4 Simple To-Do’s to Give You a Great Start to 2010

This is my favorite time at the office. Phones are slow, emails are fewer and less urgent, people many times are away, and most everyone runs to a slower cadence than usual. Unless you’re in retail, the temptation is to also slow down (I”m all for that) and get little done (no way – heck I’m performance coach – I’m mostly about accomplishment).

But like the bicyclist who rides just a little harder up hill – and makes up tons of ground on everyone – it’s a great time to get four things done while you’ve time AND opportunity.

Here are four simple to-do’s to get done that pay big dividends now AND later:

  1. Update your contact file. Sure, it’s something you need to do but why now? Because you’ve got the best reason of all to reach out to folks with whom you might have stale info: “I’m updating my contact files at the end of year and I want to verify contact info for you. I’d like to stay in touch – what’s your current contact info like phone, personal e-mail, and postal mailing address. As noted in 5 Landmines to Avoid When Changing Jobs, having current contact information for your career and work network is essential. And with the speed of some changes (e.g. your job is here today, gone tomorrow) having current, good contact info for your network is – like the MasterCard ad intones – priceless. Take the time NOW to update it.
  2. Thank people. It may sound corny, but taking the time – even when it’s not Thanksgiving – to drop people a handwritten note or e-mail is a great way to memorialize thanks. In a world where little things count big, taking the time to say thanks as you look back on the year puts things – and people – in perspective.
  3. Be reflective: what do you wish you’d done this past year that you missed, and what did you accomplish that makes your proud? For things you missed, how could you avoid that mistake in the future? For things you accomplished, what skills / traits / abilities led you to the accomplishment – and how could you repeat them. Post mortems aren’t just for projects – they’re for people as well.
  4. Look ahead and set your goals for the year. All work and no play makes Jill and Jack dull – here’s a chance when you’ve got some time to think about what you’d like to accomplish on the personal and job related side. Even if you don’t hang your goals on a string in front of you, having some clear goals will give you an idea of what you’d like to do – and what you’d like to avoid.

So 4 simple things to do before the New Year starts – and all four will help you make 2010 a better year than 2009!