Countdown to the New Year: 2 More Working Days

“And now let us believe in a long year that is given to us, new, untouched, full of things that have never been, full of work that has never been done, full of tasks, claims, and demands.” – Rainer Maria Rilke

Last week, if you did what I suggested, you made a list of every one of last year’s goals that you didn’t start working on.

And also last week — I’m hoping — you did something to start each of these non-starters.

Today, I’d like you to spend the entire morning advancing further toward meeting these objectives. Start by making a daily task list of only those tasks. Assign for each one the amount of time you think you can devote to it. Then get to work. Take no unnecessary phone calls. Keep your office door closed. Get at least 15 minutes of additional work done on each item. When you are done, take a break. Reward yourself with a walk around the block, a cup of tea, a shot of booze. Well … maybe you should hold off on the booze.

Spend the afternoon taking care of any important tasks that you can’t put off. And put off — for two weeks — any tasks that aren’t urgent.

To make 2003 your best year ever — and there is no reason it can’t be — you are going to have to devote much of the next 10 days to planning and prioritizing.

I am going to help you through that process, using the system that has worked so well for me and so many other ETRs. That system will have you doing a great deal less busywork and a lot more important work. But it begins with several hours each day of serious noodling. Work a full day, because tomorrow you are going to be very distracted. When you are done, go home and sit alone for a while (if you possibly can) in a tranquil place, listening to some good, soothing music. Think about the people you care about and those who have made your life worth living.

Then join your family and be convivial. After dinner invite someone to join you on the porch for a glass of Port or Cognac. If you are tough enough, fire up a thick robusto. If you don’t smoke cigars and won’t start (I can only ask so much), eat some junk food.

Go to bed dreaming of sugarplums and fairies.

[Ed. Note.  Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]