Workplace blogs

Home Office Resolutions

Ah, yes, another year under our belts. As January rolls slowly out from under out feet, it’s time, as home office business owners, to reflect on all the things we didn’t accomplish in 2010 and to bigstock-The-word-Everything-on-a-To-Do-45656401resolve not to be such a pathetic slug in the upcoming year.

January is the traditional month for setting, then spectacularly failing to meet, all those resolutions and goals we proudly set for ourselves. According to one study, 98% of people break their New Year’s resolutions by 10:00 a.m. on January 1st (Newfoundlanders manage to hold out until 10:30 a.m.). The other 2% didn’t make any resolutions.

Motivational experts and psychologists point to all sorts of complicated underlying reasons that contribute to our failures. I believe the reasons are simple. As a species, we’re lazy, undisciplined and unfocused (other than that, I can’t think of any valid reasons for not achieving our goals).

I purport (I enjoy purporting, you should try it sometime, it’s way more fun than merely suggesting) that most of us don’t achieve our resolutions because we set our sights way too high. We promise to be civil, to drop three pounds, to stop tipping over outhouses or to quit terrorizing small animals and children. Really, how can anyone expect to achieve such unrealistic goals? No wonder we’re falling off the resolution wagon 3 or 4 times a day.

So my first New Year’s home office resolution for 2002 was to make my resolutions small enough so that I’ll actually stand a chance of achieving them. For example . . .

  1. I resolve not to watch Oprah when talking to a really, really important business client.
  2. I resolve to be in my home office each morning by 10:00 a.m., 11:30 a.m. at the latest, unless there’s something really good on T.V. (like Oprah) or someone asks me to go for coffee.
  3. I resolve to answer my business phone by the fourth ring (unless I’m having a nap, playing with my dog, filing, brushing my teeth, eating something, feeding the fish, talking to the courier guy, changing my calendars over to the next month or watching Oprah).
  4. I resolve to manage my finances better by keeping track of some of the stuff I spend money on and some of the revenue I bring in (note to Revenue Canada: I meant to say all of the revenue I bring in).
  5. I resolve to not to declare my dog’s pet food and vet bills as a business expense.
  6. I resolve to tuck my shirt in during regular business hours.
  7. I resolve to establish regular business hours, so I know when I need to tuck in my shirt.
  8. I resolve to avoid using the words “ambidextrous”, “phlegm”, and “tendentious” in all business communications.
  9. I resolve to use the word “parsimonious” at least once in all business-related conversations (note to self: may substitute “amphibious” or “squeegee” in exceptional circumstances).
  10. I resolve to put some clothes on before answering the door.

By setting your resolutions as simple and as small as these ones, you too will have a 30% chance of achieving approximately 10% of them. And if you feel I’m being a little too tendentious then . . . oh no, there goes resolution #8. Oh well, I’ve still got a realistic (okay, slim at best) shot at 3, 5, and 9, which puts me miles ahead of where I was a year ago.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to run. Apparently today’s episode of Oprah deals with “Home Office Workers: Why They Can’t Get Any Work Done and the Lame Excuses They Come Up With For Not Achieving Their Goals.”

Copyright Michael Kerr. Michael Kerr is a Hall of Fame international business speaker, very funny motivational speaker, trainer, and author of six books, including Inspiring Workplaces and The Humor Advantage: Why Some Businesses Are Laughing All the Way to the Bank.


Copyright © 2017, Michael Kerr. All rights reserved.
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