• Alan Shoebridge

4 simple questions to set your course for 2021 … and help you stay focused!


As we start the first full work week of the New Year, many of us are looking for ways to take stock of what we’ve been doing and set the course for future success. It struck me that a simple way to do that is by asking yourself four questions.


1. What are you doing?

2. Why are you doing it?

3. Can you do it better?

4. If so, how?


The beauty of this framework is that it can be applied to your personal or professional life in so many different ways. On the work side of things, it can be applied to a single aspect of your work or your entire plan for 2021. On the personal front, these questions can be used to assess your impact on the environment, improve relationships, etc.


The universal application of these four questions struck me after listing to an episode of the Ezra Klein podcast where he interviewed Michael Schur who was a creator of The Good Place on NBC, and Pamela Hieronymi, a professor at UCLA specializing in the subjects of moral responsibility, psychology and free will.


It’s a really interesting episode as the three discuss what it means to be a good person. Schur used the four questions above to help assess the “am I good person?” philosophical debate that we've all probably had with ourselves at some point. To me, this four-question framework seems as effective for that personal purpose (if you’re feeling especially deep and reflective) as it is for assessing your professional work.


Why this matters so much in 2021


If we know why we’re doing things and have really evaluated if something can be done better that’s a huge component of being successful. In some instances asking those questions will help force the discussion of whether something should be stopped altogether. That’s also extremely useful.


Although the answers to these four questions around any specific issue won't always be simple, they will be worth asking. Here is a great resource for when you are assessing the potential value of marketing/communication/PR activities.


The start to 2021 is going to be difficult as we slowly emerge from the impact of COVID-19. We’ll need to work smarter and be adaptable as the year unfolds. Taking time to regularly assess what we're doing is going to be critically important.

Listen to the podcast mentioned in this article here:


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