An attendee at one of my talks called me for advice. Afterward, she asks:
Thanks for your phone time yesterday. Here is what I heard from our conversation:
* When I start feeling overwhelmed, I can start by breaking it down into smaller steps. (reformat resume, review my success stories, research what is out there, brainstorm/develop plan A, B, C, and D, tweaking my job search as needed)
* If I am getting stuck, I can map out an alternate goal ( find a volunteer/intern position to gain the necessary work experience/knowledge) that will eventually route me to my ultimate goal (an administrative position in the healthcare industry)
If I were to pose a question about next steps, I guess it would be how do I learn patience while I wait for the phone to ring? I struggle daily with feelings of not being productive. [List of daily tasks omitted.] How do I translate these activities into being productive? None of these activities pay the bills, they just keep me from losing my marbles. Maybe that’s enough? Am I missing something?
In re-reading what I have accomplished since our talk, I guess that I AM being productive, I just don’t know how to quantify or measure it. Maybe that’s where I trip myself up. So how do I “measure” yesterday’s results?
You can track your time and accomplishments each day.
How many hours were spent on:
2. Family and life balance
3. Self Improvement (skill building)
4. Progress towards paying work (includes resume fixes, meetings, etc.)
Furthermore, how detailed is your plan for moving forward? Tally both hours and accomplishments — however seemingly small — that fit into bucket #4 above.
At the end of every day, stop and assess — and savor! — the victories of that day. Stop and think. Stop and feel. Stop and learn. Top performers all do this, and so can you.
Never sit and wait for the phone to ring. Once you send out something that has you waiting, move it over onto your “waiting on” list and start work on something else. Go back periodically to those Waiting On items and check in, not too frequently.
These are all approaches you can use with your direct reports, and teach them to use with theirs.