An Easy Resolution for 2011

New Year’s Day is rapidly approaching, which means millions of people will be making resolutions for how they can better themselves in 2011. One of the most common resolutions seems to revolve around dieting to shed those holiday pounds acquired by indulging in a bit too much eggnog and Christmas cookies. I propose that your diet be of a different kind. What better excuse to finally hone your time management skills and start taking back control of your day? If you haven’t already, make January 1st the day you start your Time Diet.

Here are 3 simple things you can do on January 1st that will get your Time Diet off to a great start for the year:

1) Pick a time that you will sit down and make your choose-to list every day. Remember, having a daily list of things you are choosing to do for the day helps keep you focused and organized. Setting aside a few minutes at the same time each day to write down your choose-to list will help make it a habit and ensure you never start a day without a plan. Tell someone, whether it is your spouse, roommate, boyfriend, girlfriend, family member or other person close to you, when you plan to make your list so you are accountable to someone other than yourself. Telling someone about your resolutions makes you more likely to follow through with them.

2) Pick your worst Time Killer and eliminate it. Time Killers are those little things that waste our time without our permission. They distract us from our work and cause tasks to take longer than they really need to. Conquering all of your Time Killers at once can be overwhelming, so pick the one you feel is the biggest distraction and modify your routine so it no longer interferes. For example, if you just can’t resist texting with a friend or checking Facebook for updates while you are attempting to work, vow to silence your phone or put it in the other room while you do your work from now on.

3) An important part of the Time Diet is spreading out big “meat” tasks that require a lot of work over a longer period of time so they are more manageable. Pick one big task you already have planned in 2011 and write in your calendar when you plan to start it so that it will be done in time. For example, I already know I have a huge paper due for my PhD program in May. I am writing down a date in March that I want to have all of my research completed by, and I’m writing down a date in April that I want to have a finished rough draft. This way, I’m not tempted to save all of my work for the end and I will have successfully spread it out over a more manageable time frame.

Good luck as your start your Time Diet! Feel free to leave a comment either here or on Facebook letting me know how your diet is going. Happy New Year!

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