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National Council of

Social Security Management Associations

Effective Resolutions

Wednesday, January 10, 2018


As I look forward to the coming year, I find myself reflecting on the previous one. I look back on successes and failures as well as the opportunities missed. Whether professionally or in our personal lives, I am sure you have wished, like me, that you could accomplish more. Whether it is time constraints or competing priorities, it seems like there is never enough time to do everything.


Have you ever met those people who appear to get everything accomplished and have time left over? I often marvel at those who manage to do so many things and excel at them. If we dig a little deeper though, we may find that these people are not superhuman, they are more focused and, in turn, more effective in the things they do.


Effectiveness can be learned, but it takes hard work and diligence. You cannot learn to be effective in a day. It takes a long-term commitment on your part. The key is to implement small steps that will eventually become effective habits.

As we begin a new year, we often make resolutions to get in shape or eat healthier foods. What if we made a commitment to be more effective this year?


Here are three steps we can all take to be more effective in everything we do. If we do these three, simple things, we will be noticeably more effective!


• Manage your time

Time management is key to being effective. To manage it, you have to know how you are using it. Recording or logging your time for a day or week is invaluable. When asked, most people would recount their time spent by how they believe they should have spent their time. Studies show that when people actually record their time the results vary greatly from when they recount from memory. Record or log your time and then work to maximize it.


• Put first things first

Prioritizing allows you to do the most important first, leaving those other things, such as distractions, behind. At times determining priority can be difficult. However, if ignored long enough, things that may have been insignificant can reach a level that demands priority. When this happens, you are forced to put out fires. This often leads to ignoring other important issues that will eventually demand priority. Work to determine priority before the situation determines it.


• Focus on developing yourself

For the first 18-24 years of life, our entire world is one long sequence of self-development. We go to school, learn to read, and look forward to the day when we finally graduate. After that, we start a career and continue to learn our business for a few more years. Then something terrible happens; we become complacent. We read less and learn fewer things. Thanks to our social, occupational, and familial responsibilities, we rarely take time to develop ourselves. Lack of self-development can lead to dissatisfaction in many areas of our lives.


The more we develop ourselves, the more we learn about ourselves. As we begin to learn more about ourselves, our goals become clearer. If you asked most people what they wanted to accomplish in the New Year, most would give an answer such as “lose weight” or “exercise more”. However, if you asked them what their deeper personal goals were outside of those things, most would not be able to give you an immediate answer. Do you want to deal with conflict better or have better personal relationships? Should you work on being more flexible or more resilient? To set goals like these, you have to dig past the surface and take an honest assessment of how you currently deal with conflict or why you may not have great relationships. Without knowing yourself, it is difficult to set deep, long-term goals. The more you know, the more you grow!  


As we develop and learn more about ourselves, we can set clear goals. By managing our time and prioritizing our actions, we cut out the distractions that often hinder our progress. We ensure that we are doing the right things at the right time to accomplish our goals. In our ever-expanding digital age, there are no shortages of distractions. Without a plan, it is easy to fill your time with unproductive things. Strive to make wise choices that lead you to achievement.


“Efficiency is doing things right. Effectiveness is doing the right things.”

Peter Drucker

Action Items

Let’s put some action to these principles! Here are three things you can do this week that will help you on your journey to a more effective you:

1. Log how much time you spend on social media this week. (The number may surprise you).

2. Define one thing you MUST accomplish by the end of the week and set priorities to ensure it happens.

3. Read a short article about a subject you know nothing about.


Here is a 3-minute article about why art matters:


Joe Deaton

District Manager

Hot Springs, AR


Wrong password.