My Three Key Words for 2020

I have been putting together my intentions and goals for the year ahead. I am definitely not alone in this and imagine lots of people are thinking about resolutions. But resolutions should be more like evolutions as to set discrete goals from one year to the next does not make sense when there are long term things to achieve – for example planning for retirement, children’s college fund or re-training for a new career.

I have been a subscriber to the the Havana Cafe Podcast by @soulcruzer and @sarahbethhunt. In 2019 I learnt to have 3 words to guide the year ahead and although I had a go, in truth the words, I chose had little meaning to me as I had not properly understood how to use them and how they could impact me.

In the last few months of the 2019 a few things came together and my thought process started to become more defined. This was helped by writing a blog and the blogpalschallenge19 was my brain dump to the world. It was also Sarah’s messy morning routine of meditation which I quietly had a go at and will continue with. However, the defining word for me was ‘messy’, in that messy is actually okay when everything in life today is about instant perfection.

So here are my words for 2020 and what they mean to me:

Explore. Get lost. Rediscover my lost skill of curiosity and build up on it.

  • More reliance on instincts and intuition.
  • Dig beyond the headlines. Don’t be fed. Question – everything if needed.
  • Literally go and get lost. Ditch the iPhone & Garmin go and discover.

Proactive. Address procrastination be confident in taking action from the front.

  • See the path ahead and set about clearing the way. Define and communicate.
  • Learn new skills in business development. Crucial to Hoshin goals and I will need to seek help.
  • Balance decisions on time, cost, quality.

Circular. Start breaking from leading a linear life and move to a circular one.

  • Respect circle of of life, the changing seasons and get involved with my local environment.
  • Make better use of the tools and gadgets I have. Improve them before buying new.
  • Develop a project exploring how I can work within a circular economy.

These words form a bigger picture that goes beyond 2020 and are more affirming of a life I want to lead but also support my responsibilities to my family and my colleagues.

Time Slave to Time Lord – Chapter 1

I have long been fascinated with time. In particular how I knowingly ‘fritter and waste the hours in an off hand way’ (Time – Pink Floyd) but seem to do little about it. Time was at the back of my mind throughout the blog pals challenge, with my intention to write a piece about it.

My 2019 Christmas is befitting of this Blog

My fear is I will run out of the stuff before my time is up so I have been trying to get a grip of where this is. I came across the idea of routines through the Michael Hyatt podcast and this has been reinforced somewhat my including a little ‘messy’ meditation in my morning routine by Sarah Beth Hunt. As a result of this, I roughed out where my time is currently spent.

Green – bed; Blue daily routines; Orange – commuting; Red – work.

50 hours working

45.5 in bed (6.5 hours/night)

31 hours ‘free’ time

19 hours routines (Fridays includes chores)

17 hours morning and evening routines

5.5 hours commuting by bike

I decided to start here because time within a day is what I thinking of as ‘micro time’ and this ultimately expands out to ‘macro time’ over the course of months and years. My challenge areas are going to be:

Work – I feel 50 hours is sensible for the position I hold. This does not include business trips which impact the week significantly so I need to think about a trip routine. I need to add structure to my end of day routine and be be more diligent on my start of day – (task allocation and emails etc.)

Bed – this is a real worry area. The 6.5 hours is somewhat less and my quality of sleep is pretty bad. The truth is it has deteriorated over the years to the point I need help.

Free – this is the time I have available for me, family and friends. I could do with planning a little better as this is actually precious time that gets lost and wasted.

Routines – I have worked on this during recent months, encouraged by blogs and podcasts. It does require me to be diligent and I need to develop an end of day routine which may help my sleep.

I won’t make any bones about it but this blog will ramble on into a series as I get this figured out. I don’t need a book, an app or a guru – the only help I need is time….

My October Messy Morning Routine

In October I started a new journey set by Sarah Beth Hunt. I know of Sarah through the so was pretty tuned into Sarah’s style and having read her book the Boatman there is a lot of her thought processes that chime with me.

