You might already be contemplating your New Year’s Resolutions with an increasing sense of unease. The reality of those promises, made in the euphoric atmosphere of the party season, is probably now sinking in!

Chances are that you set yourself some goals and there was a theme of achieving more that permeated your thinking.

The traditional approach to getting more productive stresses the following: get better organised; make a list of great ideas; commit to lots and lots of goals; measure everything to the finest detail and use your down time as effectively as possible.

This year, I’m trying something different. The first thing I’m going to do is to not get better organised but instead to strive to be better focused. I’m going to simplify my approach to my life and to my work. If I am concentrating more on the big things that matter, I really don’t need to be better organised and in the words of Stephen Covey, I’m going to stop being caught up in the thick of thin things.

Secondly, I’m going to ditch the list of ideas that intimidates me on a daily basis because some of the ideas that seemed so great a year ago are still there in black and white and nothing has happened! This year, I’m going to use my discretionary effort on projects that excite me so much that they don’t need to go on a list, as I can’t wait to start them!

Thirdly, out goes the list of multiple goals. I have worked with highly successful people long enough to know that having just one goal could be enough. The trick is finding the right one – one that acts as an umbrella for all of the rest. Some people boil this down to their purpose in life or that, which gives their existence meaning. I admire this.

Fourthly, I’m going to dispense with all of the tracking and monitoring that has surrounded my goals in the past. If I write, I’ll focus on the enjoyment of being creative and if I go to the gym I’ll be more aware in the moment of the feeling of exercise. I’ll let the results take care of themselves.

And lastly I’m not going to use my down time more effectively because my definition of effective in the past has been based on throughput not on importance. I’m going to think less and feel more; allow my thoughts to distil and my creativity to blossom without being forced and bent out of shape by a desire to go faster and do more.

Care to join me. We can compare notes. Brief notes!





Chris leads Serco Consulting’s Organisational Psychology and Change service line and is a Chartered member of the CIPD, a member of the British Psychological Society (BPS) and the European Coaching and Mentoring Council (EMCC) and an experienced management consultant and coach.

He holds a BSc. (Hons) in Psychology, an MA in Law and Employment Relations (Dist.), post graduate qualifications in Business and Executive Coaching and has over 20 years of HRM experience.