So what’s going to be so special about 2011?
It'll be much the same as last year unless you make it different.
But how do you do that?
I often fall victim to the massive, annual to do list. I clear my desk in late December. Then I create a whole new rod for my back with an impressive forecast of things I am going to achieve in the New Year.
There are two problems with this:
- One is obvious. The list is so long that I’m already tired by the end of the first month.
- The second is my mind. I keep thinking about the outcome after I’ve finished the planning – rather than just taking the first step and getting on with it.
There is a lot of ego in this.
Once I have made a great plan, I want to skip to thinking about how great it will be when it is implemented. I go straight to the buzz of achieving it, indulge in that thought, and start milking the gratification before I've actually done anything.
Next, my passion starts to wane to the extent that I have already enjoyed the result in my mind. There is now less gratification to go for.
And of course, unlike reality, the outcome is always perfect in my head. That just makes bumps in the road even harder to climb over.
These are all good ways to turn something exciting into a hard slog.
What can you do about it?
Last year I tried something different. I decided I would only do one big thing, and it wouldn’t matter if it took all year.
I decided to write the first chapter of a book. That’s all. I didn’t decide to write a book. Just one chapter. I left everything else to the universe. It didn’t matter if it turned into a book or not. I didn’t worry about whether it got published or not. I just tried to write a really good chapter.
By the end of 2010, I had written 52 chapters. By that time a fortuitous turn of events had found me a literary agent who, in turn, found an excellent commercial publisher, who in turn will publish the book next month.
That was a pretty unusual year for me. I usually have so many things on the go that a lot doesn’t get finished. Yet when I employed my new strategy, a whole lot of other things fell into place too. Just like the book.
There’s nothing really new here. My two actions, or non-actions if you like, were generic to any advice on getting things done:
- Whatever you want to do, just work out the first step and take it
- Forget about the outcome. It will turn up on its own accord
So what’s my plan for 2011?
I’ve decided to write a blog. Not a whole lot of blogs. Just this one. I’ll see what happens after that.