I have to say 2014 wasn’t my best year personally. Why am I sharing this with you? Because I urge you to put things into perspective every day of your life. Perspective gets things done. The important things. If I could bottle and gift to you the perspective that has been forced upon me over the past 3 months I’m sure that I could change your life.
I have to say 2014 wasn’t my best year personally. Why am I sharing this with you? Because I urge you to put things into perspective every day of your life. Perspective gets things done. The important things. If I could bottle and gift to you the perspective that has been forced upon me over the past 3 months I’m sure that I could change your life.
Why 2014 Was A Rubbish One For Me
We all experience our own personal sufferings. Some much worse tha n others, and many much worse than mine.  But it’s the first time I’ve had to deal with this type of thing myself – with a parent anyway – and I felt that I wanted to share with you what I’ve learnt from it.
Sitting in A&E at 1 o’clock in the morning three months ago with my Dad – the man I adore, my inspiration, the man who can do no wrong in my eyes, the man who I admire unfailingly – we were told that the suspected mini stroke symptoms that he’d been having did not in fact relate to a mini stroke but to an advanced brain tumour which was terminal with an imminent end of life prognosis.
After recovering from the initial shock, many sleepless nights and a lot of tears, I had to get back to work.  Life went on, my business wouldn’t run itself.
Armed with this new perspective, what was important – and what wasn’t – became so much clearer.  If there was a backlog of 40 items on my To-Do list, I could quite easily scan it and pick out probably three that were actually important.  I didn’t feel guilt about the rest.  And a lot of stuff that had been worrying me previously paled into insignificance.  I now had more important worries.  Faced with this situation to deal with, for the first time ever I had clarity like never before. Clarity on what’s important; on what is a priority and what is not.  My To-Do list shrunk overnight.  All the unnecessary items on it – of which there were many – were tossed to one side, to make room for the meaningful tasks.  After all, I had very little time left after hospital visits and supporting my kids – who equally adore their Grandad.
Good Riddance 2014. Hello Mega-Productive 2015
If you’ve ever gone through a similar situation then you’ll appreciate this.  And without wanting to take you back to the sadness of your own personal situation, can I just take you back to re-live the perspective you had at that time?
And if you haven’t gone through a similar situation, then – as upsetting as this may be – I’d urge you to imagine a loved one lost, or an unexpected diagnosis for yourself or for a loved one.  How would that make you feel?  In that situation, what would be important and what wouldn’t.  With this perspective in mind, if you go through your To-Do list, you’ll find that most of it will become unimportant.
So with this in mind, here are my five tips to make you more productive and fulfilled in 2015.
  1. Establish What’s Important
Forget what’s important to anyone else.  Dare to be different.  Success comes in many forms and is perceived in many different ways. Success to one person could be attaining a certain level of profit and affording a certain house or car, to someone else it could be recognition of their efforts, to another it could be simply living a happy balanced life regardless of possessions or recognition.
What does success look like to you?
Take some time to reflect.  What do you want from life?  Particularly over the next 12 months.  Write some business and personal goals based on this.
  1. Question Everything
For every email, meeting, social invitation, request to carry out a task or phone call, ask yourself “Is this in line with my new goals?”  In other words, will this contribute to what’s important to me?  If not, then say No to it.  And say No with conviction.  Stop wasting time on things that fall outside of where you want to be.
In this pursuit, you will undoubtedly encounter situations that push you outside of your comfort zone.  You may even decide to distance yourself from people who no longer fit into your new life – the ones who drag you down, or don’t believe in you.  Take no prisoners.  You only get one life, it’s your responsibility to make the most of it.
  1. Live a Little
As an entrepreneur, there’s a high chance you’re a workaholic.  From sneaking your tablet on a family holiday so you can check emails, to displaying twitchy behaviour if your smartphone isn’t in reach for more than a 20-minute period, I’ve got your measure!  Because I’ve been there myself.  For most of my working life in fact.
Finding a balance can be pretty difficult, but it is possible.  I’ve been forced into finding it the hard way, but that doesn’t have to be the case for you.
Spend less time on checking emails, social media and texts, and more time on stuff you really enjoy, whether that’s spending time with your family, having a game of golf or whatever it is for you.
Be productive not busy.  A burnt out business owner is not a productive one.
  1. Reflect Often
Gavin Preston, Business Growth Expert, has taught me to always “look back and admire the view”.  A great piece of advice. In pursuit of our goals we often lose sight of what we’ve achieved.  If you look back and admire the view you can see how far you’ve climbed.  This is an exercise that is both rewarding and motivational.  I would fully recommend doing it at least quarterly.  It doesn’t take long – you simply write down your top three ‘wins’ of the past three months.
The same is true of checking that you’re still on the right path.  Are you following the goals and path that lead to your vision?  Or have you veered off course?  By checking in with where you are against plan regularly, it will make sure you stay on course.
I wouldn’t recommend making this a long drawn-out process or it will never happen.  Just simply read down your goals and make notes of what you need to stop doing, do more of or start doing.  This regular check-in will keep you focused on what is important.
  1. Don’t Overdo the Resolutions
If you decide to go on a diet and deny yourself all your favourite foods and drinks, the chances are that you’ll feel aggrieved and fed up, and at some point you’ll likely binge on that giant bar of chocolate, bottle of wine, or whatever it is you’ve deprived yourself of.  Deep down we all know that healthy eating with the odd treat is a much more sensible and sustainable way of losing weight in the long term, yet the majority of us choose the fad diets as they bring quicker weight loss.
It’s a similar situation with New Years Resolutions.  Of the people who make them, the majority start the year with a good handful of them, and sometimes more.  Let’s face it, they ain’t gonna happen; come February, the momentum will be lost and the results will never surface.
I challenge you to make only one New Years Resolution for 2015.  Yes just the one.  If you only have one resolution to focus on it’s much more likely to happen.  You won’t be depriving yourself of multiple things or spreading your motivation thinly.
In Summary, How to Achieve a Successful 2015
 Clarity. Simplicity. Balance. Focus.
Oh and remember… no more than one New Years resolution.
Have fun!
Sarah Rugg
Sarah is the author of Sort It Out! How to increase focus and become more organised in your small business – due for release in January.
If you’d like to receive a free copy of Sarah’s book on Kindle, email me at sarah@vi-va.co.uk and i’ll send you the details.