Making the most of each year while avoiding overwhelm

April 07, 2023

Making the most of each year while avoiding overwhelm

It’s often said that we overestimate what we can achieve in a single day, yet underestimate what we can do in any given year. And in a world where life already feels increasingly busy, the idea that we might be underachieving can be disheartening.

It’s so easy for that to do list to run away from us. There are inevitably unexpected additions, distractions and shifting priorities. And when it’s happening on a daily basis, and we carry more and more forward to an already full tomorrow, we can end the week feeling unproductive and deflated.

So how can we set ourselves up to make more of each year, without getting bogged down in the daily grind, or succumbing to overwhelm or burnout? In this journal post we’ll explore practical strategies to help you incorporate your big picture dreams and goals into the year ahead, banish the overwhelm, and make steady progress towards achieving them.

Start with the end in mind

Begin by thinking about your big picture, longer term goals here - where you’d ideally like to see yourself within the next 2-5 years. Allow your imagination to flow freely, and note down your aspirations.

With the end goals identified, jot down the steps and actions required to reach each of these. Perhaps you hope to save a deposit for buying your first home, or maybe there’s a course you can take to move you closer to your next promotion. Whatever your goals, you probably already know at least some of the steps you need to take to get there.

Looking at your list of steps, consider which of these you can take action on this year to move you forward towards those goals. Circle or mark those that you’ll commit to work on.

Break it down

Sometimes the steps towards our goals can feel overwhelming. But break them down into smaller, more achievable actions, and you’ll quickly begin to see real progress towards those more significant milestones.

Let’s take the example of a course you want to take for your next promotion. On it’s own, that can seem like a major undertaking. So instead begin by initially committing to just researching the course. You’ll quickly be able to identify potential dates, locations, course providers and costs, and be able to make an informed decision on when and where you’d realistically be able to attend. Confirming your place can be another step, and completing the course another. And this can be applied to any goal, regardless of the complexity - only the number of steps will change.

Schedule, schedule, schedule

A crucial, if not the most crucial, stage in setting yourself up for success is ensuring you schedule time for each of your tasks. Avoid the trap of relying on notions of ‘finding time’ to work on your goals. Instead, identify specific dates and times - periods blocked off in your diary or planner where you’ll commit to working on them. This commitment ensures you prioritise your tasks and follow through on your intentions.

To manage a busy schedule, it can help to begin looking at the year in quarters. You’ll quickly be able to see which of the quarters is overloaded, and where you can move tasks around to give yourself a better balance of activity and workload.

And once you have your quarters planned out, you can assign tasks to a particular month, then week, and finally specific days and times.

Keep it visible

To stay focused and motivated, it’s helpful to keep your goals and action plan visible. Consider re-writing or typing up your initial notes to create a high-level overview. Tuck it into your planner, or display it somewhere you can refer to it daily. Having a visual representation of your plan will ensure your longer term goals and objectives stay front and centre in your mind, help inspire you to action, and keep you committed to working through your plan.

(And if you’d prefer a ready made template for all of the above, we’ll be adding a vision planner to the store within the coming months.)

Final thoughts

A proactive and intentional approach, and a commitment to consistent effort are key in making the most of each year. By starting with the end in mind, breaking down goals into manageable steps, and scheduling dedicated time for action, you can achieve meaningful progress while avoiding overwhelm. Embrace the process, stay motivated and enjoy the journey towards a successful and fulfilling year ahead.


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