Ah, it’s that time of the year. The gym is jam packed with new faces and people are swapping out their stock of chocolates and sugar cookies for organic, healthy meal plans.

Everyone’s kicking off the new year with new resolutions.

Except for me.

My new year officially begins on January 9th, which happens to be my birthday. And rather than setting new resolutions or intentions, I kick off my new year by purging my rolodex. Okay, I don’t actually have a rolodex anymore. I might be aging myself when I say this, but I definitely had a rolodex when this ritual started.

Every new year is full of opportunity. Time is precious, once it’s gone — its gone and the last thing I want to do is waste it with people who aren’t contributing value to my life or putting a smile on my face. I know this might sounds harsh to some, but I expect the same of myself… contributing value to their lives and putting a smile of their faces.

New Year Purge

We live in the age of digital, so I start with social media.
I’ve noticed that following too many people on Twitter or having an excessive friends list on Facebook can be a real time sink and a big distraction. It takes a lot of time to keep up with everyone’s life, stay on top of breaking news, and sift through the bullshit; I don’t have a lot of time to begin with!

I do appreciate the ability to maintain connection with people I don’t get to see in person too often and as an entrepreneur, social media gives me easy access to reaching out to multiple people at once – so I keep my accounts active, rather than taking a digital sabbatical or cutting myself off from the online social circles completely. But in order to cut down on the clutter, I have to keep a tight circle of friends and people I follow.

So, who makes the cut?

There’s a few requirements everyone must meet to keep our friendship status in the green:

  • Do we have common interests or views on subjects (ie: politics) or do our opinions completely contradict one another in a negative way; we don’t have to always agree, but if we are on opposite sides, all the time, then it time to re-evaluate?
  • Do they continuously post self-centered content?
  • Do they share interesting links to content that inspires me or makes me smile?
  • Are their posts invaluable to my life or completely unrelated to my interests or sense of humour?
  • Do they fill my feed / inbox with useless invitations and spam?

I want people who add value to my life and make my days better, rather than people who cause me to roll my eyes and grumble under my breath. If any of their social media practices cause the latter, they’re gone.

Can we continue a friendly conversation?

The next step, is filtering through my phone: contact lists, text messages, and as much as I can remember about the last conversation I had with every name I’ve saved in that brick.

As someone who meets new people all the time and sparks conversations with new names on the regular, I’ve got a lot of contacts saved between every letter of the alphabet. But I can tell you right now that I definitely only talk to a select few of those people on a regular basis. The rest? Well, they’re just in there for safe keeping and to make me look like I’m super popular. 😉 (Kidding!)

Earlier this week, I scrolled and scrolled (and scrolled) through my contact list and tried to recall the last time I bumped into them, the last conversation we had, or if I even have any reason to talk to them ever again. If it’s been too long or if there’s no reason to call, I sent their number into some abyss of long forgotten people I once I knew.

I do the same thing happened with my text message history. If conversations were long over, I swiped left and deleted the conversation. It’s that simple and now my conversation pile is a little easier to navigate! Honestly, I never have more than a two week history with a text conversation. I find a long list active or not, overwhelming.

Sorting out my subscriptions

Every damn day, I get multiple emails updating me on events, special offers, big announcements, and more. I’m sure it’s all exciting, but I only pay attention to half of it because I know I can’t attend or take part due to time constraints and a busy schedule, but mostly because I don’t.really.care.

So I quit subscribing to them.

It’s a quick, painless process through Gmail, but it should be an easy process through any application you use. Simply search for “Unsubscribe” and you’ll find any email newsletter you can unsubscribe from. With Gmail, I make sure to do the search in the Trash area as well. If there are some emails newsletters that are constantly deleted and never acted upon, I unsubscribe. If I see a newsletter sending emails twice a week to try and have me buy something, I unsubscribe. I unsubscribe to anything else I’m no longer interested in and hardly ever read.

Click, click, click. It’s that simple! And I no longer have any anxiety about the emails that find their way into my inbox on the daily.

Simpler social life

This entire process helps give me clarity on the relationships in my life. I now understand which relationships I need to continue building upon and which ones might require a little more attention because I’ve dropped the ball and lost connection with someone I feel is very important to me. By clearing out my inbox, there are less distractions to keep me from focusing on important things I need to do and people I need to touch base with!

More importantly, I now have more room and free space for people I might meet in the year ahead of me!

As a birthday present to me, I hope you’ll follow at least one of these sections and let me know what you discover! Also subscribe to my blog to keep up to date with everything I’m doing with my work and life – since you’ve unsubscribed from some of the garbage newsletters, you’ll have space for mine. 😉 Cheers! And Happy New Year.. whenever your birthday arrives.

I’m Janice Otremba, a professional speaker, facilitator and coach who specializes in Beating Burnout, Lowering Stress and Powering Up Your Happy! Let’s kick your butt into gear with simple, sound advice for beating burnout and powering up your happy. Book a free 15-minute consultation call with me to get started!

Image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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