Resolutions for a More Productive 2013

Does your new year include any work-related resolutions? Mine always do. In past years, I’ve done the “three words” approach.

This year, I’m taking the “year of weeks” approach, where I am going to try a little something new each week, and commit to doing that thing for a solid seven days. At the end of the week, I’ll decide whether I really do want to try to make it a permanent habit (which takes longer than a week), or just an occasional to-do, or to drop the thing completely because it just isn’t for me. This will include both work and personal choices.

This “year of weeks” concept comes from a couple of different books I purchased last year: 52 Small Changes: One Year to a Happier, Healthier You and One Bite at a Time: 52 Projects for Making Life Simpler.

This week I am establishing new morning and evening routines, which comes from One Bite at a Time. I especially want to switch up what I do in the hour or so between when I get the kids out the door and when I really wake up enough to start work. I am not a morning person, and since I work from home, I don’t have a commute where I can finish waking up. When the weather is warmer, I will sometimes exercise in the morning, but not when it’s cold out. So what ends up happening now is basically a lot of sitting around, often watching pathetic morning TV or reading the newspaper on my tablet, most of which isn’t particularly helpful or enlightening either.

So I’ve come up with a new morning routine with a handful of items, including one right brain and one left brain activity. Right brain activities are journaling or drawing. My left brain activities are either doing sudoku or reading a non-fiction book (right now, I’m reading The Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns and Co-Active Coaching: Changing Business, Transforming Lives).

I also want to do a better job at expressing my gratitude to people personally, so I asked and received some new notecards for Christmas.

I know from reading The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business that cues are very important to establishing new habits. So to help with the new morning routine, I created a space in my office with what I need. I can’t miss the huge green chair in my office, and right next to it, I’ve placed my writing journal, a blank page notebook, some remedial drawing books, colored pens, notecards and stamps, and sudoku books and a pencil. I’ll plop my morning brain down here with a cup of tea, and get to it.

Morning Routine Space

I made this corner in my office into a visual cue for the new morning routine I want to make a habit.

Interested in other productivity ideas for 2013? Here are few other posts from earlier today that you might like:

From Katya: Three Powerful Ways to Do a Better Job in 2013

From Hubspot: Five Resolutions to Amplify Your Nonprofit’s 2013 Fundraising Strategy

From ScoutieGirl: Make 2013 Your Best Year Yet

What new things are you trying in 2013 to increase your productivity or just make a happier you? I’d love to hear in the comments.

This post includes Amazon affiliate links.


  • Susan M Steele

    I love the idea of trying something out for a week. Relatively low commitment and if it doesn’t work out, you move on.

    I hear you on the morning routine. I also work out of my home and my morning routine right now is pretty pathetic. Once I get going, I’m fine — but getting going seems to take so long! I’ve noticed that when I have to go out and run errands (which involves getting dressed and makeup) I usually do much better. So next week I’ll try nice clothes/makeup to help me get going!

  • Geoff Birmingham

    Visual cues are, indeed, important, and because I haven’t really used them in the past, many of the goals I set for myself were quickly forgotten after the beginning of the year.

    But last fall, I wrote all of my goals down on a sheet of paper, in a column to the left. Each column to the right represents one week (I can fit about 4 weeks to a page). And at the beginning of the week, I list about 6 action steps in the column that I must take to make movement toward any one of the goals (doesn’t have to be all of them…just a couple).

    The sheet hangs on the wall next to my desk. I’ll look at it at least once a day, sometimes more frequently. When the four weeks are up, I start a new sheet, write down the goals again to the left, and new action steps to the right. So far, it feels like it’s keeping me on track.

  • Kivi Leroux Miller

    Great idea!

  • Kivi Leroux Miller

    Yeah, with more video conferencing, getting presentable earlier in the day is going to happen anyway! :) But that’s one of the good sides about working from home is not having to be presentable most of the time!

  • Donna Cook

    Great idea, and here is a picky point, instead of saying remedial drawing, beginning drawing has a more positive note.

  • Kivi Leroux Miller

    If you could see me drawing, you would agree with remedial! LOL, thanks for the encouragement!

  • Andrew Garberson

    I’ve been doing the 30-day challenge a la Matt Cutts (who has a TED talk about it) and definitely suggest it for anyone looking to make new habits 2013.

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