At last! It’s that time of year when business partners and colleagues do not expect an immediate response to calls and emails. Bliss!
Being left alone, even for a few working days, is the perfect time for taking a different perspective and a reflective look at achievements as the year has progressed. Astonishingly, we are already two-thirds through 2018.
Historically August is a month bound by school holidays, family breaks and eternal summery days where nothing much needs to be planned or achieved until September; a time for reflection and a time for looking forward. So, however much time you take off during August it is probably the perfect pause to a fast-moving year.
Personally I think August is a much more effective time for assessment than New Year with its usually exhausting pressures of post-Christmas, bad weather, over-spending and (probably) too much family.
So, if you’re on annual leave, even for a few precious days, try to harness your time out from your usual, everyday life. Away from the habitual we automatically have a new perspective.
Use your sun lounger or deckchair as a space for personal thinking. Perhaps think about what you’ve achieved so far this year? What was on your New Year list that still needs to be done? Have you lost sight of your goals? Are you going to do more of what you want rather than what is expected of you?
Taking time to have these conversations with yourself away from your usual work life and routine is healthy and you might decide to make this part of a 15 minute session each morning. If you do, don’t overcomplicate it – you don’t have to decide to call it meditation or personal development, or keep a journal; it can merely be a conversation with your best friend: you!
To help you, here are five questions I get people to ask themselves in their 15 minutes (or longer if they’re in a deckchair somewhere sunny with a large glass of chilled wine):
• How does it feel to live my life now? What do I like? What do I want to change? What could I improve?
• Evaluating the year so far – what has gone well and what still needs work?
• Moving forward – if I saw myself in two years living the same life, how would I feel? How focused am I on moving forward or am I procrastinating?
• What is stopping me from achieving my goals? Do those obstacles actually exist or are they an excuse?
• Letting go of things I no longer need in my life. How good am I at doing this? What do I want to keep and why?
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