Month by month, your year comes to a close and if you look back you are most likely not the same in one way or another. Think about it. You are either healthier or “not-as-healthy,” saved more or spent more, learned something new or forgot more than you remember. If you just work and work and feel like a hamster on a wheel, it might be time for some good, old fashion work life planning month-by-month.
January: Make a plan. A simple plan (perhaps based on these guidelines) that sets up a goal a month is a good start. Instead of planning to “lose 10 pounds,” how about just drinking more water and walking 10 minutes a day to start off your January?
February: Put a little love into your work. Be the office Valentine by bringing flowers and candy to work.
March: Gimme a break. Just as you’re getting sick of the weather, you may have a spring break or summer vacation. This is a great time to start thinking about where you could spend a week when the weather gets nice. Rest is good.
April: Do some spring cleaning. A regular workplace cleaning day (both in the physical space and the electronic one) can do wonders for morale.
May: Save for a rainy day. The government’s taken a good piece of your income in taxes by now, so you can start saving some for yourself. Set money aside each month in a qualified retirement plan. Try to do it automatically.
June: Downsize: Paper files overrunning your cabinets and storage units? It’s time to purge and you can use the IRS retention rules to get your started. Scan critical documents, shred or recycle the rest.
July: For many businesses, this starts their corporate year. Make sure your employee’s files are in order. Do you have everyone’s reviews completed? Is your handbook up to date?
August: While you go from hot outside to freezing cold air conditioners inside, think about energy efficiency. Have you had an energy audit? Consider one thing your business can do to be a good steward of the environment.
September: Children are going back to school so resolve to learn something. I forced myself to use Prezi (instead of PowerPoint). I figured out how to update websites on WordPress and buy Facebook ads.
October: Visit your financial planner and accountant. It’s time to plan for the end of the year, so set an appointment before they get too busy to do your tax planning and maximize your deductions.
November: Send Thank You Notes. Every day someone is making your work life a little easier, whether it’s the person who makes your latte or keeps your car running. You are not ever too busy to be thankful.
December: Take inventory. Just like a business’s strategic plan, you need to evaluate in what areas you made progress and which you did not. Adjust your plan and start all over again. (I suggest you do take a vacation, however. All work and no play… )