7 Principles to Live By in 2013

happy 2013
Happy New Year!

This is just a video I threw together to introduce this little series on time management I’ll be doing. I added bloopers to the end. Because don’t you want to know what I’m eating?

Can’t see the video? Watch it here.

Anyway, to kick things off here, I’m going to tell you what’s rolling around in brain as 2013 comes barreling in. These are 7 principles to live by–things I want to define my 2013. Perhaps they might get you thinking about your 2013 too.

1. Avoid insanity.

It was Albert Einstein who defined insanity like this: “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Basically, if I’m unhappy with some of the results of my 2012, there’s no use in repeating them.

2. Get more sleep.

My grandmother always used to say, “Splash a little cold water on your face, get a good night’s rest and everything will look a lot better in the morning.” And you know what? Good sleep makes a lot of things better. I want more of it.

3. Pick a system and commit.

I’m a sucker for the latest and greatest app, tool and shiny “next” thing. I must resist. I’ve spent most of December putting all my notes in Evernote and getting them out of random notebooks, bookmarks and elsewhere. I’m still undecided on the paper vs. online calendar thing though. I like online, but I’m thinking a paper one will keep me more on task. (Commit, Amy, commit.)

4. Ask myself frequently: Is what I’m doing right now getting me closer to my goal?

Despite the handy time management ebook I wrote, I must confess, I have a lot of room to grow here. I think I should print this question out and post it near my desk because honestly? I still waste a lot of time doing unimportant things.

5. Practice “The Daily 10.”

I’m sure the catchy phrase “The Daily 10″ is not original, but to me it means I want to spend a consistent 10 minutes every day on one project that seems to fall between the cracks. Ten minutes a day. I can do that.

6. Automate it or forget it.

Let’s face it, the world has a major case of information overload. Personally, I hate missing things. I hate feeling like I’m missing things. But I’m tired of trying to “be everywhere” all the time. I want to streamline.

7. Live generously.

This has long been my life’s motto and I think generosity cures so many ills in this world. Being wholly present when I’m with my husband and children, offering whatever advice I can to those who need it, giving things or money away, not just thinking I appreciate someone/something but actually speaking it–there are countless ways I can live more generously and be a blessing.

Have you gotten Tell Your Time so you can follow along?

What about you? What are your aspirations for 2013? Or, what did you accomplish in 2012 that you are super proud of?

Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post.

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  1. Dannielle says

    I just came across your website today. For #3, I had the same problem. First, I switched from paper to EverNote, then to OneNote because EverNote was a little too clunky for me. Finally, I found Asana and I LOVE it. It’s just the best thing ever — no more commitment issues here!

  2. says

    I have a piece of paper pasted in front of me that says: ‘Work Smart, not hard’. Now it looks like I’m replacing it with a more specific reminder: ‘Is what I’m doing right now getting me closer to my goal?’

  3. says

    I am fairly new to your blog, and I LOVE your posts. My husband does my blog design, and I am forever saving your posts to Evernote for inspiration and as a virtual to-do list for future blogging.

    I recently read your book and appreciated the clarity I received through your tips and explanation. I found much of what you said to be true for so many of us. I truly feel God will use this work to help those who are seeking wisdom in their time management.

    I am generally an organized person and have most of my calendar prepared through my gmail account. (This would be those in my fixed non-negotiable quadrant. As a homeschool mom, a few of which can be moved around.)

    After looking at your schedule, you have inspired me to color code my calendar to coincide with my gmail folders as an added touch. My problem, however, is with those monthly, quarterly, and every six month chores that I have saved within Awesome Note to sync with my calendar and rotate as needed.

    I simply need to exercise the discipline you mentioned and work on combining some of your tips to see that these things get done rather than shifted. I already have set days for our main household chores where I would rotate these items on Wednesdays or Saturdays (originally on Wednesdays because this is my wash day, giving me more time to work while the clothes are being done, then moved to Saturdays).

    I have found that this strategy does not work because these are the days I want to pull away from housework and relax more with my family. If you have any further thoughts here, please let me know. I hope to begin mapping things out a bit more to see where those blocks of time are open and can be best suited for more extensive cleaning (those that cannot be done in ten min, increments).

    Thank you so much for your obedience and for sharing this book with your readers.

    * BTW: I am loving the new Gingerbread Oreos and just so happen to have some right beside me. :)

  4. says

    Great reminders of what we need to do and not do. I definitely want to focus more this year and stop getting side-tracked!
    What I wanted to say though is that I have been through two courses teaching Internet Marketing and they were good, but I wish I had found your site first. I have learned so much from you, and your site is such a simple, complete course in itself. You do a fantastic job of explaining things and I come here for answers more often than the paid courses I took. You have a fantastic site, Amy! Thanks for helping all of us so much. Happy New Year.

    • says

      Thank you so much, Sheila. I really appreciate your encouragement. I’ve been so grateful for all the resources I’ve used over the years, so my goal is definitely to pay it forward as well. I’m so glad it has been helpful to you!

  5. says

    Amy, thanks so much for all you do. I read your book and am working on my schedule using Google calendars…yep, I’m a digital gal. I wasn’t crazy about Evernote personally, but I need to, yes, commit to a note wrangling system, so I’m looking at OneNote and SkyDrive. Life has made me put aside several things I love the past couple years…2013 is the year I bring them back. =)


    • says

      I’m with ya–I’m not too uptight about what system I use as long as I have a system! So much better than things being in 25 different places.

      I hope 2013 is a great year for you!

      • says

        Ok, so I had to come back and tell you, I ended up with Evernote after all. There’s just nothing else like it out there. =)

  6. says

    Just a million “Amen’s” to this.

