Take control of your working day – be deliberate
Don't sleepwalk through your day - be deliberate, says Kate Turner.
We can often find ourselves sleepwalking through our working day. We do the same commute, sit at the same desk and get on with the same work. Every day, Monday to Friday, nine till five. As such, progression and purpose, both personally and professionally, can seem like a far-off goal.
But simple changes to your everyday life and your business mindset can help you become the person you aspire to be in ten years’ time today and show up as the best version of yourself. The answer is to be deliberate. But this is easier said than done. So how do we implement this new mindset at work?
Every company loves a good meeting, and let’s face it, sometimes it can feel like you’re having a meeting for the sake of it. But meetings don’t need to be the bane of your day. Whatever the reason for the meeting, you can deliberately use this time for you.
Remember you are working with a group of people for a reason. Keep that reason in mind. Before the meeting begins make a mental or physical note of what you want to achieve and keep that in the forefront of your mind throughout. This will counteract 'tune-out', letting the buzzwords and jargon wash over you and ultimately keep your mind goal-focused.
When you feed your motivators, you fill up your energy tank and so you can keep going in a sustainable way.
And whilst it can often seem like you are ‘back to back’, meetings can actually act as excellent punctuation to your day. Plan ahead of time to give yourself small work-orientated goals to achieve before you go into the meeting. Then allocate specific tasks to work on afterwards. This helps to keep the momentum of your day on track and ensure you get the most from the time spent in that group situation.
Allocating yourself time is always an extremely useful approach. We need energy to get things done and your psychological energy comes from your motivation. When you feed your motivators, you fill up your energy tank and so you can keep going in a sustainable way.
Look at a week in your diary and carve out time to do the things you love. First look at what you love doing at work. Then, think about what you love to do outside of work which re-energises you. Successful people feel aligned both at work and at home.
They get their motivators met in both places. In the past we have thought of this as ‘work-life balance’ but this feels like you are trading one off against the other. Try thinking of it as work-life harmony instead.
This word ‘alignment’ is important. So often organisations talk about aligning their people to their vision and smart objectives get set to make sure people know what they need to do to deliver the strategy. But is that what drives you? How does work enable you to deliver on your purpose?
That’s a very different type of alignment – one which is about aligning your motivators and drivers to the organisation’s vision. So, ask yourself what drives you to be a successful leader at work?
Maybe, you want to climb the ladder to support your family, maybe you want to make a difference ethically, travel overseas or perhaps you want to reduce your hours and spend more time on your hobbies. Whatever your motivators are, identify them and remind yourself of them. They are your purpose. And by meeting them, you will be more energised at work.
Change is almost always necessary for improvement. We get into routines and habits that are often easy and comfortable but are not pushing us or working to our strengths. Our routines feel hard to break, and familiarity and muscle memory means we go into old (unthinking) versions of ourselves.
When you’re shifting your mindset, you need to shift your environment around you too. This can be small or large scale. Even just a clear out of your desk or changing your workspace can help you be more deliberate.
Change can be hard and becoming the leader you aspire to be will not simply happen overnight. As such, you may wish to take on the persona and act like the person you admire or aspire to be. You don’t have to go over the top and become a charade; small changes to your tone of voice, a change to your body language can have a real impact.
So, too, can reminding yourself about why you are portraying this change: 'I am saying/doing this to feel more empowered.'
Here are four, simple tips to get you on your way to being more deliberate and to enable you to show up as the best version of yourself:
- Get organised. Both in and out of work. Make sure you are using your time effectively by batching together similar tasks so you don’t waste energy adjusting between more ‘head’ type activities and more ‘heart’ type ones. And remember, to priortise me-time too.
- Change. To change your mindset, try changing your surroundings. Keep your environment fresh so your mind can be too.
- Get into a new persona. Don’t expect to magically feel like a new and improved you over night. Act like the person you aspire to be and start becoming them right now.
- Put it out there. Set your stall out at work and tell people what you are doing. Explain to them why you are making these changes and ask them to call you out on it when you do it well. You can do the same for them and celebrate their success too.
About the author
Kate Turner is director at Motivational Leadership
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