As you savor the last days of August, you cannot miss the changes in the air.
School has started or is about to start. (In Boston, that means college students with U-Hauls filled to the brim will soon jam the streets!) People are returning from vacations. Calendars are a lot more crowded. Traffic will soon be even worse, slowing everyone down.
And, the air will be crisp and refreshing. Energy will buzz as new projects get started. Focus always begins to get sharper as many of us consider the opportunities and possibilities for this last season of the year.
As you think about next week and heading into September, what do you want to create?
What priorities will be at the top of your list?
What will you commit to doing — differently? for the first time? with renewed energy?
Think now about how you want to feel when you look back at the final four months of the year and head into 2020.
And make a plan.
Three things you can do now to end the year on a high note.
1. Embrace this moment of transition and get clear.
Take some time to consider the questions I posed above.
Write down your thoughts — a brain-dump is a great way to start. You’re likely to have a long list of ideas and possibilities.
Next, reflect on your notes and begin to shape what showed up. You may want to make categories for items related to work, health, relationships, personal pleasure, etc. You’ll then be able to focus on choosing your top priorities.
Remember, many good ideas will have to be put aside. If you aim to focus on too many big things you’ll be splattered! None will get the time and attention needed for you to realize significant progress.
2. Next, get specific.
With your top one to three focal points in mind, think about what is realistic to complete for each of them in the last four months of the year.
For instance, if you want to write a book, or renovate your kitchen, think about what can reasonably be accomplished in four months. Specificity will be key. Break down big projects or ambitions into small, doable bites.
For example, to begin a home or office renovation, you can first get clear about what's not working now and what key elements you want the finished project to include. The next step may be to collect images that appeal to you for ideas on color, style and use of space, before you reach out to meet with designers and choose a contractor.
With a framework for discrete steps, schedule time on your calendar to work on each one.
3. Commit to taking consistent action.
Being clear about your priorities, breaking big projects into small, doable chunks, mapping out a plan, and scheduling time for each step are all important. But that effort will only lead to solid results if you commit to taking small action, followed by more small action, week by week.
It will be easy to get sidetracked, because life happens! But when you know where you are headed and have a strong desire to reach your outcomes, it will be easier to say “No” (even to exciting possibilities) and stay on track. And it will make it easier for you to attend to the inevitable, important interruptions that will come along and get back on track.
Remember, even the best plans will need to be modified. Surprises will show up. Mistakes will happen. New ideas will emerge. In every case, evaluate the situation, correct course as needed, and keep moving forward.
One last suggestion.
Be sure to acknowledge and celebrate each small milestone as you complete pieces of your big projects. This gives your brain a jolt of pride and satisfaction. And that will make it easier to maintain continued commitment to your project.
I'll be excited to hear about the projects you choose to make your focus in the coming months, and to hear about how the work progresses. leave a comment here or drop me a note.
I’m rooting for you!