Since starting a business I’ve learned techniques from other entrepreneurs that, in hindsight, would have helped me enormously in my corporate career. As we mark a new year there are two bits of wisdom that I am eager to share.
First, it’s the second week in January and I feel like a stretchy cartoon superhero. Just when I “should” be busting out of the 2018 gate, part of me hasn’t caught up to the fact that it’s a new year. The end of year focus on relationship and ritual takes a lot of energy and I just want a little more rest. Here’s the wisdom: Relax – the momentum always comes back.
Second, this year I’ve developed a craze around planning. As someone who loves big visions and spontaneity, deadlines and planning can make me feel trapped. But this year I have spent a lot of time on structure, process and planning. Not only do I not feel trapped, I feel absolutely liberated. I’m not alone. My clients are grabbing up the planners I am sharing like little bonbons.
Here’s the thing. Often we see what we want, do a dump of all the things we have to do to get there, and slip right into overwhelm. The first of the year with its expectations and resolutions is a perfect time for this little focus-killing dance.
Here’s the wisdom: If you break things down and sequence/prioritize them, you can do one thing at a time, be present and do it well, and then enjoy the same for personal life things. The focus creates enjoyment and balance. It also frees up creative energy for all sorts of new possibilities.
One article can’t go into much detail, but here are a few planning nuggets. First, think of your big goal(s), quantitive or qualitative, and the timeframe for completion (Hint: double the time you think it will take, especially if you have other on-going work). Then break the goal or goals into smaller parts, or “projects.” Next, calendar the projects over several weeks or months and break them down by week. The trick here is to do the projects no more than one or two at a time. Then when your scheduled tasks are complete, stop working. No skipping to the next or “getting just a little bit started.” When you are done, call or see a friend, join a book club, take a trip, or play with your kids. Final trick: Edit all the time. Some things will take shorter, some longer. Adjust and keep going, and skip the judgment.
Balance doesn’t come once everything is done. It comes from pacing and being present with what you are doing. One last thing – an article on new year’s resolutions that I like because it focuses on accomplishments, not missed goals.
I hope it’s a year full of focus and possibility!