What would it mean to spend the only time you have in a way that feels as though you’re making it count?

– Oliver Burkeman


Only read this if you’re interested in making 2022 your best year yet!


If you’ve been following my writing for a while, you’ll probably know that this is the time of the year that I get thinking about how I want to shape my next 12 months.

As they say, you can’t control the future, but you can plan for it. I’ve found that getting deliberate about how I want to experience my time gives me a greater sense of agency, choice and fulfillment in my day-to-day life.

It’s a fairly iterative process, and I thought I’d share it with you as I go.


Start Now


First up, you’ll notice that I’m doing this in November. I’ve observed that most people tend to do their planning early in January or February. That’s too late for me. It’s better for me to set intentions when I’ve got some distance from the start line, rather than when I’m right on top of it. That way, I’ve got time to chew on ideas and evolve them over a couple of months. Then when I get to next year, I’ve already got a sense of my priorities and I can focus on putting things in place to make them happen.


So I’m deliberately prioritising some time now to get into the reflection and ideation quadrants I’ve been writing about in my Unhurried Productivity research.



It’s About Energy Management


At this early stage of the process, it’s not really about how you manage your time in 2022. It’s more about discovering what energises you, and beginning setting some intentions around that. Energy management and intention management are more powerful disciplines than intention management.

Check out this idea in more depth in this piece I wrote in 2020: Forget Time Management, Master These Disciplines Instead.



Begin With Questions


Now is the time to tap into the insights you’ve got from the year just gone, and your intentions for the year ahead. Here are some questions for you to get you thinking:


  • What activities, people, ideas and achievements gave you the most energy in 2021?


  • What are the silver linings from what might have been a tough year that you want to incorporate into 2022?


  • How do you want to feel this time next year?


  • What do you want to be able to say about how you lived your life in 2022?


  • What have you been putting off that you know you’re ready for?


  • How would you spend your days differently if you didn’t care so much about seeing your actions reach fruition? (Thanks Oliver Burkeman for this brilliant question)



Write Stuff Down


These questions might not be that easy to answer, right? I suggest you sit with them, noodle on them, and see what emerges. Write your top of mind ideas down. Mind-map them. Let them sit for a few days and come back to them. What themes are emerging?


Here’s one version of a mindmap I’ve done to help me make my own thinking visible. The purpose blobs are the bigger ‘themes’ and the blue words are supporting ideas around those themes. The green words are some guiding principles that I find helpful.



Next week I’ll give you some more structure to help you take your responses and turn them into compelling plans.


Until then, go well ?




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