Saturday, December 29, 2018

Add Less to your Resolution this Year!

Over the past few years, I have written about New Year’s resolution and even one word resolutions. See Here, Here, and Here. Each year I identify things about my current work and in my personal life that I want to improve and rather than adopt a long resolution that stands little chance of attaining, let alone remembering, I resolve myself to commit to one word.

The reason is simple. First, it’s easy to remember and second it encompasses all that I want to achieve in my health, work, relationships, and most importantly faith.   So this year, I am proud to announce my one word resolution for 2019. 

The reason for the word, less, is because I want to add more  meaning to my life. Here are just a few examples of what I mean 
  • I want to say less, but communicate more effectively. 
  • I want to worry less about problems, and focus more on solutions. 
  • I want to be less connected, so I can be more connected to my family. 
  • I want less tasks and more meaningful work. 
  • I want to eat less, and exercise more. 
  • I want to read less mindless mess on social media, so I can read more of God’s word. 
  • I want to engage less in low-impact work, so I can be more dedicated to thought about things that are high-impact. 
These are just a few things that I hope to accomplish in 2019. Chances are that I won’t accomplish them all, but I truly believe that my life will inch closer to less unproductive time-wasters and more efficacy. As you head into 2019, reflect on your work-life balance. Identify the waste, redundancy, and monotony in your life.  Set your sights on a better you, and find that one word that’ll keep you committed to reaching your goal of continuous improvement. 

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Removing the Waste from our Work

Thanksgiving break gave me week off from work and nothing to do. No work, no trips, no responsibilities, and it was nice to have nothing on my agenda to get accomplished for the day. As I walked into my closet, I thought to myself, “I need to clean this closet out”, so I got started.

First step, I removed old clothes and stuff I threw in there because I didn’t have a place to put it. In a matter of minutes my closet had all that it needed in it, and nothing that I didn’t need any more. Next I moved to the garage. I did the same thing, curating and organizing the items that I needed and discarding the items that were no longer useful but were doing a great job taking up space. 

So let's process this strategy through the lens of our work.  What if we applied this analogy to our work.  How much clutter is in your closet?  Take some time to reflect and identify the things that inhibit you from being more efficient and effective. Here’s what I mean by that. 
  • What unproductive practices are causing your work to wear on you?  
  • What initiatives did you start a year or two ago that are just hanging around because you haven’t thrown them out yet?  
  • What time-killers are taking up space and preventing you from getting your job done? 
  • What needs to go, so you can make room for something new?
By answering these questions you should be able to identify practices that work for you and practices that are just killing time. Once you identify unproductivity, ban it from your work, so you can build in more time for productivity.  Often times we keep adding things to our work, yet we fail to remove things that simply don’t work. This is ultimately why people get overwhelmed so easily.  They don’t eliminate wasteful practices from their life. 

When you get your next 3 day break, take one day to do nothing but relax. Sit there and do very little. On the second day, audit your work and find what works well and what is a waste of time, and on the third day, get to cleaning. Get rid of everything that holds you back and file away everything that you used to use but don’t use anymore. By removing the clutter from your closets, your work will grow by leaps and bounds, and your stress level will thank you for it.