It was Stephen Covey, in his book, First Things First, who famously challenged us to consider changing the way we think about time: from the clock to the compass. Clock thinking is all about maximizing our efforts with all our daily activities. Compass thinking is related more with our vision, values, purpose, and direction. The danger for most of us is that we allow the clock paradigm to govern the compass, rather than the other way around. We allow the urgent to dominate and displace the important. The result is that we are busy but in a direction that is not aligned with our vision, values and purpose.


Fresh eyes

I love the way we all get to stop working over the Christmas – New Year period. Most of us take a little longer and get away from home as well as work. This change of scenery is wonderful to enable you to disengage from all the details of work. Even if you cannot fully disengage, there is usually less activity around the workspace.

When you return to work, you will have what I call ‘fresh eyes’. During the year you are often too busy to notice things that may no longer be serving you. Coming back from a break is a great time to look with fresh eyes and see your business differently.


Rather than getting straight back to work, reset your compass.

NOW is the time to check in more deeply with yourself about your longer-term vision. Make sure your vision and your business activity are aligned. Same for your values. Ask yourself some deeper questions, and take a few hours, at least an afternoon off, to think. Not enough deeper thinking happens in many of our lives. If you take my advice, and carve out the time, you can make sure you are headed in the right direction in 2024. No-one can know this but you. If you take the time to listen to your heart as well as your mind on this.


5 sets of questions to help you reset your compass.

  1. Is my business vision clear? Does my vision still motivate me to set goals and work towards them? Is all my business activity aligned to my vision? If not, why not?
  2. Am I staying true to my deeply held values? Or have I compromised my values trying to get ahead? How can I address any lack of alignment?
  3. When am I likely to exit my business? (Important even if you have just started to have an answer). What am I doing this year to make sure my business is less dependent on me? (If you want to sell a business, it needs to be able to run without you there.)
  4. Does my business serve my whole life? What are the hidden costs of my business? (E.g. lack of family time, lack of fitness, stress, etc.) What could I do differently to make my business better serve my whole life?
  5. Are my team doing well? How am I developing my team? Who deserves more assistance? Who is not serving the business and needs to be performance managed up or out?

There are other questions, (E.g. about checking in on business processes, efficiencies, profit margins, etc.). The 5 sets I have outlined will help you think through many of the key issues relevant to being confident you are headed in the right direction in 2024.


Not many of us are good at coaching ourselves.

I find that I need a coach to help draw the best thinking out of me. If these questions cause you to struggle or become a bit overwhelmed, then can I suggest you reach out for a conversation. I love to help business owners think about how they can build a successful business that enables them to create a great lifestyle for themselves and their family. If you’ve got a level of success already, there will be things you already have achieved that you can leverage. I can help you develop those things that will enable you to have more time to have a great life. Your business can go even better with you doing less in it. I can help you to become one of those relatively rare individuals who do discover the freedom, flexibility, and fulfilment you were looking for when you first started your business.

To book a free consultation with John click here.



Over the years I’ve written many articles about starting the new year well! Here are a few of my favourites to help you integrate your work into all other parts of your life.

INTEGRATE: Why Work Life Balance is a Myth | John Drury

Integrate: Why Work Life Balance is a Myth and what you really need to create a fulfilling lifestyle

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