Zen Mama Wannabee Banner

New Year’s Resolutions that really Take the Cake

Are you like the 92 % of people that make New Year’s Resolutions only to soon find that you haven’t been able to keep them?   I never liked to think of myself like that, but during some end of year reflection I realized that my resolutions for 2011 were sounding a lot (ahem…exactly) like the ones I had set the previous year – and perhaps in all honestly, like the ones for the year before that!  The common definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over yet expecting to get a different result.  So what was going to be different THIS new year?  How was I going to achieve success this time around?

There are a lot of things I want to do MORE of:  cook, write, exercise, spend quality time with my family, read…those are just the TOP ones.  But putting all that off to the side for the moment, how can I really make an impact in my life this year?  What is it that I REALLY need to work on in order to achieve the life I am looking for? (Hint:  this is a good question to ask yourself – try it out – it gets you thinking).

My answer was time.  MORE time.  Time to cook.  Time to write.  Time to exercise.  Time to spend with my family.  Time to read.  As it stands, I feel my days rush by, leaving me with the (often frazzled) feeling that there is never enough time…..for ME!  So, how do I get more time?  After all, we each get the same allotment; it’s not like I can ask for my days to be 36 hours long while everyone else gets 24.  So how do I stretch it to get MORE time in my days (and nights)?

My answer again was obvious:  I need better time management.  Though I’d never admit this readily (especially to my husband) I allow myself to get distracted so easily and before I know it minutes, perhaps hours, have swished by.  I sat down at the computer this morning to pay the bills and the next thing I knew I found myself on several websites researching a variety of important things:  sign ups for the new sports season, a writing group I heard about, why Taylor Swift and Jake Gyllenhaal broke up (nothing too exciting to report there my Hollywood gossip friends) and what the housing market is predicted to look like in 2011 (FYI: not so good).

If only I had done what M.F. Chapman suggests in Take the Cake: A Working Mom’s Guide to Grabbing a Slice of the Life You’ll Love! She recommends taking one item off your To Do list (like paying bills), figure out what you need to do it (my computer for Bill Pay, the actual bills to pay) and estimate how long it should take you to do the task.  Then get to work.  But DON’T keep your email on too (ah – my biggest mistake) or open up anything else not related to what you are doing.  Get the item crossed off your list, THEN you can check your email or the Google headlines, and if you finished in less time than you thought it would take, you won’t even feel guilty!

Can you imagine if I did this with everything?  Focus just on the job at hand – no distractions.  Why do I keep my email on when I sit down to write?  Every time I hear the ding of a new mail message, a part of my brain thinks:  gotta check, who can it be, maybe it’s important, gotta check.  So I check, and maybe it was important or maybe it wasn’t – but it never is something that wouldn’t have waited a bit longer before checking.  However, chances are now I’m busy clicking through to see just how great the Pottery Barn sale really is, or if all the J. Crew markdowns are on things I might possibly want to buy.  Hmmm.  And I wonder why there’s not enough time in the day?!

Is this one tip all it’s gonna take to make my New Year’s dreams come true?  No – of course not.  But any idea that can help this Zen Mama Wannabe manage my time better is going to result in…..you guessed it….MORE time (for me – I hope!).  So I’m eager to give it a go.  Between that and the “Done in Fifteen Minutes Flat” tip (another thing I grabbed onto from the book) there might just be some hope for me (and my resolutions) yet!

A review copy of Take the Cake: A Working Mom’s Guide to Grabbing a Slice of the Life You’ll Love was sent to me through From Left to Write (my online blogging book club) and was what (thankfully) inspired me to think about how to actually achieve the resolutions I set.

* * * * * * *

Tags: , , , ,

5 Responses to “New Year’s Resolutions that really Take the Cake”

  1. callieandbatido Says:
    January 6th, 2011 at 8:36 am

    Sounds like a great book. I too find that my resolutions are always the same, year after year. I have gotten so discouraged by this fact that I skipped making one this year. Love that you found one new strategy to try to help you work towards your resolution. Ofen we only need one thing to get us jump started before it snowballs into more and more. I am going to get the book and see if it can inspire me too!

  2. LarkLady Says:
    January 6th, 2011 at 10:11 am

    Distraction is a major problem in our overly busy lives, and I like the idea of taking steps to minimize the things that make it hard to focus on the immediate task at hand. So much has been said about multitasking in recent years, but I think we need to do a lot less multitasking and a lot more focusing on the matter at hand. I can’t eliminate all the distractions… but if I can decrease them, I think I’ll be ahead in the game!

  3. Take the Cake by M.F. Chapman – A From Left to Write Book Club | Says:
    January 7th, 2011 at 9:32 am

    […] Jennifer from Zen Mama Wannabe talks New Year’s Resolutions […]

  4. Zen Mama Wannabe Says:
    January 7th, 2011 at 11:32 am

    Yeah, multi-tasking was so 1990’s! 🙂 Better to be in the moment, focus on what you’re doing….that’s my goal anyway.

  5. Brenda Bartella Peterson Says:
    January 8th, 2011 at 5:43 am

    I can totally relate, ladies. At one time I was the young overwhelmed mother juggling too many balls in the air. I wish I had known then the time managment principles that I know now. So I am shamelessly promoting my Last Time Management Course You Will Ever Need to all my mom-bloggers. It is an online course arriving during January on my website. Stop by, take the course. You will be glad you did!

Leave a Reply


Archives