I think I may have ESP. I certainly didn’t predict what 2020 had in store for us—but maybe I sensed something coming.  

Last year around this time, I wrote about preparing for a successful 2020 by cutting things out of your life that weren’t helping you move toward your goals. Among the questions I suggested you ask yourself were: “What can I give up? What can I stop doing?”  

If only I had known. You gave things up this year, that’s for sure. You stopped doing all kinds of things, but not because they were getting in the way of your goals.  

Back then, I suggested you might do things like give up extra committee meetings and outsource your grocery shopping to save time. You might have done those things this year after all, but not for time management reasons. And you gave up a lot more in 2020—like time with family and friends, your travel plans and your normal way of life. 

This has been a year of loss. It’s also been a year of growth. Our lives were shaken up pretty suddenly, and we were all forced to put the pieces back together in a slightly different way.  

As we look back on this challenging year and mourn what we lost, I propose we also celebrate what we gained. I know it may not have been a great year for you in terms of time management and productivity among other things, but I also know that you’ve probably learned a lot.

Everyone’s different, and everyone’s journey through 2020 has been unique.

I’m guessing that some of these lessons will resonate with you:

  • You’ve learned what matters most to you. This year forced all of us to get really clear about our priorities. You may have learned to cherish and protect your health in a way you never have before. You may have a new appreciation for the family members and pets who have kept you company all these months. Maybe struggling to keep a business afloat made you realize you wanted to let it go, or you used some newfound free time to dive into a passion project. Whatever your priorities are—2020 has made them clear.  
  • You’ve learned what you want more of. The things you’ve missed the most this year reveal a lot about where your energy belongs when the crisis is over. If you’re aching to travel, how can you carve out time for travel later this year? If you’re missing face time with your friends—but you were often too busy to get together before quarantine—how can you build time for a social life into your schedule when things go back to normal? 
  • You’ve learned to be more flexible. Think back to when quarantine first began. Didn’t you adjust to a whole new reality pretty quickly? Within a few weeks, people who worked from an office learned how to do their jobs from home. Parents figured out how to support their kids through remote school. We all got very familiar with navigating Zoom. All the while, we were all navigating guidance from doctors and government agencies that changed day to day. Whether you were more of a planner or a play-it-by-ear kind of person before the pandemic, 2020 forced you to flex your adaptability muscles.   
  • You’ve learned how resilient you are. No matter what this year threw at you personally, you’re still here. You’ve survived a lot, and you know you can handle whatever comes next.   
  • You’ve learned that you need a better plan. Being resilient and flexible is great; they’re qualities that will serve you well going forward. But I know that, if you’re like most of us, you’ve also struggled with feeling out of control and overwhelmed this year. Focusing on work and practicing good time management has probably seemed impossible at times. Your daily routine disintegrated back in March. You just didn’t have a plan for working through a global pandemic.   

I’m sure you could add other things to this list. We’ve all learned things about ourselves this year, good and bad. So it’s been a tough year, but it hasn’t been wasted.

We can all build on what we’ve learned to make 2021 better—no matter what it brings. 

I’ve heard from clients all year that they were struggling with time management and productivity. I’ve struggled with time management and productivity myself this year! Living through chronic stress makes these things extra tough. But we have months left of this pandemic, so if you want to do things differently in 2021, it’s time to learn how to make a plan that you can actually follow no matter what comes at you.  

I designed my upcoming masterclass specifically as a response to the challenges of 2020. During Weekly Plans That Works, Even in Times of Uncertainty, you’ll start learning the steps to create a flexible weekly plan that you can actually stick with. I’m offering this FREE one-hour masterclass twice, on January 14th and January 16th—click here for more information and to register! 

Happy New Year, 

Sarah 

Sarah Reiff-Hekking
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