Whenever I start to notice patterns in what’s going on around me, I put plans in place to adapt or respond to them.

These patterns may be positive, such as good ideas, interesting people I’d like to explore a collaboration with, or learn from, or time saving technology or systems to give me a few more hours in each week. As each month has passed since January, I’ve made a mental or actual note of key learnings or insights from that month. If you’ve worked with me 1:1 you’ll know I am all about ‘drawing the insight’ from any situation or experience. As a life long learner I am happy to make mistakes (once) and very open to improving the way I do things.

I was reminded of this during a recent conversation with a client. She sees these patterns in her life too and is learning to respond to them. Looking for and responding to these patterns was a concept I was made more consciously aware of during my tenure on the leadership team for the Diageo Australia Victoria and Tasmania business unit. On a regular basis we would meet off-site as a team at the Observatory Cafe in Melbourne’s Botanic Gardens for book club. This was not your normal book club choice. We read Margaret Wheatley’s Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World out aloud and together.

This was first published in 1992, I read it with my leadership team around 2003 and the insights have been fundamental to me embracing chaos as my friend. Having experienced 5 restructures when I was at Diageo, I climbed the corporate ladder faster than expected as I was comfortable with embracing change and ‘flourishing in ambiguity’. This was one of Diageo Australia’s stated values at the time. Importantly, I embraced this value and secretly loved it, because I understand that nothing is more certain than change.

And so it was only as I was drawing this insight for my client and reflecting on the Diageo book club experience that I realised how much it has informed my coaching and training approach. Margaret writes . .

We live in a time of chaos, rich in potential for new possibilities. A new world is being born. We need new ideas, new ways of seeing, and new relationships to help us now. New science – the new discoveries in biology, chaos theory, and quantum physics that are changing our understanding of how the world works – offers this guidance. It describes a world where chaos is natural, where order exists “for free.” It displays the intricate webs of cooperation that connect us. It assures us that life seeks order, but uses messes to get there.

3 Tips for Planning a Great 2018

As October approached I started to think about the insights I’d captured throughout the year. As I sat down in the quiet of the weekend, I read through the insights and began to form my plan for 2018.

If you’d like to have a great 2018, here’s how I suggest you approach it.

These tips are based on the patterns I’ve observed this year and over many years previously since I began this annual review and planning exercise.

It is my hope that it helps set you up for a great 2018.

1. Plan Your Annual Leave Now

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

This is a popular proverb and means that if a person does not take time off from work, they will become both bored and boring.

Whenever I explore the topic of time management with some of my clients, I suggest that their holiday plan should be the first thing they map out each year. While this is a new concept for some, many clients I work with acknowledge their need to take a short break from the busyness of their work and home lives and value taking regular country / interstate retreats or 1-2 overnight stays at CBD hotels.

By prioritising taking a break, it gives you a regular event to look forward to, where the pace is perhaps slower or different.

By allowing yourself to depart from your normal routine, slow down and get away from the busyness of life and your work schedule, you are creating space for your mind and your soul to reflect and process.

And for introverts and ambiverts, this is essential to recharge. What is an ambivert? Please read more here about my ambivert journey in this article.

2. Get More Thinking Time into Each Day

Life and technology is running at such a rapid pace that it is hard to keep up. But why do we want to keep up?

We should perhaps spend more time thinking, reflecting, or playing to help slow down the pace of our lives.

Slow down.

Say no.

Clear your schedule.

Have technology free days.

Go to bed early sometimes.

3. Learn to Outsource

I believe there are 4 essential steps when it comes to learning to outsource. It is an acquired skill that takes practice.

  1. Get a cleaner.
  2. Get a travel agent (which is closely related to planning your annual leave now).
  3. Make a list of ALL the tasks you do at home and renegotiate with your loved ones so that they help more with these tasks. This is especially important for parents who think their children spend too much time on screens. Get the children doing some of the jobs! If you are a carer, you can not do it all and may need to call in some help from local council resources.
  4. Make a list of all tasks you HATE doing and either delegate them to others (loved ones) or outsource to a personal concierge.

You can live the life you imagined for yourself, but you need to take the time and create the space to do this. By following these 3 simple steps I’m confident 2018 will be a great year for you.

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