“I’m clocked out! I’m on vacation.”
If you tried contacting me over the last 3 to 4 years between December 20 and January 3, you’d probably receive my vacation autoresponder, or a direct plug right into my voicemail. Back in my celeb gossip blogging days, I used to work all year round, with barely any breaks and no vacations, so I felt that the least I could do was treat myself to a full 10-14 days of doing absolutely nothing work-related to recharge for the New Year.
Unfortunately, that never worked for me.
I’d come back to piles of emails, unfinished work I didn’t close out the prior year, and I would feel overwhelmingly flustered with trying to catch up on what I missed, which defeated the purpose of the vacation. Over time, I realized that it was better to take smaller road trips, vacations, and breaks scattered throughout the year than it was to take one long vacation at the end of year. That way, I was constantly taking time for myself to recharge and regroup, which made me even more productive and creative while decreasing my chances of being exhausted, overwhelmed, and burned out.
This year, I took things a step further and designated the last few weeks of 2016 to get my ish together.
Screw a vacation, I’m getting a running head start on these 2017 goals.
Here’s a few things that I’ve done this year to ensure I have a winning New Year:
Clean Out The Clutter
Have you ever noticed that when your space is cluttered, that you often feel very tired and unmotivated all of the time? When my room is cluttered and a mess, I find it harder to get out of bed than when it is organized, clean, and smelling like some fresh lavender, peppermint, and rosemary. When you allow your working and living space to become cluttered, it also clutters your mental space, making it very hard to be productive, creative, and inspired to get up and go get what’s rightfully yours. Before the New Year, I clean out everything. My closets, my email inbox, my storage units, my car, and even my computer files (I dump them all on hard drives and delete them from my computer to free up my hard drive and memory).
If you don’t do anything before the New Year, do this. I promise you, you’ll thank yourself later.
Prepare Marketing Materials
If you have a brand, sell products, have a website, or consider yourself an influencer, it’s important that you have a media kit that accurately describes who you are, what you do, and what you are selling. Six weeks before the New Year, I began working on updating my media kits for both my xoNecole.com website, as well as my personal brand. Your media kit should include a brief bio or About Me section, demographics of your audience, and who you are targeting, traffic stats, social media influence, recent press, and anything that’s relevant to your brand and the brands that you are looking to work or partner with. This year, I added case studies and partnership opportunities and examples to both of my media kits to give brands an idea of past campaigns and results.
You can see an example of my media kits in one of my latest vlogs below.
Hone & Learn New Skills
If you follow me on YouTube, you’d know that I really don’t market my videos that I upload because I’m in the “learning to be better” stage. I talk about this all of the time! On my very first upload that I did on my own, I was out of focus, I was really orange from my ceiling light, and it took me 10 minutes to set up my tripod because I didn’t know what the heck I was doing. I also didn’t know how to edit. But my upload was out of frustration that I was paying people hundreds of dollars to film vlogs for me (which started to get costly) and having to wait weeks for edits which made me feel stuck and dependent on people to get things done. When I have a vision, I want to start on execution, no excuses. So I decided to take the downtime that the end of the year offers and learn how to film and edit my own videos, as well as snap my own photos (for my blog and social media).
Instead of shelling out hundreds and thousands of dollars to pay someone to do these things for me, I decided to invest in my own cameras, lighting, a shotgun mic, Final Cut Pro editing software (which I found on Ebay for $50), and even bluetooth remotes which allow me to snap photos or video from a distance. I’ve since turned my place into a creative studio and I couldn’t be more elated!
If you are interested in blogging, vlogging, or anything that has to do with creative visuals, buying your own equipment and learning the basics to get the job done will probably be one of the biggest investments that you make. I probably spend 4-7 hours out of my day practicing different video editing and photography techniques by watching YouTube tutorials. And that was time I used to spend browsing social media (go figure!).
Get A Running Head Start On Fitness & Life Goals
On January 1st, everyone you know will be flaunting “New Year, New Me” posts. Gym memberships will be up and the grocery stores will be filled with folks that are determined to eat healthy and trim a few pounds. Hey, I’m guilty of that same thing every year.
But not this coming year…
I took inventory of the things I wanted to achieve in 2017 and decided to get a running head start on my goals, especially my fitness goals before the New Year.
They say summer bodies are made in the winter, and I’m summer body ready.
7 weeks ago, I told myself that I was going to finally get really serious and dedicate myself to training for a bikini fitness competition, which takes place in March. I now workout at least 4-5 days a week and I have very healthy eating habits (that I will share on the site soon). I decided to get really serious about my fitness journey after I dropped about 7 pounds while traveling over a six-week period. Not only did I lose weight, but my body felt out of wack and my energy was very low from not eating the right foods daily and not getting my fitness fix. I had to change that ASAP!
Now that it’s been 7 weeks, I’m really in the habit of getting up and eating the required foods to give me the energy and fuel necessary to tackle my day at my highest potential. And my daily weight training and cardio sessions help tremendously as well.
I’ve also started journaling and working on my financial goals, as well as my bucket list (which is filled with travel in the New Year).
Social Media Detox
The biggest gift I could have probably given myself at the end of the year was a break from social media.
A few weeks ago, I deleted the Snapchat, Twitter, and Facebook apps off of my phone. I left YouTube (since I’m currently learning the platform) and Instagram. Mind you, I only allow myself five minutes a day to get on and off IG. Since detoxing from social, I have acquired a lot more time to do all of the things listed above. Read, video editing, creating and updating my media kits, writing out my goals and business/marketing plans, and most importantly, spending more time with friends.
FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) is what keeps most of us plugged in to social, but you have to be very careful of the time that you are spending plugging into other people’s lives and what they may or may not be doing, while neglecting and failing at living your own life.
If you are having problems being self-disciplined when it comes to social networks, removing the apps from your phone, and also downloading the SelfControl app – which prevents you from visiting distracting sites on your desktop – can help you get a head start on detoxing.
I talk about all of this and more in my video below:
Let me know what you are doing to get a running head start on the New Year in the comments!