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Karen Dwyer: 7 Ways to Finish 2008 for a Fresh Start at Work

Clean off your desk and clear out your inbox, and hit 2009 running.

A new year brings the chance for a regenerated beginning at work, but it can be hard to make the transition if you feel burdened by the previous year’s workload. It’s important to get a good start to set the tone for months to come. To help you achieve that fresh start, here are seven tips to wrap up your 2008 tasks and be ready for a new work year.

Karen Dwyer
Karen Dwyer
1. Clear Out Your Inbox. Depending on how many e-mails you have in your inbox, this project may take 10 to 15 minutes or up to a few hours. Delete e-mails you don’t need, including those you’ve already responded to and those that you’ve had for six months or more. Then, reply to e-mails that need a response. After that, if you find there are still several important messages in your inbox, create and label folders by project or deadline, and move these messages into them. Deleting and filing your e-mail messages now will set you up for an organized new year and keep you from feeling overwhelmed by a full inbox when you return to the office.

2. Clean Your Workspace. Over time, papers, assignments, and even trash can clutter your workspace — whether it’s a desk or the delivery truck you drive. Throw away any trash, recycle unneeded papers and file important documents that you’ll need later. If your space is still too cluttered, try using hanging file folders or a portable file organizer to sort your documents for convenient access.

3. Wrap Up Unfinished Projects. Before the new year comes, make sure you’ve finished all of your 2008 projects. Look through the tasks you were supposed to complete and see if any remain unfinished. If so, take the time before year’s end to wrap up loose ends before starting new projects.

4. Review Your Goals. If you haven’t looked at your goals lately, go back and review the goals you established for 2008 to see which ones you reached and which ones you didn’t. Aim to finish one or two more goals before the new year starts so you can check them off your list in time to start tackling the new goals 2009 will bring.

5. Meet With Your Supervisor. Your supervisor can provide you with helpful information about how to improve your performance in the upcoming year. Ask them to meet with you and suggest one or two areas on which you can work to improve. Inquire about which tactics worked and which didn’t, what you can do differently to strengthen your skills, and how you can better contribute to the team.

6. Create New Personal and Professional Goals. After you’ve reviewed your goals from the previous year and met with your supervisor, take some time to create a few personal and professional goals that you’d like to accomplish for yourself in 2009. Write down your main goals, like improving a specific skill or conquering a new task, and post them in your workspace where you can easily see them for daily inspired action.

7. Start Today. One of the biggest mistakes people make is to wait until a specific day, such as the beginning of a new year, to start doing something new or different. Don’t wait to start — realize today is the day. By making changes today to prepare for the year, you’ll be more relaxed, less stressed, and happier when it finally arrives.

Starting a new year can be exciting because you can make a fresh start, but it can also be overwhelming if you aren’t prepared. So, take the time to accomplish these seven small feats before the new year arrives. You’ll be helping yourself and starting 2009 off right.

Karen Dwyer is owner of Express Employment Professionals, 9 W. Figueroa St. Click here to contact her or call 805.965.6900.

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