Soooo…. it’s that time of year again…. time to reflect and plan for the year ahead. I used to make (and quickly break) New Year’s Resolutions. Now I use the dawn of a new year to reflect back and take some quiet time to plan for the year ahead.
Here are the top 14 things I learned in 2014 (in no particular order):
- I need to spend less time doing and more time thinking: I’m a doer. I like to get stuff done and I get a chill of satisfaction when I can cross something off of my to-do-list. That being said, in 2014 I got so wrapped up in doing things that I didn’t really spend enough time stepping back, planning and thinking. I need to do less and think more.
- FOCUS ON ONE BIG THING: A friend told me there is a book based on this concept, and the basic idea is that each week you should choose 1 thing to focus on. The one thing should be the thing that your success is most contingent on. Stop wasting all of your time and energy on the other things, the ones that don’t matter and each week do 1 thing that will really move the needle.
- You can get ahead faster when you invest in training, coaches, support, whatever: As my business has grown and I’ve become busier I stopped taking time to invest in myself. I go to speak at conferences and maybe catch a session or two, but I haven’t really stepped back to just take time to learn and grow. This is SO IMPORTANT. This year I’m investing in my digital marketing education by making more time for conferences and also planning to attend some business success events.
- Procrastination is killing me: There are a variety of things that I procrastinate, but I can usually trace them to uncomfortable conversations or situations. I avoid them. I look at them a million times before acting. I waste tons of time on things that I could just have over and done with quickly.
- My standing desk really helps and is awesome: A few years ago I bought a standing desk thing (if you have a laptop you can buy one here from amazon for $40 — it is amazing), but I didn’t get into the swing of using it until last year. Best investment ever. Just by standing I’m more energized.
- I need to manage my energy better: Last year I met a few amazing women who have incredible energy. I’m energetic when I’m “on” and in-front of people, but day-to-day I get to the office and get to work. I compare this to the amazingly positive and energetic women I’ve met this year who make me excited just by being around them. I want to manage the energy that I bring into every room, every day.
- I can’t handle audiobooks: For years I’ve tried various audiobooks in various settings. I just can’t pay attention <Squirrel>. Real books only for me.
- I need to focus more on my appearance: I worked with a style coach in 2014 and she helped me to realize that with just a little bit of effort I could really polish my appearance and better support my career. I may do another post on my style goals for 2015, but needless to say, I’m trying to avoid chipped nail polish and wear my hair down more often (because I love my long blonde hair but am generally too lazy to consistently make it look nice).
- I can’t really do nothing anymore: I realized on vacation this year that I don’t really like to sit and do absolutely nothing. I need my mind to be working. I can relax with a book, or a trashy tv show, but I can’t just do nothing laying on a beach. Maybe I need to try meditating or something?
- I can survive being 100% disconnected for a week, but I don’t really like it: People always talk about the value of a vacation and getting disconnected. I did that this year – for an entire week (I was out of the country with no access to email or voicemail). Some people find this liberating, but honestly, I’d rather just know what is going on. I don’t need to work all the time, but I don’t like the idea that I can’t send a quick file if it is needed. I’d rather check in for 20 minutes a day than totally disconnect.
- I really love what I do: This year I realized that I really absolutely love what I do. I get excited speaking to groups, running training classes and even running my business.
- I need to take time to build strategic direction (In all aspects of my life): This links back to the idea of taking more time to think, but this year I realized how many strategically TERRIBLE decisions I was making for my business. The reason was that we just did stuff and evolved. I didn’t really step back to make sure that things made sense. This is probably also true for how I spend my personal time – I just do stuff without really thinking about what I want to make time for and what I need to cut out.
- I need to remove all games from my iphone: I wouldn’t say that I’m addicted to iphone games (hey – I only play 2!!!?!?!) but I will say that it is easy to waste hours half-watching a crappy TV show and playing Sudoku for hours….
- Investing in the right things changes everything: Whether it is FINALLY getting an iphone that just works (vs. my series of Androids that were perpetually breaking or malfunctioning), signing up for a scheduling service for my calendar or getting some social media management tools working, investing in process and tools for efficiency has made an amazing difference to me in 2014.
- BONUS: I am FINALLY responsible enough to spend 8 days on a beach in the sun and not get a sunburn: My mom will be so proud.
What did you learn last year that you’ll bring with you into 2015?