Have a fresh start in 2015: Accomplish those things during the holidays

The holidays are coming and everyone’s on vacation. Your email inbox is as dry as the Sahara and every other message you send out gets you an automated reply: “off to the Caribbeans for a month, back January 6th.”

Meanwhile you are sitting in front of your computer with a couple of hours to kill and an urge to be productive… Well here are 10 simple suggestions for things you’ve honestly, really been meaning to do all year and just couldn’t get around to and could be doing right now. Doing them now will guarantee a fresh start for 2015.

1. Zero Dark Inbox

Clean your inbox! Nothing feels better than starting off the new year with a clean and empty inbox. Apps like Mailbox or the new Google Inbox will help you do that in minutes.

Go through your unread folder and scan all those emails you’ve put away thinking you’ll eventually get to, and ask yourself if you think that will ever happen. If not, archive away. If yes, turn that email into a task in your calendar, and later get that out of the way as well.

2. Decide on your professional new year resolutions

Running from project to project, we can often forget to think about the general direction. Now would be a great time to sit back on your couch and with a pen and paper and write down where we would like to see our career go on 2015. Learn new skills? Work on our own project? Collaborate with someone new?

Make yourself a list of 10, even 20 bullet points. Even if you only manage to do two this year, you’ll feel like you’ve taken a step in the right direction. (Pro tip: your first task should be an easy one. It feels great to check off your first list item.)

3. Go to your dentist / acupuncture guy / witch doctor

We tend to neglect ourselves throughout the year because there’s always something more urgent on our list. This is a great time to take care of yourself instead. Keep in mind – today’s small tooth hole is tomorrow’s root canal, and when you’ll be forced to take time off in the middle of a huge project, it will hurt twice as bad. Literally.

Get your tests done and remember that your body needs maintenance too, not only your laptop.

4. Install an “who read my email” app

One of the most frustrating things as a freelancer is when you can’t be sure whether or not the client read your email, or when you can’t remember whether you even sent it to them.

Well it’s almost 2015, and our technological society not only invented a robot that cleans your house – it also came up with a bunch of apps to help you keep track of email reads. There are some great free apps out there like Yesware, Banana Tag and Contact Monkey. Download one of them and say goodbye to nervously waiting around!

5. Organize your business documents

Invoices, receipts, bids, signed agreements – sometimes we hate dealing with bureaucracy so much that we simply avoid it and everything ends up scattered all over the desk or on our computer desktop. It’s time to restore order! After all, annual report time is coming up (plus the search button always screws up in crunch time.)

6. Update your social media profiles

Your clients will often find you via LinkedIn, Facebook, Dribbble, Twitter, or anywhere else you’ve signed up to. Polish your profile picture, see to it that your newest projects are showcased and that your job description is updated.

As for Facebook – don’t forget to make sure your security settings are hiding away that photo of you in a Santa costume with a half empty bottle of wine in your hand. Unless you’re designing AA a new website, that is.

7. Clean your hard drive

I have a freelancer friend whose house is always sparkling clean and ordered: “clean house, clean mind” she always says. I believe that’s true for your computer as well. Clean away unnecessary icons from your desktop, from your downloads file and from other temporary locations you’ve invented over the year. You don’t really need that adorable picture of Santa hugging a kitten, trust me.

8. Rearrange your portfolio

As a designer, your website had to be shipshape. Now would be a good time to browse around and ask yourself whether you’re happy with what you’re seeing. Are all your latest projects featured there? Are there old project you would rather not display right now? Make sure your portfolio screams out the branding you want for yourself – professional and slick.

9. Back up

This one seems kind of obvious, and yet every couple of days I see a Facebook status crying for help: “does anyone know how to restore lost files?!” You’ve probably already got Dropbox, Google Drive and the like, but sometimes we’re too lazy to set up our folders so that everything is actually backed up properly.

Rearrange your most important files, and do it with backup folders: pictures, icons, client docs and everything else that’s valuable, and make sure the backup is up and running.

10. Have some fun!

Are you done clearing out your computer and desk? Go clear your head too. Allow yourself to finally take that coveted vacation and go out without thinking about tomorrow morning or the day after. Your clients are busy with their families and vacations right now and will not come looking for you. Take advantage of that!

The nuSchool team wishes you a Merry Christmas. Don’t fight with Santa, have a swell dinner, and remember to drink some water with that wine bottle.  


Sharing is Caring

Get new posts to you email:

Good stuff is on the way.

Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form :(