It’s a week of giving thanks and reflection. This week I wanted to share the practices and ideas I’ve started using this year after getting the amazing opportunity to lead a digital marketing team. It was one of those moments where I knew I had to put my money where my mouth is.
I still have a long way to go. But, I feel the journey of being a leader, coach, and a mentor never stops. Being a leader is a skill you have to practice, train and educate yourself about consistently. I don’t think I’m great at it yet, but I will keep pushing everyday to get better.
The most important step I’ve taken is honesty. Not just being authentic and honest with my team, but honest with myself. I know I have to get better at time management, prioritizing people over tasks, and giving and receiving clarity.
The biggest benefit its given me is reducing my stress. This week are the ideas I’ve started using to get there, maybe there’s something that can help you too.
Keep your focus on the right things
One question that has plagued me has always been, “Am I working on the right things?” There are dozens of tasks to do per day, with every device, app and service trying to steal our attention. The biggest problem I have is that I allow them to take my attention, pulling me away from what’s truly important.
Every week on Monday mornings I write in my journal. I write about what went well the previous week, what I struggled with and then what the most important things are for the following week. I make a space for work and personal, but also pick out at least one thing to do with everyone who’s important in my life. The biggest challenge was getting over not everything has to be a huge event. Simply putting down “an hour of quiet time” or “watch football with son” has changed how I view my week.
This article started this process for me. The key was being intentional about my actions and being deliberate with my actions. I still get distracted, but my journal and todo list help pull what’s important back into focus.
Are you down with PID?
I mentioned that a struggle of mine is always questioning if I’m working on the right things. I try to solve this by doing my weekly journaling plus, like I mentioned last week in understanding the difference between objectives, goals and tactics to help with making sure your tactics are always leading you towards your long term objectives. But its really, really easy for the daily grind to pull me away from that vision.
This blog got me thinking about the time I give to reviewing what I’m working on and making sure I take the time to compare the work I’ve been doing versus what I should be doing. It aslo gives me time to celebrate my wins, which are easy to forget in that grind.
Using this technique I pause and review the last 30 days. I wish I could say it gets done every month, but even doing it once or twice is still better than never doing. It really comes down to this quote from Hersi Issa in the article:
“I set my own priorities, I run my life. If your dreams are important to you, don’t disrespect them by cramming them into arbitrary new year’s resolutions or birthday deadlines.”
Wait.. What’s This Meeting About?
This is the closest I’ll get to preaching a “hack” for productivity. This blog is a serious life changer for me. I highly encourage you to read and give it a try for one week.
I realized early that every meeting I was going to I wasn’t thinking about why we were having it, instead thinking about what else I could do while in the meeting. I was thinking about other emails I need to respond to or reports I needed to create. This means I would leave countless meetings asking myself, “what happened in that meeting?”
Even taking 30 seconds to write down 2 bullet points about the meeting I was going into has helped me stay focused and build better relationships with people. One of my biggest pet peeves are the “this meeting should have been an email” people. What makes our work enjoyable are the people. Spending 30 seconds to prepare for a meeting and looking for an opportunity to connect will go a long way to making your job much more enjoyable.
Starting and Ending the Day Right
Going back to intention and being intentional with our actions. Throughout most of the year I’ve battled with my perception of my actions. I constantly question if what I’m doing is actually successful and valuable.
I read about this practice earlier this year and one of my tactics to live more intentionally is to use this in some way. Either daily or weekly I will be including more gratitude into my life. It’s too easy to focus on what needs to get better, never celebrating our wins. I have so much to be grateful for and on those hard, busy, grinding days its worth stopping to find gratitude.
I’m not doing this now, but this is my promise that it will soon be a regular task.
What Will You Say Next Year? | Get Better Friday
One of the biggest moments that changed my perspective on where I was taking my career was this mindset. Often we ask what we’ve done in the last year. But, what do you want to say you’ve accomplished? As leaders we are always trying to grow, but the grind of daily tasks can get in our way to thinking about the future. Don’t just use your email as a todo list, use this weekend to think about 2020.
Close your eyes and imagine you’re with several of your closest friends, family and coworkers at Thanksgiving next year. Someone asks you, “What was your proudest accomplishment in 2020?” What do you say?