Wednesday, January 1, 2014

It's A New Day

Forget about the new year and making resolutions. It's a new day. How are you spending it?

New year, new month. But most importantly, it's a new day.

New year resolutions rarely work, unless your resolution is to fail. If you're one of those highly organized, goal-oriented individuals who turn resolutions into goals and goals into plans, and actually stick with your plans, you can stop reading now. But if you're like me, someone who means well and finds it hard to pass up the opportunity for a new start, then stick with me here for a minute.

Maybe it's my short attention span or my tendency to get distracted by shiny objects, but making new year resolutions just doesn't work for me. Rather than setting myself up for a sure-fire fail, I'd much rather reevaluate my goals, my plans, my life on a day-by-day basis.

For the last few years I've been living from lists. In fact, I use an Excel spreadsheet to plan every single day by listing both work obligations and personal plans. I even have a column for meal planning so I'll know each morning what to fix for dinner that day.

You know the best part of the list? I cross off every item when it's completed. Something on the list that I didn't get done that day? Either I move it to the next day or, if something has changed and I realize I'm never going to get that job done, I simply delete it. No muss, no fuss, and no more guilt. It's very freeing to look back on a day or a week and see progress; those crossed-off items lift me up more than just about anything I can think of. If I can see that I've accomplished three or four paid-to-do items, a trip to the grocery store or a load of laundry (they're on the list, too), and I've prepared and served a decent meal that day, I can go to bed happy and fulfilled.

Call me silly or call me over-organized, but this daily to-do list spreadsheet system works for me and it can work for you, too. And you can set it up for free.

To make your own daily to-do spreadsheet, simply open a new Excel document, start columns for the categories that fit your life, add dates down the side leaving four or five lines per day, add borders to make it all easy to read and your favorite color to make it pretty, save it and get started. On mine, the first column is for the date, second is for paid work that I do, third is for personal to do (grocery shopping, laundry, family activities, and so forth), followed by a menu column. My personal "to do online" is next, then columns to record statistics related to my business. Your columns will vary and even change as you develop a spreadsheet that works for you and reflects your life.

It doesn't take long to develop the habit of keeping track of tasks, goals, and accomplishments on a spreadsheet. I love it. Having a list to wake up to, knowing what I need to do on this day, helps make my day more productive by getting it started on a positive note.

Forget about the new year and making resolutions. It's a new day. How are you spending it?

Winter Morning photo by LifeInOut.com

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