The routine mp3 is buried in my eclectic music collection!

I was there from the get go on Messy, Luminous Being which focuses on getting more breathing space in life – even joining the facebook group. Knowing my life is pretty hectic and taking on board my other influence (Michael Hyatt) I was kind of figuring I should focus on establishing a good morning routine and seeing if I could make it stick.

So my routine started by thinking about all the little things I need to do (shave, clean teeth, tea, eat porridge, pack bag) with a focus of being of out the door by 6:15 and cycling the 6 miles to work. On arrival, after I got changed, is where Sarah’s my ‘messy morning luminous morning’ download came in handy – I would pop my headphones on and go through the exercises followed by my treat – a cup of coffee from my local coffee shop, Blenders. This lasted for two weeks and then crashed as I had quite a few business trips running into mid November and I never went back to it.

On reflection I feel I was getting something from it. During the day I was a little more task oriented and but certainly less likely to jump to conclusions or straight to the answer. I know this for sure as we have a new product in development and I was sitting in a design review meeting and managed to hold back – allowing my colleagues to take the time to discuss and discover rather me jumping in.

It now brings me to December and I am having a bit of an episode with insomnia so this morning I tuned into Sarah’s podcast:

So my goal this week is to restart this journey and as Sarah explains it’s all about navigation and by changing your course by a small amount can give big results.

It’s not the end, it’s just the beginning.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my 30 days of blogging. Having never blogged before I was certainly in the spirit of an amateur and now aspiring to be an indie blogger! Although it may be the end of the challenge set by Clay Lowe this is just the beginning.

Mrs Anderson and Miss Anderson

I have found the process of thinking about it on and off in the day but then sitting down to type it up and suddenly to write about something else very therapeutic. Rather than being a personal diary which would be probably very inward looking it makes me think outwardly and as result I feel a more reflective and less angst in my daily attitude.

So if this wasn’t the last day of our wee challenge, this blog would be ‘Watch out the yanks are here!’ and thats because last week has been spent preparing for a deputation from Ohio. My boss, his boss and a bossy bean counter are here for a few days. My first blog was about working with Americans so it seems fitting I should make reference to them. They’re a great bunch, of course I can be picky and take issue (like we Brits do), but it’s been full on but and so far going good. Like any business, its all about team work so today I had my team report out to my boss’s boss. Most of them are smarter than me and who better to explain there 2019 gains, could do betters and insights than them. They did a great job and I don’t think anyone gave a bad account of themselves or their work.

And I think I will sign off at this point. But suffice to say whether we like it or not we all depend on one another. For everything. So work hard & play hard – together.

And don’t forget to live by the Tykes motto: “See all hear all say nowt, eat all sup all pay nowt. And if tha ivver does owt for nowt allus doit for thisen!”


You take the man out of Yorkshire…

My Dodgy Ride to Work

I like to ride my bikes whatever the weather but I hate cycling to work on frosty mornings. Today was no exception, I take a longer ‘safer’ route to work as a result I only nearly got knocked off my bike once as a opposed to up to three times when riding on the roads. Always a car pulling out of a junction and on frosty mornings with a windscreen that is not properly clear.

However, this longer route takes me on cycle paths which, like the rest of the transport infrastructure, has been cut back so much it is no longer maintained. The writing was on the wall when the council disconnected every other street light including those on the cycle paths which are also shared with pedestrians. The paths are badly designed in many places, encroached by vegetation, the surfaces are crumbing and in places the foundation has gone. So it becomes a toss up of do I risk it on the road or do I risk it on the cycle path?

We as a country need to face the challenge of mobilising people to a future less dependant on the car with a mix of micro mobility (bikes, ebikes, skateboards, scooters) and good quality reliable public transport (electric buses, trams, trolleybuses, trains). Invest in the infrastructure, invest in creating meaningful incentives and you will invest in the health of nation – with gains in productivity and a lower demand on the health service.

