When do you feel like you had your best day at work?
When was the last time this happened?
What did you notice about the day?
I work with many leaders who feel like they running from meeting to meeting, day after day. The only thing different about the days are the clothes they wear based on the season. I call this the Zombie Zone. You have Manic Mondays, Terrible Tuesdays, Hopeful Hump Days, Trying Thursdays and Thank Gosh It’s Friday. Of course, with Smart Phones there are Sneak A Peek at the email Saturdays and Sad Sundays—almost time to go back to work. Wow, this does not sound like much fun. It also makes it hard to really disconnect from work and relax.
I wanted to share a few best practices that I see in my clients that have led to much better days, weeks and years. Additionally, it has led to better relationships with co-workers and families.
Some ideas on how achieve your best day—
1. Plan—ideally before you leave work the day before, what are the top 2-3 things you want to accomplish tomorrow. This can also be done on the drive in or before you log into your email.
2. Put the most important items on your calendar. These are the things that you must be involved in. Ex. Presentation Prep, Operations Quarterly Review. Include key personal things as well. Ex. Run, Attend daughter’s play, etc.
3. Block Your Calendar—try not to do slack or email all day. Pick a few times. Put thinking time or working on a project on the calendar so you can focus on this task.
4. Match Your Energy to the task—I am a morning person so I do a lot of my coaching and presentations in the morning. I try to get a run in the afternoon to boost my energy and come to do a few wrap activities and plan for the next day. I try to avoid heavy thinking right after lunch. I like to use this time for administrative tasks.
5. Create Guardrails and Boundaries—This is a great concept I learned by Scott Eblin. What are some “rules” that you can put in place to help you have your best day. Here some examples from clients—
a. No phones or open computer in meetings
b. No meetings on Fridays
c. Stand-up meetings first thing (limit of 15 minutes)
d. No meetings past 4 pm
e. No emails or texting on the weekend (unless an emergency)
This concept has helped me better integrate my work life and personal life. I try not to have any meetings past 4pm so I can do some administrative work, plan for the next day and get to my family at a reasonable hour. This has allowed me to close out my day well and to connect with my family better.
What about you? What can you do to have a better day tomorrow? Try one or two of these tips and see if they help you. If you get out of your habit, it is okay. Just think back to you best days and put those habits back into your schedule.
If you want some more information and tips on this topic, I highly recommend Scott Eblin’s book Overworked and Overwhelmed: The Mindfulness Alternative Scott does a great job of outlining the challenges leaders are facing today and providing solutions to common challenges.
Good luck and let us know how you are doing!