The definition of insanity

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.

— Albert Einstein

How many things are you doing day after day that meet this definition? How many times do you leave an e-mail unread, intending to read it later, and find it still there months later? How many times do you think you leave on time for a meeting, but don't quite make it? How many times do you argue the same point with a co-worker and still fail to arrive at an understanding? Its 2010 now, maybe its time for a change.

New Years resolutions inspire lofty goals that involve changing many habits of your life. Many, many of these goals fail, because the step to such a large change is just too big. Change is better made permanent by taking small successful steps, until you are so far down the road of change you can't go back. As an example, let's use one of the most common goals people want to accomplish, but never get to....managing their e-mail. Many of us (myself included) intend to properly manage our e-mails; read them all, file the ones we need to keep, and delete the ones we don't. But before we know it, we get a reminder that we need to delete several hundred e-mails because we have maxed out our limit.

Taking the time to sift through our e-mail archives is an overwhelming task, so we keep putting it off for when we have more time, until, well, there is that reminder again that we need to delete e-mails...However, as with many of our goals, this can be broken down into a more manageable timeframe. One way to start is to commit to just 5 minutes a day of time dedicated to managing your e-mail. By the end of the week, you have given 25 minutes to this task, and should begin to see a small dent. This builds hope that you just might be able to accomplish this goal, and hope is a powerful motivator to keep doing something different, and stop the insanity.

Karen Bolda, M.A., is a meeting facilitator and professional development trainer. She's lived in Ashland for 13 years where she operates her own consulting business. Visit her website at or contact her at

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