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Organization Tuesday: Looking Back at 2008 Before We Look AheadViews: 321
Dec 31, 2008 1:57 am Organization Tuesday: Looking Back at 2008 Before We Look Ahead

Julie Bestry
Just one day left before 2009 dawns.  It's amazing how slowly a day can pass in childhood, and how quickly a year in business can come and go.  With just a day left, it's the perfect time for a little quiet introspection about the accomplishments of the past year and the hopes and goals for the one to come.  

Too often, we jump into our new challenges without really thinking about what lessons we've learned.  So, let's think of this exercise as organizing our thoughts for the new year.

Settle in with a cup of cocoa, eggnog or warm cider, grab your 2008 daily planner or PDA, your NEW 2009 planner, a blank legal pad and a clear head.  (So no "adult" eggnog this time around, eh?) Review your calendar, going day-by-day, starting back on last New Year's Eve, and take note of:

1) Successes -- So often, we tend to dwell on the mistakes we made or the times we let things fall through the cracks. There are rarely medals or trophies for the small victories of life, but these are sometimes the sweetest.

Each time you find one of these successes, write it down, and keep the list handy. In fact, if you don't already have a SUCCESS FOLDER, create one now and keep it with your business files.  It's always good, on those rainy ego-bruising days to have someplace to go for a reality check and appreciate our good days.

Go into the new year emboldened by the the strides you took in the past year, and build on these triumphs.

2) Surprises -- Every January 1st, we (should) start the year by planning for all the events (in person and online) we can anticipate.

But there are also unexpected events that can present new opportunities. Did a charitable organization call you at the last minute to fill in for a speaker at an annual event or to provide a gift certificate for a silent auction?  Were there opportunities you didn't take because you weren't comfortable with the lack of lead time?

Get the jump on guiding these "disorganized" groups and approach them to secure speaking or promotional opportunities when they're still in the planning stages. Be an early bird and use last year's surprises to build on the coming year's successes!

3) Opportunities -- Did your local newspaper kept printing AP or Reuters news wire service articles about your profession instead of contacting you for a local interview? Does a poster on one of the networking groups where you lurk casually offer up posts on a subject for which you have greater expertise, but since you neglect to post, nobody thought to ask you? Do you make notes on your to-do lists or calendar pages to act, but never follow through?

Get inspired. Be motivated. Use these unexpected happenings to guide your planning for the new year to share your expertise. Develop a genuine relationship with your newspapers' editors and reporters, and actively post on the social networking groups you frequent, whether that's Ryze or Twitter, Plurk or Facebook.

Schedule days each quarter to send press releases and network with local media; schedule time each day/week for active online networking.

4) Recurring Events -- Did you keep missing recurring teleclasses or monthly in-person meetings because you somehow found yourself otherwise booked by the time the activity rolled around?

Review your calendar for last year's conferences, Chamber of Commerce meetings, client sessions, annual expos and trade shows, industry-specific events, etc. and find out the dates or patterns (e.g., third Thursday).

Schedule fixed recurring activities for the whole year; you'll be far less likely to have conflicts if your schedule is blocked off. (Don't forget to schedule payment deadlines for quarterly taxes and loans -- you'll have fewer financial surprises if they're marked in your schedule.)  Schedule some vacation time, too, to make sure you make plans to nurture yourself.

5) Rekindled Connections -- Every year, prospects cancel their first appointments and continuing clients fail to schedule (or reschedule) follow-ups.

Review your calendar for clients who simply wandered away, and use the new year as a pretext to get back in touch via newsletter, email or phone call. Let these lost souls know you're still eager to do business with them, and share the details of anything novel or exciting going on in your business that can benefit them.  Even if they're not ready to hire, letting them know they can subscribe to your blog feed or connect with you on social networking sites may be just what's needed to keep you in the forefront of their minds.

Before you (literally) close the book on 2008, review the experiences you've had to see what opportunities may lie ahead.

Enjoy and celebrate!  Happy new year!

Julie Bestry, Certified Professional Organizer®
Best Results Organizing
"Don't apologize.  Organize!"
Visit http://www.juliebestry.com to save time and money, reduce stress and increase your productivity

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