In This Edition:
1. Bring in the New
2. Charging Too Hard
3. A Day A Week
4. New Year, New Ideas
5. High Plains Perspective
6. Laugh at Life
Bring in the New
There’s something invigorating about the start of another year. Sure you’re a year older, the days are shorter, and it’s colder than you’d like. Still, a new year is the chance for a new start, on many horizons. Could this be the year when you begin to manage the pace with grace?
Charging Too Hard
You can’t charge through the day full throttle and expect to be at your peak level all the while. Be realistic. You need to consistently take breaks, perhaps along the lines of half a minute or so every 20 minutes, and a good three- or four-minute break at a minimum every hour, to ensure that you stay sharp, stimulate your circulation, and take care of necessities.
In general, any time you feel yourself getting bogged down with all the tasks you need to complete in the day, take a walk or switch to another task for which you have sufficient energy. Do anything else which will help to minimize tension, keep you alert, and help you to stay more productive throughout the remainder of the day. Think of it this way: execute, reflect, reevaluate, and proceed. As lunch time approaches, reevaluate what you’ve done, and how you plan to proceed during the afternoon.
If you find yourself easily distracted at work, experiment with the times in which you tackle certain tasks. Maybe it makes sense for you to come in an hour earlier than everyone else, or to stay an hour later. Maybe it makes sense for you to eat lunch at a different time so that you can work during the traditional lunch hour.
A Day a Week
If you can, work off-site one day a week, or depending on your organization, only once every two weeks, you’ll be in a good position to accomplish certain types of tasks more adroitly than in the traditional office.
Also, if you’re able to telecommute, using your phone, fax, and email to stay in touch with your office, you’ve saved physical commuting time. You have also saved wear and tear on your car, prolonged the lifetime of your wardrobe, and afforded yourself the opportunity to get an extra half-hour of sleep the night before. Furthermore, you have set up an environment in which you can work efficiently.
Most bosses these days are more concerned with results than appearance. If you have any kind of persuasive skills, use them to lobby for one day a week, or one day every two weeks to be able to work off-site.
New Year, New Ideas
Have you ever gone to lunch with a colleague and begun discussing ways to approach your work more effectively? After a few minutes, you’re both deep into the conversation, coming up with all sorts of great ideas on how to accomplish your tasks. However, when the waiter comes to take your order or bring your check, what happens? The conversation dies down.
When you both go back to work, those ideas are often forgotten or put on a back burner. Your discussion generated effective ways you can get things done that are now perhaps lost. If you consciously schedule a meeting for the sole purpose of letting the creative sparks fly, you’ll grab control of your time and have some of the most productive sessions you’ve ever had.
I meet with a mentor once a month in his dining room. At a cleared table, we sit across from each other, each with a pocket recorder, discussing problems and issues that face us and ways we can overcome them. We captured those ideas instead of letting them die. When you come in contact with other people, you’re exposed to whole new worlds, their worlds. When you interact with another person, you get the benefit of his/her information, in addition to your own.
Look for other ways to shake up your routine for the insights and breakthroughs that may result. Every day and every moment holds great potential in achieving your goals.
High Plains Perspective
Think about flying on an airplane. You have a window seat, and it’s a clear day. As you gaze down to the ground below, what do you see? Cars the size of ants. Miniature baseball diamonds. Hotels that look like Monopoly pieces. Life passing by. The same effect can take place at the top of a mountain or a skyscraper. As often as possible, when things seems to be racing by too fast, get to higher ground for a clear perspective of what needs to be accomplished.
If you’re among the lucky, perhaps you regularly allocate time for reflection or meditation. If you don’t, no matter. There are other ways to slow it all down. After the workday, listen to relaxing music with headphones and with your eyes closed. A half hour of your favorite music with no disturbances (and your eyes closed) can seem almost endless. When you re-emerge, the rest of the day takes on a different tone and you are able to get more done than you would have at your previous level of alertness.
Parting Thought: Laugh at Life
How many times do you actually let out a good laugh during the day, especially during the work day? Five-year-olds reportedly laugh 113 times a day, on average. However, 44-year-olds laugh only 11 times per day. Something happens between the ages of 5 and 44 to reduce the chuckle factor.
Once you reach retirement, fortunately, you tend to laugh again. The trick is to live and work at a comfortable pace and have a lot of laughs along the way, at every age. When you proceed through the work day without humor, the days tend to be long and difficult.
Part of taking control of your career is being able to step back and look at the big picture, being able to see the lighter side of things. Some of your worst gaffes eventually evolve into the things you pleasantly recall, or your best ideas!