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Almost MidnightIt’s that quiet week between Christmas and New Years.  What should we be doing?  Should we:-

a) Go shopping in the sales and max out our credit cards if we have not already done so?
b) Clean the house like a maniac because we need to be perfect by the end of the year?
c) Write a massive list of things to do, or maybe a series of massive lists of things to do in order to be perfect for the New Year?
d) Flop down exhausted and eat potato chips and watch DVDs?

That’s right, there is no correct answer, but I do have a few ideas.  Perhaps like me, you do have a few things you’d like to get done this week to start the New Year feeling like you’ve got it together.

Well, as this is a newsletter about being organized, you’re probably not perfect, just like me, and you’re not going to be magically perfect by next week either, so forget that idea.  What we don’t want is to start the New Year feeling like a failure.

What we really do need to do this week, is make sure we have a diary or a calendar, or both, and start writing in it.  I started by filling in birthdays and school term dates, and some appointments already lined up.  My new diary is spiral bound, week to an opening, and fits in my handbag (purse).

When I venture out to the shops sometime after the weekend, I’ll be buying our new family wall calendar which goes in the kitchen.  That’s right, I haven’t bought it yet.  Don’t panic, I’m OK.  I know which one and where to get it.  It’s a really big one with the dates running in a straight line from top to bottom for each month, and columns for different family members.  I’ll be grabbing some cheaper ones for the older kids to keep in their rooms as well – probably with puppies or kittens on them.

Fortunately we don’t have any items to be returned or exchanged, but we do have the usual after Christmas clutter, including 2 boxes of crackers we forgot to put on the table.  However did we manage without the party hats and jokes?

Something I did a few years ago which I still refer to and add to, is a “things to remember for next Christmas” list.  It has things like food preferences for those who usually have Christmas dinner with us, don’t forget to put the crackers on the table, (oops), only buy as much stone fruit as we can eat in 2 days because that’s how long it lasts, only make one small trifle, don’t overcook the prawns, buy batteries, bigger ham, that kind of thing.

Another thing that comes in handy is a record of gifts given and received.  An excel spreadsheet works better than a word document because of the little boxes.  I’m still discovering new things those clever little boxes can do.  I now know which books I have already given my nephew, for example.  Don’t forget to keep all your Christmas gift receipts together in an envelope in case any need exchanging or returning.  Oh, I should have mentioned that before Christmas.

Other than quietly pottering around the house this coming week, enjoying the quiet time with the kids, eating leftovers and disappearing into the novel I received as a gift, the main thing I’ll be doing is reviewing my goals, routines and lists.

If you don’t already have your goals written down in detail, your daily and weekly routines, and your set of lists, now would be a good time to get to work on that.  If you do have them, it’s a good time to go over them and make revisions if needed. 

To get rid of those random little notes that have been hanging around but you can’t get rid of them because you might need them (you know the ones), just type them all into a word document on your computer, and label it “random notes from 2009” or something.  That way you can find them, and you’ll feel safe enough to start a shiny new notebook without having to copy all that out or continue to carry it around with you.

For our new years resolutions, instead of a list like lose weight, give up smoking, stop swearing, get organized etc, I suggest a list of positive descriptions of habits.  This can be something to read every day, just as we read our goals every day and check our calendars every day.  They can be positive affirmations of the person we want to be and can be, encouragements to keep us on the right path, remind us of the path we have chosen.  You know the one, the one where you love and respect yourself, make good decisions, believe in yourself, and that flows on to how you relate to your fellow human beings.

If you do have things in mind as New Year’s resolutions, they might belong on your goals list, and once they are written on your goals list, they need lots of regular attention.  Once they’re there, they’re going to get analysed, broken down, brainstormed, and have lists of tasks and projects and habits and routines built around them.  Yes, I said there three times.  It would only have looked sillier if one of them was the their spelling.

I wish you all a happy, safe, peaceful and loving New Year.

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