Hello again,

How has your week been? Autumn seemed to hit as if someone had finally flicked the “change the season now” switch and October suddenly appeared!

Having sorted out last week that I needed to nurture my “decision juice” energies, I’ve now turned my thoughts to planning.

I came across this great quotation: “Plans are worthless, but planning is everything.”. American army general and statesman, Dwight D. Eisenhower seems to be re-working a peacetime version of something written in an earlier letter, “In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless but planning is indispensable.”.

October really marks the start of my year. I’ve been working to “academic year” timetables and diaries for over 50 years and I’ve not yet found a good reason to change that.

So what about your plans for the coming year? Can I invite you to think of a theme for your year?

This isn’t about setting goals as such though you might. It’s well, yes, setting a theme, a flavour, an overall intention.

Is this next year going to be about promotion, progression or publication? Is this the year you step up as an expert in your field, consolidate your network or master a new skill set? Where do you want your focus to shine?

Do you find it more helpful to imagine yourself in September 2022 looking back on your year, what do you want to have achieved? What has the year been about for you?

Back to today, in the present moment, with the theme of this year in mind, what is your focus for each quarter of the year ahead?

Now look more closely, do you have a priority project or activity for each month in this quarter?

The times and seasons change. My academic year will ebb and flow to include new arrivals, inductions and fresh starts. It then stabilises into a time of production, creation, flourishing before a phase where assessment, evaluation and reflection will feed into the planning for next year.

If I look at specific projects for my focus in this next quarter: over this summer I’ve recorded a new masterclass “Strategies for Getting Stuff Done” (GSD). It’s condensed the best bits of what I’ve learned from 30 years as a researcher, coach and trainer into 2 hours of distilled wisdom. You can have a peek at the free version the “Out of Overwhelm Route Map” if you’re interested. Please do feel free to share that with any of your friends and colleagues who might need it. As I look forward I’ll be planning to deliver GSD to my clients in the first month of this quarter.

Beyond that, I have a masterclass on Finding Focus – maybe my focus for November and into December, maybe with a nod to the new calendar year and a launch of my leadership development programme.

And this next quarter, the 3 months ahead, October to December… what is your focus? I know you’ll have a to-do list as long as your arm but what is the most important thing you need to focus on each month?

Where you focus is where you’ll go.

And yes, as Eisenhower points out, the plans you make now might turn out to be worthless by next October 2022 as there are genuinely so many unforseen things that could happen in a year – but the planning you do to identify priorities for the last quarter of 2021 could turn out to be invaluable. We can’t predict or control the future but the planning for it could be invaluable.

So set your direction. Get clarity on what you want to create.

Tap into your intuition and set your intentions. Reconnect and re-commit to this focus each month, each week… and see how planning can be an indispensable part of your preparation.

Let me know what you plan!


PS If you want a peek at what I’m creating or you feel you’re too busy to make time for this planning activity, download your free Out of Overwhelm Route Map here:

Out of Overwhelm Route Map

I would be delighted if you would share this newsletter or the link with your friends and colleagues who might benefit!