I Wasted the Last Year of My Life! How Can I Make The New Year Different?

So its the beginning of a New Year. If you’re like most people, you’ve taken a few moments (before drinking yourself into a NYE Revelers Oblivion) to pause and look back on your accomplishments over the last year. Perhaps you can look back with pride at a job well done, at actions taken to advance your career, nurture your relationships, gain new skills, or invest in your future.

But for many, reviewing the last year leaves them cold. As they look back, they realize “What the hell did I do with my time? Where did that year go? I’m not signficantly closer to my dreams, goals or aspirations. How did I get into this position?

Part of the problem is a lack of awareness of TIME–and with that lack comes a poor use of that precious resource.


Foregoing any discussion of an afterlife—we are here for a limited time. How would you like to experience time?

We arent here forever. Not even by a long shot.


Imagine you can rise above your body and as you are floating above yourself, seeing yourself reading this material, you can float way up high and see a line on which your material self is sitting.

Behind ‘yourself’ is a line stretching out all the way into the past, all the way until your birth.

And on the other side of you is a Timeline stretching all the way into the future and ultimately to your death.

Review Your Past Accomplishments

As you view yourself sitting on that timeline, look back into your past and imagine the various successes you may have had along the way.

Completed Projects

A personal project you saw through to completion.

Assertiveness Despite Fear

A situation in which you were assertive despite your fear

Relationship Assertiveness

A relationship or relationships that you achieved through asking for what you wanted.

Training or Education

A college or tradeschool degree you achieved.

Occupational Advancement

Promotions you received.

Skill Building

Skills you learned despite difficulty.


Times you felt scared, doubtful, uncertain yet still pressed forward.

In all of these situations you can identify where you rose above your discomfort and frustration and accomplished things. This is part of your past life story.

Look at Your Desired Future

Looking forward into the future timeline, what do you want to see yourself overcome, transcend, move through in your efforts to achieve, attain, create, complete?

Would you want to see yourself conquering the procrastination habit to achieve these things?

Look at your Undesirable Past

Now, also take a look at your past timeline at the times when you did not represent yourself, were not acting with self mastery—

Missed Deadlines

A missed application deadline.


Last minute cramming and poor grades.


Lateness to an important event

Incomplete Projects

Projects that you left unfinished

Fear of Failure

Opportunities you avoided for fear of failure.

How many of these items would you like to see on your future timeline?

Not many, I’m sure we can agree.


Time management techniques include:


Cross off Sheets.

Creating Your Own Rewards

Rewards for being pro-active.

Creating Your Schedule

Creating reasonable scheduling

Identify priorities by listing all upcoming tasks and then numbering them in order of importance.

Schedule a weekly review to see how much you’ve accomplished that week on your priorities.

Low Priorities List

Set up a ‘lower priority agenda’ time for unexpected items that come up. Keep this time separate from your high priority projects.

Use Low Traffic Times

Set reoccurring activities for low traffic times—go grocery shopping or to the gym early in the morning or late at night.


Use organizing mediums such as apps, grids, organizers.

Be reasonable in scheduling—overscheduling may lead to feelings of failure as you get backed up.

Designation Areas

Avoid losing items by having designated areas for shoes, keys, money, glasses etc.

Advance Preperation

Prepare for the following day the night before. Lay out clothing, computers, schedules, documents.


Minimize by dumping old, unused items including books, clothing, knick-knacks.

Touch Mail Only Once

Reduce time spent on mail by handling mail as it comes in and ‘only touching it once’ meaning resolving the mail as it arrives, not piling it up.

Use Downtime to Learn

Bring books, podcasts, important materials with you to look at when there is downtime.

Delegate Tasks

Consider task delegation—housecleaning, car washing, dog walking. If you can afford to, this may save you more time and energy to do your other higher priority tasks.

Highlight for Review

Highlight your reading and research materials—don’t obsess over every written detail. Get the overarching points and move on. You can always review your highlighted material later.

Use email and electronic calendaring to set up reminders to yourself

Create Inspirational Workspace

Create a ‘sacred space’ for work. Put pleasant and positive ideas, pictures, items in your workspace to create positive associations to your workspace—thus making it more pleasurable to be in.

Break Goals Down into Processes

Break your bigger goals into ‘process goals.’ Identify each process that must be done to achieve the larger goal. Then tackle each process one at a time.

Use the Drumstick Approach

Take the Drumstick approach. Don’t try to eat the whole turkey at once.  Break the task/activity down or Carve it up in little pieces, then do each small piece in order.  This way you can measure each piece of the process and show yourself small achievements along the way.

Prioritize Priorities

Divide  your priority activities into 3 areas within your organization system:

  1. Falling Behind File—older items that have to be caught up on.
  2. Treading Water File—items that you need to keep up with and stay current on.
  3. Future Success File—items you need to do to get to a new level, new relationship, new reality.

Do New or Sudden Tasks ASAP

Try to do tasks that are sudden or spontaneous as soon as they arise.

Do it Now. If you remember a task is undone, go for it now. Don’t depend on Memory or recall.

I hope this article has helped you with some important tips and techniques for Time Management. Feel free to comment or ask questions!

©2019 Ross Grossman, MA, LMFT
Affinity Therapy Services
23-248-9379, 323-646-4477

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