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My 9 Productivity Resolutions for 2009

3152757514_0e53369e08_m.jpgAs 2008 draws to a close, I find myself engaged in that most hackneyed of annual traditions: making resolutions for the next year.

Along with my typical resolutions (eat better, exercise and sleep more, complain less), I decided to add a couple of new ones into the mix. I'm determined to make 2009 a more-productive, less-stressful year for both my work and personal lives, and in support of that endeavor I've created the following list.

My 9 Resolutions for 2009

  1. Stop using my calendar for task management. It's an inefficient way to keep track of what needs doing and it's too easy for things to fall through the cracks.
  2. Avoid distractions when I'm on deadline by turning off the phone, shutting down e-mail, and silencing instant messenger. I'm way too self-distracting; why enable my bad habits?
  3. Play with Facebook only before or after normal office hours, or during legitimate breaks in my day. I enjoy keeping up with my friends, but I'm dangerously prone to getting sucked into the social-networking world when I should be focusing on work.
  4. Strive to achieve Inbox Zero. I will repeat this mantra: "My inbox is not a holding pen."
  5. Learn to say no. I'm horribly prone to agreeing to anything -- a favor, a too-aggressive deadline, a volunteer effort -- and tend to get overwhelmed by commitments. That's bad for my focus, my productivity, and my sanity. No more.
  6. Devote one hour per week to office chores. My filing tends to pile up, and those stacks get mighty daunting after a few weeks, making it even less likely that I'll tackle them. But I'll simply pick a day, set a finite time limit, do as much as I can in that period, and then move on. It'll all get done eventually, and it'll be easier to maintain from that point forward.
  7. Keep my desk neater. I work better and faster and feel more relaxed with a clutter-free desk than with a cramped workspace, even when my workload is the same. Yet I tend to create chaos anyway. I resolve to spend five minutes at the end of each workday clearing things up so I can start the next day with a clean slate (and desk).
  8. Apply new strategies to stop procrastinating. I've read some great stuff this year about how to tackle procrastination, and I'm looking forward to putting those ideas into practice.
  9. Achieve a little more work-life balance. It shouldn't take my better half knocking on my office door at midnight for me to stop working and start relaxing with my family.
Feel free to borrow from these ideas for yourselves -- and share any resolutions you might have with me and the Team Taskmaster readers.

Happy New Year, everyone, and see you in 2009!

(image by babasteve via Flickr, CC 2.0)

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