How would you progress if you asked yourself a better question?

How did your first day back at work go? 

Today is officially my first day back at my desk and I’m on a mission this year.  2018 threw us a few challenges due to a couple of unexpected events and I knew I was allowing them to consume far too much of my head space, yet I still held a belief that they’d impacted on the entire year.  And guess what?  They did.  Lesson for moi … be careful what you wish for!

This year I’m starting fresh with a new approach, putting into place some of the learnings from last year.  Holiday time and long weekends have been booked into my schedule already.  I took an extra week last week and worked half days on my jobs at home and half days at my desk and I’m enjoying seeing the results I’m getting.  I thought I’d share some of my new approaches with you as you find them useful too:

  • Make time to plan your year regardless of what else is happening.  Last year I kept thinking that I needed a whole day for planning and therefore kept deferring it allowing other things to take priority.  This year, I’ve completed it in three small steps of 1-1.5 hours and it’s done! 
  • Stick to your tasks.  My day has changed shape and my first priority each morning has been to complete my task list.  Once I’ve got this finished, the day is my oyster to play with.  Last year, I used my valuable morning time responding to emails and social media enquiries before doing my tasks and you know what happens then … the social media vortex swallows you up and eats away your day.  Yes – I know what it’s like and this year is different, already.
  • How is this helping achieve my business plan outcomes?  This is the question I’m asking myself with every task I undertake.  If the answer is “it’s not”, then dump the task and move onto something else that will be a stepping stone to achievement.  I’m finding that this is a better question to ask compared the wonderful hindsight questions we tend to torture ourselves with at the end of the day such as “why did you do that?” And “OMG!  I forgot to get xx done!”   
  • Aim for completion rather than perfection.  I admit I’m usually a perfectionist.  My tendency is to go over things with a fine-tooth comb so that they are precisely accurate, and this is a nice way to be, however it’s also slow and can cripple progress.  Completion is much better than stalling to achieve perfection and requires focused attention and quick decision making.  I started this during December and after experiencing a few ‘wobbles’, (I noticed some outputs weren’t up to my usual standards), I allowed myself a few minutes of chastising and then focused on the outcome.  It was done and the message/intent was still clear.  Checked.  Done.  Move on!
  • Tackle the big jobs and make an ‘nth’ of progress each day.  This summer I’ve had to deal with the massive weeding task again.  Yes – it’s the same one I completed last summer except that this year it’s much bigger.  I’m very unfit and I’m finding I can only do a few hours at a time in the hot sun.  So, I’m doing what I can until I’m tired and giving myself heaps of positive reinforcement for what I’ve achieved.  After some good solid mornings over the last ten days and a couple of one-hour sessions on Saturday and Sunday night, the first two rows are nearly done.  I must also acknowledge and say a big “THANKS” to my weeding angel who appeared for a few days before Christmas – she got me started.  Once again, take a small step and congratulate yourself on the progress you make each day. 

There’s a few more tasks I plan to schedule into my days this year and as I achieve each one, I’ll let you know how I’m getting on.  In the meantime, have a go at asking yourself better questions and remember to take time to celebrate your success.