For a lot of people, there are months with a slower pace. It is the time for us to spend some time with family, to get a break from the hectic pace we might be maintaining, or to get some time to evaluate our current situation in particular areas. Above all, we need to make sure we are maintaining the right alignment with our goals and objectives.
Is that you? Are you taking a break to think about things? If not, I'd encourage you to schedule some time to “sharpen the saw”, as Stephen Covey would call it, and think about key areas of your career, performance and your life in general.
In simple terms, where is your focus?
For me, my life pace is a little bit different. As a football and basketball coach, my time to reevaluate is usually in the late Spring months. Summer is usually the most busy time for me as I run summer workouts and then schedule times to do fun activities with my family. Days are spent working on OnlineAdvisor.com and my consulting business through Digital Environment LLC, and then nights are usually on a football field or in a gym. It's fun, but it's also very hectic.
For this year, I spent a lot of time from March to May to reevaluate what I was doing and how to improve my performance in various areas. As much as I was getting things done and accomplishing a lot of my goals and objectives, I also found that I wasn't sure how I got where I was – my alignment. What about you? Have you ever been there?
Here were a few things that I found opportunities in my life to improve:
Focusing on the important things with higher levels of commitment
Sometimes we get so busy that we can't easily remember our commitments we made to ourselves and to each other. It's really easy to keep turning to the “urgent” tasks and forget the tasks that are truly important. I found that I wasn't spending the time I needed to review what I was supposed to be doing in the first place – both from a weekly and from a monthly standpoint. I found that I needed to spend some time on Sunday afternoon each week to review what I had laid out for my goals and objectives, and to review my alignment.
For me, it's all about the visual. I need to see it. It needs to look cool and interesting. So I do my best to try to make my goals and objectives look good and compelling. I'm not blessed with the ability to do something artistic, but I do make it as attractive as possible so that I look forward to working on it every week. I review my mission and vision statements. I consider what happened during the week. It's a time to review what I need to monitor, and what I need to accomplish for the new week. It doesn't take a whole lot of time, but it's enough to get me aligned again to stay on task.
Simplify, simplify, simplify.
It is so easy to chase more things than what we need to be handling. I can keep myself busy all day and all night very easily, but what are the benefits of that? I can anticipate exhaustion, frustration, and emptiness by taking on more and more. Do yourself a favor and evaluate your commitments. If you seem to have a problem with saying the word, “No”, think about how you can say “No” to more things.
On Sunday afternoons, I spend some time looking at what I have committed to do in the coming week, and I put priorities in order. If something doesn't fit within the framework of what I have planned to do, or if it doesn't fit within my plans of those I love and serve, it's going to slide down into a “low priority” category. As I get older, I realize that I don't need a lot of what looks attractive, but produces very little results. I'd encourage you to do the same – eliminate those things that don't fit within your goals and objectives.
Avoid the distractions and the expenses.
At one point, I was staying busy by spending money, and not earning money on what was important. What I discovered was that I didn't want to think about the tasks that were less “fun” . Instead of working on particular blog posts, I would choose to go get something to eat and to get some errands done. As a result, my pocketbook got a lot lighter and I ended up with more weight and more stuff that I didn't need. This was a point where alignment was just not there, so I had to fix it.
Do yourself a favor and look at what you're doing on a daily basis. There's nothing wrong in getting out and having a bite to eat. Doing errands isn't bad, either, in the right context. What's wrong is when it's an escape move to avoid doing what you're supposed to be doing. Time is precious and make the most of it. Maintain your alignment with what is most important. Get the most out what will create the best life for you.
One last note . . . I get to see a lot of kids improve their athletic skills during the summer. For many of these kids, this is the time when they really get to work on a particular sport. The reason is that they are in the off-season, when they aren't working as much with their teams. It may sound selfish, but this process can be the best thing for these kids. The reason is that they get back to the fundamentals. They get back to the simple steps for them to be successful. When they get back with their teams, they end up being better contributors and better performers.
How about you? Can you be better for your team, both in the workplace and at home? Is there something you can do to improve your performance or focus on what matters the most?