We are off and running in 2021. This week we, will be halfway through January and the holidays are in our rearview mirror.
The NFL Playoffs are in full swing and the Bills won a playoff game for the first time in 25 years! A digression. If you love sports and didn’t read my last post, click below—and full disclosure—when the game got really tight in the fourth quarter, I maintained my optimistic belief we were going to win – not lose! (I’m convinced it made all the difference.)
Anyway, back to our topic…
By now, you should have set your goals for the year and should be accelerating into your first quarter, and more so, your January priorities.
Or are you? Some questions for you to ponder:
- Is your planning complete or are you still finishing it up (or possibly just starting to think about the year)?
- Are you clear on your priorities, or are you prepared to just dive into the year and to tackle anything and everything that gets in your way?
- Are you being proactive or reactive in January?
There is time to adjust, but we must be honest with ourselves to start the year if we have any hope of making 2021 the best year we’ve ever had.
So here is my take:
- I have been guilty of speeding up in order to go even faster.
- I have been guilty of thinking I could multitask, successfully, just about any amount of work.
- I have been guilty of doing the same thing and expecting different results.
So, it’s time to decide what you want and need from 2021.
Let me try to help. I was guilty of the three statements above but made some big changes a few years ago that allow me to make a full commitment to the three vastly different statements below for 2021.
- I will slow down, so I can speed up.
- I will focus on my priorities, and not be in a hurry every day to do more, but rather, get the right things done, really well.
- I will not reduce my goals in order to accomplish the first two above. I desire to and will achieve at an exceedingly high level in 2021 and beyond.
Sounds easy when I write it, but we all know it’s much harder to do.
So, how do we move forward? Three steps.
#1 – Make your NO list for 2021
By proactively saying NO, you start the year by de-cluttering your “To Do List”. If you never say no, then you must find the time to work on all your priorities, regardless of whether they are high or low. To move forward, I would encourage you to keep this quote from Warren Buffett in mind:
“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”
#2 – Make your YES list for 2021
These are your highest priorities for the year. When you start the year clear on your priorities, and then start the first quarter by deciding what your priorities for January are, it will create great momentum towards the achievement of your quarterly and, ultimately, your annual priorities. The key is to not have too many, otherwise you end up saying yes to too much and give yourself little chance for maximum success. To move forward on this, keep the following in mind when you are making your list of priorities:
“The greatest inequity is the equal treatment of unequals.”
# 3 – Slow down every day and do your absolute best job with the priorities you have set for that day
This is going to seem like you are giving up more (an opportunity cost) or allowing yourself to achieve less. It’s absolutely the opposite! By consciously slowing down and focusing on the one thing you are working on at the moment (which is your most important thing for the day), before moving on to the next one, you will do greater work.
Is it easy? No! But just like learning to say no and setting fewer priorities, learning to slow down in order to speed up, confident that you and your organization are focusing on the right activities, and are aligned in the right direction, is essential to maximizing your success.
Good luck! February is around the corner – and the clock in 2021 is ticking.