The end of the year is a time for reflection and planning. We take inventory of the last 12 months, note our victories, and spend a little time thinking about where we may have veered a bit off course. Then, we use this information to make big plans. All the big thinking, strategizing and goal setting we do helps us move our businesses forward. But, if you want to make 2018 your year, I encourage you to add one more step to your process... a productivity audit.

You can’t just move the needle on your business with ideas alone, you must set up processes to ensure maximum productivity, coupled with the least amount of stress to speed-up your progress and increase your ROI. Spend time getting organized with a system you can trust, and one that keeps track of all the minutia without overwhelming you on a daily basis. Consider David Allen's book, Getting Things Done, and try following his advice very carefully. Here are a few highlights to get you started.

Start with a “data dump.” Write down everything in your head. From nagging tasks that haven't been done (buy a new air conditioning filter) to big projects that keep getting bumped (setting up your new website). Business or personal, for now or for later, it doesn't matter, just follow your stream of thought. Get it all on a sheet of paper.

Then, begin lumping like-minded tasks together into buckets. Perhaps there are personal, family, clients, studio, professional development, and virtual coaching buckets. Next, review each line item and see if the task is actually a task. A task is something you could tackle and accomplish in one sitting. If you couldn't, break the task down into manageable bits. This one exercise will help you move projects forward more quickly, as it allows you to accomplish a bit every day which increases your confidence.

Finally, look at your weekly schedule. It may take some time, but to accomplish big projects you'll need to reorganize your week to have quality thinking time. You can't create a new product, build a new website, or write an article in between clients. Find a way to batch your face-to-face appointments and carve out blocks of time each week that are sacred; sacred means they are non-negotiable and always set aside to contemplate, plan, and dig into the big stuff.

Of course, there's more to it than the steps above. But, as you roll into the end of the year, alongside your dreaming, set aside an equal chunk of time to audit your productivity. 2018 is sure to be the best year ever if you set up a successful system for turning your dreams into reality.