It will take a generation to get to the benefit so we need to invest in the generation yet to come and they will thank us for it.

My Four Gurus…

In yesterdays blog I touched on my previous attempt to do some kind of year planner with marginal success. However, I find there can be too much noise in the world and room much time is spent sorting the wheat from the chaff. In the past few months I have given it quite a bit of thought in part brought about listening to the various topics in the Havana Cafe Podcast but mainly my inner desire to achieve.

The problem is achieve what? It could be argued I have so far been successful in life but that doesn’t stop me thinking. Its more than a career and family thing. I am proud of my children – me and my wife have worked hard to give them the best start in life as we can and know. But in that we are not alone in that. My career has been unusual as I have worked for the same firm for 27 years – well it’s unusual in the context of the current generation as it was quite common before.

Now as we all know the connected world is full of stuff. So to move on I have decided to use to four references to assist me in my journey to ‘fulfilment’ – if that is where I am heading.

The first is Richard McCann. Richard and I went to school together but I did not know at the time his mother was the first victim of Peter Sutcliffe, a serial murderer. In my early 40’s I read his autobiography, About a Boy, following a conversation with my mum. Despite a start to life that tore Richard and his sister’s world apart, and real problems along the way he began to do some amazing stuff becoming a professional public speaker and author. Back in 2014 I went on a public speaking course run by and starring Richard – I learnt a tremendous amount from my old friend and bought a copy of his self help book. The book is down to earth and incredibly practical so its time to get it of the shelf and put it the use it was intended for.

My second reference is Michael Hyatt. A colleague shared some frustrations and he gave me a pdf of Michael’s ‘Be the Pilot’ – a short text of taking control of your career. Simple enough for me to understand some of it I put in to practice as at that time I had chronic work-life problems that quite frankly were tearing me mentally apart. (Not that anyone knew). In the past year I got more into podcasts and discovered through his website that he has one. I started to tune in, and quite frankly, a little sceptical as to if this would be a waste of time. Michael has a successful career in publishing and I think this makes Michaels work flow very naturally. He and his colleagues have come up with a wealth of advise, tips and tools to help, particularly with productivity – but importantly the thing that chimed with me is he talks to my inner voice to achieve. So his book below is something I am working through.

The third is not so well known. He goes by the name of John Harrison and he was hired by the company I work for to deploy his VIP2 programme. This is a values based curriculum aimed at people in a variety of leadership roles and teaching with lots of examples – now this is important because John led a number of manufacturing operations restoring them to success. A typical example of Johns doctrine is around the fact that the lowest paid people within a business are routinely the ones who have the most impact on the customer however these are typically over looked and under undervalued employees. Think about the staff i

My final guru is actually the most important. It is me. It is my conscious, my upbringing, my experience, my intellect, my needs, my passions and my sense of direction. If I don’t listen to myself then I will never find my personal nirvana of fulfilment.

It Might be November but the End of Summer is in Sight

I have never written a life plan or bucket list. I did write goals and intentions a few years ago on a spreadsheet they covered home, work, health etc, breaking it down into weekly and monthly tasks. It worked to a point but I did not give it the attention it deserved.

But next year, 2020, is a big year as I hit 50. According to my calculations if I live until I am 84 and my life is represented as a year I am leaving July and will be in August.

Late Summer with Tornado.

So I am now thinking of the bigger picture and the future of Dave Anderson plc – yes plc as at times it has seemed lots of people have had shares in me. Like any listed company the value can go down as well as up. I don’t worry worry too much about the Anderson dynasty, I have done my bit and I am pretty sure in due course Tom, my son, will do his to keep the name going. 🙂

The new revamped vision, strategy and perfectly executable timing plan will probably make a future blog as I guide Dave Anderson plc though what remains of summer!