New Year’s Organizing Tips

When the new year begins, change some processes that haven’t been working for you, and don’t forget to make some time to pursue your interests.


When the calendar makes its inevitable turn from December 31st over to January 1st, we can feel a palpable energy of change in the air. Some people resolve to make sweeping changes – getting a new job, moving, or other life-altering events. Others might be looking to make smaller, less sweeping alterations to their lives, like spending more time with friends, reading a book a month, or eating less chocolate (why?!). I like to think of the New Year as a time to get things ready, to start off with a fresh perspective and with systems that will serve you well throughout the year. To that end, here’s some ways to get the most out of 2008:

Set up new systems. This is a great time of year to look at what’s working and what isn’t, and to develop new strategies to serve you better. Are you frustrated with your current piles of paper? Make some time to set up a paper management system. Is your closet overflowing with clothes? Set aside a few hours to edit through your stuff and put things back in a way that makes sense for you. If you haven’t yet figured out a strategy for processing your email, look up a few ideas on how to get through your inbox, and try a few on for size. Take an honest look at where frustration arises in your life, and create ways to combat it.

Tweak current processes. If you’ve already developed some strategies to help you manage life’s details – great! The New Year is the perfect time review what you’ve put in place, and make adjustments to ensure that everything is working as well as it can. For instance, in your filing system, do all the category names still make sense? Are the tabs legible? Are the folders still in good condition? Take a few minutes to review your categories, print out new labels, and replace frayed folders with fresh ones. Review all the systems you currently have in place, and see where small changes can be made. Making these small tweaks can help your systems continue to serve you well.

Give yourself some time. We all could benefit from more “me” time, and this is a good opportunity to build some into our lives. Make a personal “wish list” of projects or interests you’d like to pursue if you had a little bit of extra time. Look at your calendar or agenda and see where you can carve out some extra time for yourself – even just a few minutes a day or an hour or two a week. Set it as an appointment on your calendar – writing it down helps make it real. Use your wish list as a guide for what to do with that newfound extra time.

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