First, let’s start with a question … Why should you start the year off with a bang?

Something to Consider … The early bird gets the worm.

Also a bit of a disclaimer: I think most of the people that read the Personal Branding Blog site not only LIVE the mantra of staying ahead to get ahead, but also don’t take a lot for granted.

However, sometimes it’s nice to get a subtle reminder.

The reason you want to start off the year strong is because you will be able to get a jump start on everything: Your thinking, your planning, your goals and possibly most important … your competition.

It’s relatively easy to get started. Just Three Simple Things:

Show UpHave a Plan, Get Started

Woody Allen said “90% of success is showing up” and it’s as true today as when he said it all those years ago.

With those three points in play … here are four more tips for making them a reality … and starting off the year strong.

Tip #1 — First and Foremost. Get Started Today.

Once Begun … it’s Half Done!

Why Start NOW?

Because you will be ahead of 90% of everyone else. The plans you put down today will carry you through for the first few weeks. Which will help insure you are off to a strong start.

Depending upon the industry you work in there might be a lag time at the beginning of the year. Perhaps from new compensation plans (Comp Plans) being set forth –—which always cause delays and confusion at the beginning of the year. Take advantage of this lag time to get ahead.

Get started Now. Take a piece of paper or your favorite note taking app (I like Microsoft OneNote and I also like Evernote) and write down the first few things that come to mind. Use a Mind Map format or a Ben Franklin T-Chart. Use whatever format works for you.  It’s ok to edit. In fact, it’s encouraged to edit. As you are developing your goals one option to consider is to align your goals into SMART Goals. You may also want to consider Asking Questions like a Contrarian.

Tip #2 – Don’t Go Crazy in your planning, but Go Crazy Enough.

The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.
~ Jack Kerouac

Creating a plan lets you think through what you want to do. What you think you can accomplish (this may be the crazy part). And who you need to work with to get it done.

Tip #3 – Have 30-60-90 Day Plans

While it may not be possible to predict every nuance and every possibility for the entire year it’s a lot easier to put pen-to-paper or fingers-to-keyboard to make some accurate plans for the next 30, 60 and 90 days. Take the time now to create plans for the next 30 days. Extend those ideas and plans to the next 60 and 90 days. Things will change. That’s OK. Having plans on paper will allow you the luxury of having something to measure against and improve upon for the next round.

Tip #4 – Use 3x3x3’s to make sure you stay on task

I wrote about 3×3’s here … The gist is the have a plan that tracks three things from the previous, the current week and the next week. Why Three? Three is a reasonable number. It can be expanded to more than three items, but the higher the number the more unmanageable it becomes. Stick with three to get started. The goal is to provide focus on the specific tasks that align with your plans. In this case … your plans for starting the year off strong.

Planning Matters!

With these tips I hope you can get your plans for the first few weeks documented and get them started early into the new year. Why Start Now? Because you’ll be ahead of almost everyone else out there. You’ll be up and running while they are just thinking about it. This is a case where you can prove that the early bird gets the worm. Be the Early Bird!

Here’s to Starting off the New Year strong. Good luck!


Jeff  is a veteran in the Enterprise Content Management industry. Over the past 20 years he has worked with customers and partners to design, develop and deploy solutions around the world. Jeff is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances at Winshuttle. He has worked for Microsoft, FileNet (IBM), K2, Captaris, Open Text, Kofax and Kodak. He speaks and blogs about ECM and the Intersection between Social, Mobile and Cloud Computing.