1. Start your taxes NOW. By law, all your employers have to send you your tax forms by January 31st, so as soon as you’ve got yours in hand, just buck up and do your danged taxes.  It’ll save you a lot of stress come April.
  2. Make doctors’ appointments now.  Go ahead and schedule your annual physical, a check up with your eye doctor, and two (yes, two) visits to the dentist for this year. Grit your teeth and do it. You’ll feel a lot better when it’s over with.
  3. Change the batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Because we all know you didn’t do it when the time changed in the fall, did you? 
  4. Toss expired medications—responsibly.  Don’t be wondering if that bottle of Tylenol is forty years old when you have a headache; take five minutes to go through your medicine cabinet and find out now. Many drug stores will take back prescription medications to be properly disposed of. And check your first aid kit, too. Restock anything you’re running low on, and you won’t have to stress when you really need it.
  5. Order your seeds and plan your garden. If you hope to have a garden this spring or summer, now is the time to be ordering seeds and planning what you’ll plant and when. That’s why all those shiny, colorful seed catalogs show up in January. Make a plan and you won’t be caught with your trowel down when the weather warms up.
  6. Make a list of people you want to give gifts to this year and note the date—birthdays, holidays, etc. Stick it in your wallet and start shopping now. Buying the perfect gift when you see it will save you sixteen kinds of stress over running into the 7-Eleven fifteen minutes before your neice’s birthday in search of the perfect gift. While you’re at it, stock up on wrapping supplies be it solid colored paper (good for any occasion), brown craft paper (easy to recycle), newspaper (comics pages are best!) or ribbons and bows.
  7. Update your resume. Don’t get weird about it, just open the document and make sure everything is up to date. Be sure to include your most recent accomplishments. You never know when opportunity might knock! While you’re at it, clean up your social networking profiles.
  8. Unsubscribe from unwanted emails. If your email inbox is cluttered with mail from every online store you’ve ever visited, it’s time to do some serious purging. Every time a mass email comes into your inbox, ask yourself if you enjoy reading it. If the answer is no—CLICK!—unsubscribe and get that mental clutter out of your life. Do the same thing with your RSS lists, your Twitter queue, and pages you’ve liked on Facebook.

Photo Credit: Rob Warde via Compfight cc