Productive Leaders

Ph.D., CSP, CDR, US Navy Ret.,
CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame

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Done in a Day! Good for the Year! 33 Steps You Can Do in a Day to Start the Year off Right

Achieve all of your business New Year’s Resolutions in one day. Manage your public profile, identify your goals, delegate tasks, create assignments, and set up workable systems for the year.

That’s right, one 8-hour block of time is all it takes.

If you start to get overwhelmed, or if you feel yourself getting distracted, put the distraction or other specific task on your To-Do list and move on. Don’t let the urgent but unimportant interruptions (such as the mail delivery or routine phone calls) throw you off track.

Grab your coffee, calendar, and computer, and let’s get started.

Hour 1: Managing Your Public Profile

1. Rerecord the outdated message on your answering machine or voice-mail. Smile when you do it and remind callers that they can text or e-mail you as well. (5 minutes)

2. Go to and see if your profile is 100% complete.. If it isn’t, add the necessary information. Make sure your current job/position/responsibilities are listed. Be certain your contact information is easily findable on the front page. Update your photo if it is more than 2 years old. Do not get wrapped up with reading other people’s profiles, answering messages or responding to invites. Get in and get out. (15 minutes)

3. Go to and look at your background. Does it tell perfect strangers what they should hire you for? Are you interesting? Compelling? Entertaining? If someone read your last 5 tweets, would they know what you do or just what you ate today? Write 30 tweets in a word document that discuss or reference your expertise. Tweet one now. (Yes, “tweet” is both a noun and a verb.) Find an article that deals with that topic. Tweet that too. Reword your tweet two to three other ways to send out that day. Use the other 29 Tweets for the rest of the month. (30 minutes)

4. Visit your profile page. Do you blend your business and personal pages? Stop it! Create a business page already! Add photos of your products, ads, or descriptions of the services you provide. Already have a business profile? Invite your friends to visit it with a link on your personal page. Add something relevant. Words with pictures get more traction than words without pictures. Don’t know how to create a business page? Put it on your To-Do list for later. (5 minutes)

Take a 5-minute break.

Hour 2: Organize your space and your finances

5. Clear off your desk. I mean it. Take everything except the computer off the desk. Wipe down the desk. Add back only those items you are using today to stay clutter free. (10 minutes)

6. Put as many things in your office away as you can in 15 minutes. Put items you haven’t used in forever (books, materials, and those promotional bags you’ve gotten from your last 5 conferences) in a trash bag for donation.

7. Get another trash bag. See how much you can get rid of so you don’t have to put it back on your desk. Take trash to trash bin. (15 minutes)

8. If you don’t already have an effective system for organizing your expense receipts, it’s time to create one. Try an app called jotnot, which allows you to scan receipts and merge with dropbox and evernote. (10 minutes, to download jotnot, dropbox and evernote)

9. Resolve to track your business’ profit and losses. (Or get someone who will.) Use the totally free downloadable Profit and Loss Statement at Date it, and add to it daily. (5 minutes)

Take a 5 minute break and refill the coffee.

Hour 3: Strategic Planning in One Hour

10. Brainstorm for 5 minutes on all of the things you need to do for the day and the week. Write everything down somewhere so you don’t have to think about it. Include washing the dog and revamping your business plan. (5 minutes)

11. Brainstorm the actions you should take for your business, or to promote you for the year. Start with networking, professional achievements, marketing materials, and social media ideas. These can be “ Join professional organization,” “Finish certification,” “Take a class,” “Update resume” or “Write a blog.” (10 minutes)

12. Find 5 good marketing ideas for you or your business. Go to and search for marketing books. Read the book reviews, not the books, to get just 5 ideas. (40 minutes)

Hour 4: Comparative Analysis

13. Give your company, department, or yourself a report card. How are you doing on efficiency? Effectiveness? Time Management? Product placement? For a complete list, see Competitive Analysis at SCORE at (20 minutes)

14. Decide what one area of your business you want to improve over the next 29 days. (5 minutes)

15. Make a list of the resources you need for that area to improve. Can you get those now? Can you submit a request for that now? Can you talk with others about what to improve? Send an email, outline a few ideas, or order what you need. (20 minutes)

16. Look at your competitors’ websites. What do you like? What catches your attention? Make a list of what you need to improve on your website. Send a note to your website developer. (10 minutes)

Take a lunch break. Grab a power bar or make a protein shake or make a sandwich. You have a whole year of resolutions to work through, so stay focused. Grab some gummy vitamins, some water, and an apple. You are doing great!

