New Year Resolutions?

On 01/03/2012, in Informal Education, by Jordan Wilson

I am not a big fan of new year resolutions. But many people are.

If you need the start of a new year to generate enough motivation to do something, you probably are not that serious about doing it.

That said, each new year I am reminded of something I heard about 20 years ago.

Good advice then and still is today. 

And no, it was not that my brother-in-law should have worn protection rather than spawn the nephew from hell. Although that would have been excellent advice as well.

No, this advice came from a seminar I attended in the early 1990s.

Not Enough Hours in the Day for New Ventures

The issue was time management. That there were never enough hours in the day to do all that we wanted to do in life.

Very true.

A relevant issue for those considering new year’s resolutions. How does one find the time to improve his job skills, learn a new language, volunteer in the community, and so on?

Wheel of Fortune

The speaker talked about the syndicated television show, “Wheel of Fortune”. At that time, it was the number one syndicated television show being viewed each night by 42 million people.

42 million people finding 30 free minutes each and every evening to watch Wheel of Fortune.

If people can find the time to watch this show, they should be able to find the time to do something productive. Something they want to really achieve in life.

It is not as if the Wheel of Fortune was really important in the lives of the viewers. At least not to the level of Jersey Shores, the Kardashians, or various Real Housewives.

Give up a television show and you can actually achieve something you desire.

But What Can One Do in 30 Minutes?

Yeah, sure. But what can you accomplish in 30 minutes?

Maybe not much in one day.

But maybe you can read an article each evening that is relevant to your career goals. Perhaps a single chapter of that investing book. Or one lesson from your online Spanish course.

And 5 nights of 30 minutes each is 2.5 hours each week. Not bad.

It also works out to almost 11 hours a month. You have probably crammed for an entire final exam in less time.

In a year, 30 minutes every weekday brings you 130 hours. The same amount of time as sitting at your desk for 8 hours per day doing nothing but learning for over 3 weeks straight. What kind of skills could you develop full-time over 3 weeks?

So a lot can be accomplished in just 30 minutes a night.

Of course, if it makes more sense, 60 minutes every other evening. Or for volunteer work, perhaps all 150 minutes each Sunday.

The Key is to Focus

The key thing is to focus on the task at hand. You only have 30 minutes, so make them count.

Determine prior to sitting down what you want to accomplish in that session. Make it manageable for the time allotted.

Then do it.

No texting, no surfing, no nothing.

And Develop a Realistic Game Plan

Focus is important. But if you do not develop the proper approach you may attain little.

Be realistic in what you can accomplish in a given time period.

At 30 minutes an evening, perhaps you can learn the basics of a foreign language in 3 months. How to communicate at a rudimentary level. But you probably cannot become fluent in 3 months at 30 minutes a session.

Determine what you want to achieve, then develop an appropriate path to get there. We will cover an example of how to prepare for a Chartered Financial Analyst exam next time.

Bottom Line

There are lots of free hours in the day. You can always find time to get things accomplished.

Assuming the objective is truly important.

Then develop an appropriate game plan to reach that goal. And really focus on reaching it.

If you do, you can achieve your new year, or any time of year, resolution.

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