Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year's Revolution

Yesterday at BPYC someone asked me what my New Year's Revolution would be.  An unintentional but enlightened slip of the tongue.  A properly placed commitment can dramatically improve your life and change your outlook.

Who has it
My revolution this year is to improve my approach to work/life balance and lighten up. Or is that a New Year's revelation?

Since my August promotion the hours I put in have been creeping up, and as much as I like my job I don't want it to become a lifestyle!  I sought - and got - some great advice from a senior executive in my organization whom I admire and who seems to do work/life balance well.

Here are some great take-aways from our conversation together: pick the number of hours you are willing to work in a day or week and stick to them by heading out at a regular time, regardless of whether all tasks are finished (how could I forget something so fundamental?); set aside time to answer email instead of letting it interrupt other tasks (there is that myth of being able to multi-task again); and keep a personal work journal to reinforce your lessons learned and insights gained.  I was also warned there would be a period of adjustment but to stick to the plan through the pinch.
Goal setting tools

Online advice abounds about how to work less.  I especially liked the 6 Rules to Work Less and Get More Accomplished. I guess it is about developing some good work habits with the same sense of mindfulness I apply to my morning routine of meditation and yoga practise.

If you know how to change your habits, then even a small effort can create big changes. 

You Tube interview with author John Tierney
A book that counsels strongly against New Year's Resolutions is Willpower.  The authors point out we only have a limited amount to go around, so not to squander it.  The Notables Globe review by Amy Knight says this book is worth 'at least ten therapy sessions'.  The synopsis in this New York Times Review shares key messages, but I think I'll be going for the full-length edition of Willpower.

Hamlet's Black Berry was also on the Notables list and dovetails nicely with my resolution.  The author gets his family to agree to an Internet Sabbath and shares the essential discovery, "In order to benefit most from new technologies we need to use them less."  In work terms, this will translate to a more focused approach to responding to email.

I've heard a few people say their resolution is to "laugh more often"...  and why not add some of that at work, too?  I've long promised myself I'd check our a laughter yoga session, and there are some here in Toronto.

This is becoming a worldwide movement., as John Cleese explores for the BBC:



For mundane and inspired ideas to add to your list of resolutions, check out this Generator.

illustration credit:  Revolutionart

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