Prepare for 2015: 5 Things to Do Right Now

It’s time to tie a bow around 2014 and prepare for 2015 by organizing your systems.

The ideas here should take you less than 1 hour, and they will bring peace of mind to your New Year.

1. Update the copyright notices on your website, blog, and newsletter.

Too many sites have old copyright dates on them. I’ve seen some as old as 2007! Blogging platforms will automatically update your copyright, but static sites need your attention now.

I’m not talking about the copyright notice on individual images. I’m referring to the copyright statement on the site, which is typically located in the footer of your pages.

If your website says ©2014, it doesn’t look fresh. Change that to 2015 before you forget.

I took this screen capture of my site earlier in the week. If you scroll down to the bottom of the page, you’ll see 2015 today.

Copyright notice on your website

Do the same for any notification in your newsletter.

2. Make 2015 folders for the paper files and e-files you organize by date.

In my business, it’s financial and tax records that are primarily organized by date. For paper versions, I clean out the 2014 folders, archive them, and make nicely labeled folders for 2015.

The financial archives on my computer. The year 2014 will be archived soon and join this folder.

The financial archives on my computer. The year 2014 will be archived soon and join this folder.

I keep as much as I can on the computer to eliminate the paper. Those files are also organized by the year (e.g. 2015 Biz Receipts, 2015 Invoices, 2015 Taxes).

On the computer, I make these sub-folders of the 2015 Finances folder.

3. Capture all of your projects.

Spend a couple of hours this week assessing all of the projects on your plate.

Projects are undertakings that require multiple steps to complete. For example: overhauling a website, creating a new body of work, moving, organizing an exhibition, and writing a book are all projects that can’t be completed in one sitting.

You probably have 10-15 projects at any one time, and you need to stay on top of all of them.

Make a list of the projects and then start filling in the tasks required for completing each one.

I’m a fan of accordion folders for paper receipts. The 2015 editions are on my to-do list.

I’m a fan of accordion folders for paper receipts. The 2015 editions are on my to-do list.

4. Practice writing 2015.

Pull out your checkbooks (if you still use them!) and write 2015 on a bunch of new checks. They’ll have the correct year when you’re ready to use them.

5. Join me for Surefire Income-Boosting Strategy 2015.

I’ll help you start the New Year with a bang in this complimentary training session.

[Update: This has passed. Be sure you don’t miss another one: sign up at the bottom of this page.]


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28 comments to Prepare for 2015: 5 Things to Do Right Now

  • Hi Alyson, & best wishes from me in the UK.

    Copyright dates on the website pages? Did them yesterday in about five minutes.

    Accounts & other admin documents? Copied from 2014 & pasted with renaming as 2105…and reset the input data, about ten minutes work.

    It really can be that simple folks.

  • Thank you so much for the reminder!! Done and done!

  • Hi Alyson,
    Okay, I read your blog, archived my 2014 finances, made a paper copy for my tax guy and I made 2015 Income & Expenses files. Thanks!
    I can only listen to your Jan 8 webinar after the fact. I do look forward to listening when I return.

  • I did some of these things already, but a great reminder and how-to on paper and digital files. thanks! I think the date is incorrect on your webinar. do you mean Wed, January 7? anyway, thanks for doing it!

  • Checked my WordPress site and found that I needed to add that copyright notice at the bottom. Done.

    I track my projects using Priorities with a Page for each main category of my business life (Fox Studio, Mongolia, Juried Shows and Competitions, Publicity/Promotion, Social Media, Travel, etc) and add sub-pages as required within each Page. Each page allows one to add notes like time, dates, etc. I use Evernote for notes, ideas, links etc. for material that relates to my projects. They really compliment each other very nicely. The big advantage to both of them is that they sync through their respective clouds and are available on my OSx Macs and iOS iPhone and iPad, so all their content is always available whereever I am as long as I have a data connection. No more little bits of paper scattered about or piled on my desk….

  • I have another for the list – clean and tidy your studio. There’s nothing better than walking in for the first time in a new year and seeing an empty desk or easel, ready for the next painting!

  • thank you for some helpful suggestions and some good reminders. I will sign up for the webinar. I hang a new show on the 9th, so this will be a good way to begin the new year.

  • Alyson, what great reminders these are! I just issued a new blog post this morning and forgot to put today’s date on the “Last Updated…” spot. This isn’t quite on your list, but close enough. Thanks for all your insights.

  • Shalane Hopkins

    Thanks so much for writing up this – it’s such a perfect time of year to be reminded of where I need to focus my energy to make this year the best it can be. Will definitely be adding these to my to-do list. I have also come across a really great article on doing a 30-day Creative Business Cleanse for whoever might be like me and in need of re-vamping things in the new year. Feel free to check it out here: — can’t wait to get organised and focused for making 2015 the best it can be with my art! 🙂

  • Alyson, As always I appreciate your recommendations.
    Unfortunately, I’ve not yet applied the full spectrum of your organizational details, but I am in a new studio, shared with four other fabulous artists with enthusiasm for making 2015 a fabulously successful year. Big step!!!
    Paperwork is January priority when I return home from Nashville with my first grandchild’s first Christmas with my husband, my son and daughter-in-law tomorrow.
    Thank you.

  • Brad Blackman

    Great list of things to tackle in the new year! Here’s how to never have to update the current year again: If you’re not afraid of using some PHP in your website’s footer file, you can make your copyright date automatically update itself. I started my site in 2004 so I hardcode that in, but the current year is automatic. The code looks like this:

    &copy; Copyright 2004 &ndash; <?php echo date("Y") ?> Brad Blackman.

    It results in it looking like this: © Copyright 2004 – 2015 Brad Blackman.

  • Perhaps check through your brushes? Throw out all those you did not use in the last year…

    If you use Acrylic Inks give them a good shake-up once a month? They go rather solid otherwise!

    Perhaps consider the almost unthinkable…all those unfinished works of art, those cluttering-up the studio. Seriously if it’s still there from 2013 it’s unlikely to be finished in 2015. Shred it it’s so good for the spiritual declutter.

  • Regarding #1, it’s not necessary to include a year in the copyright notice… and having no year is probably better than having a “dated” year.

    For those with web programming expertise, it’s also quite easy to add a bit of javascript that will always display the current year.

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