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Why You Should Start Your New Year in February

Why You Should Start Your New Year in February

    I haven’t made any new year’s resolutions. It’s not that I don’t believe in them or think that they don’t work. It’s that I don’t believe in them in January and know they don’t work at this time of year. So I don’t start my new year on January 1st.

    I hold off until February.

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    Why do I buck traditional trends and wait an entire month to start anew? It’s simple: I’m too tired in January. And the truth is, so are you.

    Think about it.

    You’ve just come off of a hectic holiday season – and for some of us that started back in early November. You’ve been on the move since then, attending holiday parties, eating copious amounts of food and frantically trying to wrap up all of your open loops before the end of the year hits. So when January rolls around and you finally have time to catch your breath, what do you?

    You try to take on new habits, attempt to abolish bad ones and tackle projects while not giving yourself the time to recharge your batteries and really reflect on the year that has just passed you by.

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    While taking on this type of approach to mapping out your new year may not be as unconventional as, say, starting your week on a Sunday, it certainly won’t be popular with everyone. But think about the benefits of taking January to put yourself in a position to really succeed and polish up your plans for the year ahead. Even if you made a single resolution to take the first month of the calendar year to focus on the future through reflection and planning without the baggage of a worn out body and mind, wouldn’t you have a higher chance of achieving what you set out to do?

    Rather than take on a series of resolutions now, keep them in mind and plan properly for them during the month of January. Make this a month of setting yourself up rather than sprinting in to the new year with full intentions and not enough energy to see them through over the long haul. Remember that a year is a marathon, not a sprint.

    That’s not to say that you shouldn’t do anything in January, just take on projects that won’t make or break you.

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    3 Project Ideas for January

    1. Clean out the clutter. Clear out everything from the past year (and years prior, if applicable) and give yourself a clean slate come February. You have far more energy for this type of project in January than you do for ones that will take plans involving the future.

    2. Start a journal. This type of activity allows you to reflect and start a new habit. It puts you in the position to have started a journey during a month where everything should be as low-impact on the mind as possible. Yet it allows your mind to think back to the year before to see what you did (and would do differently) and put it on record.

    3. Gather your tools. January is the month where you can start to assemble the tools you’ll need for the year ahead. A paper planner (which often is sold at a cheaper price once hte year starts), a new domain for a website you’re going to start, and things of that nature are ideal things to gather so that you can start off the next month with most of what you’ll need at your disposal.

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    Focus on February

    January is the perfect month to look back and prepare yourself for the months to come. Don’t saddle yourself with resolutions and intentions that are going to be difficult to maintain throughout the month – let alone the year – because you’re not fully prepared for them in mind, body and spirit.

    Focus on making February the month to hit the ground running. Plan your route in January. You’ll have a better chance of not only finsihing the race, but being pleased with your results as well.

    (Photo credit: Wall Calendar February via Shutterstock)

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    Mike Vardy

    A productivity specialist who shows you how to define your day, funnel your focus, and make every moment matter.

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    Last Updated on February 21, 2019

    How to Stop Information Overload

    How to Stop Information Overload

    Information overload is a creature that has been growing on the Internet’s back since its beginnings. The bigger the Internet gets, the more information there is. The more quality information we see, the more we want to consume it. The more we want to consume it, the more overloaded we feel.

    This has to stop somewhere. And it can.

    As the year comes to a close, there’s no time like the present to make the overloading stop.

    But before I explain exactly what I mean, let’s discuss information overload in general.

    How Serious Is Information Overload?

    The sole fact that there’s more and more information published online every single day is not the actual problem. Only the quality information becomes the problem.

    This sounds kind of strange…but bear with me.

    When we see some half-baked blog posts we don’t even consider reading, we just skip to the next thing. But when we see something truly interesting — maybe even epic — we want to consume it.

    We even feel like we have to consume it. And that’s the real problem.

    No matter what topic we’re interested in, there are always hundreds of quality blogs publishing entries every single day (or every other day). Not to mention all the forums, message boards, social news sites, and so on.

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    The amount of epic content on the Internet these days is so big that it’s virtually impossible for us to digest it all. But we try anyway.

    That’s when we feel overloaded. If you’re not careful, one day you’ll find yourself reading the 15th blog post in a row on some nice WordPress tweaking techniques because you feel that for some reason, “you need to know this.”

