My 5 Un-Resolutions For The New Year

by Shonali Burke on December 27, 2010

It’s that dreaded time again… New Year’s resolution time!

Come on, I know you all are thinking about, contemplating making resolutions about what you’ll do differently in the new year – how you’re going to work out, eat better, save more…

But how many of you will really stick to those resolutions? I know mine usually fly out the window by March!

So this year, I thought I’d put together my five “un-resolutions” for my job… focusing on things I WON’T do this year instead of things I will do. (I’m hoping to be more successful if I focus on taking things OFF my to-do list!)

1. I won’t feel obligated to attend every networking function to which I’m invited.

Let’s face it, at one point or another we’ve all been guilted into attending a dinner/breakfast/brown bag lunch that we knew we wouldn’t get anything out of. But we went anyway because we felt we HAD to be there. And then we spent the whole time surfing on our blackberries, writing mental to-do lists, or just daydreaming. And how much good did that really do you?

So this year, I’m only attending events that I a) want to attend, or b) think will be beneficial to growing my career.

2. I won’t feel obligated to be in every social media space.

This is another arena in which I think most people feel guilted into. And kudos to my husband and parents who still aren’t on Facebook because they just don’t want to be there. I’m on Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn… and in my case, I think it makes sense to be there. But I haven’t taken my employer there yet.

While I plan on introducing them to these venues later this year, when we’ve improved our web site, I won’t force them into every social media venue. Because I don’t think it makes sense to do so.

3. I won’t feel guilty for having a messy office.

I always feel guilty when I welcome someone into my office and they see piles of paper all over my desk. No more. This is how I work. I spread out. I have stacks of paper everywhere. I don’t make good use of the file folders I create.

But I get my job done, I lose very little, and I’m efficient. So no more feeling guilty because my office gives all those neat freaks the heebie jeebies.

4. I won’t feel guilty for being a naysayer.

Now, I agree with all the people who hate those who say you can’t do something just because “that’s not how we do it” or “that’s not how we’ve done it.” But I also think there’s great value in knowing when an idea ISN’T a good one and saying so. And I don’t think it’s bad if you don’t immediately have a solution or idea about what you SHOULD do.

Explaining why an action is a bad idea for your business – or a client’s business – is as valid as suggesting what you should be doing.

5. I won’t feel guilty for leaving the office at 4:30.

My work day is 8-4:30 p.m. When I returned to work after having my first child earlier this year, I started being strict about my time outside of the office. I leave at 4:30 now instead of letting my day extend to 5 or 5:30. I go home and spend time with my daughter.

Which isn’t to say I won’t do work outside of traditional business hours. I often get online later in the evening after my daughter is asleep to check my email or finish up tasks. But having that time with my daughter – and getting home while she’s still awake and happy so we can have fun together – is essential to my happiness.

It makes me a better employee because I’m not sitting at work thinking about how I should be home with my daughter (or, at least, I’m not doing it as often!). And I’m make good use of the time I’m in the office.

And even with my keeping a tighter hold on my personal time, I’m as productive as I was before my daughter came along.

(Go figure! It’s just like in college when I got my best grades the year I was working 40+ hours a week at the newspaper while keeping a full classload.)

How about you? Want to join me in making some un-resolutions this year? I’d love to hear what they are.


Image: sneeu via Flickr, Creative Commons

Robin Ferrier is Communications Manager for the Johns Hopkins University Montgomery County Campus. She is also the President of the Capital Communicators Group and the co-chair of the Marketing Committee for the Tech Council of Maryland. She has inadvertently become a frequent career / professional / job hunt resource for friends and colleagues due to a career path that has included five jobs in 12 years.

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