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Three Hanging arrows

oxign/Getty Images/iStockphoto

I'm not really into the New Year, but it does provide an opportunity to embrace a fresh start and to take a different approach to running a business.

As much as 2011 was a pretty successful year, there's always room for improvement. Here's a list of the things I would like to achieve in 2012.

1. Higher productivity. Getting as much done as efficiently as possible is a major priority, particularly when there is a lot of work on my plate and so many hours in the day. Personally, focus is a huge issue. Like a lot of people, I'm too much of a multi-tasker, who easily gets distracted. Exacerbating the situation is my tendency to wait until a sense of urgency sets in before getting into a higher gear. My resolution is putting myself into a position to focus on the task at higher for a certain period of time, rather than allowing myself to stray from the job that has to be done.

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2. More discipline when it comes to using social media. Whether it's Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook or blog, social media tends to consume too much time and it's a productivity-killer. The problem is there is so much happening that it is a constant temptation to check things out. It has come to the point where I need to turn off social media services as the only way to discipline myself.

3. Less obsession with the inbox. There are lots of techniques to take control of e-mail rather than letting it take control of you. Some people suggest checking once an hour, others recommend three times a day. This sounds a lot more reasonable than my approach, which is constantly checking my inbox throughout the day. The key is, again, discipline and determining how to manage e-mail in a way that works for me and how my business operates.

4. Operate the business better. I'm good at doing business but not so good at running the business. In an ideal world, my books would always be up-to-date and organized, and there would not be a pile of receipts thrown into a basket. My goal for 2012 is to carve out at least an hour a week for administrative work to make sure things don't get out of hand.

5. Taking breaks in the action. When you run your own business, the danger is business becomes a 24/7 activity. This is particularly evident if you can do business anywhere at any time. For 2012, I'm committing myself to doing a better job of defining work hours and then sticking to them as much as possible.

What are your resolutions for 2012? How are you going to run your business better, differently or smarter?

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