you need a nudge, join my free online session ‘Happy Hour: Bidding Farewell to 2020’. I’ll walk you through an inspirational exercise of reflection and help shape how you pursue happiness and success in 2021.
Craft Your Plan.
After a roller coaster year, it’s okay to drop a ‘shoot for the stars’ mentality. Instead, you may want to consider recovery depending on the magnitude of what you had to deal with in 2020. Even so, laying the groundwork for what you want to create or how you want to live is prudent – especially after challenging times. Here are a couple strategies to clear the fog and move forward.
First, create a short, one or two-page business plan for 2021 that will set a foundation for your business. To help get you started, here is a DOWNLOAD of Lighthouse’s signature Business MAP (Master Action Plan). This template is the cornerstone of my Navigator coaching package and it works! It is short, simple and yet packed with powerful prompts to craft a plan. Of course, there are a lot of unknowns in the future and this may be a tough exercise but without intention, nothing will happen. From there, you can use the financial planning template provided in the Business MAP to project revenues, budget costs and set business goals.
Another strategy is to design a vision board. This imaginative concept can be done with the traditional cut and paste technique on paper or by using one of these excellent online resources for a digital vision board.
And one last tip – rather than make resolutions that quickly fall flat, set actual goals and break them down into smaller, achievable steps to give you the opportunity to overcome obstacles as you move towards the bigger achievement.
There are a lot of layers to this one but the bottom line is that we are living in a digital world and it is counter-intuitive to productivity and clarity. If you set aside time to clean up each of these areas, you will feel more in control and primed to achieve what you want.
First, your email inbox. That email that has been in your inbox for months waiting for your attention – either do it, dump it or delegate it. Repeat for every email in your inbox. Get it down to single digits – preferably zero! Admittedly, I almost never get to zero but my goal is always under 10. One of the culprits of full inboxes is those newsletters and offers and such. If you are a chronic subscriber, go through and unsubscribe. If that is too scary, create a separate free email for subscriptions and channel everything through to that. Most importantly, set up that email so you have to log in separately. In other words, don’t connect it your Apple Mail or Outlook inbox. You will be surprised how rarely you log in to check that email and didn’t miss a thing!
Next, social media. Unfriend, unfollow, unlike, unsubscribe. At least once a year, I pause to consider what I want to experience through social media. Essentially, how I want to feel when I log on. And any friend, channel or group that doesn’t meet those expectations has got to go.
Finally, control your online screen time. Break the habit of scrolling on your devices. That may mean deleting certain apps on your phone or iPad. For example, if you have a habit of logging onto Facebook or Pinterest and mindlessly scrolling – delete it so that when you log on, it is intentional. Also, manage your zoom meetings. Yes, it is possible to do so. 2020 is the year of Zoom fatigue. Why is it so tiring? Zoom meetings are online screen time. They force us to focus more intently on conversations in order to absorb information. They also require us to stare directly at a screen for minutes at a time without any visual or mental break. It’s not healthy and you will want to combat zoom fatigue to the best of your ability.
Clear the Clutter.
Wrap up 2020 and set yourself up for 2021. Beyond the digital detox mentioned previously, you can also archive your computer and paper files and do a quick office purge, cleaning through drawers and file cabinets. Get your invoicing up-to-date, pay outstanding bills and generally make sure you are on track financially. Giving your office space a thorough clean and clearing clutter is a great way to start the year with renewed energy. It is actually my December ritual to deep clean my office space and always helps me hit the reset button as January rolls in.
Organize So You Can Then Shut Down.
It’s critical to have down time. So, if you are self-employed that may mean automating so that you can then shut down.
Marketing tools enable us to plan ahead and deliver relevant information to our clients at the right time. Therefore, set aside time to write blog posts and pre-schedule social media updates. If you have run out of time to write new blogs, pull from past posts that are still pertinent.
Similarly, craft a newsletter ahead of time and schedule it to go out at the beginning of the year. It’s a timely reminder of your services, just as your clients shift their focus back to business. And, by scheduling it you avoid interrupting that much-deserved down time you’re taking over the holidays.
Slow It Down….Again.
So, we are halfway through 7 tips to kickstart 2021 and there is a bit of a theme, right?
According to many, one of the gifts that 2020 offered was the opportunity to slow down during the early weeks of this pandemic. I was cynical because it was a reactive response and frankly, we were forced to stop. What happens when life speeds up again? Given the opportunity, will we really continue to choose a slow living lifestyle or will we revert back to all the excuses and jump on that fast-moving train again?
Currently, the second wave of this pandemic has given us directives to stop again. So, go ahead – take time to slow down right now. Re-ignite the joy that brings. Put into place these little strategies to ensure that happens. Update your phone message and email auto-responders with your holiday schedule. If it isn’t an option to totally turn off through the holidays, put someone in charge to give you the down time you need. If you are a solopreneur and delegating responsibility is not an option, make a schedule of when you will do the necessary tasks and stick to it. Make that commitment to shut down – turn off devices, close your office door and ask someone to hold you accountable for that down time.
What does ‘comfort’ mean to you? This holiday season will be different and emotions will undoubtedly brew up. Seek comfort in the familiar. Read a book of comfort. Watch a movie that you love. Call people that soothe you and bring a smile to your face. Get lots of fresh air. Add lots of movement into your days.
If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that community is everything. It is about connection and caring. Remember how community was front and centre at the beginning of this pandemic? Still, maybe it has waned with time but, the holiday season is primed to refocus on community.
And, that’s a personal thing. What does community mean to you? Is it reaching out to friends and family? Or, perhaps checking in on someone to see how they are coping? Is it connecting with people to support you in achieving your goals?
There are so many ways to fulfill your sense of community. For me, it was offering free online co-working sessions back in March. I felt the need to draw people together – and of course, it filled my need for community too. We still gather virtually every Thursday for connection and focused, productive work time so join in anytime. Or, if you miss your book club, there are opportunities to join online. Stay in touch. Stay connected. It’s important.
Granted, it is all different this year but please enjoy your revised version of this holiday season. And, all the best for a healthy and happy new year.
There you have it – 7 Tips to Kickstart 2021. Now, I’d love to know how you plan to spend the holidays. Tell me in the comments: WHAT ARE YOUR TOP TIPS TO CLEAR THE FOG AND MOVE FORWARD INTO 2021?