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Four ideas for an inspired fourth quarter

Hi there, We’re heading into the home stretch of 2020. High time to get your list of goals in order f

Work in Progress

September 28 · Issue #51 · View online
The newsletter about work

Hi there,
We’re heading into the home stretch of 2020. High time to get your list of goals in order for the next 3 months.
I find that 3 months is really the perfect time span for this. A year is just too long – you can lose sight of your plans. And a month is too short. Just when you start making real progress, it’s time to wrap things up. What works for me is setting explicit goals for myself each quarter.
The final quarter starts this week, so let’s get to it!

When it comes to new goals, here are four ideas that can help:
1. Decide to stop doing something for 3 months. You can free up loads of time by parking certain activities temporarily. In past quarters, I stopped watching YouTube and went cold turkey on Netflix. And lived to tell about it.
I’ve experimented with things like just stop drinking coffee – which I have to admit didn’t last long – and no checking email on your phone – which I reversed within weeks. But I’ve noticed that even the failed experiments have positive side effects.
It’s a reset of sorts, and it made me more intentional about my coffee drinking and emailing and Netflix-watching choices.
2. What new thing will you check out this quarter? In Atomic Habits (good book btw), James Clear writes about the explore/exploit tradeoff: He shows it’s good to exploit the skills and habits you already have, but it’s better to spend some of your time searching for new ones.
What new thing do you want to learn how to do? What do you want to explore in the next 3 months? And here I’m talking specifically about skills that people could pay you for down the road.
3. What gets you excited? Professional skills aside, can you come up with a goal that makes you a little nervous or excited? This type of goal nudges you out of your comfort zone. And it can prove to be a source of lasting memories.
A while back, I decided to meet someone new over coffee every week, because it’s easy for me to just lock myself up at my computer. On the scarier side of the spectrum: I once went skydiving as a result of this type of brainstorm – which turned out to be more than a little nerve wracking, but still.
Maybe you want to try singing lessons, or learn to build an A+ campfire or to tell better stories, or find a way to help your neighbors in these uncertain times. Anything goes, as long as it’s a tad scary.
4. What’s crying out for action but gets continually postponed? Consider adding one of those long-overdue tasks to your to-do list. The satisfaction you get from finally doing that bookkeeping work, or visiting that great aunt, or getting your 401K in order, or taking care of that insurance thing will soon make you hungry for more.
This week: Do your own quarterly
If you could use some more pointers on setting goals, here’s the issue on making your goals actually happen. There I also walk you through how to do a quarterly review, which includes those new goals. Feel free to use my template. 
So set aside an hour or so this week, grab that template and get started. It’s easy. And you’ll be reaping the benefits through Christmas and beyond.
Have a good one,

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