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Published on December 31st, 2016 | by Jules Yap


My 2 essential life hacks to begin the year

I can’t believe it. I’m writing the last post of 2016. In a few days, a new year comes upon us. I’ve always liked new years. It brings with it the feeling that anything’s possible.

I’m not really a resolutions person but I do have a few new year habits.

One of the first things I do at the beginning of the year is to take a week to “fast” from the distractions of life (Facebook, Pinterest, Netflix — I’m talking about you!) In the 7 days, I quiet down, pray, meditate, take long walks and let my spirit hear what God has to say about my year ahead. Some years He whispers a passage, many years it’s only a word. I keep that word deep within me and throughout the year, I return to it for strength. And always, that word is sufficient. Why not try it for yourself as you ease into 2017? No matter what your beliefs are, taking time to clarify what’s truly important to you is always a good thing. And a good beginning to all things.

Second thing I do is get a new planner. I just love cracking open a new planner at the start of the year. Reams of empty pages, all waiting to be filled with goals, projects and possibilities. And the smell of new paper … aaaaah. Don’t you just love it?

I’m a bit of a productivity nerd and have been searching for years for the tool to fit my way of working. Finally, I think I’ve landed on the one that does it for me. I work from home, so I need to hold myself accountable for my time, which means spending time on productive work and not busy work. There is a difference. In 2015, I stumbled on the SELF Journal (affiliate link) when they launched their Kickstarter campaign. I liked what I saw and supported the campaign. What caught my attention was their Zero-based calendar of leaving no unaccounted for time.

I’ve used it the whole of 2016 and what can I say, I literally know where I spent every minute of last year! It was strange at first writing down “brush teeth” or “water plants” on my planner but I got the hang of it. It made me give my day forethought — so I can live more purposefully on a daily basis. Another thing I liked was the concept of 13-week goals (versus annual goals). It was so much easier to stay on track when I can almost glimpse the end.

Using it has helped me accomplish a big project through daily, focused steps towards my goal. You know what they say about eating an elephant? Yes, one bite at a time.

If you’re frugal like me, download the free pdf, print and test it out first to see whether it works for you. I hope you like it as much as I do. I would be using it again for 2017. Definitely.

That’s my two unwarranted life hacks for 2017? What about you? How do you start your year?

And before I wrap up, here’s wishing you a fabulous 2017. I look forward to seeing all your great hacks in this coming year.


LILLÅSEN Bamboo desk redo
3D Printable IKEA Tape Measure

The Author

Jules Yap

"I am Jules, the engine behind IKEAHackers and the one who keeps this site up and running. My mission is to capture all the wonderful, inspiring, clever hacks and ideas for our much loved IKEA items".

One Response to My 2 essential life hacks to begin the year

  1. Dmitri Dmitri says:

    My first time encountering both the self journal and the best life blog in general. I gave it a decent scan and I must say the pdf itself is pretty cute in design, but I wonder if you used some app to help you organise on mobile? I’ve tried to hook on the ToDoist app, but it wasn’t working for me.

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