Gabazira's blog

The Effectiveness-Lab

Justification for ‘running out of clock’ – 2020, the horrible year

Hello, 2020, the annus horibillis is behind us. Is it? And, don’t we have every reason to justify why we didn’t do whatever we wanted done. It’s human nature.

Yes, it’s the year 2021 now, and already many things have happened to us in the last nine days since the new year. We are: a tad older than we were on the last day of 2020, many of us are wiser, more determined and resilient, more focused, more committed to change and purposeful.

The reality, however, is quite different. Yes, we all wish for ourselves the ideal above and a smooth sail in 2021, but we are dealing with that reality we know. We enter the new year as we have mostly, in years past – we have run out of clock or are starting to do so. That we’re older than we were in 2020 (by about ten days now), perhaps less wise, less determined, less focused and generally purposeless. We at the Effectiveness lab opine that many of us find ourselves in the typical ‘running out of clock’ situation.

After all, 2020 was a challenging year with all the ingredients to justify human purposelessness and the feeling and acceptance of hopelessness. Many of us fell ill to the virulent COVID-19 virus, lost loved ones, lost jobs and income, and struggled to attain the basics in life like affording food and accommodation, and sustaining the right state of emotional wellbeing, etc. 

It’s, therefore, not far-fetched to write on this blog that 2020 was annus horribilis. And that we have the perfect excuse for the very hopeless situation we find ourselves in. 2020 is the ideal recipe to ‘sanitise’ our running out of clock. Who would blame us for under or not achieving at all, for giving up on ourselves, for appearing confused, for the lack of focus and being rudderless?  

However – let’s all take a step back; stop for a moment and reflect. Should we accept the status quo without a fight? Yes, we have all the excuses not to stretch-target, take what is less than appropriate, justify failure, do the human thing and postpone hard work thinking it will become easy work tommorow. But should we? Where is the fight in us? Don’t we have one? Have we always lacked the spirit to fight? 

…, the truth

Fact: many of us have run out of clock and cannot afford not to do certain things, and now! We cannot merely sit back and twiddle our knuckles. We can’t give up on ourselves and those that look up to us.   

Indeed, 2020 was the annus horribilis. But it should be considered an opportunity and no obstacle. We ought to become more resilient as a people and nation and instead take advantage of a very horrible situation. Yes, it’s been very tough, but we have been through more challenging times and conditions as Ugandans. We can indeed ride this one out and build back ‘better and stronger.’

It’s a matter of dealing with our attitude. It’s a brain reprogramming issue. We have to appreciate that tough as the times maybe, time isn’t waiting for us. Let us get going and keep at it.

Instead, we should look at 2020 via a new and thicker life-lens. The 2020 situation should be used to leverage all sorts of opportunity – all we have to do is deploy the power of the brain and eyes that see the impossible. Get our thinking, exploring, out-of-the-box lenses on. Push the thinking and risk-taking boundaries. Reach out to like-minded people and exchange ideas. There is something out there that can be done by us all. Form communities of practice for wealth creation, new work approaches, etc. It’s all a brain/right-optics thing.

So, what is out there that we are talking about?

Well, we have enterprise opportunity of all types.  

Business startup – there is new business opportunity for especially the normally enterprise-shy white-collar worker. Let’s scan the digital space and what can be done within that space, working from home. There is a long list of new and unique service opportunities that have emerged because of the new normal; read: work from home. From home-saloons to new grocery supply chains, etc

Changing our productivity habits – there is yet another type of opportunity for us. Not necessarily inventing or going for enterprise stuff but changing the way we work, reinventing our approach to life. Why don’t we consider focusing on one or two things and doing them well; be both effective and efficient at what you do, instead of trying to do everything and doing nothing at the end of it all as we know happens to many of us. We have too many startups in Uganda – and the majority never make it. We have too many missed targets and laggards at work. We are the least productive in East Africa. The latter hurts. Let us change or start to do so in 2021.

New aggression at work – and another opportunity right where we work today – yes, at our work. Consider reinventing ourselves and take advantage of what COVID-19 has forced on to businesses. The crisis has created a labour-immobility/scarcity situation – it has paralysed the usually dynamic global labour market. And we can look at the latter as a sad situation and cry foul, but also opportunity. Why don’t we consider reinventing ourselves at work? Repositioning ourselves and targeting a promotion at work. It will never be easier to explore new ground within organisations or even a more senior role, than it has been for most of 2020 and continues today.

Please work to be different and convert difficult-positions into opportunity.

There is so much that we can do via the right-thinking/exploring lens. Let’s turn the annus horribilis into an annus mirabilis.

We wish you, from the Effectiveness lab, a jolly happy, blessed and efficacy filled 2021. 


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About Me

Apollo B. Gabazira is an Ugandan OD. junkie fascinated by matters that render organisations/individuals effective or not. He blogs on effective leadership and management. He is a devoted green-farmer and breeds the Ayrshire cow at Nakabugu, Luuka district, Uganda. Apollo is quite effective at what he chooses to do.


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