When you read this, you may already have one foot out the door on work. Now that we’re entering the holiday homestretch, many people are slowing down on productivity and ramping up their cookie consumption. I hope your time management system was successful and has given you time and space that you can use to enjoy the holidays in whatever way you wish.
But, we all know how quickly these weeks go by, and like it or not, January 2020 is right around the corner. Since I like to have a plan to follow at the start of the year, I’m already thinking a lot about a 2020. Whether 2019 was a fantastic year, or one you’d rather soon forget…it’s nearly in the past.
Will you join me in looking ahead?
If you caught my last blog entry, you’ll remember that I posed a series of questions to ask yourself about the last decade, and about how your life is different now than it was at the beginning of the 2020s. To refresh your memory, those questions were:
- Where did I think I would be by now?
- At what point was I the most professionally satisfied?
- What was the lowest point for me, professionally and personally?
- How did I prioritize my time?
- What did I do really well?
To Improve Time Management in the Future, Look to the Past
Getting really clear about your answers to those questions could help shape the way you think about being successful in the future. Take the second question: At what point in the last 10 years were you the most professionally satisfied?
It would be wonderful if you could honestly say that you’ve never been more happy at work than you are right now. But if that high point was five or seven years ago, it might be useful to think about what specific factors contributed to that satisfaction… and how you can recapture that feeling this year.
Were you fulfilled by the nature of the work itself? Were you working mostly collaboratively or mostly independently? Did your schedule, client base, coworkers or geographical location play some role in your happiness? Or are you less happy at work now because of external factors, such as a painful back problem that you’ve put off dealing with?
The significant factors that contribute to professional satisfaction are different for each of us, so identifying what those are for you is a great first step toward making positive, successful changes.
The question of how you prioritized your time is also an interesting one. We tend to get stuck in the same patterns and ruts around time management. How you used your time in recent years is likely to be how you continue to use your time moving forward.
This question, “How did you prioritize your time over the last decade?”, is a hard one to answer, I think. Reflecting on what you accomplished and which goals you didn’t reach will help you think about how you chose to spend your time and how you want to spend it going forward.
Another way to think about this? I’ll repeat what I said in that last blog post:
- If you were to ask your closest family members and friends to describe your time management approach over the last decade, what would they say? (If you’re not sure, take a break right now and go ask them!)
- From an outsider’s perspective, do you seem to be in control of your time?
- Have you missed out on important events because of time management challenges?
Finally, I want to go back to that first question: Ten years ago, where did you think you would be in 2019? I think it’s useful to reflect on how your past goals line up with your current life, but I also hope that thinking about this question helps you celebrate all of the unexpected victories that you’ve had over these last 10 years.
I hope the past decade was filled with surprise detours and incredible moments that you never would have predicted would happen to you. Even if you have a list of goals and a solid time management system under your belt, it’s my hope that you’ll find more of those successful, joyful, unpredictable experiences ahead of you in the coming year.
Are you prepared to make the space in your life to enjoy those unexpected moments? If you’re still feeling stuck and confused about what steps to take next in your life, I get it! These are big questions, and it can be hard to identify the right path forward on your own.
When you sign up for a no-cost Time Matters Success Strategy Session, I’ll help you understand what’s possible for you and figure out the right next steps for you.
I wish you a relaxing and restorative holiday!