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New year, fresh start

Tuesday, 21 January 2014 | By Linnet Hunter

There’s something about the new year that feels … well, new.


It’s as if all the errors of action and inaction and the unexpected and unwanted events of the past year have been wiped away. Here is a chance to start again.


Harnessing the power of the number that must now be written on everything for the next 12 months, I have made some Decisions, (but note, not resolutions). These are:


1. Me before media


I will do what is precious and meaningful for me, before I check my email, look at a screen or slip down the rabbit hole of lost time that is LinkedIn. I would like to do at least three chunks (see point 2) before I head to the Black Mirror and check my emails.


I have tried this for a week or so and I notice that because I have been for a walk (15 minutes) read a section of an inspirational book (15 minutes) and written my own stuff (15 minutes) before I check my email, it seems to have less power to draw me in, set me off, or otherwise frazzle me. Interesting …


2. Chunking


Chunking big tasks down into small ones helps me attack, grapple, get on with overwhelmingly large projects. I realised that if I had been culling, tidying and updating my contact database for 15 minutes every day last year it would have all been done by now. And it’s not.


Since I know that 15 minutes of filing is about all I can do anyway before my attention falters, (well actually it is more like six minutes but I can contemplate doing 15) I have chunked all my tasks and aspirations into these bite sized time squares.


Not a new idea, (how do you eat an elephant?) but I have never really put the effort into setting the timer and having a go.


Astonishing what I can get done in such a small space of time, for example a blog post. And there are four of them in an hour. Wow.


3. Layering


Layering sounds a bit like multitasking, but enables me to focus mindfully on how two things can be achieved at the same time, minimising effort.


Once again, not a new idea, it’s in every self-help book since Think Big, but I am now consciously looking for ways this can work more effectively for me. For instance, I want to write my own stuff about what I am thinking and reading, and the course of study I am currently finishing asks me to write what I am thinking about what I am reading.


So, all this writing and thinking effort, which belongs to me, can be used for my own publishing as well as a course requirement. Gosh - that means I have practically written a book already! Yes, soloists can create duets with themselves. How about that?


So what Decisions are you making about how to get the most out of your days this year?