The coming of the new year sparks a great interest in many people to change the way they do things. It’s great to want to improve your life, to find fresh, new ways to be the best you can be. This time of year, many folks find themselves eagerly signing up for gym classes or buying bicycles, laying in plenty of new work out clothes, or unloading the refrigerator or pantry of unhealthy foods and snacks. Other folks open bank accounts, buy new books to read, take classes to learn an instrument, or buy plenty of fresh kitchen tools to help them improve their cooking skills. Some people gaze outside of the boundaries of their lives and buy tickets to new destinations, or take up volunteer assignments, or even counseling to help them find out who they really are and where they want to go in life.

Coming up with a resolution requires some thought; tackling it can fun or challenging, depending on what you decide to do. Making time for it, on the other hand, can sometimes require some serious scheduling. It is one thing to say that you will stretch for ten minutes first thing in the morning. It is another to keep track of it and all the other resolutions you made in your head. To make life easier, there are plenty of tools out there made specifically to help keep you on task. You can put most smartphones to use that way. There are plenty of note taking and timer devices, productivity tools, and apps that will help you climb mountains, turn pages, walk the block, and monitor your heartbeat.

There is a simpler way that you can use to keep up with your new life, though, that doesn’t require gizmos or electronic tools. When I was in boot camp we were issued a simple, faux-leather, bound notebook and a pen. We would break it out throughout the day and write down in it every bit of information that would help us move forward in our new naval life. It was a good habit to get into, and it is something, in one form or another, that I still use to this day. Whichever method you choose to use, manual or electronic, a good things-to-do list requires little from you to make it work: something to write on, something to write with, and maybe, possibly, a clock or a calendar to keep track of the time and date. Together they will let you know where you are going and what you need to do once you get there.

Good time management is critical to achieving all those fresh New Year’s goals. With a good tool in hand, you can tackle almost anything. I like the simplicity of it, but more, when you manage your time well it gives you a snapshot of the bigger scene that is your daily life. Take your device and add to it, scribble notes on it, cross things off, leave things on there for another time and place. When you look back on those pages filled with notes, scribblings and x-marks, you will feel a sense of accomplishment. It’s fun to go back and see what you’ve done, what you missed, and see what still needs doing.

I like to think that Jackson County Library Services can play a role in helping you master your New Year’s resolutions. Our catalog is filled with a wide array of time management and productivity books, all aimed at helping you better manage your time, your space, and your schedule. Our online presence is filled to the brim with remarkable tools, products, and services that will help take you to that place where you can experience your personal best. Is this the year where you learn a new language, read up on famous people, or get a new job? Try out our MangoBiography Reference Bank, or Brainfuse Jobnow databases. Is 2021 the year where you keep up on local events, start a business, or find out about your ancestors? NewsbankThe Chamber of Medford and Jackson County, and Ancestry.com are all good sites to check out. Do you have a hankering to stream world cinema, fix your car, or participate in a communitywide online event? KanopyChilton’s Automotive, and our JCLS calendar can help you there, all available for you to use just by stopping by and visiting our home page.

The library has it all, and you can do it from the comfort of your easy chair, bed, or kitchen table. If self-help books or exercise videos are what you need, go to our catalog and place them on hold to pick up at your local branch library. If you need help choosing books to improve yourself, look to our readers advisory service JCLS Discovery, where library staff will personally select materials for you according to your needs. Do you need reference materials or back issues of magazines to help you achieve your goal? We have Gale databases and services like Flipster to help you answer those burning questions or satisfy your current periodical needs.

A new year is here and those lists are burgeoning. One person’s climbing Mount Everest is another’s getting up and greeting the day with a song. Let the library help you find the way to your heart’s desire, or, at the very least, to that place where pen, paper, and ideas meet and turn wonderful ideas and wishes into things accomplished and done.

Here is a list filled with plenty of time management books that will help you make better use of your time! —Wally Clark