We are mid-November, caught between finishing what we need to accomplish and account for this year, and preparing for the new year coming.
As time available seems to shorten, and calendars fill up with impossible amounts of residual tasks, our heads can start to feel full and pressurised. Attention spans and tolerance levels shorten. Board meetings, end of term and end of year commitments, reports, and reassessments pepper the remaining weeks. We’re not done with this year yet, but we can see the next one coming and are starting to look up towards it.
Today’s reminder will be a simple one based on an axiom that is hammered into our heads in the aviation industry: “Aviate, Navigate, Communicate”
It remains one of my favourite self-management tools and a reminder always to focus on the task at hand, especially when your plate feels very full.
In the cockpit, “Aviate, Navigate, Communicate” is hammered into our heads so that it’s forefront in our mind when the proverbial wheels start to fall off mid-flight. When we’re new to flying, the number of tasks we need to accomplish in any given moment can become overwhelming very easily. As our experience grows, handling multiple requirements in quick succession becomes second nature, but there is always room for potential confusion if an unexpected event were to occur.
In moments when clarity is needed, “Aviate, Navigate, Communicate” reinforces the order required to achieve and maintain control. “Aviate” means fly the airplane first. Concentrate on the immediate task at hand and make sure you have the basics under control. “Navigate” means that once those basics are under control, you can decide where you need to go next – what your next moves need to be. Once you have decided what your planned next moves need to be, then you “Communicate” those moves to those who need to know.
If we were to try and decide on direction or communication before we’d focused on the task at hand, we could very well find ourselves out of control of our aircraft, at which point navigation and communication wouldn’t matter much.
At this point of the year, as time becomes pressurised and tasks mount, focusing on the right things first becomes paramount to maintaining control and mental presence.
Assess what remains on your plate to complete in 2022. Be specific about the prioritisation of those tasks. Focus on each task in order. Aviate – “fly the airplane” – do the basics right. Stay present.
Once you’ve checked that the basics are under control, decide on the direction you need to go in and the next steps you need to take. Once you’re clear on those steps, communicate your needs and intentions to anyone else who is involved in that outcome.
Remaining focused and present, and refusing to be side-tracked or consumed by mounting time pressures and demands is how you’ll ensure you finish this year productively and powerfully.
by Christen Killick
November 21st, 2022