How to end 2018 on a high

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If you are feeling overwhelmed and dissatisfied by work then you could benefit from these practical tips to help prioritise your time more effectively for the coming year

How’s your year going? Come the 31st December, will you look back on this year and judge it to have been a great year? Or, will you look back on it with a sense of frustration and disappointment, frustrated that you didn’t achieve your most important goals?

Will you be disappointed that you weren’t true to your purpose and core values? Saddened that you weren’t the leader, parent, partner or friend that you know you could have been?

Or will you be angry that yet again, you’ve had to work longer, harder and more frenetically to get everything done, meaning you’re left with a lingering feeling that you’ve missed out on some of the joy in life?

The good news is that this story isn’t yet written. As Marcus Aurelius wrote:

“The longest and shortest life, then, amount to the same, for the present moment lasts the same for all and is all anyone possesses. No one can lose either the past or the future, for how can someone be deprived of what’s not theirs?”

Planning for success

The only question that then remains is, how will we use the present?

We are three quarters of the way through 2018, which means that we still have three full months of opportunity ahead of us. We have time to ensure that Q4 goes brilliantly well.

Working longer, harder and faster isn’t the route to success, happiness or a life well lived.

We have time to ensure that 2018 is a fantastic year and perhaps more importantly, that we set ourselves up for unparalleled success and happiness in 2019.

Time to take stock

I believe that the way many of us work, simply doesn’t work. Working longer, harder and faster isn’t the route to success, happiness or a life well lived.

My personal experience, and the success stories from my clients, tells me that we need to slow down in order to speed up. We need to block out time in our diaries to scan the horizon, think, reflect and plan.

Important tasks are more difficult and can’t quickly be ticked-off as complete, meaning we don’t get the same feel good dopamine hit and immediate pay-off as we do with the more urgent tasks.

If we don’t, we will be condemned to constant fire-fighting and increased levels of stress; which aren’t conducive to peak-performance, health or happiness. But how do we get off the busyness treadmill?

Stepping off the treadmill

On a typical day we are faced with choices between tasks with varying levels of urgency and importance. Recent research from the Journal of Consumer Research found that people often choose to perform urgent tasks with short completion windows, instead of larger tasks with larger outcomes.

Important tasks are more difficult and can’t quickly be ticked-off as complete, meaning we don’t get the same feel good dopamine hit and immediate pay-off as we do with the more urgent tasks.

This is why stepping back to plan is so hard and often gets consigned to the “if only I had time” category.

One of the tactics I share with my one-on-one mentoring clients focuses on helping them step off the busyness treadmill in four weeks’ time, as opposed to attempting to change years of learned behaviours over-night.

If you’re serious about having a standout Q4 and ending 2018 on a high, here are three things that you can do right now to make that a reality.

Quarterly review

Block out half a day in your diary and plan on being away from your primary place of work. You’ll use this mission-critical leadership time to do the following:

  • Review your core values
  • Review progress against your highest priorities for the year
  • Reflect and plan what you must do differently in the last three months of the year to be the leader, parent, partner, friend or colleague that you want to be
  • Create a 90 day plan for the final three months of the year

Weekly review

Starting in 2-4 weeks’ time, schedule 30 minutes in your diary every Friday to scan two weeks ahead and make a plan for the coming week.

Annual review

Schedule at least half a day in your diary (preferably a full day) for late December. Use this day to detach fully from the day-to-day, to 'go dark' and disconnect from all social media and phone calls, so you can focus on:

  • Reflecting deeply on the year that has passed
  • Gaining clarity on your highest priorities for the coming year
  • Mapping out a personal blue-print for an incredible year ahead

Once you’ve scheduled these events in your diary protect them and hold them sacrosanct just as you would a meeting with your most important client or your son or daughters first day at school. Good luck stepping off the busyness treadmill.

About Ben Morton

Ben Morton

Ben is a best selling author, accomplished keynote speaker and sought after leadership mentor who has worked with senior leadership teams in the U.K, US and Australia.

Ben’s work as a leadership mentor is based upon three fundamental beliefs:

  • Leadership is less about the tools and models and more about understanding what it really means to be a leader.
  • The best leaders put the interests of their people and organisations ahead of their own.
  • Leadership is both a great privilege and a great responsibility.

As a graduate of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst he completed two tours of duty in Iraq as a Captain in the British Army. He then moved into business as Global Head of HR, World Challenge, later part of Tui Travel and followed this with a period in the Tesco Leadership Academy.

Alongside his military and corporate career Ben has also led expeditions around the world to places as diverse as the Himalaya’s, Malaysia and Mongolian Stepppe country.

He now works exclusively with senior and executive teams to help them be the most effective version of themselves as individual leaders whilst also becoming a genuine, high performing team.


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