January is when our in-house event planners Marcella Kragel and Ina Miller like to hit the restart button. Here, their five-step approach to organizing your way into a happy and successful 2019.
January is one of our favorite months! It’s often a quiet time for us and the perfect opportunity to reflect and reorganize for the year to come. While we know we’re not the only ones doing this, we have become very good at it— especially because planning is a job requirement.
We even have a tried-and-true plan for tackling the new year which we’re happy to share with anyone else trying to jumpstart serious change.
Step One: Schedule
As we tackle our resolutions, January can often feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to. Think of resolutions as goals to work towards throughout the year. Similarly, when we start with a new client, it is easy to get wrapped up in the big picture, while the steps to get things done are often smaller and easier when laid out in a plan.
If you want to learn a new skill, research local resources and schedule it for a month when you know family birthdays and travel are light, and don’t stress about it until them. If you want to develop a new habit, start slow and build throughout the year, gaining momentum. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Not into resolutions? You can still think about your year as a project. Have you wanted to travel somewhere new? Schedule it out and take your time researching accommodations and travel plans early, so you can focus on the details as the trip approaches, maximizing your time away. Do you have a chore that you’ve been putting off, say organizing your garage? By scheduling it for a long weekend of good weather, you won’t torture yourself with an unfinished task hanging over your head.
Step Two: Budget
For us, every new client and event requires a new budget. Why not treat your household to the same? Whether your employer works on a fiscal or calendar year, January is a good time to reassess your spending from the last year and make plans moving forward.
As you look at your yearly goals, budget and plan accordingly. Also take the time to reflect on your past year’s spending, plan to pay off debts, and think about financial goals long term, then make sure you are planning accordingly. You will never look back and wish you hadn’t started saving.
Step Three: Organize
This is not the time when we clean house, drag things out of closets, or get rid of old items. This is the time when we reflect on our use. As we look at our year ahead, we take stock of our inventory and if we used our items effectively. What would make us work smarter in the future? Learning to organize is a marathon, not a sprint. There are small things you can do throughout your day to accomplish larger organizing goals.
Labeling doesn’t have to be all done at once. Label one or two things as you go about your day and soon everything will be labeled. We suggest using dry-erase tags to be able to adapt your categories throughout the year. When putting things away after a trip to the grocery store, break large quantities into smaller reusable containers, for easy snacking later. Have a designated in/out spot near an exterior door, making getting ready in the morning, or cleaning up at the end of the day easier. Small tips like these will help support your larger goals, whatever they may be, by saving you time and energy throughout the year.
Step Three: Color Code
We are big fans of color coding whenever possible. As business partners we have to divide and conquer all office tasks, responsibilities and client work. Color coding is our secret weapon to make sure we are accountable. We color code our calendars, our storage bins and our to-do lists.
Color coding is something you can bring into your home as well. Streamline outfit selection in the morning by arranging clothes by color. Easily plan your days a week in advance by assigning a color to each family member on a master household calendar. Sort important papers into colorful folders and avoid searching through piles when you need something quickly. Now is also a good time to discard unnecessary papers. Remember, you only need to save tax records for 7 years.
Step Four: Refresh
When we start to work on repeat events, “refresh” is a word we use often. Repeating a successful event can pose many challenges. How do you improve upon something that has already worked? You don’t want to lose your identity, but you also want to keep you guests coming back for more. Therefore, refreshing the look and feel of an event often involves small shifts that will pay homage to the past, while keeping guests on their toes.
This same process can be applied to your start of a new year. January is a great time to refresh a common space. Whether it’s your work desk, closet, or living room, a mini facelift will invigorate a familiar or overlooked space and inspire reflection. This can be as simple as mixing up the pillows on your couch, updating framed photos, or shifting existing furniture. Small changes in spaces you use every day can inspire a new routine, something that we think is important this time of year.