By now, the holiday and year end rush are over and whether you have taken a vacation or not, you are probably in full swing at work, executing your 2006 strategy. And, like many of my clients, you may be finding yourself feeling that you have already lost sight of all of those New Year’s resolutions to have more balance, socialize/network more, do something with a personal interest/creative talent. Are you energized….or do you find yourself depleted at the end of the day? Are you in charge….or has “life” taken over?
I have just finished re-reading a wonderful book, The Path of Least Resistance, Learning to Become the Creative Force in Your Own Life, by Robert Fritz (1984) which reminded me how very important it is to create a vision of what we want rather than responding to or reacting against life’s circumstances. Too often we find ourselves just getting through the day…putting out fires, resenting interruptions and obligations, operating on “automatic” and losing sight of those projects and commitments we made to our organizations and ourselves. What happens is that driving innovation, initiative, creativity, and engagement suffer.
With so much going on, the first indicator that you may be scattered is your ability to focus, carry through with plans, prioritize and execute. So, take a moment to assess yourself with this fun activity:
Whether you are leading a team or are an individual contributor working on a new initiative, you know how strong a role talent and desire plays in building results. When you are fully engaged in an activity, utilizing your strengths (talents and interests combined) the day seems to float by and your work seems effortless. A recent Fast Company article reminds us of the research behind this phenomenon:
Each of us has a unique purpose, a unique world view that is bursting to emerge. If we ignore it in the interest of getting “stuff” done, we eventually undermine the outcome with disappointment and resentment. As Martha Graham reminds us:
- “There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening, that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost.”
So, here three ideas to consider as you plan (yes…plan rather than slog) through your days ahead:
1. At the beginning of each week, think about what you want to accomplish both professionally and personally. Make sure as you look at your calendar that you have actually built in time for a creative project, a nurturing friendship/family experience, some quiet time to restore yourself. Make these plans manageable. I actually color code my calendar to assure that I have integrated respite with responsibility.
2. Assess at the end of each day whether you have been able to meet your own goals, analyze what worked and what got in the way. Adjust your expectations in line with realities. If an unexpected event or project intervened, make sure you adapt your schedule to accommodate realistic goals and promises.
3. Examine the gaps between the way you wanted to spend your time and what you actually did. Where did you accomplish your goals and where did you get derailed?
Let me know how you are doing!