New Year…new resolutions. Towards the end of the Christmas and New Year break I was fortunate to spend a couple of days in complete solitude. I was a long way from home, in a beautiful place and, having celebrated the dawn of 2015 in good company and some style, I was alone again before flying home. It was bliss. It opened up the sort of space we all need from time to time; space in head and heart to think deeply about lessons from the year just gone and hopes for the year ahead.
In the course of those two days of solitude I walked, read, thought and wrote. I wrote lists and I wrote conversations; I mapped out the rough narrative of something that came to me while I was reading something else – something that might become a project later in the year. For now it felt good to have it down on paper, like a tracing of what it may grow into.
I am someone who only ever really focuses or learns when I write it down, and in the course of my scribbling I noticed that the things I was saying I wanted to do in 2015 tended to appear a long way down the page or towards the end of the list. It occurred to me that I was putting off what was really important to me. I needed to turn the page upside down in order to put first the things that really matter to me; not just the things I ought to do, but the things I want to do.
Then I noticed that my pages contained a lot of complaining about lack of time. I wrote a calender of a typical week and saw that it contained a reasonable enough amount of white space; flexible hours in which I could and should be getting on with the things I felt I lacked time to do. What was the problem, then?
Again, I turned the page upside down. Because I’m at my most energetic and creative in the afternoons and early evenings, I realised I needed to shift the admin, planning and desk work to the mornings and make better use of that focused time, working on things that need to be done but are not necessarily the most inspiring; the nuts and bolts. Lunchtime must become a deadline in its own right and the gateway to more interesting and creative hours later in the day. I am not one of those people who can get up early and write for several hours before breakfast. I need a long run up and to clear my head of the ‘oughteries’ – those morning tasks – before I can be truly productive.
In a year’s time I’ll look at this again and see whether I’ve stuck to my resolution. If I have, perhaps it will turn out to be a year of real progress in the things that matter most; things like this. And perhaps that rough narrative I sketched out will have grown into a draft of something truly worth taking forward.
Happy New Year.