Last week, we explored how Q4 pushes people to accumulate tasks, activities, and obligations. The driver behind that accumulation? Urgency.
Urgency drives us to go, go, go. We move through the day at a frenetic pace, cramming in everything we can. We fight accumulation by simplifying. We fight urgency by stopping.
When we stop, we can recalibrate. We can mindfully alter our current trajectory, or make the changes we need to accelerate. There are three strategies you can leverage to help you step back in order to press on.
Reflect to Plan Accurately
We know about the importance of considering the past when planning for a launch, projecting a budget, or anticipating the time it will take to complete a project. But this reflection doesn’t always translate into planning within our personal lives.
How long will sorting through your inbox really take? Which social engagements will you really regret missing? Which activities will really push you closer to your goal? Was saving the extra $30 on that predawn flight really worth it?
These are the kinds of questions that shape how you plan for the future. Whether you want to contribute high-leverage results or create meaningful memories with those you love, your past is full of helpful data. You might be thinking back to last year, last month, or last week. When you’ve reviewed the past, you can more accurately preview the future.
How can you leverage this strategy practically? Recommitting to your Weekly Preview is the most obvious place to start. But you can also pause before planning any new endeavor (from your newest blog post to your family vacation) and ask, “What have I learned that could shape how I move forward?” Your answers might surprise you.
Rest to Work Effectively
It’s easy for rest to be crowded out during Q4. There’s just one problem. Rest is the fuel that powers activity. It’s essential for feeling grounded and purposeful as you move throughout your week. And, it allows you to show up as your best self at work and beyond.
Practically, it might be time to recommit to protecting your sleep. Are you making it to bed on time most nights? If not, what’s getting in the way? If your sleep quality is suffering, how might you tweak your Evening Ritual to help your body and mind slow down?
What about your other needs? What are the gaps you’re experiencing in your life right now? What kinds of rest might help you feel connected, rejuvenated, and empowered? Preventing burnout is much simpler than bouncing back from it. What do you need to stay the course?
Reevaluate to Finish Strong
Ready for an unsurprising revelation? Our ability to anticipate the future is limited. As time passes, you have access to more data. And yet, we too often ignore this data in the name of sticking to the plan.
Maybe the goal you assigned for Q4 isn’t the one that would most advance your vision—or maybe you need to adjust the finish line. Maybe you need to reprioritize your projects, dropping new product development in favor of focusing on Black Friday sales. Maybe you committed to a cruise with the family only to realize that postponing in favor of a leisurely staycation would ease the stress without sacrificing connection.
You know more now than you did when you made your commitments or formed your plan. Readjusting as necessary isn’t a form of failure, but wisdom. Pay attention to your emotions: frustration, dread, overwhelm, discouragement, confusion, and fear are all signs it might be time to reevaluate.
You get to choose how you’ll respond to the urgency you feel—whether it’s coming from you, your relationships, or the wider environment. Take advantage of that agency. If you feel like you’re moving too fast, stop. Reset. Then, proceed.
Stepping back is how you press on.
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