Resolution Preparations Part 2

Well, how’d you do on your New Year’s resolutions preparations? Did anyone actually try to keep track of their hourly activities?

I am curious as to what kind of jobs people have (i. e. employee, manager, executive, service, manufacturing, entrepreneurial, desk job, field job, solopreneur, artist, etc.)If you’d like to tell something about your daily routine and how you did with keeping track of it, please leave it in the comment box below. It will help me work out what to post in the future that might be relevant or helpful for you.

I was mostly successful at recording what I’ve been up to and when but there are a few hours missing on my, “What I Did This Week of…” sheet for December 6-12. There’s enough recorded for a good overview of what I’ve been up to though, and man, do I waste a lot of time!

To get a clear view of your day and the times you are productive and the times you procrastinated, get out two highlighters and highlight the hours of productivity in one color, and the hours of procrastination in another. Prepare to be surprised!

Aside from time spent napping (about 45 min. each day, which I sorely need, because I don’t sleep well at night for various health reasons) there are hours and hours of just checking e-mails, Facebook, news, generally web surfing, and loafing around. Beyond that spend too much time creating clever Photoshop graphics to comment on various political issues. Yes, it’s fun to get shares and likes, but who really cares? It’s just a way to avoid the real work of actually creating valuable information that I can help myself and others with.

As Picasso reputedly said, “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” For those pragmatists among you, I’d add Zig Zigler’s dictum, “You can get anything you want if you just help enough other people get what they want.”

So how to proceed with the resolution preparations? I suggest that you identify the main productive period(s) of your day, and the main procrastinative period(s) of your day with your highlighters.

As far as my main procrastinative periods, I’ve identified two: from 7:30 AM 10:30 AM (e-mail Facebook web surfing etc.) and from 7:30 PM to 10:00 PM (TV watching.) That’s a huge chunk of time to be wasting each day.

The next step in my New Year’s resolution preparation is to plan something productive  to do during these procrastinative times.

Knowing myself as I do, I don’t think I’d love diving into the real mental work writing blog posts, speaking proposals, and course material, or client–acquisition and sales early in the morning. Therefore I’m going to plan on practicing and rehearsing magic and working on memory development from about 7:30 AM to 9:30 AM. These are activities I enjoy and which motivate me and pump me up. Normally I feel a little guilty about practicing and developing because they don’t bring immediate rewards. But they must be done, and they would be great activities to replace procrastinating time with.

After that I’ll take care of any small house chores I need to do, then drive to the gym and have a nice workout in practice and juggling so I can get home and be ready for productive work by noon. By then I should be energized for a three-hour power-session.

Then it’s time for a break.

After that, until dinner–time, I can take care of some unfinished business, shopping, and any other chores I need to do. This can be, “planned/unstructured,” time that doesn’t have to be so intense.

The next problem to tackle after that is TV time. I know that most people are done with work by 5 PM or so, but after dinner I’d like to get some stuff accomplished.

My wife and I enjoy certain TV shows, and she needs to wind down after her high-stress workday. But I’d like to limit my TV time to only those shows and movies I really want to watch. For me, there are very few. We get a Netflix DVD about twice a week (we can’t stream videos on our limited bandwidth connection) so I’d watch those. Otherwise I’m going to try to limit TV to one hour, twice a week, in the new year.

To prepare for this I’m going to go on a week’s TV moratorium. No TV for the next week. During that time I can practice, write, study – whatever.

That’s an awful lot about me. The purpose was to illustrate how an entirely unstructured day was dissected by the “What I Did This Week” sheet, and reconstructed into what I hope is a reasonably more productive routine. I wanted to show that this exercise is truly practical.

The Take-away:

For me, I feel the recording my activities for week was immensely enlightening and helpful.

You really get an eye-opening snapshot of what you maybe expected, but didn’t want to face. In the end it pays off, because it inspires you to make informed changes.

You don’t have to be as thorough as this and making changes. Try identifying one productive and one procrastinative period in your day, and make a small improvement on it.

Actionable Material In a Nutshell:

After having done the reading the resolution preparations post and recording your activities for a week (possibly using this sheet), highlight the productive times in one color and the procrastinative times in another color.

Then chose one or more of those times and make a plan to intentionally utilize your most productive time(s) of day, and/or find productive activities to replace your procrastinative time(s) of day with.

The next step is to write a sentence or two after each of those times, tracking your progress. Maybe set an alarm for those times, and when they are up, just write a sentence or two about how you did . If you like, you can record it on one of these sheets. Do this for a week. This will help you gear up for the next exercise, and ultimately prepare you for rocking your resolution for the new year.

Thank you for indulging me for writing so much about my own experience, but I hope it will help illustrate the usefulness of this resolution preparation exercise and inspires you to try it. If you have tried it, please leave a comment.

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