Look back, then move on – Metro US

Look back, then move on

Learn from last year, and pull in your to-do list

Just in case you haven’t got into the new-year-new-you mindset, I thought I would give you a boost in the right direction.

So, first things first: Please tell me that all your Christmas paraphernalia has been boxed and put away. If not, that’s definitely your order of business.

And by the way, this also means dealing with the gifts you meant to return, but which are still piled in the corner beside the chair.

That accomplished, we can move along smartly to the matter at hand. While it’s great to start fresh and pretend that last year’s unfinished to-do list never existed, that’s not reality, and the list will haunt you until you’ve made your peace with it.

So before we can go forward, take the opportunity to look back and make a list of what worked for you last year and what didn’t.

When creating your list, you need to take your emotions into account.

For example, if something got you very upset or angry last year, you know that going forward, you’ll need to deal with such situations in another manner.

By the same token, if someone or something made you smile and feel good, make it your goal to include that experience in your life again this year.

It’s as simple as that: Out with the bad, in with the good.

Now, what style of list should you make to outline your goals for this year? Personally, I’m not an advocate of the random to-do list. I much prefer one with categories.

But regardless of whether a random or a categorized list works for you, always start with the easiest task. That will give you the momentum and confidence to continue.

When it comes to the tougher tasks, identify and prioritize what’s most important to you and what will reap the biggest results. In a nutshell, try the following pointers to make your 2008 a success:

  • Write things down in only one notebook. Don’t rely on memory alone.

  • Plan ahead. Don’t wait until the last minute. Set deadlines for yourself and meet them.

  • Break down large projects into manageable little milestones for optimum results.

  • Be both focused and flexible.

  • Plan your work, work your plan, and always allow room for the expected.

  • Get in the habit of using to-do lists, but don’t become a slave to them.

I look forward to receiving e-mails about your organizing challenges and giving you solutions to which everyone can relate. Contact me at metro@organizedzone.com.


Brenda Borenstein is your professional organizing guru. Look for her column every second Thursday. For more, visit www.organizedzone.comor call 416-665-2165. “There is nothing I haven’t seen and nothing that can’t be overcome.”

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