Planning for the New Year


Something caught my eye while I was shopping this weekend: the perfect 2016 planner. It had tabs, monthly and weekly layouts, and a notes section perfect for to-do lists. That, and the Christmas music playing in the background, made me realize the holidays and New Year are quickly approaching.

With that realization, I spent some time evaluating what I need to do to end 2015 strong and have the best start for 2016. Here are the steps I took to make sure I close out the year on a high note. What are some of the things you do to prepare for the new year?

Prepare for upcoming events – When I listed out the events left on my calendar, I realized I had a lot to do to be ready for them. I included both work and personal events to see the overlap and prepare for busy weeks ahead, especially planning around time off for holidays. This list quickly grew into a shopping list and list of next steps. Hopefully, by looking ahead I will avoid any last minute trips to the store or late nights as deadlines quickly approach.

Review the past year – It’s important to reflect on what went well and what could have been different over the past year. Be sure to note accomplishments at work and hold on to that list for any upcoming performance reviews and for updating your resume. For the things that didn’t go as planned, take a deeper look at them to pull out any takeaways or lessons learned that could be applied to future events.

Out with the old – After reviewing the year, I have a couple files and materials I can clear off my desk. I’ll archive the useful things I want to save and off to the recycling bin with the rest! It’s a great time to clean and refresh your workspace. You may want a new desktop background picture, updated photos of family or a new plant to bring in some green during the winter. The same process can be done at home as well. I know I have a trip to Goodwill in my future!

Identify goals and start planning – With the year winding down, it’s a perfect opportunity to start thinking about 2016. You may already have your department’s annual plan ready, but there’s tremendous value in thinking about a personal plan, too. Here are a few things I’m considering for my list of professional goals this year:

  • Learn a new skill
  • Join a professional network
  • Pack lunch more often
  • Reach out to an old colleague
  • Attend a networking event

I still have plenty of work to do to wind up the year, but I feel more prepared after taking time to plan and review. And with my desk clean and plans in place, I have more time to elaborate on and figure out how to accomplish my goals for 2016. Here’s to a productive end of the year!

Kaitlyn Boller is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.

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