The end of the year is both wonderful and maybe a tad stressful, I’ll admit. But, I want to eliminate that stress, which is the goal of this blog post. In the last days of a year, I find myself trying to end everything on a high note. I try not to swamp myself with unnecessary to-do lists. Right now, though, with just eleven days left of 2020, I’ve mostly been looking for ways to keep myself calm, collected, and inspired during these tough times.

As an entrepreneur, I have found it’s important to be organized as a year comes to a close. Even more so, if you’ve spent the majority of 2020, like 10 out of 12 of the months at home or quarantining during this Coronavirus pandemic, getting your s#it together is a must. After all, I’m trying to believe that 2021 will be less devastating and chaotic though I realize that we’re not out of the woods just yet. I’m hoping that the bridal industry kicks up again, hopefully soon, and I can start racking up even more clients and getting other aspects of my life under better management and control.

If you work from home by default, then making sure you do these ten things before 2020 ends and a new decade begins is critical. If you want to start your new year off on the right foot, then this is the only blog post on the Internet you need to read. Without further ado, let’s get into it:

One: Clear Out Digital Clutter
Organizing and clearing out digital clutter will ensure smoother work flow. Ninety percent of my work demands a computer where I load hundreds of photos, videos and other projects. I’m not someone who can tolerate a messy desktop with files scattered all over the place. Confession time: it’s so easy for me to get disorganized to the point of utter confusion and discombobulation. I try my hardest to keep things from getting so scattered. A clean computer, a categorized desktop (if need be) and files in easy-to-access places on your computer will guarantee a stress free work life.

Two: Go Through Bookkeeping and Records
Not so surprising, I didn’t have that many clients this year thanks to this pandemic. Moving to another state just before a pandemic has certainly caused quite a few delays in getting my little alterations business where I’d like it to be. Getting a handle on bookkeeping and the financials is one thing I keep in mind on a daily basis. Essentially, I go through all the clients I’ve had, what I’ve charged and was paid for projects, and assess if something with my business needs adjustments or updates. You can use this as an opportunity to update your policies, rebrand or remarket (if necessary) or reestablish an organization system. Staying on top of these things year-round can be simplified with a system in place.

Three: Do More Promotion
At the end of a year, it might be a good idea to reach out to other local businesses or nearby companies that could pass your name to their clientele. Partnerships and collaborations are great for keeping your brand and name floating around from person to person. Word-of-mouth is the oldest and best form of advertising out there. Take this time to identify where else you could promote your brand to reach a broader client base. In my industry, with the wedding season on hold and the possibility of it rebooting in the spring, I want my name out there even more.

Four: Edit Down Your Digital Life
This, in a way, relates to number one. When I say edit down your digital life, I mean take the time to see what social platforms are bringing in the most traffic and the others that seem to be wasting your time. I’ve discovered that platforms with more of a focus on the visuals: Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest, are where you might want to put in more energy. Visuals are very powerful for generating sales, garnering more clients and putting your brand under a nice, glowing light. I’ll definitely be amplifying my photography and taking advantage of natural lighting, shooting beautiful pictures and videos, and being mindful of quality. Keyword is: quality! Editing down your social media and only posting relevant (and high-quality) content will turn viewers into customers.

Five: Do Your Own Retrospective
In college, I learned about retrospectives. Basically, if you’re a creative person, then gather everything you’ve produced in 2020 and examine your work. Or, in this case, reexamine it. I am a drawing artist and often am commissioned to draw portraits for individuals looking for the perfect gifts for loved ones. The other day, I took it upon myself to photograph every single drawing and painting I produced this year. I shot more than a thousand photographs in natural lighting and hung all my art on the long wall in my art studio. To my surprise, there were a few art pieces I felt compelled to redo. It’s not because I thought they were bad, but sometimes I’ll critique an art piece and I’ll get an urge to redo it. Retrospectives can maximize weaknesses and give you insight to areas needing more attention and perhaps, improvement.

Six: Home Edit Your Workspace
Ah, Netflix, thank you for so many ideas for getting through quarantining and all this healthy staying at home. I’ve been watching this television series, The Home Edit every chance I get, and the show itself has changed my perspective on organization, categorizing and making life at home more tolerable (and with little to no booby traps). I’ve spent the last week home editing my art and sewing studios and making places for everything. Seamstresses and artists can get messy but I can’t function in a mess. Since I’ve home edited my studios, I’ve been experiencing a wonderous work efficiency. I don’t know about you guys but I like knowing where all of my thousands of supplies are and I don’t like the feeling that important supplies are hiding from me. But really, on a daily basis, every entrepreneur should be ready to accept new clients, which means, your workspace shouldn’t look like a hurricane passed through at 150 mph.

