Looking inward – A new way of planning

Winter is dragging on and it’s a natural time to go inward. What does that mean really?

Our bodies naturally want to get home a little earlier and possibly sleep a little more. We reach out for comforting, warming foods and slow down. It is our body’s way of restoring our energy and healing anything that needs to be healed.

Although we can resist this desire to slow down, it is an important time both mentally and physically. Socially, it can mean we engage less outside of the home, spending more time with our immediate family or friends. It is a perfect opportunity to reset; to go inward.

What do we really need?

Over the course of the summer months we thrive on activity and achievement. It is easier to move around and be productive. In the colder months it’s a great time to ask ourselves some harder questions like, what do I really need? For example:

  • What type of schedule is going to support my energy right now?
  • What is really motivating me?
  • Who do I feel most connected with or energised by?
  • Am I eating the best things for me?
  • Where shall I put my attention to get the greatest return?
  • How is my team doing? What do they need?

At various stages of the year, we can take the time to get quiet and ask ourselves what is most important right now, because often it changes as the year progresses and we need to reset our focus to bring back energy.

My ritual usually begins with a clear desk, or somewhere away from a screen, some blank paper and lots of colored pens. Then I write the questions above all over my page and spend time brainstorming what I need right now. Once I have some answers, I begin to plan. What can I make immediate changes in today that is going align with my needs?

The first things that I implement include:

  • The setting of my context for the next period
  • A new “ideal week” timetable that feels like it really does everything I want it to
  • A list of energising priorities and a clear reason WHY each is a priority right now
  • Identifying anyone I need to connect with or work with
  • An outline of foods that feel best during this time
  • Identifying anything that my team might need or questions to ask my team to become more supportive of their engagement and growth.

So, instead of putting pressure on yourself to plan at the beginning of the year (when you’re most likely to be enjoying some holiday time or with your family), allow your planning to become a regular review session of what’s working for you and what’s not. Keep a book or a scan of each of your planning sessions so you can look back at what you’ve needed at various points in time and how you’ve shifted through things. This reflection is an essential part of anyone’s growth and a powerful tool for development.