The last 14 months have been to say the least, interesting. I took another step in my career, went vegetarian, and saw the birth of my first daughter (the second is on her way this spring) - there were a number of big changes in my life and as I look ahead to 2013 I wonder what the year has in store for me (good things I hope) and I find myself wondering what changes I should be proactively making on my own. I should be clear, I'm not talking about a personal a manifesto or even a resolution - something I've never been great at keeping - I'm looking at this with my HR goggles on and thinking about my strengths and weaknesses, like in that almost inevitable interview question - one that I've never been particularly fond of - that works its way in somewhere in the daunting process of looking for a new career opportunity. I've started to compile a list of things I want to do better, things like:

Be a better listener - I've personally found that as I get pulled in more directions professionally, it has become difficult to be as present or as active of a listener as I might like to be. Multitasking, something that I've always seen as a great strength, is awesome in moderation, but I think it is important to engage, be workplace social (in person, not via IM, etc.) with your colleagues, it is important to focus on the people you're working with and for - my goal is to multitask when appropriate and be better about determining when it's not.

Be better organized - Let me be clear, I'm not disorganized. What I am though is an HR pro who was weened on the idea of keeping, archiving, maintaining data - a skill set that has served me well. It's also a skill set that has creeped into my personal life, a realization that came to light as we recently started going through storage containers in our basement in preparation for a basement remodel/finish. I keep stuff, too much stuff, and I'm starting to purge the unnecessary be it papers, magazines, old management books, and so on - my office is fairly spartan now, the only clutter being my poor attempt at decoration (by decoration, I mean random pictures and such highlighting my personality in such a way that employees and managers feel at ease in my office). I'm looking for ways to make more of the papery things in my life pixelated, be it through imaging or simply getting the electronic version of a newsletter. I'm looking for ways to remove the unnecessary stuff that takes up space and time - an important skill I suspect I'll need as we bring a fourth person into our home.

Be a better prioritizer - First, I may have just made up the word "prioritizer" and that's okay, because I suspect you know what I mean by it. For the longest time, my hierarchy of priorities didn't include my own well-being, I'd run myself ragged working a day job and teaching at night and managing an online journal and attempting other various entrepreneurial activities and serving on boards and committees and so on while trying to be a good husband and as of Autumn 2011 a good father - but no focus on me. Last year I started making changes and as I look ahead, I plan to continue those changes and enhance them while striving to truly focus on the important things I'm fortunate enough to have in my life and/or be a part of.

That said, Happy New Year, I hope 2013 brings everyone twelve months of outstanding opportunities, rewarding challenges, and success - I hope for you what I hope for myself, that through the ups and downs and the triumphs and losses that the year may bring that you are a better person for it.

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