January in southern Wisconsin is predictably cold and downright dreary. The majority of folks hunker down with Netflix and crockpot chili; ultra-ambitious cheeseheads pile on Smartwool layers and go cross-country skiing or fat tire biking.
The ever-intrepid Foxwell Digital team pulls on new slippers from Santa, fires up the aging furnace, and gets back to work. (Of course after staying up until 3am ringing in the new year with clients and friends.)
After a frenetic fourth quarter of holiday campaigns and ramped up advertising production, we spend the early part of the year in planning mode. We ask our clients to flesh out their specific goals and project budgets for 2017, and then we weigh in with campaign recommendations, noteworthy platform changes, and our take on new trends we’re noticing.
We also set a Word of the Year. We couldn’t decide on a shared word this year, so Gracie’s word is BALANCE and Andrew’s word is LEARNING. We hold ourselves accountable to our chosen words by establishing detailed success metrics, which we then discuss with our business coach.
Here’s an example of something small that actually takes quite a bit of planning and preparation: Andrew’s 2017 calendar is blocked off to spend nearly every Friday afternoon reading Harvard Business Review. Gracie has blocked that same time slot for creative writing or journaling. We’ll regularly check in with ourselves to see if we’re sabotaging our own aspirations by letting email interrupt us, or if we’re falling into deep, dark Twitter spirals, or allowing client calls to creep into that time. It may seem like a inconsequential exercise, but we’ve learned that hard-to-break habits can only change with baby steps toward self-improvement.
After client planning and annual wordsmithing, we’ll round out winter with the following activities:
- Escaping Wisconsin’s frozen tundra and stocking up on vitamin D;
- Planning 2017 conferences and client travel;
- Prioritizing new business development—WHO do we want to start working with in 2017 and WHY;
- Seeking out new business mentors;
- Researching and planning new volunteering opportunities;
- Trying not to lose our minds in the current political climate; and
- Smothering our doodle into submission.
It’s a new year and there will always be things we can’t control or events we can’t predict, but it’s still the same ol’ us.