Seven: Revamp your website (if needed)
I’ll for sure be focusing on this in my last seven to ten days of this year: revamping my website. I’ve been doing a lot of research on SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and learning website development in my down time. Recreating your website or simply making it easier to navigate and explore will work wonders for your business. I have a lot of work to do on this but a plan is in action, for sure! When customers come to my site, I want their experience to be less about clicking, clicking and clicking and more about arriving where they want to be. Research top contenders in your industry for inspiration and ways you can easily (and affordably) amp up your site.

Eight: Get Creative In Your Spare Time
I think my middle name was supposed to be Creativity: Tessa Creativity Koller! Seriously, I’m always doing something artsy because I want and like to, but also, it’s my lifestyle and livelihood now. Getting creative can open up so many doors in your mind and imagination. I’ve noticed a lot of people online doing more artwork and stumbling upon ways to remarket their brands and image online. One afternoon, I sat down and did a drawing just for fun and wound up infused with new ideas and ways to boost my brand. Keeping those creative juices flowing, even if you don’t feel that you’re a creative person, can really open doors to new possibilities and opportunities. That’s what 2020 has been all about for me: just doing my artwork and suddenly, a business and brand emerged. Nothing against 2020. It’s been a challenging year, but for the first time in my life, this artwork I’ve been doing has brought me back to my roots, my core self.

Nine: Pre-Plan In 2021 Planners As In Advance As You Can
If you’re a content creator, then this will probably be a really fun project for you to do as this year nears its end. I bought two 2021 planners–one for my alterations business and the other for my YouYube art channel and art brand. I’ve already begun pre-planning blog posts, art tutorials, and other content well in advance. Pre-planning is a great way to sustain motivation and inspiration as you go along in your schedule. Setting realistic goals while you pre-plan is a must so that you stick to them and can accomplish them. When you pre-plan, you’re setting yourself up for success. Establishing a system within your routine will ensure future success.

Ten: Recharge Your Batteries and Have Fun
The last couple of weeks in a year is the best time to recharge your batteries. I haven’t been so active online because I’ve been focused on relaxing more, and unwinding in a rejuvenating way. Since we’re in this pandemic, still, I’ve been soaking up these last days of 2020 doing things I enjoy just for fun, watching more television and spending more time with those who matter most to me. This pandemic has taught me something about family and the importance of having a support system around you. I, and I’m sure many other high risk individuals, have dealt with the burden of not being able to go into public, grocery shop or run errands. I’ve literally been staying home, not going anywhere, and trying to ride out this pandemic until I can get vaccinated. My family and distant friends have been my rocks throughout all this uncertainty and hardship that has come. As the year resolves and new things take shape as 2021 approaches, focus on being present and in the now with the ones you love most.

BONUS: Eleven: Implement Yoga Stretching Into Your Routine
OK, so I understand not everybody will be able to do this. For a lot of years, I’ve been doing Yoga on and off but have been making this a regular activity in my routine. Stretching is an optimal way to reduce stress within the body, the muscular and skeletal systems. Those aren’t the only systems Yoga stretching benefits, though. The combination of Yoga stretching and breathing tames the central nervous system and is how I just about zap my anxiety. Without any warnings, anxiety can creep in and take over at unexpected times. The moment I feel anxiety coming on, I roll out my Yoga mat and get into full Zen mode. It’s how I’ve gotten through this pandemic and all my time at home. Yoga really is a beautiful and beneficial, thing to do not just as the year closes, but every day.

I can’t believe there are only days left of this year. The ten (plus the bonus) things I listed above, I hope, fuel and inspire you to make 2021 even better and more productive. Working from home has become the lifestyle for many of us. I didn’t want to feel like I was trapped in a place that’s supposed to be a sanctuary and comforting. I have grown to love being at home day in and day out, doing my artwork in silence or with music, and doing everything I’d always wanted to do. Instead of getting bogged down about how stressful 2020 was, I’m using this as a chance to reinvent areas of my life that need reinvention. Plus, those ten (eleven) things I listed above should keep you plenty busy (if, of course, you’re already doing most of them).

So, I’m curious to know: how do you guys spend the holiday season and what action steps have you taken to ready yourself for the New Year? Feel free to comment below and let me know! This is my last blog post of 2020, which means, I’ll be back with a LOT more entertaining and beneficial content for you guys to enjoy! Happy holidays everyone! Stay safe!

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