Resolutions suffer from lack of direction, not lack of time |

Resolutions suffer from lack of direction, not lack of time

So, the election is behind us, the new president is in office, and the first month toward living up to our resolutions and goals is almost successfully accomplished… right?

What? You haven’t lost that weight, stopped smoking, lightened up on the drinking, built better relationships yet, or even planned your goals for the year? What are you waiting for? I hope not next New Year’s Eve. Make today, right now, your New Year’s Eve and commit to one area in your own life you would most like to improve.

We can’t use time as an excuse, either. We all have exactly 86,400 seconds in each day. You don’t have any more and I don’t have any less. It is not a lack of time that limits our productivity, but rather the need for better direction on how we spend that time.

Think about your time as a bank account and that every second used can either be a deposit or withdrawal. Avoid things that can become a drain on your time. More important, avoid people who can be a drain on your time. Did you ever notice that people with nothing to do want to do it with you?

Right now, right this second, think about the most productive thing you can be doing with your time and write it down. Maybe the most productive thing you can be doing is finishing this column, especially if you need a quick time management tip that will help you with those goals and resolutions. So here is the one thing you can do right now ” make and keep daily to-do lists. It sounds simple, but so often common sense isn’t always common practice.

I’ll bet that many of you on the day before vacation, big event, or a holiday get more done on that single day than you do on any other day of the year. Why? Because you make lists in advance of everything that has to get done before you take off for vacation and then you systematically check off each one as you get it done.

Imagine how much more time you can deposit into your own time bank if you do this every day. Try this: Either the night before, or while drinking that first cup of coffee each morning, allow yourself to create a quick list of the most important and productive things you have to do each day.

Our most successful trips to the market usually involve having a list before we go so we minimize that sinking feeling of unpacking the groceries only to realize we forgot the one thing we really needed in the first place. For me it’s usually the milk.

A few years ago, a productivity consultant was hired by a Fortune 500 company to help improve efficiency and productivity. After just one day of interviewing the management team he informed the CEO that company didn’t really need a consultant ” all they needed to do was get better at knowing what needed to be done each day and not do another thing until the most important items were completed.

The consultant recommended the company’s managers make short to-do lists each day for a month and see what the impact would be. Just 30 days later, productivity was up almost 25 percent. After another 30 days productivity rose another 25 percent.

Try writing a to-do for 30 days yourself and let me know if your goals and resolutions start to become realities and if your time deposits start to gain ground on your time withdrawals. As always, e-mail me at as I enjoy the feedback and interaction. Some of you have shared great stories and I love learning from you, too.

Michael Norton writes every week about postitive thinking. Reach him at

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