    This funny thing started happening to me in 2012 – once I actively practiced #4, my entire work life (and personal life) changed because I was much more decisive – either an opportunity was a good fit, or a task was necessary and the right thing to do, or it wasn’t. No grey area, and for the first time in forever I ended the year happy with where I was at professionally and personally. That feeling alone was worth all the saying “no” I did in 2012. :)

  7. says

    Amy, happy New Year and note: one of my major resolves for 2013 is to follow and incorporate more of your sage advice into my daily life! After reading your tips, I’m wondering if – while I slept, you somehow intercepted my brain waves and extracted my major anxieties? The wonderful result: your ability to articulate them and to provide a systematic approach for quelling them! Thanks so much for these – a great way to approach a new year.
    Marlene Samuels, Ph.D. (www.marlenesamuels.com)

  8. renee says

    Amy – I think you are so adorable! Love your site, love your info.
    I, too, cannot make the full-on switch to online to-do lists, but maybe 2013 is our year?
    xox from Renee in Minneapolis (a fellow tall girl)

  9. says

    So much of life is because we’ve made poor or unwise choices and then, want to blame circumstances or others. My biggest accomplishment in 2012 was to stay alive. When Dave died in Nov 2011, those first six months were a supreme struggle to stay upright, to keep breathing. It was very tempting to simply stop but the farm, the animals and God’s whisper in my ear (“If you kill yourself, you’ll miss all the blessings I have for you…”) kept me going.
    For 2013 my primary goal is to take care of me, the farm, the animals…in that order; to finish the book that will help others prepare for death (their own or someone else’s) and to draw closer to God. All else will fall into place when my priorities are in order.
    May the worst of 2013 be from the best of 2012; Happy New Year,
    Sandra at Thistle Cove Farm

    • says

      Sandra, thank you for sharing. I can’t begin to imagine how difficult 2012 has been for you but I with you–I hope your best of 2012 is the worst of 2013. Hugs to you!

  10. says

    I love these! I think avoiding insanity is my best bet. I read through your book and worked through your sheets and loved it so much. I felt as if I could see things a little better. Thanks so much! (ps. I just dled evernote for the first time. So thanks.)

  11. says

    Amy, thanks for sharing these and for all of your inspiration throughout 2012. I also love that you used the word aspiration rather than resolution….I wrote about that just yesterday! I truly believe that 7. Is the most important principle, because if we are generous and giving, everything else somehow falls into place! 2012 was a difficult and wonderful year for me at the same time, though I set my goal to launch a blog and despite many challenges, was able to make that happen and your always present advice and guidance played a huge role! Thank you again and my very best wishes for a fabulous 2013!

  12. says

    The only “techie” thing better than Evernote is spellchecker. I never would have finished my university degree with out spellchecker and it would not have taken 24 years if Evernote had come along earlier. Einstein also said “We can’t solve problems with the same thinking that created them.”
    Happy New year and keep stretching those thinking muscles.


  13. says

    “Good is the Enemy of Best” love that I have never heard it put that way before. I have always heard sometimes we have to say no to the good to make room for the best, but your quote sums up that thought perfectly.

  14. says

    I love the feeling of hope and anticipation that comes with the first days of a new year. It seems like everything is possible then if you just want it strong enough. Sadly, most of us just lose that feeling pretty quickly as the year goes by and we just end up going through the motions.

    I am determined (aren’t I ever?!) to make 2013 different from this perspective and the advice that you give is valuable (isn’t it always?!).

    Just like the readers that commented before, I will pay more attention to #3, picking a system and #5. I know that after those initial 10 minutes I will keep on going with the project, but why is it so hard to get it started?

    Have a happy new year, Amy!

  15. says

    You’re such an encouragement, just by being so free to be YOU. Having recently completed my first novel, and feeling pretty clueless about what to do next, you’ve given me a wealth of information all over this site. Thank you so much.

  16. Ann says

    Dear Amy

    Such a treat to watch your video! You are so sweet and I think a lot of women can relate to you. Including the bloopers makes you trustworthy. I live a very different life – first of all I live it in Scandinavia (Denmark), I’m the mother of 3 year old twins, I’m a teacher (part time) and a ph.d fellow (full time), struggling with illness and a wife, daughter and friend. I downloaded your book and is determined to get my priorities right in 2013. Thank you for being honest, approachable and offering a possibility which appears doable for someone like me. And also thank you for giving just the advice on tackling fb which is needed on that particular day – along with a good laugh.

  17. says

    For sure #3 is a biggie. I’m launching a new blog this year, soon I hope. It’s very important to have one approach and stick with it so long as it works (your point #1).

    As for a calendar, I’m paper all the way. I store lots of things I want to keep track of online, especially with Evernote. But I find a paper calendar sitting open on my desk is a necessary tool.

    • says

      I think I’m leaning in the paper calendar direction too. Oh but it’s so hard to give up the gadget-y online one!

  18. says

    #3, #3, #3… I need to follow this advice and stop fooling around with every new system or gadget that comes out. I have been following you for some time now and I still haven’t committed to branding my own name like you have. I have been flip flopping back and forth for months. The problem is I don’t focus on one thing, I am all over the place… But 2013 is going to be the year to change it.

    I realize all this time I have been wasting switching things around, buying other domain names, etc. etc. etc. is just time wasted and not productive at all. I have a goal but in order to obtain that goal I have to finally give myself the kick in the butt that I need.

    Thank you again for sharing your honesty here… I will be following along to see how things go for you too…

    Happy New Year!