Get Organized!

DR. FRANK BUCK: Welcome the ‘Roaring 20s’ (column)

Birthdays that end in “zero” have never impacted me. Years that end in “zero” are a different story.

When I turned 20, that birthday seemed no different from the several before or the several to follow. But six months later, when the calendar approached 1980, the feeling was profound and unforgettable.

As television shows relived the 1970s, I relived my own journey. 

When the decade began, I was two-thirds of the way through elementary school. When it ended, I was two-thirds of my way through college. At its beginning, I had never played a band instrument. At its end, I was prepared for a career in teaching band.

Three questions

As television relives the last decade and makes predictions for the one to follow, it's a good time for us to do the same on a personal level. Ask yourself these three questions:

  1. What are the decisions you made over the last decade that resulted in a significant change in your life? Perhaps the decision was where to attend college, what job to take, what job to leave or what relationship to foster.

  2. Who were the people that influenced your decisions? Nobody lives life in isolation. In a noisy world, the most important messages come not from a giant billboard, but by a whisper in the ear. Who are the people responsible for those whispers during his last decade?

  3. What have you learned from the successes and failures of the last decade? You'll have an opportunity to use those lessons in the one ahead.

Your own life cycles

In the 1965 book “Libraries of the Future,” J. C. R. Licklider writes, “People tend to overestimate what can be done in one year and to underestimate what can be done in five or 10 years.” How can you make the most of what lies ahead? What worked for you before will work again.

The decisions you made

You made some good decisions over the last 10 years. What were the circumstances that surrounded the very best? At the same time, what were the circumstances that led to the worst? Take what you learned and duplicate the circumstances that lead to life-enhancing change.

The people you met

Who were the people who “whispered in your ear” and influenced the best outcomes in your life? Continue to listen to them and others like them. Avoid the “noisemakers” who have their own agendas.

Motivational speaker Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” 

Who are those five people for you? If you don’t like what you see, adjust accordingly. Who are the people you would like to know but don't know right now? There's a chance you know someone who knows someone who can make the introduction. 

There are people who will play a significant role in your life in the decade ahead, for good or bad, that you have not even met. Get started fostering the positive relationships.

The lessons we learn

What do you want life to look like when the calendar says “2030?” What will your life look like in terms of your education? What about your financial situation, health or job status? If the answer to the questions is, “I don't know,” then it's tough to make the decisions and foster the relationships that will get you there.

Write a letter

In a blog post entitled “Christmas Letters from the Future,” I outlined an idea to help you set goals and keep yourself on track throughout the year. You can find it here:

The decade ahead is a book of blank pages. As we welcome the Roaring 20s, what we write will be determined by the decisions we make, the people meet and the lessons we learn along the way.

Happy New Year. Let the "20s" hear you roar.

 Frank Buck is the author of “Get Organized!: Time Management for School Leaders.” "Global Gurus Top 30" named him #1 in the Time Management category for 2019. Dr. Buck speaks throughout the United States and internationally about organization and time management. You can reach him through his website: Follow him on Twitter @DrFrankBuck.