JEL23652-Blackford, Sheila P3 (2)   by Sheila Blackford   ©2012

Happy New Year!

I was joking with my husband about running out of time to get something done before it was too late: “I hate when it’s too late too soon!”  Maybe I’m on to something here.  Running out of time may have been part of 2011. Maybe it has even crept into 2012. Well, luckily, goals are something we set for ourselves and often achieve with great enthusiasm. Other goals we hit a couple of times and then miss a couple of times and give up, discouraged. You may be confusing goals with resolutions because ’tis the season to be confused about setting goals in the new year when we likely are expressing our resolutions. Goals are measurable – “My goal is to lose ten pounds.” Resolutions are for our continuous effort, “My resolution is to eat healthier. ”  For more on Resolutions, see Rod Ibrahimi’s January 2, 2012 post on Lifehacker, “The Science Behind New Year’s Resolutions (And How to Use it to Achieve Yours!)” and to get more clarity around the difference between goals and resolutions, I like David Galloway’s December 31, 2011 post on Lifehacker, “Differentiate Between Goals and Resolutions to Aid in Personal Achievement.”

Now, has it become “too late too soon?” It is the start of a new year. Make it your resolution to learn better strategies for managing your time.

Here are some of my favorites.

1. MindTools. You can do some serious self-improvement on this website! Here is the link to their excellent Time Management Toolkit. I recommend you take the Time Management Quiz to understand what can best help you. Time to get honest.

2. Pomodoro Technique. If you struggle somedays with wasting more time avoiding doing something than the something would take, you may be having some anxiety about getting it done. You think?! Time management gurus advise breaking tasks down into smaller chunks. Very helpful. What the Pomodoro Technique can do is take it one step further, a timer that ‘tells’ you it is time to work in a sustained fashion for just 25 minutes. You are ‘supposed’ to put a checkmark on a piece of paper. I have an iPhone App that tracks my completed pomodoros. Forget the paper – just more clutter on my desk! Then ‘tells’ you it is time to take a break for 5 minutes. After a set of four pomodoros, you take a longer break. Simple. Now try to stick with it. It certainly is a tool for tackling that tough one that you shuffle off to the side of your desk. Try it. It may work. Carol Wilson was Oregon’s first Practice Management Advisor. She used to kindly advise breaking down tasks into small increments. I don’t know if she was a fan of the Pomodoro Technique. But the principle is the same: break it into doable portions. Eat the elephant one bite at a time.

3. Getting Things Done! ®David Allen.  He has quite a following. A favorite place to begin with the idea is to take the Getting Things Done Quiz which is called,  GTD>Q  and available free. More good assessment. There is a  G T D® Starter Kit that may interest you if you want to leap into the program with both feet, complete with CDs and exercises and other content for $79.98. But I would cautions some of you to be careful to not avoid tackling something that needs tackling by getting focused on doing the G T D® Starter Kit instead of just working on one piece of what needs to be done. You know who you are!

 

4. Get some personal one-on-one or group coaching. Those of you reading this in Oregon can contact the Oregon Attorney Assistance Office and ask Meloney Crawford to include you in her, Getting It Done 2012 ® program.  Don’t procrastinate now, as it starts the second week of January. And you can even attend by online method. What I really appreciate about Meloney is that she doesn’t believe in one-size-fits-all. She will share a number of tools to help you dig in or dig out!

Well, these are my four. What are yours?

Happy resolutions to you!

 

 

Posted by SBlackford

Sheila Blackford is an Oregon attorney who has been a practice management advisor for the Oregon State Bar Professional Liability Fund since 2005. She loves writing, riding her horse, and taking long walks with her husband and their dog.

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