basketball_111OK, for any of you who have pre-teen children and the Disney Channel, you may recognize the title of this post. If you don’t, then it really doesn’t matter. The point is this: 2008 is over. Done. Behind us. It’s time to focus on the year ahead and what we can do to improve. Improve what you might ask? Well that is entirely up to you.

The news continues to be negative, and as a former member of “the media” I can say that part of that is their job. It is the media’s job to report what is happening, and I guess more bad than good is happening – it’s not entirely their fault – but really, would it really kill the ratings to at least have a “good news” segment every once in a while? But I digress.

I don’t know about you, but I for one am ready for some good news. I am ready – ready for the new year, a new administration, a fresh start. And that is exactly what we have – it’s up to us to make the most of what we have and strive to make 2009 a better year. It starts here.

We all have areas in which we can improve, and at this time of year we all have resolutions or goals we set for the year ahead. Yes, we have just been through one of the worst economic years in recent memory, but we still have the opportunity to look at areas we can control and make damn sure we are doing what we can to make the most of them.

Take an inventory of your time management. This is an area where we can all improve, and one that pays tremendous dividends both professionally and personally. I could throw out the cliche “Time is money” and they might resonate with some if not all of you – but time is more than that – time is what we have. Some of us have more time than others, but time could be our most valuable asset or our worst enemy, and it all depends on how you spend it.

If there is one single area that you choose to apply yourself to this year, I suggest that should be in making sure that you spend your time wisely. As budgets and resources get tighter and the market continues to shift, it makes you really start to prioritize what’s important and what’s not. It becomes easier to actually focus on what is really important – to you, to your department, to your organization, to your family – and by going through this filtering process you will ultimately be able to make a bigger impact and help drive positive change.

I started this by making some simple changes to my daily work-flow – I take a few minutes at the start of each workday to identify the most important things that need to be accomplished that day – it may be a single large project or several smaller ones – and work the rest of the day around those objectives. I have found that it is much easier to say “no” when I understand the bigger picture, and most importantly – the opportunity cost. Saying “no” to things that eat up your time and distract you from your objectives makes you more effective and helps you stay focused on the bigger picture. This was a lesson that unfortunately took me a long time to learn. I used to consistently overbook, trying to make sure I could cover everything and meet with everyone – and while I was productive, I was constantly stressed and spending more time on things that ultimately didn’t matter as much as I thought. Of course there are going to be obstacles – and sometimes it’s those unplanned fires that disrupt your day and make it so that your to-do list doesn’t even get touched. But that’s what many of our jobs entail – solving problems. So if putting out that fire ended up being the most important thing for that day – I’ve still done my job.

Enstilling this sense of ownership and responsibility into the team here at D-Tools is part of my job. I am proud to be part of a team where continual growth and improvement is a vital part of the culture – from Adam, the founder and CEO (who by the way is responsible for the upgrade of this blog among other pursuits that he will most likely tell you about) to every sales person, engineer, and support person – and that we truly operate as a team driven towards a singular goal – to provide a world class software solution that helps our customers do their jobs more efficiently.

As we very close to the release of our lastest version, this vision will soon be delivered with what is I believe to be the most complete and comprehensive software in the history of the company. We expect 2009 to be a banner year for not only our company, but for our customers. We have all taken this difficult time to remain focuses and keep our heads in the game. We’re at the start of a brand new season.