Thank you to David for sending in this Guest Post to share with you his thoughts on the start to the New Year.
So, Christmas is over, and Santa has brought you all, or most, of the things that you asked him for. And among them for many of you, if my Twitter feed is anything to go by, was a shiny brand new Filofax. OK, for some of you, I know this will not be the first time Santa has done this (or that you’ve done it yourself), but again, if my Twitter feed is anything to go by, there are a lot of people out there holding their first ever Filofax in their hands right now.
So if this is your first Filofax, maybe you have found your way to this excellent site via Google, word of mouth, or some other means, and if you have it may just be because you wonder……what do I do now?
I hope regular readers of this blog will forgive a slightly more ‘entry level’ piece, but the fact is that if you’re new to Filofax, and even if you’re not, the tidy piece of leather/plastic/whatever, and paper, which you now hold in your hands can be the means to fulfilling all your goals, the things you’ve been ‘meaning to get around to’ but never have - yet.
However, there’s a catch. Unfortunately, like iCal or Google Calendar/Tasks, your shiny new toy, massively useful as it is, will not do this great task of helping you to reach your goals and ambitions on its own.
In short, you’re going to have to do two things. You’re going to have to plan, and you’re going to have to execute.
Back in the 1980s when planning and time management were actually popular (at least in the junior management ranks I used to inhabit back then), these skills were taught and were expected to be learned and mastered, but things have changed since then. Somewhere along the way we became convinced that modern technology had solved the problem, which we no longer needed to plan anything at all, because Outlook would magically make everything better.
To expect Outlook, Google Calendar or iCal, or any other technological panacea, to make everything work together properly is about as sensible as expecting your tools to get out of the toolbox on their own and build you a wardrobe.
Here’s one of the models which was popular back in the 1980s for demonstrating the benefits of a ‘planning phase’ before an ‘ execution phase’:
Notice how the longer planning phase on the second line leads to a much shorter, more ‘tidy’ execution phase, meaning that the total time for planning and execution is shorter than the upper line, where planning is compromised for the sake of making a start.
I’ve been looking at my Twitter feed for #filofax quite closely, and the impression I get is that the majority of people posting are now busy ‘filling in their diaries’ for 2013. I’ve got news for you. If all you’re doing is ‘filling in your diary’, then you won’t reach your goals in 2013. If you were given a Filofax with the standard 5-part index dividers, take a look at the other tabs and you’ll see one further down the set called Projects.
That’s where you need to start. Make your plans, set your goals, and then, and only then, put the things you need to do to achieve those goals into your diary. I’m not going to tell you today how to do this in detail – hang around this site for a while and you’ll discover that for every person contributing there’s a method of planning which is different, particular and customised for that person’s needs.
And we all love to share. No really – we LOVE to share, at length. Great length. So I’m not going to tell you what is the right way to do this because you’ll have to find out what’s right for you. But what you need to know is that you must plan, or you won’t achieve anything you intend to. And its New Year Resolution (aka goals) time, isn’t it?
So please, from one Filofax enthusiast to another, use this wonderful, marvellous tool you now have in your hands, to let your New Year be really new year for you, the year in which you don’t just accept the agendas of others as your own, because if you just ‘fill in your diary’ with the commitments you’ve already made, that’s exactly what you’ll be doing.
I hope you understand that I mean this in a kindly way. I know most of them are your friends, but their agendas are not your agendas, and if you don’t follow your own agenda, your unplanned time will flow in the twin directions of others’ agendas and your own weaknesses. Take a minute to think about whether that’s *really* what you want for 2013. In short:-
Whose life is it, anyway?
A Wise Man of Industry in the UK once said,
“Show me your diary and your bank statement, and I will show you your priorities”
I think he was right. How about you?