Monday, January 04, 2010

My work resolutions for 2010

I always make New Year's resolutions, including my "no candy" resolution of eight or so years ago. One of my resolutions this year (and last year, too, although I didn't achieve it) is to blog at least once a month on my personal blog. (Cross-posts from the Blue Rose Girls don't count.) Well, to get in the habit, I posted my first original bloomabilities post in a loooong time on Wednesday--I looked back on my Oughts here.

So now it's 2010 and it's back to work. Vacation is over--it passed so quickly! I got more than 50% of my very lengthy work "to do" list done, so I feel okay about starting the work year. However, because of the work, it wasn't a true vacation. It never really is, right? I think we all struggle with maintaining a work/life balance.

Around New Year's, agent Barry Goldblatt tweeted (or retweeted, rather) this:
Definitely! RT@DaveMcKean Resolution? More unequivocal days, that is WORK days and PLAY days, not guilty play days and distracted work days.

That really resonated with me, because if I had to pick two words to describe how I felt last year, they would be "busy" and "guilty." I felt guilty all the time because of all of the things I had to do and wasn't doing. All of the submissions yet to read, the unanswered emails and calls, the people to get back to. I felt guilty all the time about not working, even when I wasn't supposed to be working. And that needs to stop.

So, in addition to my usual work goals, in 2010 I'm going to try to set some boundaries and make some changes in how I work. Here are a few of my work-related resolutions I've come up with so far:

1) Learn how to say "no" more. Last year I really did try to say no to favors and requests that I really didn't have the time to do, but if someone insists and says "Are you sure? Please?" I often fold and say yes. I need to stop that. Because this past year, I've said yes to things, and then have not followed through with the task in a timely manner, and that's contributed to this constant sense of guilt.

2) Stop counting on weekend and vacations and holidays to "catch up" on work. Weekends and vacations are "me" time! And it never really works, anyway. (This is an example of "guilty play days.")

3) Don't stay at the office past 9 pm.

4) Work towards "Inbox Zero"--I think this is probably too lofty a goal, so to be a little more realistic, I'd like to have under 20 emails in my inbox by the end of each day (Let's call it Inbox Twenty). If you're curious as to what Inbox Zero is, watch this (rather long) video:

5) While at work, work. Less socializing and web surfing. Sure, Twitter and Facebook and blog reading are also work-related for me, but I need to stop checking the sites throughout the day. Once in the morning, once during lunchtime, and once after 5 pm will suffice.

6) Acquire at least two picture books, two middle grade, and two young adult projects this year.

7) Read a little before bed at least five times a week. Read at least one published book per month.

8) Tidy my office at least a little bit once a week.

And, of course, I resolve to keep all of my resolutions! Really! And if I don't, I won't feel guilty about it, because I hereby declare 2010 the Year of No Guilt.

What are some of your resolutions if you make them? What do YOU declare 2010 to be the Year Of?

Happy New Year, everyone! It's going to be a good one. I can feel it.


stacy said...

These definitely resonate with me, especially the guilty and busy part. Especially when I work from home, it's so hard to separate the two spheres of my life. Now that I have a day job with an office, it's gotten much easier to separate work sphere and home sphere, but it's still easy to get distracted and easy to think I'll catch up during an evening or weekend.

Especially now that I've started my small press, I really need to get my home office functional again. For the last few months, it's just been a room where I throw things, you know? The whole reason I have it is to help keep those spheres separate.

Anna Alter said...

That video was great! Its so fascinating how widespread unproductive email habits are... it seems like this harmless habit checking all day, we all do it (well a lot of us), but really its just giving us the illusion of being productive. Back in the day when it was all new I had so much more free time! Though I think I always felt guilty about any part of the day not spent working...

Anonymous said...

It's funny, but I remember that resolution you made last year about blogging in your other blog. Probably because I really look forward to your blogs. Please keep that resolution! So sorry to hear that you had to do much work during vacation. I quit making New Year's resolutions several years back because I couldn't keep even those to do with my spiritual strivings. Subconsciously, though, or even consciously, I have some in the back of my mind as the new year starts. Doubtless to do with my Asian upbringing, namely, the cognizance even as a child that my parents "honored" the New Year.

Libby Koponen said...

I love this post! Separating work and play -- and thus, being REALLY working or really playing, not as you put it so well anxious play and distracted work -- is going to be a mantra for me, too. I always hear an old (ex) riding teacher yelling:
"You come up here (to the ring) and don't DO anything! It's not one thing or the other!" She meant--not really schooling my horse, but not going for a long fun relaxing hack, either......just, well, the riding equivalent of reading email instead of writing I guess.

Anyway happy new year and I loved your bloomabilities post, too.