All activity/no vector. –From my coaching notes for a client moving dangerously close to a breakdown.
In our hectic, always-on world of work, it’s imperative to take the opportunity to orient yourself on what’s important every day. The alternative is to let circumstances dictate where you go and what you do, ultimately losing yourself in your organization’s maelstrom.
Here’s a simple checklist process I use (and recommend to my clients) to help ensure they avoid the all activity/no vector trap. It’s imperfect, incomplete, and one heck of a lot better than going into your day without a plan. (Note: I have a separate checklist for leadership activities. I’ll share this at a later date. For now, the focus is on you.)
Some convert this into an excel spreadsheet, others use a journal to answer the questions, and some do a visual or verbal run through the list. Please use, adapt, and if you have your favorite checklist questions, share them here as a public service. Let us know how this checklist process helps you.
Beginning of Day Self-Check:
- Have I clarified my top one or two priorities to focus on today? (Do I have an action plan for them?)
- What are the decisions I can make today that will free people to focus on their priorities?
- For my top priorities, have I created a communication plan to keep the right people informed at the right level?
- Which relationships can I repair, strengthen, or start today?
- Is there a challenging conversation I must conduct today? What’s my plan to turn this into a productive dialog?
- Am I committed to succeeding with every encounter today? (What’s my definition of success?)
- Am I committed to listening hard to everyone who approaches me today?
- Am I heading into the day with a smile on my face?
End of Day Self-Check:
- Did I have fun today?
- What victories on my top priorities did I create?
- How did I do as a listener?
- What relationships did I repair/strengthen/start?
- Did I engage people respectfully and involve them in creating solutions for their challenges?
- Did I make decisions that allowed others to move forward with their priorities?
- What worked great that I can do more of tomorrow?
The Bottom-Line for Now:
Clients report investing 15 minutes at the beginning of the day and 10 or fewer at the end of the day with these questions. They also describe the process as creating a self-reinforcing cycle of success and satisfaction. For an investment of 25 minutes, it may be the best ROI you’ll ever produce in your working life!