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A New Year’s resolution that matters



Life is a series of collisions with the future; it is not the sum of what we have been, but what we yearn to be. – Jose Ortega y Gasset

At Startup Addict I think of new year resolutions differently than most people might. I focus on annual goals rather than broad or cliche resolutions like losing weight or eating healthy. Reflecting on accomplishments and failures from the previous year is a great place to start. This cathartic process allows you carry forward any missed goals and outline your next annual achievements. Take a look at a few tips that help me craft a New Year’s resolution that matters:

Reduce your signal to noise ratio
There is so much information overload and multi-tasking going on today we tend to lose more ideas than we keep track of.  Easy way to combat that is to write it down!  The most obvious tool of all will help cut through and clarify the noise allowing you to see your goals clearly. Just by writing on a piece of paper, ipad or smartphone (whatever your poison might be) it helps bring goals from thoughts to reality. Another good technique if you are non-linear like myself is to utilize mindmapping tools to brainstorm and organize your goals. You can then break the goals down into milestones and tasks with an associated timeline. For those of you looking for some hard take away tips try streamlining your inbound communication channels (both offline and online). This will help you reduce information overload, increase productivity and allow you get more done. See below for some quick online wrangling tips:

Streamline your  follow list and enhance your signal to noise ratio. Stop following people who hog your twitter feed or deadbeats that don’t use it. Utilize posting tools that will assist in scheduling your tweets like Buffer, Tweet deck or Hootsuite.  These tools allow you to take 1 hour on a Monday to schedule a week worth of content on Twitter. Then you can tweet current events and news related content as it arises. In addition, these tools will report important analytics that will provide click through metrics and reveal your influence with your followers.

Manage your notifications and responses in a timely fashion. Also, pick a scheduled time to respond so your not grabbing you phone every second someone leaves a comment. Facebook can be an enormous time-suck if you do not manage it correctly. The tools previously described can be utilized for Facebook as well as other social networks like LinkedIn. Allowing you to manage multiple accounts and identities while scheduling posts.

Adopt a zero inbox philosophy or utilize helpful tools to help you clear it, like priority inbox from Google or Sanebox.

Develop Systems or Die
Nothing will kill productivity faster than working without systems in place.  You must work with a plan of attack and a purpose, systems will be your savoir.  When developing systems for your daily, weekly and monthly tasks think about how you would program a robot from scrtach to do exactly what you need done. Remember you are either developing systems to save you time or free your time for higher level tasks. You can start in one of two places when developing new systems or whether your revamping old ones.

1) Pay attention to what you do for work in a given day, week, month and what your current approach is to completing tasks. Maybe your new years resolution is to develop systems themselves!

2) Catergorize tasks and to-dos into organized buckets. For example, social media would be a broad bucket category that would break down into subcategories like, linkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, blogging, newsletters etc.  Your subcategories can then be broken down into tasks and to-dos. Defining your buckets is where mind-mapping pays off because “Marketing” could have dozens of subcategories that in turn have dozens of tasks and to-dos.

Don’t Procrastinate
Duh, no kidding. I know this is the king of platitudes but it needs to be said. There is no time like the present and getting something done now is step#1 in productivity enhancements.  The best technique that keeps me from procrastinating is realizing I only have 8,765 hours in any given year including sleep and non-productive time. Most of us are only productive roughly 10 – 12 hours a day which leaves about 3650 – 4380 hours of work that needs to be managed effectively for maximum productivity. So get busy because you used up 5 minutes of 2012 reading this post.

Good luck with your New Year’s resolution for 2012.

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