As we're down to the final days of 2019, now's the time to unplug and recharge so that you can start the new year off strong. While you mentally and physically prepare for the year ahead, it's also time to reflect on the previous 12 months and make note of the highs and lows in your business -- and in your own performance as a leader.
You've probably already wrapped up your end-of-year commitments, but I can bet there's still plenty of organization to be done. So if you really want to get a head start on the new year, rather than wait until you're back in the office in January, spend a bit of your downtime focusing on your goals for the year ahead and providing yourself with a clear mind (and desktop) for a fresh start.
1. Review your financial bottom line.
While it might not be the most enjoyable task, taking a closer look at your finances is an absolute necessity if you want to stay on top of your goals. If you're a pro with numbers, you probably already have a good understanding of your bottom line, but for the rest of us, don't just assume that your CFO has it under control.
Schedule a quick meeting with your accountant to make sure that you really have a handle on the situation. For more visual learners, it can be helpful to have a fact sheet made so that you can actually visualize where to focus your attention.
It's also a good idea to make sure that you've paid enough in taxes to prevent delays later on, and make any last-minute donations to take advantage of tax deductions in these final days of 2019.
2. Reorganize your business files.
No matter how successful and far along in your career you are, it can be a huge challenge to keep all of your emails, documents, and client files organized on your computer desktop. Not only can a cluttered workspace immediately raise those cortisol levels, but it can also make finding your files unnecessarily time-consuming and complicated.
You may already have a system in place that works for you, but you've probably still let some things pile up without appropriately filing them away. In this case, just sit down and follow your normal routine. Don't forget to archive client files that you're no longer working on and empty out those spam folders.
If you're unsure how to tackle your digital workspace and it's causing you undue stress, look into some online tools that are designed to help improve your workflow. Otherwise, it might be time to hire an administrative or virtual assistant to take on these tasks and make your work life flow seamlessly.
3. Determine what parts of your business it's time to outsource.
As you're clearing up your workspace, see if there are any other elements of your business that you can outsource or expand. As a leader, you are likely used to handling every single detail yourself. But once your business has taken off, it makes more financial sense to expand your team and focus your unique skills on the advancement of your company rather than on menial work.
Bringing in salaried, full-time employees may not always be the best solution. What can you outsource to an agency, a virtual assistant, or a freelancer? Whether it's social media management for your company or booking your travel, outsourcing can often be an inexpensive and efficient way to get the same job done.
4. Celebrate your wins, big and small.
Whether you've streamlined your sales process this year, or done a complete branding overhaul, it's important that you take the time to congratulate yourself on a job well done. Make a list of the things that you're proud of, no matter how small. Did you finally replace that printer everyone's been complaining about for two years? Great! Add that to the 'win' pile.
By reflecting on your personal successes, not only will you feel satisfaction from all your hard work, you'll also find your enthusiasm renewed so that you'll be excited to jump back in once the holidays come to an end.
5. Thank people for a job well done.
Your business relies on your employees, vendors, partners, and so many others, so make an effort to personally thank those who have made a difference over the past year. This can take the form of a personalized holiday greeting, a small gift, or even a brief email.
Don't underestimate what a simple thank-you can do, especially as your business grows. Showing appreciation reflects well on you as a leader. It shows that you're without ego and care enough to make a personal connection. This will help ensure return business and loyal employees in the years to come.