Erica Wolfe-Murray writes her final column for Female First
Erica Wolfe-Murray writes her final column for Female First

In the same way imaginative use of herbs and spices can shift a recipe from the everyday to the utterly delicious, making small tweaks to both your home and business life can really shift those gears to get you on a new road. By using the fallow time after Christmas and the renewal surge that happens in the first weeks of the New Year, what are smart changes can you make that will launch you into 2020? Each action listed below can be achieved in under half a day. So get to it!

Be inspired from the past year’s highs

Start by taking a look back at the last year month-by-month. List out the key highs for each month – whether they were work you did with clients, gigs you went to, skills you acquired, or friends you saw. What made you feel good? And acknowledge what you found tough. What inspiration from this list do you want to take forward into the New Year?

Give your finances a health check

Set aside half a day to go through both your personal finances and your business money. I do a review of all the standing orders, direct debits etc to ensure I’m not wasting money paying for what I don’t use. Look to see whether you are on the best deal for basics like power, mobile, wifi contracts. If not – change them now. Use sites like to find hints and tips for best value. The government’s and Iona Bain’s are rich sources of information.

And don’t forget to consider reviewing your bank, your book-keeping and other online suppliers. All these small monthly fees add up. Changing to a better deal needn’t be complicated.

Clear the decks, reduce your mental load

Being surrounded by stuff you don’t need or use weighs you down. Give your work environment an early spring clean, getting rid of all paperwork, filing, chipped coffee cups, leaking biros and the like. Ensure your tech is working to optimum capability too. Slow computer – get it sorted. Worried about password hacks – download a password manager like Dashlane.

And do the same with your wardrobe, in your kitchen and living room. Once you’re in a clear-out mindset, it’s amazing how fast you can achieve results. And a bit of extra cash too by selling all your unwanted goods on Ebay. A quick spruce-up with paint, new cushion covers, a rug or bright throw will underscore this fresh feeling.

Audit your environmental impact

Changing your environmental behaviour starts now with each of us taking responsibility for what we use. Consider every aspect of your home. What can you move to a more sustainable footing? Look through your bathroom, your kitchen – how can you ensure no single use plastic is used? Are you using green energy? Can you cut waste?

Is your business reflecting this tectonic shift too? Do you review your sustainability/environmental impact in the same way you look at profitability? Ask your suppliers about their plans? Get your policies in place now and if you need to shift suppliers, or to tweak your business model to ensure improved environment responsibility – then do it. Now.

Does what you do make you happy?

This seems such a simple question but if the answer is ‘no’, or ‘a bit’ – then what can you change to shift those life gears? It could be learning a new skill that gets you closer to a new career, starting a side hustle, joining a forum or network. Or re-writing your cv and putting it out to new sectors of the market.

If you run a business – do you need to ‘shape-shift’ it to bring in clients that you find more inspiring. Why not list all the skills and services you have ever been paid to do, take a cool look at them to see if you can re-package or frame them differently to appeal to a new target audience?

Or by listing all those clients you have ever worked for, can you spot overlaps or hidden sectors that you can target with your new business efforts?

So give each of these a go – one half day at a time. You will be totally surprised at how quickly you can make some fundamental and inspiring changes to both your home and business life. It will give you real momentum to tackle the new year. A fresh approach that will breathe life to everything you do.

Erica Wolfe-Murray works across the creative, cultural and tech sector helping companies to innovate through imaginative use of their intellectual assets/IP. Referred to by as ‘a leading innovation and business expert’, she recently published ‘Simple Tips, Smart Ideas : Build a Bigger, Better Business;’ Full of easy-to-use advice on innovative ways to grow your business. Available from Foyles, Amazon and all other good bookshops.