The beginning of the year, in fact, the entire first quarter is my favorite time of year. We’re making plans, building out vision and focusing on how we’ll execute on the strategy.

I find this time of year to be invigorating but also overwhelming. The beginning months of the fiscal year means the possibilities are endless. The sky is the limit and I’m always tempted to try and make it bigger this year than last year.

And by February, I’m swimming in the busyness of all of that. Why?

Because no matter what, if you’re not hyper focused on a couple of big initiatives, you’ll get swept away by all the other busy work.
Despite “shiny distraction” syndrome, I know that the best plan is to focus at the beginning of the year. I have a couple of tips to reign myself back in.

Stripping it down

If you could only accomplish one thing in the next year, what would it be?
What if you only had 3 things but you had to execute them perfectly?
How much time would you focus on them?

How much energy would you put into them?

Stripping your focus back to a few key items gives you the room to really commit to a path and execute with creativity and purpose. It allows you to be flawless. That focus keeps you from drowning in the busy. Don’t be busy. Be badass.

Saying no to distractions

Saying no is hard. This seems to be especially true for women.I say yes way too often to additional responsibilities, especially if it’s something I’m excited about. Or I think it’s only going to take a minute.

And why not?When I’m fired up or engaged in something, I can usually find time for it. Or if it’ll only take a minute then I think, what’s the harm in tackling something small?

The problem is that if it’s not serving your key initiatives then it’s stealing time and energy from somewhere else. If it only takes 30 minutes to do – is that 30 minutes  you don’t spend working on your objectives?

This isn’t to say you shouldn’t help others. And hey, I definitely spend 30 unnecessary minutes a day looking at dogs on instagram, daily! But weigh the cost. At the end of the year is your review going to show you achieved what you set out to? Was your work flawless? Did it exceed expectations? Did you feel good about where you landed? Or did busyness get in the way of accomplishing something big?

Don’t let little distractions mess with your plan. Stay on the path. Stay focused.

Urgent vs Priority

When items of urgency show up in my inbox. I jump. I jump high and I jump far.

We’ve all be there. We jump on the urgency bandwagon, drop what we’re doing and attend to the fire. Even if it’s not our fire. Even if putting out the fire isn’t our priority.

The more empathetic you are the worse you do this. When urgent issues arise, stop before getting involved and assess how invested you should be.

  1. Is this even your issue?
  2. Are you capable of solving it?
  3. Which is more important – the urgent or the priority?
  4. What would happen if instead of managing the urgent, you stayed committed to the priority?

Before you stop working on your priority, consider whether it’s worth it to step away for urgency.


Set your Big 3

This year, mine are :

  • Thought Leadership
  • Coaching to results
  • Using Key Performance Indicators to inform the top two

Looking at that list, my knee jerk reaction is to keep going. What else can I do? How else can I add value?

But I also KNOW that execution on my Big 3 will have a massive impact on my organization and the attorneys I partner with. I also know that the Big 3 are so much bigger than they look. They’ll required lots of tactics, different approaches, multiple stakeholders and several bottles of wine.

Adding to my list only means I limit the time I’m able to devote to delivering. I’ll get lost in the busyness before I’m out of Q1 and I have way too much to accomplish in 2019 to let that happen.



If you haven’t already set your plan or your Big 3 for the year, do it now. Then focus on plan. When it gets to be too much and you’re drowning in the urgent and the busy, you’ll know you can take a deep breath and take it back to the basics.