Tips for the New Year
(ARA) - The new year is upon us and it is time once again to reflect on the year that has been and the year that lies ahead. It’s exciting to look forward to all the possibilities of 2003, and reflect on all the successes of 2009. But it can also be a painful exercise to look back and see all those 2009 resolutions that went unfulfilled. It’s time to sweep those failed diets and aborted exercise regimens under the rug and focus on new goals in the new year.
According to AT-A-GLANCE, the leading manufacturer of calendars and organizing supplies, getting organized is one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions. If you are looking to get out from under the clutter and get your schedule in order, here are some quick tips (after all, tax season is right around the corner, too!):
Write down your goals -- Create a list of your professional as well as personal goals and keep it handy at all times. Review and update the list when necessary to keep it current and relevant.
Assess how you currently use your time -- For a few days, keep a log of how you use your time. This will help you determine what activities are necessary as opposed to those that do not contribute to reaching your goals. Eliminate activities that are “time wasters” and focus your energies on those activities that will help you reach your goals.
Take time to plan -- Take five to 10 minutes to plan your day. It can be done the evening before or early that morning. It is important that you do this during a quiet time, without interruptions, so that you can focus on what you need to accomplish.
Learn to be flexible -- Things will happen everyday that are out of your control. You can regain some control, though, by realizing delays will occur and allowing for buffer zones in your daily planning. This will help you go with the flow when the unexpected pops up. There is always tomorrow.
Break down big projects -- Tackle the big events and projects by breaking them down into smaller and more manageable tasks. This helps alleviate the feeling of being overwhelmed and will keep you moving towards completion.
Utilize waiting or travel time -- Listen to books on tape while you commute to work. Keep a file marked “reading materials” and insert magazine and newspaper articles that you would like to read but never seem to have time to get to. Take the folder with you when you travel. Bring mail and articles or write correspondence to old friends and family members while you wait at the dentist’s or doctor’s office.
Be considerate of others’ time -- Plan all meetings and communications carefully. Check the email distribution list before sending -- does everyone you have included really need to be copied? Publish meeting agendas and stick to them.
Select the right planning tool -- Try out many varied planning tools and select one that fits your needs. Don’t use one that simply looks nice or that your co-workers use if it doesn’t fit your planning style. Things to keep in mind: do you write large or small, do you like to plan by the day, week or month, are you desk-bound or on the go, do you want to plan personal and professional events together, how often do you use/need reference information?
The keys to staying organized are planning in advance and developing a routine. By staying ahead of the game, you can be prepared for what is coming up, and can be better prepared to handle those situations that have a tendency to pop up at the least convenient time.