Today is my annual clean-up day: the day that I clean up a ton of the messes I’ve made throughout the year. Here’s how I spent my day. I encourage everyone to take a day to focus on these tasks also. You’ll feel a lot less encumbered when the new year smacks you in the face.

1. Clean out email inbox. I took my inbox down to zero. It started at 274 messages. It was a long and painful process of archiving, filing, etc. It was worth it. Peace has returned to my Outlook world.

2. De-clutter computer desktop. File by file, I got rid of almost all of those pesky icons that had slowly devoured my screen from left to right. I can actually see my background image now. Fancy.

3. Clear voicemail on iPhone and office phone. It’s amazing how many old messages I’d forgotten to delete.

4. Clear out twitter dms & fb messages. This wasn’t that hard for me as I, like an old person, rarely communicate this way. However, it was still nice to see a clean slate.

5. Delete unused apps on phone. I had 3 different apps that convert measurements into different measurements. Wasted space. Also, I think that it’s time we all said goodbye to the Zippo Lighter app.

6. Change out photos in office. It’s time for me to stop having this conversation:

“You’re baby is adorable! How many months old is he?”

Me: “Oh, he’s 2-and-a-half now. Those photos are a bit old.”

In the interest of full disclosure, I should note that I didn’t have time to complete this; but, I did set a reminder to pick out new photos once I get home.

7. Go through the “to-read” stack. I spend a gigantic chunk of time reading various articles, publications, brochures, commentaries, spreadsheets, statistical reports, etc. In addition to the stuff I’ve already read, filed, and trashed, I’ve accumulated a foot-high stack of stuff that falls into the category “OOOO, that sounds cool. I should read that sometime!” I’ve had good intentions of reading all of it. The time has come to replace good intentions with action and trashin’. Today is the day to vigilantly fight the battle for desk space. Victory will be mine.

Do this stuff. You’ll find that it’s much easier to prolong the natural motivation that a new year brings when you don’t have a mountain of motivation-killers staring at you. Good luck.