New, New, New

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New Year. New Week. New Day. Everything about this morning is new.
And speaking of new… Raise your hand if you made New Year’s Resolutions.

I didn’t.

It’s very hard to make New Year’s Resolutions work, and I hate the thought that I begin a year with intentions that don’t carry me through the next 11 months. Don’t get me wrong – S and I planned for, thought and dreamed about, and made goals for 2015. I just chose not to make the traditional New Year’s Resolutions.

Instead, I decided to continue with a new thing I began in October that has worked well for me.

In the first week of the month, I sit down with a piece of paper and write the month at the top. I list everything I can think of that I need to get done that month. After the essentials are listed I begin setting goals for writing, health, travel, and whatever else I’m focusing on. If I am trying to adhere to a timeline I will make goals for the next month, too. Next, I put a star next to the items on the list that MUST be finished in that month, highlighting my priorities.

To accomplish these goals, I consult the master list every week and assess how I should set up my coming week. Every weekend I take a paper and turn it so I’m working with it in the ‘landscape’ orientation rather than the ‘portrait’ orientation. I draw a line through the middle of the paper longways and divide the bottom half it into five sections, which I then label as the days of the week. Along the top of the page I write the different areas of my focus – usually writing, work, home, and self.

When the page is setup it looks like this:

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/132/19818281/files/2015/01/img_5859.jpgThen I refer back to the original list of month goals and ‘to dos’. Using that, I write down what needs to be accomplished in the week I am preparing for under each sections at the top. Next, I consult my calendar and write in my obligations accordingly for each day. When I can see my workload and my availability, I begin assigning tasks to each day.

When I’ve finished, I hang the ‘master list’ somewhere I can see it (usually the refrigerator) and leave the week spreadsheet out, where I refer to it daily.

For me, this system works best. It helps me stay focused, structured and organized, and eliminates the feeling of ‘drifting’ or being overwhelmed – two sensations I’ve experienced frequently since I began working from home. It also allows me to keep only the prize in mind, rather than having to keep up with a bunch of steps.

What do you do to stay organized? Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions?
I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Charles Lominec says:

    I keep my resolutions to a realistic minimum, things I wasn’t doing the year before. Eat breakfast and not fill up on coffee in the morning. Be more interactive with and be more supportive of fellows writers/bloggers, to which I work through a daily action plan every day. I didn’t resolve to write more, because it’s a given that I want to write more; and I’m always looking to ways to write more. That’s what works for me: realistic minimums.

    1. C. M. Cox says:

      That’s an excellent idea. Isn’t it nice to find something that works? Those are fantastic goals, by the way. Being interactive is not easy for me! Thanks for sharing!

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