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Productivity / Business Productivity

Resolutions: A slacker’s guide to giving up

Am I the only one who gets bored of talk of resolutions by about 3 January? If, like me, talk of ‘should’ brings out the rebel in you, read on.

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The problem with most ‘should’ based actions is they are about forsaking or striving. Mine are all about simplifying and making life’s journey that bit cruisier. 

To that end, here’s what I’ve resolved to do this year. 

Stop wasting time

Late last year I did an editing job on a travel brochure. I painstakingly checked all the page number cross references, before realising they were all moot as they related to the Word document. I wasted my time, and the client’s. In future, I’ll be sharper and more likely to ask, ‘Is this necessary?’ at each stage of a project. 

Stop making an evening meal

Thinking about it, shopping for it, preparing it, cleaning up after it… this was taking up too much time and energy. So I backed away from a task I normally fulfil to see if John-Paul filled the void. Reader, he did not. So now we have snacks in the evening: sandwiches, omelettes or toast. I’ve lost a couple of kilos without even trying. 

"I’m noticing how often solutions pop into my head after I’ve put a problem to one side."

Lay down arms

Historically, I’ve stuck to my guns too much. I’m going to go with the flow more this year. My dear partners at Flying Solo have helped me here as we have a two out of three rule, whereby the outvoted one has to zip it. It’s humbling. It helps. 

Want more articles like this? Check out the productivity section.

Stop buying hangers

Whilst ironing recently (a rare occurrence) I had a revelation (likewise.) The problem was not, as I’d always assumed, that I had too few hangers, but that I had too many clothes. A wardrobe blitz is pending and I’m instigating a new rule that I’m not to buy anything without first giving something away. 

Stop trying so hard

Culturally we are so used to looking at problems from above, we forget to look at them from underneath. I’m noticing how often solutions pop into my head after I’ve put a problem to one side. Trying hard is so last decade for me. 

These may seem like largely trivial points, but I’m optimistic that removing some of the minutiae from my life will allow space for the big ideas to emerge.   

So, in what is the last article on resolutions for 2011 (I promise!) what are you giving up on in the year ahead?

Sam Leader

is a former director of Flying Solo and the co-author of Flying Solo - How to go it alone in business.

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