At this time of year, I’m usually pushing to finish strong, both personally and professionally. I’m helping my clients get ready for a quick year-end close and effective kickstart to the new year. I’m finishing my own planning and goal setting as well, because I like to start each year with a clear direction and strategy. I thought it might be helpful to share some of the things I learned and experimented with this year.
12-Week Year Process
For the last two quarters, I’ve been using the 12 Week Year process. I love the idea of shrinking the year into 12-week segments, and then further breaking it down to weekly actions that are measured and tracked weekly. I had a hard time with this in the beginning. I had some bad weeks. But overall, it was a great way for me to see progress on a couple of projects that would not have gotten done if I didn’t have a precise focus. I recommend this book by Brian Moran and Michael Lennington: The 12 Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks than Others Do in 12 Months.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
I’ve utilized AI for some writing help. It simplified some complicated memos, clarified business process instructions, and enhanced some of my more creative writing efforts. I learned it certainly does not replace the human touch in writing, and you have to customize it for the situation. But it’s a big help in avoiding “Blank Paper Syndrome.”
I anticipate this tool having a big impact for me next year. I am always looking for new approaches and systems to up my capability. AI add-ins for MS Word, Excel, and PowerPoint will be great additions to their product suite, and will certainly help me produce better presentations.
First Principle Algorithm
Inspired by Elon Musk’s “first principal algorithm,” I scrutinized and optimized business processes, emphasizing the elimination of unnecessary tasks before automation. This philosophy, encompassing questioning, deletion, systematization, acceleration, and automation, has become a guiding principle in enhancing operational efficiency for myself and my clients.
In general, I have great experiences with my clients. But like anyone in business, there are times when challenges come up. Hindsight is 20/20, and I learned some things to do differently in the future. I learned that being assertive and direct is often necessary for handling difficult conversations. Make sure expectations are clear on all sides. Make mid-course corrections and stay committed to communication to avoid misunderstandings.
Food / Exercise Discipline
I worked on living a low/no-sugar lifestyle this year. I started a no-dessert policy. I find that cutting a food altogether works better for me than moderation – you have to know what works best for you. And, I’ve been logging all my food intake. Writing it down helps me stay on track. I found myself less disciplined about logging my workouts, and guess what – I ended up skipping many days and my intensity plummeted. I got back to my daily log this last quarter and it proved again to me that what gets measured gets done.
Meditation and Journaling
I generally get up at 5:00 am to do a morning ritual that includes a meditation practice. This year, I increased my practice from 10 minutes to 20 minutes every day. I noticed a big difference in the rest of my day. I also have been journaling daily for the last six months. This took me some time, but it has been really helpful to cultivate ideas, and handle issues. I have better focus, mindfulness, and clarity.
We’ve been building a new house over the last two years. It’s amazing to create something new, but the number of decisions involved is incredible. Add the stress of falling behind schedule and going over budget – it can get overwhelming. I am fortunate that my team (i.e. my wife) stepped up to lead the project so I could focus more on business. The process has taught me a great deal – not only about construction and project management but also leadership, negotiation, teamwork (delegation?) – and stress management!
As I look ahead, the lessons learned and practices adopted promise continued personal and professional growth in the coming year. Ask yourself the following questions, and let’s both look forward to more progress and resilience!
What is your next bold move?
Are you committed to certain disciplines for the new year?
Where can you up your skills?
Contact me for help streamlining your financial processes next year!