Choosing what NOT to do in 2019

It’s been nearly two full years since I relinquished the title of CEO to pursue my consulting business and choose with greater clarity and intention where I invest my time and energy. Monthly blogs on my website chart this journey of “getting grounded” and “cultivating leadership well-being” that guides the current framework of my life. Here are the themes that emerged this year: family, gardening, self-awareness, work, travel, accountability, math, aging, politics and love. It’s encouraging to see the shift from work-related energy to self and family-related activities – this was the underlying goal when I set my professional transition in motion.

As last year came to a close, I wrote about “Walking into the Possibilities of 2018,” and asked questions about doing more work that matters, making more positive changes in my community and exploring more opportunities that were not on my radar. Clearly, the operative word was “more” and I can honestly say that I delivered on my promise. It was a fulfilling and productive year: I spread my creative wings and curated my life with more freedom than I ever thought possible while engaging in an interesting variety of activities and projects. More importantly, I gave myself permission to carve out ample time to unwind and restore.

With the new year right around the corner, I’m paying closer attention to the inner voice that is beckoning me to contemplate the ethic of “less is more” coined by architect Mies van der Rohe by starting from a place of choosing what NOT to do. So, what could this practice look like and how can it be implemented? Here are three key themes and accompanying questions to consider:

1.     Prioritize – Take a look at all of the family, work and community-related activities and projects where you invested your time during the past year. Which ones aligned with your values and purpose and brought you joy? Where did you commit yourself out of habit, impulse or a sense of duty? What could you subtract and/or hand off to someone else to stretch their leadership capabilities? Where can you make space for yourself to simply be present with nothing to do but be?

2.     Unsubscribe – How busy is your inbox? How many messages are soliciting you for things you do not need, from someone you do not know and are not serving your best interests? What lands in your snail mail box? How many catalogues, circulars or unsolicited junk mail do you recycle into the landfill? Digital tools allow you to opt into electronic delivery or cancel altogether. All it takes is time and intention to cut back your information overload so you can focus on things that matter.

3.     Organize – How often do you find yourself searching for a file, a possession, an article of clothing, your car keys? How does this affect your performance and overall well-being? Without going minimal because it’s the trendy thing to do, how can you restore order in your home, workplace and/or laptop to move through your day with more ease? What can you throw away, give away, recycle, upcycle and engage your creative spirit? Try shopping your own closets instead of heading to the next sale.

Here’s to a new year of making wise choices to get more grounded! With appreciation and gratitude to Steve Jobs for setting this theory in motion.