Happy New Year to You and Your Organizing Business!

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A new year means different things to different people. Some make resolutions, some set goals, some create vision boards, and some choose a single word to inspire them throughout the year. Getting a glimpse into others’ aspirations for the new year through social media and blogs can be quite interesting, and even inspire us as we contemplate our own.

My accountability partner through the Golden Horseshoe Virtual Assistants Group has been tremendously helpful in terms of keeping me on track since we began working together in 2012. Between that and the fantastic task management system I adopted last year, I didn’t feel a need to set formal goals for 2014. I was, however, intrigued by the “one word” strategy mentioned by Nicky Kriel and Lisa Montanaro, among others.

Linda Samuels recently asked me, With the arrival of the New Year, what do you want more of and less of to create your desired balance? Here’s what I said:

I believe that more planning will be the key to balance for me in the new year. Deciding in advance how I’ll spend a particular block of work time will make me more productive and profitable, and I’ll experience less guilt from not focusing on my priorities. Similarly, by planning my leisure time, I’ll face less frustration because instead of simply frittering those hours away, I’ll be filling them with pleasurable activities, which will bring me more enjoyment and fulfillment.

My answer basically summed up my overall vision for the year, and helped me to choose my one word: MAXIMIZE.

I’m excited, because it applies to so many things in my personal life as well as my business. Maximizing my time and energy, and by that I mean focusing them on what’s most important on any given day, can’t help but lead to increased health and happiness.

Now, when faced with a decision of what to do next, or whether to do something at all, I can just ask myself whether or not it will maximize some aspect of my life. If that sounds selfish, keep in mind that being able to help others by giving of my time or donating money to causes I believe in can be just as satisfying as reading a good book or doing something else that I personally enjoy.

If you’re interested in learning more about the “one word” approach, you may wish to check out the My One Word website, which was created to help people shift from New Year’s Resolutions to a simpler and more effective process. The writings of Michael Ashcraft and Rachel Olsen (the authors of the website and book of the same title) are based on their Christian beliefs, but I don’t believe you need to be a practicing Christian, or follow any religion at all for that matter, to adopt this system.

I would love to know how you approach a new year, especially with regards to your business. Feel free to share your resolutions, goals, vision, or your “one word” in the comments.

Photo credits, clockwise from top left: zoutedrop / Flickr, Crestock, worradmu / FreeDigitalPhotos, bholland / iStock

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A former professional organizer, I now eliminate stress for my clients by hosting, monitoring, and maintaining their WordPress sites so they don’t have to worry about security, downtime or performance issues. When I’m away from my desk, I enjoy reading, photography, watching movies, and cooking.

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  1. Linda Samuels Linda Samuels on January 7, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    Fascinating approach, Janet! What a wonderful tie in to the work you did with thinking about “more” and “less” to your one word approach to 2014. Just love your word, “maximize!” What an interesting idea to distill an entire year down to one theme that you focus all energies on.

    Thank you for including me in this post. Happy “Maximized” New Year!

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on January 8, 2014 at 6:59 am

      Thanks, Linda! It was such an interesting process that I actually shifted the other posts I had lined up for this month so I could share this with my readers.

      Right now I’m looking forward to maximizing my health by kicking a cold that snuck its way into my life over the weekend. 🙁

      • Linda Samuels Linda Samuels on January 8, 2014 at 7:54 am

        Perhaps another word to go with “maximize” is flexibility. You certainly used that skill to deviate from your plan. Way to go Janet!

        Sorry to hear that you’ve got a cold. Hope it goes away soon. Feel better.

        • Avatar Janet Barclay on January 8, 2014 at 11:46 am

          I’ve found flexibility to be very important both personally and professionally. The best example I can give is from when my business was still quite young. I was committed to working on three client projects when I was contacted about an opportunity which would take me well outside my comfort zone. Because I hadn’t actually received the work for any of the three projects, along with other factors, I decided to bite the bullet and accept the offer. The work was challenging but rewarding, and ended up being a major part of my income for six years. In addition, my involvement with that project continues to bring me new opportunities even today.

  2. Avatar Seana Turner on January 8, 2014 at 8:50 am

    I think at this stage in my life I love the word “opportunity.” I love having goals and plans, but as I get older I appreciate more and more the beauty of being available and open to opportunities that present themselves — even if they weren’t on my radar screen. These can be some of the most exciting and rewarding avenues for progress!

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on January 8, 2014 at 11:48 am

      I love it, Seana! In fact, one of the greatest things about being self-employed is that you can pick and choose which opportunities to pursue. See my comment to Linda above for an example of how this has played out for me.

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  6. Avatar Seana Turner on January 2, 2017 at 9:23 am

    My word for this year is “look.” I want to spend more time observing and listening and seeking… get my eyes up off of my “‘to do” list a bit more. I think this is such a fun exercise, and because it is only one word, it is easy to hold onto it all year long.

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on January 2, 2017 at 11:49 am

      That’s an interesting one, and a good one because you can apply it to every single aspect of your life. I look forward to hearing how you make out with it!

  7. Avatar Kathy McEwan on January 2, 2017 at 9:36 am

    I think the word for me this year is “Change”. Similar to your “Maxamize”. I want to make some personal and professional changes this year. Especially around working smarter and not harder. I feel I work hard enough and need more of a balance between work and me/family time. I am considering outsourcing for the first time ever, which is hard for me because I want to do it all!

  8. Avatar Sabrina Quairoli on January 2, 2017 at 10:51 am

    My word for this year is actually two words. “Taking Action” It means many things to may people but for me it represents to keep moving forward and not allow fear, anxiety, overthinking, procrastination, etc… to stop me from reaching my goals. Thanks for the reminder. I hope this helps many people achieve success this year.

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on January 2, 2017 at 11:53 am

      Ooh, that’s a good one too! It’s so easy to get caught up in all our ideas that we never get around to acting on them.

  9. Avatar Kim on January 16, 2019 at 9:40 pm

    An accountability partner is such a good idea. I really think it can help people to have more success. I know that if I tell others what and when I am doing something it definitely gets done. I will have to think about that for this year. Also, I am loving the OLW and mine for this year is Clarity.

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on January 17, 2019 at 12:23 pm

      It makes a huge difference! We are now a trio, as another member has teamed up with us, and we meet once a month for a Virtual Work on Your Business Day, which so far has been amazing.

      Clarity was my word for 2017!

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