New Year’s Resolutions: Thinning Out

New Year’s is a great time to thin out . . . no, this is NOT another weight loss resolution. It’s a resolution to thin out your projects and commitments for the year. Before you make plans for improvement this year, evaluate the past twelve months and note the projects that were overwhelming, unnecessary, or not worth your while. Make this year one where you accomplish great things, but only those things that keep your life balanced and joyful.

Twelve Month Evaluation

Go through the year chronologically, thinking through each of the projects you completed. Figure out when you were the most overwhelmed during the year. Was it during the summer? Maybe this year you need fewer summertime commitments. Were you busiest during a huge project with a tough deadline? This year you may need to allow more time or allot more resources to projects of that size. Make note of each project that overwhelmed you so you can make improvements on projects of that nature in 2012. Ask yourself:

  • Did the time you spent on a certain project bring you meaningful results?
  • Did the energy you gave to the project yield adequate returns on your investment?
  • Did the work make you happier?

From your answers, determine the value of the experience. Would you do it again? Should you? –That is the important question.

Thinning Your Projects

How exactly do you thin out your projects? Some projects are easy to eliminate, especially if you found you spent too much time and energy with little result. Other projects are worthy of your time and energy, but you are already stretched too far. Move these worthy projects to your Someday/Maybe list. David Allen suggests that your Someday/Maybe list should include projects you can complete “if you have the time, money, and inclination” (Getting Things Done, p. 168). It’s important to note that you should be inclined to do these projects. Someday/Maybe projects aren’t ones you feel pressure or guilt to accomplish. Next, figure out a way to prioritize your commitments. Write down you system and stick to it as projects come up during the year. Using this system will give you the organization you need when you are overwhelmed by overlapping projects.

Goals for 2012

As you make plans for this year, focus on improving your work-life balance. Don’t overdo it. Set goals that will help you throughout the year as new projects and commitments come up. My goals for the New Year include delegating and learning to say no. As I reviewed the past year, I found that I can improve my work-life balance immensely just by working on those two skills. Figure out what you can work on to help you thin out your life in 2012.

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