A New Policy for 2011 is better than a Resolution

Michael Sliwinski — №7 with Michael Hyatt

I don’t like corporate talk and corporate world. I prefer small-business world. But I do like mocking the way corporations work in my daily life. In our struggle to a “Zen” and “Minimalist” life my wife and I decided to introduce to our family life something normally practiced in the big corporations: policies.

What are policies? Habits defined and agreed upon.

Big corporations have these policies on dealing with this and that… so we decided to copy that and to make sure we don’t gain too many unnecessary “materialistic fat” this year we decided to introduce some new policies in our home to ensure both my wife and I know how to deal with certain things.

Just a few short examples of our “box and packaging policy”:

We don’t keep the original packaging of stuff we buy past 7 days:

Policies are non-negotiable.

The cool thing about policies is that they are more than guidelines — they are the law. At least in our house. So if I’m tempted to keep a BluRay box of a movie I like, my wife asks me: “Michael, what’s our policy on the boxes?” and the box goes away. The same applies to the boxes of the IT-gear I buy. The geek in me wants to keep these new shiny packages of the latest Apple gear but my wife firmly reminds me of our policy on the boxes… and of the fact that I was the one to actually suggest it in the first place.

Policies could be a cool way of introducing habits.

The problem with habits is that it takes a lot of time to set a habit in motion. It takes days, weeks or even months. When you set up a policy and it’s your governing law, you don’t need that time. The policy is there and it keeps you from going sideways… and if you set it up with your loved one, they help you keep them in power and refrain you from going “against the law” :-)

Policies help you set up automatic rules for stuff that doesn’t matter.

Thanks to our new policies I’m not thinking about a lot of stuff I’d normally be tempted to think and analyze. I know what the policy is so I act accordingly. I build a habit with a policy and focus on the larger goal I have in front of me. The policy thinks for me. It is the law after all :-)

Policies are better than New Year’s resolutions.

Resolutions are… wishful thinking with a new name. You don’t measure them, you don’t track them, you just say them to yourself and hope for the best. So instead of thinking about resolutions, introduce some good policies for 2011 and make sure they align with your goals. The policies will help you not to think about small stuff and focus on your goals this year and maybe you’ll even get a little more done than last year. Who knows?

Bonus - some other useful policies for 2011 I just introduced at my home-office:

What are your policies for 2011?

Photo: © iStockphoto.com / dmbaker

Michael sliwinski

Michael Sliwinski

Michael Sliwinski is the editor of Productive! Magazine, the founder of Nozbe (a time and project management application for busy professionals), and a best-selling author of the #iPadOnly book.

Visit Michael's blog Follow @MSliwinski on Twitter Check out his book: #iPadOnly