Ready to ring in the New Year? Before you do, check out these 7 end-of-the-year tasks that will help you enter the New Year with a true blank slate and no baggage holding you back.
As the clock is winding down on the year, it’s time to start thinking about those fresh starts that a New Year brings.
I don’t know about you but I love those blank white pages in my planner, the new opportunities that come with a fresh new year, and the chance to purge, declutter, and organize not just my home but our lives too. You could say that I am a little enthusiastic about the New Year? 😉
And while I love the blank slate January 1st brings, I am not a fan of entering into the New Year with the unresolved baggage of the previous year.
Tasks that still need to be completed, clutter (both physical and spiritual) that never got dealt with, loose corners that were never tied up, and so on. To make a fresh start for the year, there is a little bit of housekeeping to do.
Finishing up and completing some unfinished tasks will help you enter the New Year with a true blank slate and no baggage holding you back.
That’s why these 7 end-of-the-year tasks are a top priority on my list during the week between Christmas and New Year.
They help me to end the year well so I can start fresh in the New Year.
7 End-of-the-Year Tasks to Do Today
Wrap Up Christmas
While some still have Christmas celebrations and get-togethers throughout the first few weeks of the year, for most of us, we are done with our holiday traditions.
So this is the perfect time to wrap up your holiday season by:
- Recording any special memories you don’t want to forget
- Writing down what worked and what didn’t so you can remember how you and your family is feeling right now when you begin to plan for the next year’s holiday season
- Evaluate your Christmas budget, was it too much? Too little?
- Add in any new addresses into your calendar book and get rid of that pile of envelopes with random addresses
- Send thank-you notes or expressions of gratitude
- Begin to pack up and organize your Christmas decorations if you don’t wait until Ephiny to do so.
- Complete the pages inside Your Intentional Holiday Toolkit to wrap up the holiday season so you have an account of what traditions and activities you participated in. You can even write down your favorite memories! This will help so much in planning for next year.
Reflect on the Year
I believe that in order to move into the New Year with goals and aspirations, we have to look back first. Before I even sit down to map out goals, I always reflect on the previous year. These 30 questions are my go-to source.
Set aside an hour or an entire afternoon to think through your responses to these questions.
Not only will they help you to look back and remember special moments but they will also help you to look ahead and create those graceful goals for the New Year.
Pay All Fines
Have any outstanding fees? (I’m looking at you… library fine!) 😬
If the budget allows, go ahead and just pay those fines and fees from this year.
There is nothing worse than heading into the New Year with these small, outstanding debts that will be a constant thorn in your side, especially if the fee increases over time.
Trust me on this one 😉 (Although I like to think of my library fines as simply my little way of supporting one my favorite services!)
Complete Charitable Giving
For tax purposes, any donations and charitable giving must be recorded by 11:59 pm on December 31st.
My husband and I always sit down the last week of the year to see where we have already given. Many times, we send an end of the year bonus contribution to the ministry partners and the church we support financially.
If there are ministries you support, churches you tithe to, or other organizations of worthy causes you like to donate to, make sure you have sent in your end of the year giving and it’s postmarked by the 31st to be included in your taxes.
Organize Your Devotional Life
Come the end of the year, my Bible book basket has seen better days.
There is a miss-mash of Advent devotionals, dried out pens, devotional books I don’t use anymore, printouts that are tore or crumpled, and spiritual growth books I have completed.
Cleaning out the place where you keep your Bible and other study or devotional materials will help you to start the year fresh in your Bible reading and study plan.
Take an hour to clean out your supply and to gather new materials ready to begin January first.
Some things to consider might be:
- Flip through your Bible to gather any loose pieces of paper, sermon notes, or other bookmarks that no longer serve their purpose. If they are important notes, secure them in your journal or spiritual disciplines binder, discard the rest
- Remove any devotional or spiritual growth books you no longer use or are finished with.
- Quickly skim through your prayer journal or Scripture writing notebook to see if it’s time to find a new one.
- Check the pens, highlighters, or markers in your pencil case for ink quality. Replace your supply of sticky notes, stickers, or other Bible journaling materials if you use them.
- Print off a fresh new Bible reading plan, prayer calendar, or other helpful study aids.
- Gather any new devotional books or Bible study materials you plan on using in the next year.
- Finally, if you have never created your own Bible Book basket, now is the time! Find an expensive basket or crate to house all of your study materials.
Declutter Your Digitial Life
What does your computer look like when you open your home screen? Are their lots of apps, and software programs you don’t use? Are their documents and photos stored at random with no organization?
Does the thought of even organizing your computer files send chills up your spine?
I’ll admit, this may be a project that requires a bit more time than just a few minutes to prep for the New Year but it’s probably one of those tasks that you keep saying you will get to.
If time is an issue, begin together by just creating folders. Start with these few:
- Personal Documents 2019 – for any Word or Pages documents, PDFs or other downloads already on your computer from the previous year
- Personal Documents 2020 – for any documents you plan on saving in the new year
- Photos 2019 – simply place all photos from the previous year in this folder.
- Photos 2020 – this is where you will save any new photos
If you have older documents or photos from before this year, you can either make a folder now or just make a MISC folder to place all those in to deal with later so at least the appearance of visual clutter is gone.
Once you have your main folders set up, you can go back in as time allows to organize and make sub-folders but at least you have the process started.
As for your desktop, are there any apps or software that you simply do not use? Perhaps it came standard on your computer setup but you have never even opened them?
Remove them from your home screen if your computer won’t let you delete them altogether. Clean it up so that only the main apps are visible.
There is something to be said about removing the visual clutter to help feel less overwhelmed. As time allows, you can continue to work on organizing and deleting files to make your system work even better.
Backup Your Photos
Currently, on my iPhone, I have over 150 photos just from October through the holidays. That doesn’t include the summer photos I never got around to backing up, nor does it include the photos I took on my fancy camera.
I always hear those sad stories of people who lost their phones or had their cameras stolen before they had a chance to backup and store their photos. Thankfully technology is getting better with automatic cloud storage, but even that you still have to set up and sync, and it isn’t always reliable.
The best way to prevent losing those precious photos is to back them up TODAY.
Go through all the photos you took this year and delete the duplicates, the blurry ones, or the many random selfies your 4-year-old took when she got a hold of your phone without you knowing it 😉
Once you have those gone, back up the rest. Upload them to a photo sharing system, like Shutterfly or Chatbooks, where you can easily print off prints or make a quick yearend scrapbook or photo book.
Then clean out your phone so it is ready to go with recording new memories for the year.
These are just a few tasks to complete that will help you to tie up any loose ends from the year and to remove any baggage. They will allow you to kick off the New Year with a fresh start.
What end of the year tasks would you add to the list?
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