I have a few things that I regularly do at the end of the year. If I don’t do them, I don’t feel ready for January, let alone poised to take control of the new year and kick some ass. And those few things have everything to do with cleaning and organizing all the systems that keep me organized throughout the year.
1. Desktop & Bookmarks: I do a lot of image saving for my job (go figure) so I constantly download to my desktop so things are easy to find. It gets clogged up as a result and looks like a little graveyard of posts past. It's absolutely necessary to go through and cull it periodically. Same with my browser bookmarks, which get saved in one big folder on my toolbar. It's time to go through and get rid of the files and bookmarks I never use, then organize the ones I do into more manageable folders.
2. Calendar: I’m going to admit it. The Cloud confuses me at times. I have a ton of different calendars that supposedly sync together, but there is still a ton of overlap and repeat information. When a holiday or friend’s birthday comes around, I get no less than six pop up reminders for the day. It’s driving me nuts, so I need to sit down and streamline the whole system and figure out how to make it work for me, THEN start adding the stuff I need to remember throughout the year.
3. Pinterest Boards: As a heavy Pinterest user, I have tons of tons of pins and boards that were saved and/or created for a particular purpose, but never used again. Once a year I like to go through and purge everything that I no longer need to reference. It's a big job but I feel lighter once it's done.
4. Bag or Briefcase: My bag is a little mini filing system with wallet, phone, keys, etc. If it’s swimming in old receipts, business cards and who knows what else (yes, I am the person who once found a knife covered in peanut butter wrapped in a napkin in my purse), it's just not working. Your bag demands attention every once in awhile, and the first of the year is a good time to start the habit.
5. Mobile Phone: Organize and update your apps, get rid of all the apps you bought but never use, delete or store photos elsewhere. You don't need that picture of a squirrel eating licorice from the park a year ago. The same goes with all your contacts and phone numbers. Make sure you have everyone's most current info stored and it'll be there when you most need it.
6. Banking Tools: Automated payments are the greatest modern convenience of all time. They save hours and hours of mindless bill writing, and clear your to-do list — not to mention save lots of mental energy. If you don't already do this, setting up your system in January is a great way to start off the year. So is an on-line banking account (like Capital One 360) which links to your regular checking account, and automatically transfers and organizing your money in different folders. It's a helpful way to save for different things.
7. Inbox: Email pretty much trumps all other forms of communication these days– we use it more than phone calls, text messages, or face-to-face conversations. If you have 4,000 emails, you're in deep. After doing a massive delete session, find a system that works for you and set it up.