    Information overload is a plague. There’s no vaccine, there’s no cure. The only thing you have is self-control.

    Luckily, you’re not on your own. There are some tips you can follow to protect yourself from information overload and, ultimately, fight it.

    But first, admit that information overload is really bad for you.

    Why Information Overload Is Bad for You

    Information overload stops you from taking action. That’s the biggest problem here.

    When you try to consume more and more information every day, you start to notice that even though you’ve been reading tons of articles, watching tons of videos and listening to tons of podcasts, the stream of incoming information seems to be infinite.

    Therefore, you convince yourself that you need to be on a constant lookout for new information if you want to be able to accomplish anything in your life, work and/or passion. The final result is that you are consuming way too much information, and taking way too little action because you don’t have enough time for it.

    The belief that you need to be on this constant lookout for information is just not true.

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    You don’t need every piece of advice possible to live your life, do your work or enjoy your passion.

    How to Stop Information Overload (And Start to Achieve More)

    So how to recognize the portion of information that you really need? Start with setting goals.

    1. Set Your Goals

    If you don’t have your goals put in place, you’ll be just running around grabbing every possible advice and thinking that it’s “just what you’ve been looking for.”

    Setting goals is a much more profound task than just a way to get rid of information overload. Now by “goals” I don’t mean things like “get rich, have kids, and live a good life”. I mean something much more within your immediate grasp. Something that can be achieved in the near future — like within a month (or a year) at most.

    Basically, something that you want to attract to your life, and you already have some plan on how you’re going to make it happen. So no hopes and dreams, just actionable, precise goals.

    Then once you have your goals, they become a set of strategies and tactics you need to act upon.

    2. Know What to Skip When Facing New Information

    Once you have your goals, plans, strategies and tasks, you can use them to decide what information is really crucial.

    First of all, if the information you’re about to read has nothing to do with your current goals and plans, then skip it. You don’t need it.

    If it does, then ask yourself these questions:

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    • Will you be able to put this information into action immediately?
    • Does it have the potential to maybe alter your nearest actions/tasks?
    • Is it so incredible that you absolutely need to take action on it right away?

    If the information is not actionable in a day or two, then skip it.

    (You’ll forget about it anyway.)

    And that’s basically it. Digest only what can be used immediately. If you have a task that you need to do, consume only the information necessary for getting this one task done, nothing more.

    You need to be focused in order to have clear judgment, and be able to decide whether some piece of information is mandatory or redundant.

    Self-control comes handy too. It’s quite easy to convince yourself that you really need something just because of poor self-control. Try to fight this temptation, and be as ruthless about it as possible – if the information is not matching your goals and plans, and you can’t take action on it in the near future, then SKIP IT.

    3. Be Aware of the Minimal Effective Dose

    There’s a thing called the MED – Minimal Effective Dose. I was first introduced to this idea by Tim Ferriss. In his book The 4-Hour BodyTim illustrates the minimal effective dose by talking about medical drugs.

    Everybody knows that every pill has a MED, and after that specific dose, no other positive effects occur, only some negative side effects if you overdose big.

    Consuming information is somewhat similar. You need just a precise amount of it to help you to achieve your goals and put your plans into life.

    Everything more than that amount won’t improve your results any further. And if you try to consume too much of it, it will eventually stop you from taking any action altogether.

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    4. Don’t Procrastinate by Consuming More Information

    Probably one of the most common causes of consuming ridiculous amounts of information is the need to procrastinate. By reading yet another article, we often feel that we are indeed working, and that we’re doing something good – we’re learning, which in result will make us a more complete and educated person.

    This is just self-deception. The truth is we’re simply procrastinating. We don’t feel like doing what really needs to be done – the important stuff – so instead we find something else, and convince ourselves that “that thing” is equally important. Which is just not true.

    Don’t consume information just for the sake of it. It gets you nowhere.

    The focus of this article is not on how to stop procrastinating, but if you’re having such issue, I recommend you read this:

    Procrastination – A Step-By-Step Guide to Stop Procrastinating

    Summing It Up

    As you can see, information overload can be a real problem and it can have a sever impact on your productivity and overall performance.

    I know I have had my share of problems with it (and probably still have from time to time). But creating this simple set of rules helps me to fight it, and to keep my lizard brain from taking over.

    I hope it helps you too, especially as we head into a new year with a new chance at setting ourselves up for success.

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    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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