Declutter your to-do list

New Year’s resolutions just add to your to-do list

Last year, I tried the resolution thing and made one big resolution and it drained my energy for the entire year. It felt like I would never be done with it. This time, I’m taking the opposite approach.

What’s my plan, you ask? I am tackling my (lengthy) list of all the non-vital, dull, uninspiring and thoroughly unloved tasks that have piled up. If I manage to get it done by New Year’s Eve, 2016 will see me fresh and perky instead of bogged down by all those pesky chores.

My to-be-done-by-the-end-of-the-year list

To-do lists are essentially official records of things you don’t want to take care of right now. In the spring, some people clear out their closets, I’m clearing mental space! And most certainly gaining time for next year because procrastinating on these tasks has been costing me time and energy.

The official list of chores that will be taken care of NOW:

  • Install various software updates and upgrades
  • Take the time to really learn to use some of the tools and gadgets acquired during the year (I’m looking at you, PerfectIt.)
  • Add finishing touches to my backup and data-security routines
  • Write down instructions and create templates for procedures that I need every now and then—not often enough to remember how I did it last time, but often enough to be annoyed at having to go back and try to piece together how I did it
  • Work through the 2015 edition of the Translator’s Toolbox (and then probably return to the first item on the list)
  • Implement several website touch-ups and tweaks of a more boring technical nature
  • Grit my teeth and revisit the German privacy and data protection laws to see whether I am fully in compliance (with a sinking feeling that I’m not)
  • Have that annoying but non-lethal hardware issue on my computer looked at
  • Sort out the dusty, murky corners behind my desk where tangled cables and dust bunnies lurk

Start the New Year with a decluttered mind

Working my way through the list is pretty much the opposite of fun, but I can almost taste my glee when I cross that last item off. That’s how to start the New Year—with a happy bang! And an end to at least some of my procrastination.

Do you agree? Or do you think that resolutions are an opportunity to grow and I’m just cheating myself?


PS I’m closing the office for the holidays. I’ll be reposting some evergreen content during my break and will be around to reply to comments. Otherwise, see you next year!

PPS Should you be wondering what happened to last year’s resolution: Overall, it went meh. I chickened out of 3 challenges and ran out of steam by November. That leaves me with a grand total of 7 situations I faced and survived—not all of them with results worth bragging about. Still, when I think of them, I mentally shrug and appreciate the lessons learned. Close enough to mission accomplished, I’d say.

Start your New Year with a decluttered mind instead of being dragged down by New Year's resolutions.

Image source: jill111, Pixabay

Else Gellinek is a German-American, bilingual linguist and translator specializing in PR, marketing and corporate communications as well as non-native editing. She blogs about the translation industry, freelancing, language and anything else that might tickle her fancy.

There are 5 comments on this post

  1. Dmitry Kornyukhov

    Lovely post. Else! Merry Chrismas and Happy New Year to you and your family! I’m also trying to be more productive and will do my best to figure out how to focus on important things next year. I have the feeling that 2016 will be nothing but amazing for us and I hope it will bring lots of good memories and new achievements! Happy holidays!

    Reply
  2. Magda

    Happy new year Else and good luck with your list of chores! I stopped writing down to-do lists when I started freelancing. Funny? Crazy? I try not to give myself too much to think about unless if it’s urgent, must-do and top on the list of those things I dream of. For 2016, I will try to focus on a few projects that I know are realistic.

    Reply
    1. Else Gellinek

      Happy New Year to you, Magda! I managed to get almost everything on the list done 🙂 And now I’ll have to try and keep the list from growing too long again.

      Good luck with your projects!

      Reply
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