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Pete Matthew: Why I am planning to have a mindful year

Matthew-Pete-2012-700.jpgLike many others, I have spent the past few weeks setting my mind to planning and thinking about the year ahead. Already it is clear that the theme for this year is going to be mindfulness.

I don’t know about you but sometimes I feel like I am constantly on the back foot, dodging this way and that, trying to stay on my feet while at the same time aiming to look ahead towards the next challenge.

I know these are first-world problems, but still. I want this year to be lived intentionally, with forethought and care, rather than just reacting to whatever it throws at me.

Firstly, and most importantly, I want to use my time mindfully. I have established an ideal week, with sections of each day blocked out for various tasks. I’m not so naïve as to think I will be able to make every real-life week live up to the ideal, but I am doing everything I can to make it happen, including ensuring my team know what it looks like so they can keep it in mind when making appointments for me.

This blocking of time extends to evenings and, to a lesser extent, the weekends too. My side-project-that’s-become-a-monster, Meaningful Money, takes up a lot of time and, if I don’t want it to completely overtake my home life, I need to limit the evenings that I spend on it.

My mindful take on life also considers my relationships carefully. For example, I need to not drift through my married life, assuming all is well until it is not. I need to cherish my wife and let her know how important she is to me.

The best way to do that is to give her my time and attention, so we have some time set aside each week exclusively for each other – maybe to watch a movie, go to dancing lessons or just to sit and chat. The same goes for my youngest daughter, Kate. She has GCSEs this year and I will be helping her with physics revision for the next few months.

Another area I really want to focus on being mindful with is my use of money. This takes in everything from being intentional with my savings rate to making sure my utilities offer value for money. I hope to give more and think carefully about where I want to donate the resources I am lucky enough to enjoy.

Mindfulness is super-important in my business too. Like many business owners, I try to look five years ahead when it comes to planning. The next five years are going to see a significant change in the ownership structure, with likely retirements on the horizon. Those need to be planned for, even this far ahead, because they will be here before we know it.

As the leader of my company, I need to be an example of managing my own time and projects carefully.

I need to excel in everything I do, from client file notes to chairing a meeting, so that those working for me can learn from me.

I am more excited about the year ahead than I have been for a long time. I think that is because this may be the first time I have ever been so calm and collected about the challenges ahead, since I have a plan to face them. I have broken the challenges down into next steps and am working my way through them.

Sooner or later, there is going to be a curveball and I know the politicians will do their best to screw things up for us. But hopefully taking the time to be mindful about all these things will stand me, my family and my business in good stead.

Pete Matthew is managing director of Jacksons Wealth Management

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