Your Year By Design: 2020

12th Dec 2019

We can’t predict the future. But we can shape it. The more intentional and deliberate we are about deciding what we want, the more likely it is that we’ll get it.

That’s the idea behind Your Year By Design.

It’s a process I’ve been running for myself for the past few years. It ensures my year doesn’t ‘fly by’ and all my good intentions simply go out the window. It helps me to prioritise my 365 days so it’s not just time spent, it’s time well spent.

Now’s the time to start designing your 2020. Here’s how my process works:

  1. Do a Year In Review
  2. Look for patterns and themes
  3. Decide your intentions for the year ahead
  4. Schedule the good stuff
  5. Make a ‘great people’ list

Here’s my original post outlining the method in detail. And here’s a template you can use to do the work.

Here’s my 2020 year by design:

And here’s the colour coding:

Generative Time

This is time to slow down, think, create, and replenish my energy. I used to think of this time as ‘time off’. But I’ve realised that it’s not ‘off’, it’s just shifting into a different way of operating. I’ve learned that I’m at my best when I take time to ‘generate’. That means slowing down, and often going somewhere different – notice the orange boxes around some of the yellow: that’s when I jump on a plane ? Generative time includes blocks of writing time, ‘lab’ time (where I might collaborate with others to test design new ideas), and holidays and adventures. When I make time for generation, I’m way better placed to serve my clients, friends and family.


Delivery time 

The green boxes are days when I’m booked or available for client work with clients next year. This is the time where I’m earning money, but more importantly, it’s also time spent where I have a chance to make a difference using my talents. Scheduling the green time serves two purposes: it shows me my cash flow (am I earning enough?) and it also gives me a sense that I’m spending enough of my time doing ‘hell yeah’ work. I’ve learned that I tend to say ‘yes’ to way too much interesting work that I can charge for, and end up cannibalising my generative time. So I’ve put clear boundaries around my delivery time for next year, and I’ll be using ‘hell yeah days’ as a primary measure of success.


Professional Development

This is structured time for me to get an injection of new thinking, reflect on my work and practice, build my professional networks, and plan ahead. I happen to be doing a programme that forces me to build-in these days, which really helps.


The three categories reflect the types of activities that are both a) important to me and b) able to be scheduled in advance.

You’ll notice that there’s also a reasonable amount of ‘white space’. I’ve learned to allow time for the opportune and the unexpected. To be available when interesting stuff arises. As they say, have some ‘room in the system’ to flex.

The most important thing is to create your year by design. Not someone else’s. You know what’s important to you. Prioritise that. 

I hope the rest of 2019 finishes well for you, and that you make 2020 the best yet!


Photo Credit: Pixabay

Like this post? When you’re ready, here are three ways I can help you further:

  • Sign up to my ‘Thinking from the Edge’ newsletter to get tips, insights and early release information that I don’t share on the usual social channels. Delivered fortnightly to your inbox.
  • Get my book, Change Makers: How to make your mark with more impact and less drama. It’s available here.
  • Come along to one of my Change Makers breakfast sessions to learn more about how this game-changing programme can amplify you and your people’s ability to have more impact.