“Don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need.  These are the sacrifices that please God” – Hebrews 13:16

This is the time of year for celebration, reflection, introspection, prospects and resolutions.

Pause to remember that livestock farmers with lactating dairy herds, housewives and caterers who provide the food and drink and those involved in providing essential or emergency services are all on duty throughout the traditional “twelve days of Christmas”.

Visits from and to family and friends, receiving Christmas presents, the joy of children’s laughter, all of these contribute to that Christmas feeling, as captured in the Olivia Olson lyrics: “I take it everywhere I go; And make that Christmas feeling grow; Come on I know you don’t want to miss this; Lets make that Christmas feeling grow”.  It would be nice if we could extend the wonderful relatively cool temperatures and that Christmas feeling throughout the year. Experience has shown that we must get back to reality and put our shoulders to the wheel and implement our respective action plans.

As I reflect over the past year there are many things with which I have been involved either substantially or peripherally. They are: BIM Ventures; Commonwealth  Partnership for Technology Management;  Barbados Entrepreneurship Foundation; Caribbean Media Exchange for Sustainable Tourism; Barbados Society of Technologists in Agriculture; Errol and Nita Barrow Educational Trust; Rotary Club of Barbados South; Annual Conference on Statistics, Science and Public Policy; ANSA Awards; and Caribbean Institute of Certified Management Consultants.

In order to be effective, I have to adhere to a strict regime of good nutrition, exercise and peace of mind backed up by traditional and complementary medicine practitioners.  Fortunately, if not mentally stimulated, my default position is to sleep, albeit soundly for relatively short periods at a time (power napping), so there is no sleep deficit syndrome getting in the way.

Introspection is the self-observation and reflection of your mind and soul. Introspection is like the activity described by Plato when he asked, “…why should we not calmly and patiently review our own thoughts, and thoroughly examine and see what these appearances in us really are?”

Many friends and colleagues often ask “how do I find the time to be involved in so many things”.  I reflect and answer – “the effective management of time”. We all start the day with 24 hours. You can either make productive use of it or waste it. The management of time is the secret. Classically, management consists of the five elements: planning; organising; staffing; leading and monitoring/control.

I have a plan for the use of my time, albeit more diligently practised in the past than at present. It is to divide the 24 hours per day into four say, segments with which I associate four sets of activities: (1) work related – earning (8 hours); (2) community service – helping others (4 hours); (3) sleep, exercise – (8hours); and (4) recreation, socialising and personal time – (4 hrs).  You may choose whatever distributions of time or groups of activity that meet your fancy.

You can only be most effective, in the context of high productivity, when working with others, irrespective of the category above. Unless you want to precipitate chaos, you need to organise yourself and choose “people” with whom you will work. Then you provide the leadership and regularly monitor the actual time spent against your plan. If you are on track, pat yourself on the back and repeat the process; if you have failed to meet your time management plan then you must take corrective action or, in extreme cases, adjust your plan. This is not easy to implement but when you master it, it is worth it.  It pays dividends and takes you to an above average level of performance. If we all did this then our future, our family’s future, our company’s future, our organisation’s future, our community’s future and our country’s future would all be secure.

In addition to the activities I was involved in this year, I shall be attempting to seamlessly transition to new thresholds:  Extending the BIM Ventures pilot project experience to another level; responding to my sister’s initiative to launch Springer Consulting to share my lifetime professional experience with others through the media of (1)franchising the CBET Shepherding Model™; (2)  facilitating interactive dialogue workshops on diverse topics; (3) converting the body of “weekly column” information over more than eighteen years into appropriate publications; and (4)  continuing to make appearances as a public speaker.

Then there is the innovation of “Barbados as a Donor Country”; launching the BEF Enterprise/Mentor Matching Web site; a member of the team to develop the first Tourism Development Plan for the United States Virgin Islands; linking with the Caribbean Diaspora for Science & Technology Innovation /The Caribbean Science Foundation; mounting a CPTM interactive dialogue with the likely theme: “South-South dialogue as a Smart Catalyst for the sustainable development of Small States and Emerging Economies ”; helping where I can with the Boy Scouts’ Association which was very instrumental in the formative stages of my life; and participating once again in the activities of National Agricultural Commission. Let us hope that we make some progress on this last activity on this occasion.
I resolve not to forget to do good and to share with those in need, while not compromising my own needs to survive at a level to which I have grown accustomed, since these are the sacrifices that please God.