Wednesday, December 15, 2010

New Years Resolutions (And So Can You!)

Christmas! December! The great month of contemplation, inspiration, and good spirits. Positivism roots out any sort of "I can't do it" attitude, and the spirit of the month kicks the idea that you will perpetuate bad habits into January right in the toosh. (This picture is intended to give you an idea of how I approach the month of December, with courage in my heart and a contemplative attitude of becoming a better person going forward - Are you inspired yet?)

Ah, but then comes the dreaded months of January, February, March... and everything goes out the window. What of your goals? Your hopes? Your bad habits? If you are like me at all, this Decembrist Attitude lasts the same amount of time as a hot date - not nearly long enough. Eventually, I grind out the year, and I find myself back in December. The cycle repeats itself.

Well, I'm sick of it. I have a new plan. I feel that the biggest problem I face is that I don't maximize my productivity. I find too many hours in the day unplanned, disorganized, and full of opportunities for idleness. But is the answer working harder? I recently finished a book where the author claimed that our parent's generation spends 100 hours more per year than the generation before them at work. The world demands productivity, and the people of the world use MORE as the way to satisfy the demands of the world.

I, however, have a better idea. I think there are ways in which you can maximize productivity without necessarily putting more time on your punch card. Here are 5 suggestions, and explanations behind each one (due to the fact that you may feel like these are things you would have to cut out to achieve your new years resolutions):

1. Spend more time in bed and in the kitchen while obeying D&C 88 and 89.

Time is more effective when you are healthy and rested. The green drink has been my remedy for my annual sickness, and there is serious decline in productivity whenever you are tired and sick. Or sick and tired...

2. Find time to exercise.

This is another classic good idea that goes out the window when you become too busy. Exercise leads to being healthier, but it also creates a sense of self-confidence that you can't get any other way. Self-confidence clearly will result in greater productivity.

3. Get yourself a Planner and a Notebook.

I am giving up my lifelong vendetta against planners. I realize the only way to actually eliminate idle hours is by planning all of them out. Planners also allow for the occasional entertainment escape, like a Jazz game or a movie. As for notebooks, I have found that when I have good ideas, I usually forget them, but with a notebook around, those ideas get WRITTEN down. Crucial. I love being able to write in a notebook at any possible moment.

4. Turn off the TV and keep yourself out of idle zones.

The classic college blunder? Spending too much time in your apartment, around a small (or increasingly large) black box that can suck your life away. Sportscenter seems harmless, right? Wrong.

5. Goals, goals, goals.

Write them down, set them both long-term and short-term, and plan them out via planner. Write them somewhere you can see them every day. Hold yourself accountable through prayer, discussion of your goals with friends and family, and other self-inflicted punishments or rewards if you reach or fail to reach them.

There you have it. I would also add that you MUST find time for God every day, another "drain" on your time, it may seem, but clearly finding time for the Lord will result in blessings.


  1. Just as I was reading your post I got an e-mail from a friend informing me that the complete series of Seinfeld is on sale on Amazon today for $85. I could schedule time to watch it, right?

  2. Productivity is defined as the amount produced divided by the time it took to produce it. This renders your third paragraph rather....redundant.

    Now that I'm done being a jerk, I think you should read Switch, by Chip and Dan Heath. Since that might take a long time, you could read a summary of it, if anyone has taken the time to summarize it and post it somewhere readily accessible.