Hour 5: Update Business Plan, Cards, and Records

17. Read your business plan. Okay, find your business plan. Does it still apply? Use a highlighter to show what needs to be updated. Never got around to writing out a business plan in the first place? Jot down quick answers to the following questions:

What problems do I solve?
Who do I solve them for?
Where are those people located, both physically and online?
How do I best market to those people?

If you need answers to these questions, send an email to three close friends and see what they think you do. If they don’t know, you might want to invest in a marketing book. (And you REALLY need to write a business plan. Download a free fill-in the blank business plan at (30 minutes)

18. Look at your business card. Without your glasses. Is it attractive? Clear? Easy to read? Does it include your phone number, email, website and social media? Will it pass the conference test? (I get home from a chamber of commerce event with a pile of business cards. Do I remember who you are in that pile?) Does your card state who you are and what you do? Is it congruent with the image you’re trying to convey? Is it memorable? If you need to create a new card, try, where people post what they are willing to do for $5. (There is some real talent there.) Another option is to look through the pile of business cards from your last networking event and contact the people with good cards. Ask them who designed them. Restock your wallet, purse, car, or business card holder with your cards. (15 minutes)

 19. Get a big envelope and find all of last year’s receipts and other paperwork that you need to file your taxes. Write TAXES 2012 on the envelope. Get another envelope and write TAXES 2013 on it. Put in easily accessible place. (10 minutes)

Hour 6: De-clutter your email

20. You cannot waste time deleting hundreds of useless emails a week. Unless the emails are from friends or are of real value, (such as my monthly e-zine, Leadership, Dogs and Twitter, which, I promise, is only once a month, so please, really, don’t cut me) you can eliminate them from your inbox.. Go through your emails and look for messages from autoresponders and online catalogs that just waste your time. Unsubscribe. (55 minutes)

Take a 5 minute break to stretch

Hour 7: Goals and Resolutions

21. If you had to “Live like you were dying” as Tim McGraw sings, what would you want to spend time on? And who would you want to spend time with? Write that time in your calendar. Carve out time now for the people and activities you truly care about. (10 minutes)

22. Make a bucket list. Where do you want to go and what do you want to do? Play paint ball? Go ziplining in Costa Rica? Walk the Great Wall of China? Admire the ruins of Machu Picchu? Who do you want to meet? Who should you visit? Assign a date to at least one of the items on the bucket list for this year. (10 minutes)

23. Write out what you need to do to make that bucket list item happen this year. Post it somewhere you will see it all the time. (5 minutes)

24. Brainstorm on your business goals for the year. In no particular order, what would you like to accomplish in your business this year? (5 minutes)

25. Who else is impacted if you are wildly successful? What contributions can you make to the people close to you and your community if you succeed? (5 minutes)

26. Prioritize the business goals list. Post the one you REALLY want to achieve this calendar year on the computer, in your wallet, or on the refrigerator. (10 minutes)

27. Write out the steps you’ll need to take to achieve that top goal. Add to your To-Do list. (5 minutes)

28. Add goals and dates to your calendar. (5 minutes)

Hour 8: Leaving a Legacy

29. If something happened to you, are your affairs in order?

Make a list of everything you have that has a beneficiary, such as life insurance, retirement accounts, and Social Security. Are those beneficiaries still accurate? Is their contact information updated? (10 minutes)

30. Take the free “Are You Organized?” 60 second quiz at and determine if you need to get your legal documents in order. (5 minutes)

31. Find your will. Is it up to date? If not, make an appointment with an estate planning lawyer to update it. (5 minutes)

32. Get a binder and compile all the paperwork someone else would need if you were suddenly incapacitated. It should include financial, legal, medical, business, and spiritual information, Not sure what to include? There is a free checklist at that you can use as a basis for the binder. (30 minutes)

33. Start the outline for a Letter of Instruction that tells people close to you who to call, where the important paperwork is, and what needs to happen right away in case you are no longer functional. Include information regarding your business, your children, your pets, your volunteer organizations, and anyone else who would be affected if you died or were incapacitated. And make sure this Letter of Instruction is easy to find! (5 minutes)

That’s it! You are organized and focused!


  1. Mary LoVerde

    Really great info. I am going to do it!

    Love your ideas and your style.


    Mary LoVerde

  2. Gail

    Love it! forwarded it to my sister, Anita who manages The Hiram Inn at Hiram College. Thought it will afford her a good place to start getting things in order!

    Happy New Year! Hugs. Gail


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