We’ve all made well intentioned commitments for the upcoming year. Much like that promise to go to the gym, it’s easy to start off strong and find you’re having trouble sticking with it. Let’s start out 2011 right by debunking a few of the most common mistakes we all make when attacking our new year’s resolutions (both at the office, and at home).
Get organized but avoid long lists
A commonly held belief is that if you get organized suddenly everything will fall into place. Since we all know that the first step to getting organized is making a list, the result is often a gigantic to do list. As Jason Fried and David Heinemeier over at Moo.com have noted “Long Lists Don’t Get Done,” so it’s time to break that list into something more manageable. The key to their advice is setting goals that you will be able to achieve so that you keep working at the list. If you have a huge list of items to do you may become overwhelmed and not complete anything at all.
The CEOs of several popular start-ups shared their resolutions for the year with FastCompany.com and it seems they’re on the same page as Fried and Heinemeier. “Plan big, increment small. Meaning: set big, audacious goals for the year, but understand how the little things you do every day link together so you can achieve those big goals,” says Scott Albro of Focus.com. Don’t undersell your goals; it is good to think big. But achieving the big goals will mean setting some smaller, more achievable ones.
Get ready now, save time later
Many people resolve to spend more time with family in the upcoming year. However as the holiday season coincides with year-end for many businesses this can be difficult. Completing a little admin work each day for the rest of the year will help minimize the backlog come year-end 2011. So take a moment to review the setbacks you had when wrapping up 2010. If you’re still finishing up, take a few notes on what you’re experiencing. Once everything is finished you can take a look at the systems you have in place now and can improve your processes before starting the New Year.
Setting aside as much as half an hour a day to complete items which seem to build up can keep the task manageable. This is a good technique to apply to something like e-mails so that you can concentrate on your other tasks throughout the day. It is important to be diligent about the time you’ve set aside and ask your co-workers to respect it as well. You should find that this practice eventually becomes a routine and often helps to relieve the stress associated with that work piling up. The same technique can be applied to items for month-end, emails etc.
Isn’t that what you’ve been saying all along? Well yes, but as Ed Zitron at the Huffington Post points out it’s important (now more than ever) to focus on simplicity. “This is the year,” says Zitron, “that I will learn to cut down on apps, gadgets and websites – and focus on doing more, knowing more, and being better, versus having every tool in the bat-belt on my desktop or browser at once.” Seems like solid advice. It also suggests that it may be time to take another look at the products you’re already using.
For inFlow, that means having a look at our Knowledge Base articles such as the “Tips for Retailers: point of sale solutions” article or the “Fun with Customization” discussion. It’s also a good time to start mining your current providers for solid business info. Blogs, newsletters and twitter feeds for the companies whose products you use can help provide you with an influx of knowledge to help you get the most out of your current products.
Ultimately, all the advice in the world can’t MAKE you do anything. That said, if you’re motivated and ready to accomplish tasks more effectively in the new year then that’s half the battle!