A kick start for 2022: Expert time management tips

January 11, 2022

RESEARCH & INNOVATION

While many people start the new year with resolutions to lose weight or save money, another common theme is to get organized. University of Richmond experts say the key to achieving long-term goals is recognizing that they are just that: long term.

“There's nothing significant about Jan. 1 versus Dec. 10 when it comes to time management,” said Bob Piazza, visiting instructor of management and career human resources director in the Robins School of Business. “It comes down to this: Are you getting things done day by day?”

Piazza tells his students that organization is more about discipline than anything else, because personal productivity comes down to setting expectations and meeting them. He keeps a running list, which covers everything from that day’s lesson plans to changing his home’s carbon dioxide detector in 2027. He focuses on the items that need to be completed in the immediate term.

“It's intentional that my list is that long, because it remembers for me, so I can give myself liberty to forget it until it’s time to do that task,” he said.

The list works for him, but might not for everyone. He and Becca Shelton, career advisor, agree that without taking actionable steps, a new goal is likely doomed from the start.

“Most resolutions fall by the wayside pretty quickly when people aren’t intentional and purposeful about it,” Shelton said.

They have a few suggestions for making sure Spiders get the most out of their goals: 

  • Set specific expectations and keep track of them.
  • Schedule time to get specific about goals.
  • Make sure a goal is something that’s important enough to commit to it.
  • Break the goal down into smaller goals, and go after them one at a time.

Whether the goal is to get a new job or get into a better daily routine, making a plan to achieve that goal can be half the battle, Shelton said.

“Write it down on an actual piece of paper and put it somewhere where you can see it regularly,” she said. “Whether that's in the bathroom, a sticky note attached to your computer, whatever that is, just make sure that it's something that you see frequently so you're reminded.”

But, she says, it’s normal when resolutions don’t pan out. One way to break that pattern is to avoid giving up on them.

“It's easy to do because life happens,” she said. “But if you do find that your planner has collected dust and things have not really gone the way that you wanted them to after a few months, just pick yourself back up and start over. Start with new intentions.”