As many of you know, I center each new year around one defining word. This year, that word is:
Some of you may have noticed a trend in my annual choices. In recent years, I’ve learned to say “no,” to “simplify” and to focus on what’s “essential.”
The long game is to focus on letting go of the good to make room for the great — and this year is no different. I’m doing my best to continue letting go: of control, of social media, of too-tight pants …
Refining isn’t about being more productive or fitting more into my day. It’s about doing less but with bigger impact.
It’s about defining what’s essential and prioritizing what’s most important.
It’s not about cutting back and eliminating for its own sake. It’s about cutting back to get to the pure gold.
Here are three ways I’m planning to refine this year.
Prioritizing My Energy
I recently had a summit with my fantastic virtual assistants, Eileen and Leah, about refining my calendar. I love the variety of what I do — speaking, writing, representing brands I believe in, coaching clients — but it can be hard to switch from thing to thing to thing throughout the day. It can be disorienting and draining.
In 2023, we’re refining my calendar by implementing a theme or priority for each day of the week. Monday will be a writing day; Tuesdays and Thursdays will be client and networking calls; Wednesday will be a marketing day.
And thanks to the exercise of tracking my time, inspired by Laura Vanderkam and Dorie Clark, I’ve also finally admitted that I am pretty useless after 3pm. That will now be time for reading, organizing and maybe sometimes, well, napping.
Elevating What Matters
I’m a Virgo, so I’m naturally pretty meticulous. But I’ve recognized that I still have room to improve and declutter — not just in real life, but also digitally. I started this past year by cutting back on social media channels that weren’t adding anything to my life.
But I still have apps on my phone and files on my computer that feel like they’re weighing me down (I probably don’t need that speech from 2013 …)
Decluttering is especially powerful in helping us prioritize what’s most important.
I was teaching my tween daughter how to declutter her bedroom recently. While cleaning and organizing the drawers and bins and closets and piles, we kept finding things that were really meaningful but that she’d forgotten about because the clutter obscured them. We pulled those things out and put them on display.
The purpose of decluttering isn’t to live in an empty room: It’s to rediscover and elevate the good stuff. That’s the joy of refining.
Making Your Contribution Count
One lesson I’ve learned as a speaker is that sometimes people talk too much. (Myself included!)
It’s often the moments of silence, the pacing and the precise word choices that have the biggest impact.
This year, I’m committing to refining my speech content, conversations, meetings, emails and other communications.
And so, in 2023, my plan is to refine my calendar, my surroundings and my professional contributions. I want to cut out what’s unnecessary and amplify what’s great in order to find more wisdom, more peace and more joy.
Do you have a word of the year for 2023? I’d love to know!