Do you find yourself wondering how you got here? By “here,” I mean December. The end of 2019 is just a few weeks away…and, like me, you may have just started remembering to date your documents with 2019 instead of 2018🤦. Maybe you have flown high through the year slaying your professional goals or maybe you are limping into December wishing you had 6 more months to meet your targets. Either way, business tends to slow down during the holidays, no matter where you work – unless, of course, you are one of Santa’s elves! The most successful people are those who recognize these lulls in productivity as being great opportunities to plan for tomorrow.
That’s right. You could sit at your desk and surf “the 12 days of deals” on Amazon with your extra time, or you could take active steps to achieve your autonomy dreams in the coming year.
Let’s look at some practical things you can do right now to set yourself up for success in 2020.
Look at yesterday: You read that right! Look back at what you’ve achieved this year, and be grateful. Congratulate yourself. Celebrate. Your company may have tripled in size or may have gotten your kids to school with only 5 tardies instead of last semester’s 10. You may have single-handedly developed the algorithm that makes driverless cars hit the beltway this year or you may have learned one little trick that helps you do your job more quickly. Big or small…business-focused or personal…take the time to acknowledge your success. By acknowledging your accomplishments, you can be more objective with your planning.
Look at today: One of the reasons our best-laid plans often fall apart is because of this little thing called “realism.” It’s unwise to put too much into your new plan until you know how you are really spending your time currently. Pull up a day planner app or go old school with a notebook on your desk. Track your day in 30-minute increments. Track everything for 1-2 weeks. Then, take a hard look at how you spent your time. (How you really spent your time.) You’ll likely find there are time-consuming tasks that can be delegated, meetings that need to be shortened, or distractions (let’s pick on Amazon again) that need to be eliminated freeing you up to achieve those plans.
Look at tomorrow: This is where I like to start my planning! Looking ahead in anticipation of better ways to help you grow your business, find your dream job, or simply keep my inbox under control. But let’s keep it real. If it were that easy, more than 8% of Americans would achieve their New Year’s Resolutions. Defining your plans needs to start with answering the not so simple question of “why”? Why do you want to grow your business, find a new job, lose 10 pounds? If your “why” is to attend all your son’s little league games, finding a job closer to home might be the answer, but perhaps there are other ways to meet this goal. Understanding your “why” allows you to develop plans that you’ll look forward to achieving every day.
So, ask yourself, “This time next year, what do I want to congratulate myself for accomplishing?”