Here are 10 areas to think about in terms of your back to work routines:
1. Meetings - There's an opportunity this fall to get more strategic with our meetings. Saying yes to more productive meetings, and being selective with ones that may not be as efficient. In my new book, Effective Virtual Conversations, I cover 8 Essential Questions to Ask Before Your next Virtual Meeting. I put them into a bookmark which you can download here, just so they are always top of mind. Want a hard copy? Email me with your mailing address and I will pop one in the mail to you! (First 100 who do!)
2. Staying on top of email - While it may take a little more time that just one day, this week survey the types of emails you receive. Are you on a number of mailing lists that you can unsubscribe from? How many times are you touching email? More than once? Consider what's going to help you stay on top of email and not let it leak all over. I heard a recent statistic that most workers are receiving 150 emails a day - I have to fact check this but I'm sure if you are like me you will see the value in potentially corralling your inbox.
3. Managing Interruptions - there are dozens of interruptions we face every day - from the ding of an email to someone dropping by. What's going to help keep you focused? Some work time spent out of the office (whether at home or a library?). One study found that it takes 23 minutes to recover from an interruption.
4. One-on-ones - If you are a leader, one on one time with each staff pays off in spades. What is the routine you want to adopt in this area this fall? How will you track it? What type of one-on-ones do people prefer (face to face, phone time, length, structure?). Take a few minutes to take the pulse on your one-on-ones. You may also want to check out some of the past posts I have written on this topic as well.
5. Getting away from your desk at lunch - a recent CBC poll here in Canada found that 39% of employees surveyed eat their lunch at their desk. You can read it here.
Stepping away from our desks at regular intervals is good to let our brains relax as well as enabling our body to move. While some might advocate that it gets you out the door earlier at night, what's going to be realistic around taking lunch away from your desk each week?
6. Clearing the clutter - Whether it's clutter on the desk, in the car, briefcase of home, clutter can weigh us down over time. What's the regular routine you want to get into this fall around clearing the clutter. Perhaps it is dedicating 10 minutes a day or several times a week to clearing clutter in a different place. Set your timer and see how much of an impact it makes!
7. Leaving time for exercise - Exercise provides us with a recharge to our body as well as our mind. What routine do you want to adopt for exercise this fall. Is there a class you have always wanted to take? Exercise is one of those things we may not do unless we schedule it in. Take a few minutes today to schedule in your exercise routine.
8. Taking time to cultivate important relationships - Another area that often gets short changed is spending time fostering peer relationships. Whether it's connecting with your boss, your peers, or other stakeholders, what needs attention this fall? Take a few minutes today to note this, and schedule it in. As Peter Drucker said, "What doesn't get scheduled, doesn't get done!"
9. Tackling that one project that's been hanging over your head, or finally saying no to it. Most of us have one project that's been on the back burner, or side burner or front burner and just isn't going anywhere. What can you do to finally finish this or say no to it. Take a few minutes this week to get this one moving to completion, or deletion.
10. Spending time on your development - In today's VUCA world (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambigous), our continued development is paramount. Business changes in an instance. What professional, and personal, development will keep you growing and learning? Take a few minutes to note and schedule what you want to do for yourself this fall.
And of course, spending time with loved ones. At the end of the day, does anyone remember how much time at work or do they remember us for the time we have spent with them.
I hope that you'll take a few minutes today, or this week, to reflect on these areas as you get back to work.
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