Top Ten Personal Productivity New Years Resolutions for 2007

I know many of you want to set some New Years Resolutions, but you’re resisting, because you don’t have the space of time or mind to add things to your to-do list.  So let me propose some things you might consider to resolve in 2007 that aren’t tasks but MINDSETS and BEHAVIORS of personal productivity.

1.  Seek to be a person of your word.  Are you reliable?  Can people count on you to do what you say you’re going to do?  Do you have integrity and keep the deadlines you promise?  What’s others’ perception of you?  Do you live out what you affirm?  Do you do what you complain about in others?  What things do people "jokingly" say about you and your behavior? 

2.  Seek to model productivity.  Do you have a reputation of exceptional organization, follow-up, and time management?  Are people afraid to send you email, because you never respond to them?  Is your desk a virtual black hole, where something coming in never goes out?  Does it take you thirty minutes to find something, and do you complain when someone else can’t find it in thirty seconds?

3.  Seek to control your technology.  Don’t be a slave to the Send/Receive button.  Discipline yourself to get work done, rather than allowing yourself to be sucked into the email vortex for four hours.  Be willing to turn off your Blackberry (gasp!) for two hours to focus on a project.  Forward your voice mail when you need some time to concentrate.  Set your IM on "do not disturb" while you finish up an article.  People are not going to die if they can’t reach you for an hour.  Those are expectations you are placing on yourself, rather than others placing them on you.

4.  Seek to be proactive. Wrap the present days before the birthday party (not in th car on the way).  Refill your prescription several days before you take the last pill (not when you’re out of medication, forcing you to wait at the pharmacy 30 minutes before work).  Find your tax receipts a month before taxes are due (not when you’re forced to file an extension).  Buy greeting cards before your card box is empty (not when you have to make a special trip to the store to purchase a single card).  You get the picture.

5.  Seek to live in the moment. You’ve passed that magazine twenty times—you know, the one that has a great article for your dad—and keep telling yourself, “I need to send that article.” Do it now. Decide that, whenever possible, you will dispatch routine tasks immediately. If it takes less than three minutes, do it right then. Avoid saying “I’ll do that later,” as in I’ll take that off the wall later.  Just walk down, get a screwdriver, and do it.  Strive for NOW.

6.  Seek to control yourself.  If you say to yourself, "I probably shouldn’t be doing this right now," you’re probably right.  Are you checking your ebay listings incessantly?  Are you surfing the Internet, shopping for personal affects, when you should be posting to your blog?  Are you watching several hours of television a day?  Do you stare out the window and space out when you’re disinterested in a task?  Do you spend too much time gossiping when grabbing a "quick" cup of coffee in the break room?  If you’re honest with yourself, how many hours could you save every day by being more disciplined?  And could you leave the office earlier with that saved time? 

7.  Seek to plug time leaks.  Where do you experience frustration throughout the day?  Are your staff meetings a waste of time?  Does a certain co-worker pop in and bother you several times a day about nothing in particular?  Have you stopped delegating a task to an assistant because it hasn’t been done correctly in the past?  Have you provided the appropriate training?  Do you say anything about things that waste your time?  Many people seethe in silence about the things that are bothering them the most.  Decide this year you are going to be proactive and try to influence changes in others or processes.

8. Seek to value yourself.  Your body is the most prized possession you own.  Are you taking care of it with proper exercise?  Do you get enough sleep?  What kind of food are you putting into this priceless treasure?  Do you hold rigidly to every appointment with others but cancel your own doctor, dentist, and eye appointments when someone wants that slot?  Have you had an annual physical and received the proper tests and checkups?  Are you a physically active role model for your children?  Drink water.  Stop smoking.  You know exactly what you’re doing to yourself that is lowering your personal productivity.

9.  Seek to walk your talk. You say your family is important to you.  Can people tell you value them by the way you spend your time?  You say your significant other is the most important thing in the world.  How much time have you spent spending time with them versus spending time working?  You say your spirituality is important, but how much time do you spend praying, reading, meditating, attending services, volunteering, or whatever reflects your beliefs?  Is it merely an outside facade?  If you say your health is important, how do you feel when you eat an entire pizza by yourself and watch five straight hours of television—consistently?  Say and do the same thing.  Be congruent.  Or just stop saying it and be yourself.

10. Seek a positive attitude. If your life is filled with turbulence, challenge yourself to change your perception.  Are you playing to a self-induced drama?  Life isn’t as crazy as some people make it out to be.  What might happen if you refocus your attention to positive, proactive experiences and open your thoughts to opportunities instead of problems? You are where your attention is. If working late is a habit, you might tend to slack off your pace. You know there’s no rush, you’re not as focused, and you don’t push yourself or prioritize your work as well.  You waste time on things that don’t need to be done and convince yourself that you need to work all those hours, and then complain about it to others.  We can create our own self-fulfilling prophecies, so watch the stinking thinking.

Wishing you a happy, healthy, and productive 2007! 

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