Debrief Your 2020 and Prepare Your Business For a Successful 2021
15th December 2020

Glad to see the back of 2020? I am, and I’m not. I’ve learned a lot this year, met some amazing people and overcome challenges I never thought I’d face. The Covid shizzle has been a significant downer, to say the least. Now is the time of year to debrief your 2020 and start proactively winding down the year. This is when you reflect on it, learn from it and put it to rest. Out with the old and in with the new. I also like the idea of starting January with a clean slate, no backlog and a plan. With this in mind, here are my year-end top tips to help debrief your 2020 and prepare yourself and your business for a successful 2021

Saying Goodbye to 2020 – Clear the Clutter

Clearing digital clutter is a large task but worth doing. I look at my laptop, my phone, my apps, files and more and decide, somewhat ruthlessly, what will make the cut and what won’t. Clearing out is part of a cathartic process and necessary if you want to successfully debrief your 2020 and move on. It is easy to see the benefits of this sort of decluttering on a personal level. What about business? The more streamlined your proces


debrief your 2020, Gmail, emailI regularly clear my email inbox and have numerous folders and rules set up. Before we finish 2020 I’ll go back through all the emails saved in these folders and keep the select few I need. I’ll archive the rest. If you have 30,000 emails your inbox left to go through open a new folder and call it Batch or similar. Move everything in there, out of your inbox. You can go into the Batch file whenever you want to clear some out. If that batch file is still full in six months archive it.

Notes and Reminders

Google Keep, Evernote (a personal favourite of mine), One Note and other assorted phone or laptop apps are great for keeping relevant and timely information. If it is no longer relevant or timely, clear the clutter.

Social Media

On your personal accounts, consider trimming the fat. Can’t remember why you follow that funny page or TV show fan account? Don’t get any joy from it? Unfollow. This is also a good time to look at who you follow and who follows you on your business accounts. Social media can be an amazing tool for your business. It is also a highly effective time suck. There are many apps that be used to measure how much time you spend on these platforms but the chances are you already know they are affecting your productivity. 

Notifications and Newsletters

If you haven’t already now is a good time to switch off all of the dings and beeps that plagued you during the working day, and beyond. Work-life balance is important, essential. When you debrief your 2020 consider how often you looked at your phone, answered calls, replied to emails or updated your business social media after-hours. Where is the balance?

I subscribe to a few business newsletters and other bits and pieces. I have them filtered into a folder when they come in and set a reminder to go look at them weekly. I’m not afraid to unsubscribe from any I don’t find valuable in some way though. Are you up to your eyes in subscriptions?

Debrief Your 2020 and Proactively Prepare Your Business For 2021

goodbye, debrief your 2020

Year Compass is everywhere right now. Many tools can be used to reflect on 2020 and get yourself ready for 2021. This is a good one. I’ve used it myself in the past. It promotes taking the opportunity to breathe and find some clarity before moving forward. Every year should be reviewed, however, with all the extra nonsense, change and restrictions we’ve faced, the decision to thoroughly debrief your 2020 is a wise one.

Organise Your 2021 Diary to Suit Your Needs

Nothing says goodbye old year, hello to that a new diary, calendar, or similar. Once you’ve cleared out the excess you’ll have a better idea of what you need to put in your diary. Essential meetings, networking sessions and learning opportunities should be recorded. So should the times you’ve put aside for you. For example, in 2021 I am, Covid permitting, going back to the gym. Ours has been largely closed but I’m going to find a way around it because it made me feel great.  

I’ll definitely be pencilling in more positive appointments than those that make me groan.

Be Strategic in Your Planning

Yes, you need to plan time for you. Yes, you need to be mindful of your work-life balance. These are both important. What you also need to do is plan your 2021 with goals in mind and a strategy that is firmly pointed toward success. Consider time blocking as a tool to help you achieve these SMART goals. Don’t leave anything to chance with your 2021 business planning but do leave wiggle room for flexibility when needed. If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that being able to pivot at a moment’s notice is a skill worth having.

Are You Ready to Debrief Your 2020, Wave a Cheerful Goodbye and Move On

These are just a few ways that you can promote closure in 2020, ready for 2021 and all it has to offer. How do you finish the year off? Join the conversation over on Facebook.


Nicki Cawood, Nicki Cawood Copywriter,
Nicki Cawood is The Small Business Copywriter.

Established in 2006, she has provided copywriting, editing, rewriting, blogging support and more to many many small businesses. 


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