Create the world you want to live in. Every day.
Celebrate all that you have achieved.
Whether you are in school, taking care of your family, having a ‘normal’ job. Are managing a team or leading a conglomerate. You no doubt have a lot on your plate, things to do every day.
We tend to only concentrate on our day to day lists. Whether in the form of clearing our inbox, task list, chat box requests, shopping list or all the things we try to keep track of – that we didn’t write down.
Getting things done is good. But stepping back and evaluating whether you’re doing the right things, for the right reasons. Will put you an extra step ahead.
But you also have dreams and things you’d like to experience. You are most likely busy. All the demands on your time. All that you must do, need to do and have to do. Stand between now, and what you’d like to spend more time on.
So much so, that we can forget to check in with the bigger picture. Are all your daily efforts bringing you closer to the life you’d like to live? The business you want to create?
Reviewing is of course looking at what you have been working on, and achieved in the past period of time. But it’s much more about looking ahead. Being energised by all that you can achieve in the future.
Adjusting the course. Maybe setting aside some objectives that no longer serve your purpose. Taking on new challenges, that you are now ready to bite in to.
It’s business – and personal
Our jobs and private lives. Will equally benefit from being well organised.
These methods and principles work for both. Will help us get the most out of them, and be a little more present in both. By considering them together.
A healthy work/life balance, can only be achieved by seeing them as a whole. As you must allow yourself to be a whole person. And not as separate competing parts of our lives.
Do it often
It’s important to check in regularly. To ensure you are actually working on the things you’ve agreed with others. And importantly with yourself.
We tend to only concentrate on our todo list. Whether in the form of clearing our inbox, task list, chat box requests, or all the things we try to keep track of – that we didn’t write down. So much so, that we can forget to slow down, and reflect on our activities.
Before reviewing your activities. Briefly go over your bigger goals Outcomes. To remind yourself what your planned and intended objectives, dreams and obligations are. In a busy life, it’s important to remind ourselves, why we make an effort every day. And what it is we’re working towards.
It’s a good habit to go through your bigger items – your macro level – the day before. And let it simmer overnight.
Then go through how you’ve actually spend your time and energy the past week. What have you been able to move forward, what has stalled, caused delays or problems. Take actual notes about what you’ve learned. Things that didn’t work so well, mistakes made, … Check in with your intuition, what does your instinct tell you? How do you ‘feel’ about this week?
Do it – Always. It shouldn’t take more than 1 hour per week. For both your work and personal life separately. That is significantly less time than you’ll spend pondering over what you want to do next, or procrastinating over how to proceed.
It will help fend off, the often self imposed craving, for your mobile phone being the first and last thing you see every day. You’ll have an intrinsic image and sense of the state and direction of all the steady and moving parts of your life. Calm.
As always. Learning from the past is important. But don’t dwell on it. Focus on what comes next.
Make a couple of brief notes. What have you gotten done, what didn’t get done. Main thoughts on what influenced this past period.
It is important to be as objective as possible. Some times it’s something obvious. Like time constrains, or having a week with tasks we enjoy and naturally excel at. Other times we need to reflect on a longer period to find patterns and more hidden causes.
Being objective and honest with yourself is paramount. You cannot identify the actual thoughts, patterns or influences – that most influences your ability to move forward, if you allow yourself to ‘make excuses’ by focusing on outside elements, ‘preventing’ you from doing your job.
Keep it private, it’s just for you. If you write notes to be shared with others – you are unlikely to be as honest and direct with yourself as you need to be. If you are comfortable sharing them with others? You need to dig a little deeper.
Remember – there’s the reason, and then there’s the real reason behind it. It is of course the real reasons you want to pay attention to.
For cores, and activities where you share your progress with others. You can simply share status and a few stats. Personal notes should not be used.
When you meet with your stakeholders, coach or mentor. You can preload by going through overall stats, review notes and you’ll be well prepared. Do it a couple of days in advance. Let it sink in. Remember, trends – not signals.
Don’t go for self bashing or ‘I’m no good’ thoughts. Find the moments where you could be better at preloading, anticipating what others need or what will come your way. Look for areas where you can adjust, need help and resources.
As you move through life. You constantly meet new people, make new friends, your customers change. You will change.
Your ability to read people, see patterns and behaviours in others is important. It increases your ability to remove obstacles for them and yourself. Importantly – it will make you better at navigating the landscape better than others.
Do it at the end of the period, not Monday morning
Normally we start out Monday morning. Checking our inbox, trying to remember where we left of the previous week.
