19. Get more learning through your earbuds
Whom do you need to seek out for guidance or direction?
24. Be soil… not dirt
What is one activity in your day that consistently takes more time than it should?
While seeking advice can sometimes be uncomfortable, it’s an incredibly effective way for us to improve at almost anything. We have so many blind spots that others can help us identify. It doesn’t have to be anything formal. Just start the conversation by saying, “This year, I’d really like to improve on ____. Do you have a couple of insights on how I can do better?” Just start the conversation by saying, “This year, I’d really like to improve on ____.”
With that frame of mind, here are 24 ways I believe you can move your work and life forward this year.
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‘Be brave enough to start a conversation that matters.’—Margaret Wheatley
May this new year be so much better than the last one!
Who are three people you want to invest in this week?
Can’t implies that the resources aren’t available, or the issue is so difficult it’s almost impossible. Won’t reminds us that we too often don’t want to make ourselves or others uncomfortable to make something happen. For a deeper dive into this concept, read “What’s the One Word That’s Really Holding You Back?”
5. Intentionally invest in at least one person each day
9. Set boundaries
17. Have three ‘its’ per day
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10. Be a fanatic about finishing
What’s one thing you need to reduce your desire to control?
What’s an it for you tomorrow? This week?
What type of environment are you creating as a leader? How can you help your team members grow this year by the way you work with them?
12. Start with being instead of doing
Don’t Be Defeated Again
24 tips to make 2024 better than last year
1. Plan for all three rings of your circus
What actions can you be taking right now that will start you feeling better today?
What skills or insights are you looking to strengthen this year?
3. Spend more time ‘becoming’ instead of simply doing
What tasks do you need to more closely quantify to see how much time they are taking up in your day?
Getting face-to-face time with people (or even phone calls) is more rare than ever. However, it’s these moments that often tell us volumes more about a person’s thoughts, feelings, and fears than we could extract from a hundred emails or a thousand text messages. Make it a personal goal to remove or minimize any distractions to having a deeper conversation. Reflect on everything from your body language, voice tone, ability to listen, and even putting down that electronic device that is normally glued to your hand. For more about being a better listener, read “Strong Leaders Need to Be Level 3 Listeners.”
Who do you (or will you) invite into your life this year who will help you keep a healthy perspective on your work and life?
You can read more in-depth about the concept in this article, but a simple definition for humble bragging is making a self-deprecating statement to draw attention to yourself, like saying, “I only got four hours of sleep last night because I was finishing the proposal,” or, “My weekend is so packed I don’t know where I’ll find any time for myself.” When I hear comments like those, I question the people’s willingness to make better choices with how they are using their time. If someone wants to impress me, they can say things like, “Last week I started handling interruptions better, and I doubled my productivity,” or, “I was so tired of not being present with my family in the evenings I started leaving my phone in the car for at least two hours after work.”
4. Ask for help more often
7. Stop trying to control everything
I saw this one in a post at marcandangel.com. Just because you’re tired at the end of the day doesn’t mean you filled the day with meaningful activities. A good litmus test of your daily success is to ask, “Do I feel gratified by what I did today… or empty?” Finding something to be grateful for in each day becomes easier with practice. So don’t stop!
We cripple our brain’s ability to think clearly when we imprint so many possibilities on it and leave it to work on all of them. Before taking on any task, ask yourself, “What does finished look like?” and allow yourself enough time to complete the task when scheduling it. If you can’t finish it, at least schedule time on your calendar when you will come back and get it done. Your brain will thank you.
23. Stop the silence
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Several years ago, every few days I had the privilege of caring for my 95-year-old aunt. I could have a million things running through my head and feel like I truly was juggling elephants—until I sat down with her. All of those “first world problems” just no longer seemed so important.
15. Manage your minutes as intensely as you do your hours
14. Use ‘won’t’ more and ‘can’t’ less
Which is better—practicing avoidance behaviors, or working through the tough stuff to get the results you want?
What are some “humble brags” you should stop using to try and draw attention to your unwillingness to better manage your time?
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Who needs more than a simple no from you?
Its are “important things” as described in my book Getting to It (Harper Business, 2013). As you plan your day, always identify your three its. They may be three work its, or a combination of work and personal its. Discover them by saying to yourself, “If I only get three things done today, they would be….” This helps you focus your energy for the day and ensure you go to bed that night with fewer regrets. You may get more than three done, but you know what has to be done.
What are two tasks you need to finish that would free up your brain’s resources for other things?
18. Stop the humble bragging
Whether it’s on how long you have for a work conversation, number of times you will check your email per day, the number of notifications you allow on your smartphone, or how available you are to others, know and communicate those boundaries. Too often we are so accessible in the moment that we are inaccessible to the deeper work that needs to be done. An illuminating read on the subject of boundaries is Henry Cloud’s Boundaries for Leaders (Harper Business, 2013).
When people request your time, don’t miss the chance to educate them on the priorities, commitments, or obligations that cause you to say no. It helps them more clearly understand your motives, conditions that might cause you to say yes, and possible availability in the future.
21. Gratifying exhaustion vs. empty fatigue
As Les Brown says, “Ask for help, not because you’re weak but because you want to remain strong.” There are going to be those times when you just can’t tackle it all, all by yourself. Sometimes you might need to reach out to a co-worker. But asking for help isn’t always easy. This article from Indeed offers some great tips on how and when to ask someone for help.
Where would a consistent routine help you with your time management?
8. Seek advice and really listen to it
Where would established boundaries help you better focus on other tasks?