At the end of the year, I wonder what’s on your mind and how I can help. I see one, two, six, ten articles about staying calm, getting through the year-end stretch, tips for managing stress, etc.  I asked a few clients, “What would you like to hear about?” And the response was, “Time management, taking stock of my career, gaining a better perspective.”

What this deep research tells me is maybe we’re not all stressed out and maybe we can take time for continued reflection or planning.  Let’s not fall into the trap of letting our popular culture tell us how we feel, or how we should act. It’s a strong undertow – let’s change that!
I have the simplest of solutions for you:
Regarding time management:
  • There’s an old Zen proverb that says, “You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes a day, unless you’re too busy, then meditate for an hour.” Basically, this potentially infuriating phrase means if you’re too busy, think twice. Why so busy? Why?
  • Our traditional Balancing Act seems elusive. But simplified it merely means taking things away and adding others. Take away as much of the not-so-positive as possible, and add the more positive. Choose wisely. When you do more of what you like to do, your relationships and your mindset will also move to the more positive. That goes for anything in your life. Your job, your relationships, anything!
  • We’ll never get perfectly balanced, but magically we can avoid having the seesaw ever touch the ground when we add the good stuff to our lives.  (See photo above).
Regarding taking stock of your career:
  • Did you accomplish the professional goals you wanted to in 2015?  If not, what held you back? Are you blaming your employer, or did it not mean much in the long run?   If you’re dissatisfied, give yourself a timeline to address these issues.   If your satisfied, note how good it felt to accomplish your goals, and what another step forward would look like.
  • Don’t abandon your desire to move forward just because it’s the end of the year; and don’t burn your fuel looking backward. Every day you can take a step to where you want to be.
  • Know your strengths! Go to https://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/ . Sign in and take as many tests as you’d like, but particularly take the VIA Survey of Character Strengths. If anything, it’ll get you focused on how to choose wisely regarding time management.
  • You’ll realize that when you lead with your strengths, things get easier. Many companies look at their employees and see their weaknesses, then try to ‘fix’ them – totally wrong! (IMHO)
  • Find job descriptions that you get excited about. Notice what it is about the descriptions that get you fired up; you’ll begin to see a trend.
Regarding gaining a better perspective:
  • The best way to evaluate your experiences and see their significance in your life, in my opinion, is to get away from them.  Find some time to get your mind away from your daily activities. Take a walk without your music or news, coloring books are IN, too!…or take your mind and your body somewhere new and different…as in vacation.
  • Becoming the observer of your life allows you to anticipate what you may need to feel whole, and more in line with what you’re dreaming about. It also allows you to feel more confident about your next steps.
And finally, before your New Year’s resolutions come crashing in, make a list about how YOU want to get through, or glide through, the transition into the New Year.  Note what’s most important to you, and spend your time there.
For me, my adult children will be in my home and I will be available when they are available. This is something I learned during there teenage years: If I’m not there when they were ready to communicate, I lost out.  I always want to be there.
So, Where do you want to be? If you focus on that, you will never go wrong.

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