Earlier this year, Kelly LeCouvie wrote here about the book Essentialism (a book I have not got around to reading yet – perhaps that should be my New Year’s resolution?), and the importance of the “disciplined pursuit of less.” Amy Schuman and Stephanie Brun de Pontet wrote about mindfulness and its benefits for family enterprises for The Family Business Advisor. Just today I had multiple conversations with people who used words like “anxiety,” “pressure,” and “time-sensitive.” In our conversations with family, friends and colleagues, we see these themes repeated – there’s seems never to be enough time, energy or attention to do all of the things that we want and need to do.
It follows that our lives – often over-scheduled, over-committed, and awash in information – won’t accommodate the things that are most important to us unless we make them a priority and put them first.
So, in honor of the closing of 2014 and with a hopeful look at the coming year, here are some questions that I’m asking myself to help me plan for my priorities first. I hope that they spark a thought or idea for you as well.
- What happened in 2014 that should continue in 2015? Perhaps you had an incredible family vacation, or started regular coffee dates with a valued friend. Maybe you found great business insights from an unexpected source. The stand-out moments in our lives can seem like a one-off, but we can welcome more of them by creating more opportunities for them to happen. How might you make more of these opportunities in the coming year?
- What’s important to you that, if you don’t plan for it, could fall by the wayside? This year, with busy schedules and being scattered across the U.S., we weren’t able to get my extended family together for the holidays. To avoid that in the future, we’ve already started the conversation about Thanksgiving 2015. The same can happen to things like family meetings, personal health, strategic planning, or time for training and mentoring younger family members. Making a commitment before other things get in the way – especially a commitment to others – creates an anchor that the rest of our obligations can revolve around.
- Where did you spend time this year that most engaged or energized you? It could be time serving your community, planning for the future of your business, reconnecting with loved ones, meditating or exercising. Which places, activities and people naturally recharge you? How can they play a bigger role in your life in 2015?
With some thought and a little planning, we can all have more of what’s important, and not just what’s urgent or expected, this year.