Perhaps you made New Year’s Resolutions to improve all areas of your life, vowing to close more business deals, be more organized, and eat more kale.

According to U.S. News & World Report, 80% of us give up on our New Year’s resolutions by mid-February.  We often fail because our goals aren’t specific enough.  Resolving to “do better at work” is too vague and hard to track, which may cause us to quit.  Instead, set clear resolutions that are measurable and attainable, such as resolving to walk for at least 30 minutes per day, 3 days per week.

Don’t make too many changes at once, according to experts. In other words, don’t vow to revamp your entire business plan, lose 50 pounds, and reorganize your entire house, or you’re setting yourself up for failure.  Tackle one thing at a time, set realistic goals, and acknowledge that results won’t happen immediately.

Another success factor is motivation, so ask yourself why did you make this resolution, and how will it improve your life? Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Why do you want to make the change?
  • Is your goal concrete, measurable and attainable?
  • What’s your action plan to accomplish this goal?

One key resolution to consider in 2020 is improving your time management skills, which will enhance all areas of your life.  Personally and professionally, better time management skills will help you be more efficient and effective.

To maximize success: consider why you resolve to improve your time management skills, focus on the benefits, and concentrate on this goal only, not also on dropping six pants sizes, cleaning your house and searching Pinterest for kale recipes.

Take actionable steps to accomplish this goal:

  • Make a schedule and a to-do list. Organize your days and your tasks. Block off time in your calendar to get work done, uninterrupted.  Write down (and prioritize) the tasks you need to complete.
  • Do the most important thing first. As the day goes on, unexpected things can pop up, like an unplanned meeting or a client emergency.  Do the most important, time-sensitive thing first.
  • Set aside specific time to check emails, voice mails and texts. We waste significant time toggling back and forth trying to answer messages immediately.  Turn off the distracting notification sounds on your computer and phone.  Spend solid chunks of time focusing on your work, then check and respond to all messages at once at specific times each day (e.g., morning, lunchtime and at the end of the day).
  • Stop multi-tasking. Most people think that multitasking is a more efficient way of getting things done, but we perform better when we focus on one thing at a time.
  • Take productive breaks. Build time into your schedule to take a walk, meet a friend for coffee or do whatever re-energizes you.

Improving your time management skills will result in numerous benefits, including improved productivity, reduced stress, increased downtime, and a more functional work-life balance.  Determining why you want to stick to this resolution will be instrumental in making it happen.