December 29, 2010

Three Lists To Make For 2011

 
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New Years resolutions are often incomplete. 

We make them, thinking that all we need to do is this one thing to have a better coming year.  The reality is that we need to do several things to see year-over-year improvements in our lives.  That's why so many New Year's resolutions are broken - they are all or nothing.  In some cases, we make the same ones over and over again.  What's the point? 

I look at the beginning of the year, specifically the holiday period that precedes it, as a chance to reset. It's like powering down a computer, then rebooting it.  Works better, usually, no?  At Yahoo!, Jerry Yang kept three lists at all times, and these lists are the ones you should draw up this week and execute on over the next three months. 

1 - The Stop Doing List.  What habits, tendencies or activities are counter-productive?  Create a plan with a deadline, and knock these off first. 

2 - The Keep Doing List.  What are our greatest hits from 2010?  What's working, and shouldn't be forgotten?  This is important, because unless you recognize the effective, you might replace it with the novel. 

3 - The Start Doing List.  These are activities, habits or projects that could add value over the coming year.  Consider this list the end of procrastination or the tool that will help you close the good intentions-accomplishments gap.  

For me, personally, here's mine: Stop/Wasting time grazing online.  Keep/Blogging.  Start/Writing a schedule for each day.  Get it? This is how I can increase my personal effectiveness over the year. This isn't my complete 2011 lists, but now you get this point.  What's yours?  

 


Comments

Commentor

Great advice Tim - I love the concept of forming 'habits' on your start doing list - before you start being too concrete in putting a goal down - form the habit first, then translate that into a useful goal once it makes it to your keep doing list.

Regarding writing a schedule each day, by far the most useful piece of advice I had years ago and still use to this day is to carry a daybook (diary, moleskine, notepad - whatever notepad works best for me) - full date and year at top of page, starting a new page for each day. At the start of each day write out the tasks as a list, and physically draw a large square check box to the right of each job. When you've done the job tick it off. Each new day, add the new day's tasks, then easily scan back through the last few pages for unchecked boxes and 'import' them over to the new day. I'm a techno-geek and lifehacker and I've tried allsorts of online tools/to-do-lists/productivity software - nothing beats this system. I have a catalogue of daybooks that I can go back through years and find exactly what I was doing on that day based on those notes, and checkboxes. Give it a try, has helped me immensely in becoming more personally effective in home and work.

Kind regards,
-Dan
@wonkeydonkey42

Commentor

Thanks for the reminder. It really does take constant focus, doesn't it?

I get up early, try to make the most of my time in the manner you speak there, and get on with my daily program. Seems to be working.


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