Your Year By Design 2022: Part Two

3rd Dec 2021

So here we are. It’s December. You made it. How are you doing? If you’re like most people I’ve been speaking with lately, you’re ready for a break.


Last week, I wrote about the importance of starting to think how you want 2022 to be now, and showed you how I go about starting that process. It’s important because if we just hope that 2022 will be better or different than 2021 without setting some intentions and plans for how we’ll creare that, we’ll likely be disappointed. Remember, Christmas won’t fix it.


It’s good to reflect on what sustained you in 2021. Here are some questions I used with the executive team at New Zealand’s Ministry of Health last week to help them reflect on what they’ll want to carry forward into 2022. By any measure, it’s going to be just as challenging a year for them as these past two years have been.


This is all a part of my annual Year By Design process. It’s outlined in detail here. I’m at the point in the process where I want to schedule the good stuff. Making time in my calendar for what matters. Because if I don’t do it now, I’ll be trying to squeeze it in around the busyness and commitments that will inevitably crank up from February onwards.


Here are a couple of tips that I’ve learned to keep in mind as I do this:


  • Fulfilled doesn’t mean ‘filled full’. I used to think that a life well lived meant packing my days full of stuff. Carpe diem and all that. Perhaps it’s because I’m getting older, I’m valuing my uncommitted time more and more. Don’t just plan for what you’ll do. Allow yourself to have plenty of unplanned space as well.


  • Focus on the critical few. Many years ago, I set myself a list of about 30 goals for the year. I remember my coach at the time lovingly laughing out loud! I’ve since learned it’s important to pick just a handful of things that are most important, and focus on enabling those to happen.


Here’s what my 2022 calendar looks like:


You’ll notice that there are just two categories of time that have been used: Delivery, and Generative. You’ll probably want to use different terms, depending on what’s important to you. If you’re curious, here’s what they mean to me:


Delivery: I’m self-employed, and I earn my money by delivering great work for my clients. To keep my energy high and thinking sharp, I’m limiting my delivery days in 2022 to roughly 7 days per month. They’re now blocked out in the calendar. Sure, I can shift them, but I won’t be adding any more. 


Generative: As I reviewed 2021, I noticed how valuable it was to me when I allowed myself to have dedicated time to think, write and play. To generate new ideas and relationships. It resulted in more creative ideas, created new opportunities, and I was more energised and present in other parts of my life overall. So I’ve blocked out generative time each month. I’ll be using this time to create new content, research, have exploratory conversations with clients, hang out with loved ones, and get out into nature. (By the way, my generative time includes ‘regenerative time’: the downtime we all need to rest and recover).


All of the white space in the calendar is uncommitted time. No doubt those days will be filled with all sorts of stuff. That’s life. But at least I have the important things already blocked out.


Now, I realise that you might not work for yourself, and that a 2022 calendar that looks like mine might not be realistic for you. Yet, you can still get on the front foot now and commit time for the important stuff. If you’ve been intending to do that project, or visit somewhere you’ve always wanted to go, book it in. If you’re yearning for thinking time each week, pick a day and book it in.


2022 is a blank slate that you can decide how to colour in. How will you use your time?





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