That’s regardless of wether we’ve spend our weekend, distractedly checking emails and work chat anyways. We start our week with half a plan. Or we react to what’s blinking at us right then.
Starting Monday morning figuring out what to spend your week on. It’ll be Tuesday afternoon before you are on the right track.
You are more likely to prioritise what you want to do rather than what you must do on Monday morning.
Instead. Take an hour every Friday. You can better reflect on what state things are in, when it’s fresh in mind and body. As a person and an entire business.
Most of us are tired at the end of the week. We don’t feel like thinking about work, priorities, and all the things we didn’t get done. We want to go home, meet friends and have time with family.
But. You’ll be thinking about work and priorities over the weekend anyway. Especially if you don’t take a moment to ‘process’ it.
You’ll have a calmer mind with this done. And going over all that you have done in the past period, will send you home with more energy. You can enjoy the weekend feeling good about it.
It provides a clearer image of what the coming week will look like. You can leave the creative thinking to your amazing brain, and focus on something else for a bit.
It’s like that song title you can’t remember. When you stop thinking about it, and go do something else. Suddenly, in an hour or a day, your brain will give you the answer “out of the blue”. Just as ideas comes to us in the shower.
You have given the task of remembering all you need to do, to your task list.
You brain will then start connecting the dots, gather ideas for you – so you are ready Monday.
Thoughts about work popping up during your weekend or holiday. Are less likely to be about stress and being behind. Instead you will have creative ideas, think about people to work with and possible solutions.
End of month. Go over your bigger goals and long term priorities. Don’t evaluate them every week, or you’ll spend endless time re-prioritising them based on “now” instead of future.
New Year resolutions, dreams and big goals. Are more likely to succeed when you treat them as Yours. Not because you have to “come up with something” every 1st January. coming up with something – is usually a comfortable departure, from the more important areas we should be focusing on.
Instead, make that Tuesday morning in September – or when ever you decide you want to make a change, the day you start. Make it part of your plan – actively set aside time for it.
And a year later, in September. You can celebrate that you stuck with it – and how far you have come.
Larger objectives and complex change processes, naturally takes more time. And thus we should only evaluate them over a longer arch. The changes we need to make in our habits or how we allocate time. Only makes sense on at least a monthly level.
Spend some time Friday to celebrate what you did achieve.
React to trends – not signals
It is important to evaluate if we are doing the right things. And equally important we don’t react to single events or significantly good/bad outcomes.
The whole purpose of creating to-do items and keeping track of them. Is to have more data and enough context to make informed decisions over time. Your intuition will always be a good muscle to exercise and rely on this way.
When evaluating what you’re getting done over a period of time. Take away your biggest win and your 3 biggest mistakes/missed targets/errors. See how your ‘average’ success rate and performance is then.
We take away one win, and three misses. Because we put outsized emphasis on the misses. It’s generally improving on our average tasks, that will make the biggest overall impact. Not just performance, but how we enjoy our work and engage with others. But also because, we should have an extra look at those four afterwards. See what we can gather from these outliers.
Consider how your work and time is typically spread between types of tasks. Your mix of smaller quick tasks, and bigger more complex tasks that run over days and months. Has a significant influence on planning and execution of your work. And impacts how the current evaluation period makes you feel.
You may find. That you are getting a lot more done with all the smaller things than you think. And the big win is either a feel good moment or truly significant for your overall success and delivery. You’ll hopefully see that your big mistakes are not that big – it just feels that way. And you put too much meaning into them.
The importance is, to have a balanced view on how you work. What makes a day or week play out well for you. What drives you, and what drives your value add to others.
Be cautious comparing yourself to others. Their job, rhythm and immediate demands will rarely be comparative. We tend to aggregate a number of people’s known successes over time. And equate them to what we should achieve right now. Where we should be at on the illusive, ever upward trending, trajectory we’re supposed to follow. The fallacy of the ever upward trend.
The obvious risk is. That we feel inferior, or believe we’re lagging behind, without proper reason.
But worse, is the longterm impact, of driving towards other people’s goals. When we compare ourselves to others, we accept their goals and objectives as ours. It will take us away from our goals.
Your benchmark should be your ability to be the strongest possibly contributor. Your ability to lift others.
Focus on what you can learn from your interactions. With the people you engage with and overlap with. And what you can contribute to them.
It cannot be said enough. You most likely forget to celebrate all that you get done, reminding yourself that it’s ok to take a breather, that you are getting things done.
When you are behind, going through a period with lower output or low motivation. It’s even more important to do these reviews – not hiding away from it. It is when you objectively go through it. That you will find the reason, and real reason, that’s impacting your work.