At this time of year I am naturally starting to think about what comes next.

Oddly, this also involves bicycles and icecream.

For me it is time to lock critical dates in my diary, checking in with clients to see what they are looking for in the coming year and generally planning ahead.

It's tricky to find time for this as my plate is already full.

This year, unusually so as one of my team is in hospital so I have picked up two extra programs so we don't let a client down.

All this occurs while I am determined to continue adding more value to both my clients and my business while not burning the midnight oil.

I'm old enough to know that burning too much of it is counter productive.

So, what to do?

#1 – The usual – keep myself organised, focusing on the most important things first. Declutter, prioritise, optimise: This, however, doesn't always cut the list of ‘to dos' nearly far enough.

#2 – The still usual – focus on ‘the now' so I don't suffer from overwhelm by thinking about that growing to-do list

#3 – The new thing – rather than forcing myself to stop thinking about the list, actively think about the exciting plans I have for the business and let that list take care of itself.

It's a bit like when learning to ride a bike: as soon as we start focusing on the tree we don't want to hit we head straight for it. Instead, focus on the path that we do want to ride on.

Strangely enough this has been the most powerful hack of all.

By focusing more on the next big thing (which in itself is something I find motivating) I am finding that what I call the ‘ice cream theory' of time management works a treat.

Have you noticed that children ALWAYS have room for ice cream?

Strangely, I'm getting the old things and the new things done during moderately sensible hours.

Even better. I'm sleeping like a top, which means I have lots of energy to do both the things I have to do and the things I want to do.

What is the next big thing that will have a big impact on what you need to achieve for 2022?

Kind regards,



PS – In no way do I mean to belittle the ‘hacks' from last year. They have been hugely useful. They have laid the groundwork for me to be able to prioritise and focus on the good stuff. I hope they help as you plan for 2022 also.

It's time to plan for 2022 …

Over the last year I have continued working toward using my time better and becoming more impactful generally.

Next week I'll share my ‘big aha' with you that has helped fix the one problem that optimising my time spent did NOT fix.

Here's the back story to start you thinking ….


Hack 1 – Diagnose and Declutter

Clarity First alum Steve shares ideas on how he transitioned from being an engineer to becoming a strategic leader who takes nights and weekends off as well as going sailing most Wednesday afternoons. Click here to learn from Steve and grab hold of a template that will help you start your own journey toward becoming maximising your impact while minimising your effort.

Hack 2 – Prioritise

We all know we need to prioritise …. but HOW do we do that so we know which tasks we should eliminate, delegate, automate or do? In this post I turn to a favourite of mine: Michael Hyatt to capture some practical ideas from his excellent Free to Focus book. Click here to learn more.

Hack 3 – Optimise

This time I point you to my first substantive conversation with Richard Medcalf of Xquadrant who specialises in helping successful people magnify their impact. He offers a number of terrific ideas including how to:

  • Harness your curiosity to increase your influence
  • Lead strategically when there is already too much to do
  • Use a concept called prisons and fortresses to make sure you get to the things that really matter
  • And plenty more too. Click here to learn more.

Hack 4 – Bonus ideas

I found this process so useful that I wanted to share some final ideas stemming from my own experience in learning from Steve, Michael and Richard. Go beyond the theory to get some more ideas here.


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I help senior leaders and their teams prepare high-quality papers and presentations in a fraction of the time.

This involves 'nailing' the message that will quickly engage decision makers in the required outcome.

I leverage 25+ years' experience including

  • learning structured thinking techniques at McKinsey in Hong Kong in the mid 1990s before coaching and training their teams globally as a freelancer for a further 15 years
  • being approved to teach the Pyramid Principle by Barbara Minto in 2009
  • helping CEOs, C-suite leaders and their reports deeply understand their stakeholder needs and communicate accordingly
  • seeing leaders cut the number of times they review major papers by ~30% and teams cut the amount of time they take to prepare major papers by ~20%*
  • watching senior meetings focus on substantive discussions and better decisions rather than trying to clarify the issue

My approach helps anyone who needs to engage senior leaders and Boards.

Recent clients include 7Eleven, KPMG, Mercer, Meta, Woolworths.

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(*) Numbers are based on 2023 client benchmarking results.