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The New Year's list to end all lists

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I don’t know about you but my inbox seems to be full to bursting with messages from every Tom, Dick and Hubert offering me advice about how to kick-start my super-productive 2016. It’s only 4th January and I’m bored of it all already.

Oh, don’t get me wrong: the advice is probably all absolutely right. And that’s probably why I don’t like hearing it. And truth be told, I’m as guilty as everyone else put together when it comes to dishing out useful advice. Even if the advice this year is the same as it was last year and the year before that. And the year before that.

But let’s run through my top five anyway so that you too can all feel as guilty as me for not having made any new year’s resolutions yet.

1. Do your tax return

I promised my accountant that I’d do mine in May. Guess what? Haven’t done it. She probably hates me right now because I’m one in a long list of people she has to chase. It’s dull as dishwater, taxing (half-hearted grunt-like chortle) and can even be quite stressful. But get on with it. You have less than four weeks to submit it or you’ll risk a fine.

2. Update your LinkedIn profile

According to "sources” (aka some bloke I met down the pub), employers and potential clients are likely to have a good nose around your LinkedIn profile if they’re interested in employing or working with you. It cuts out the gloss of a website and is a good alternative to wading through a CV. So make sure yours is up to scratch, up to date, error free, engaging and not the same as everybody else’s. Feel free to look at mine for inspiration (though the style certainly won’t suit everyone).

3. Review your website

LinkedIn profile aside, your website is your digital calling card. If it’s out of date, contains old and now irrelevant information, and especially if the “News” or “Press releases” tab has a stock of articles dating back to 2012, then you need to do something about it. Update and refresh it and you’ll keep Google happy. As long as the content is well written, of course. (And if you need a hand with that, get in touch with me.)

4. Be touchy feely

Also known as "putting out feelers". Also known as "networking" for the more serious-minded vocubularist. BUT how about this curveball: consider waiting till next week. Today is the first day back for a lot of people after a two-week break and their inboxes will be stuffed to the rafters with work, emails from colleagues or current clients, and stuff they didn’t get round to before Christmas. If you contact them now, your email might get lost in a virtual/ether wasteland. Timing is everything.

5. Get some new stuff

The Christmas presents are all out the way so now the sales are for you and you alone. There’s still some bargains to be had, so now is a great time to buy that new laptop, desk, chair, filing cabinet…

So, what have we learnt? I think we’ve learnt two things:

One, I’m a misery guts who, like a pubescent teenager, doesn’t like being told to go and tidy his room (get focussed and make some work-based 2016 resolutions) because the simple fact is he really does need to tidy his room (get focussed and make some work-based 2016 resolutions).

Two, the list may well be the same as last year’s and the year before that (and the year before that). But that’s because all the items on it are actually pretty important. So get on with it and stop being me – ie, a misery guts who really should take his own advice. You might even thank me for it later…

by Ashley Morrison

Ashley is a copywriter, blogger and editor

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