Is what you are doing the best use of your time?
This is a simple, yet profound question. With the country on lockdown, we suddenly find ourselves with a lot more time on our hands. If you were to be asked the aforementioned question right now, what would your answer be?
If you're like the majority of us, your answer will come quickly. You'll exclaim "no!" (with the exclamation point at the end and everything.) But that’s ok. The path to answering “yes” isn’t a quick fix. It’s all about opening yourself up, being aware of what your current conditions look like, and accepting what’s currently in place.
So, let’s assume your answer is no, and that you think you’re not making the most of your time. Why is this? In order to best answer that question, it's imperative that you spend some time reflecting. Ask yourself the following questions.
What are two things you think you should be doing that you currently aren’t?
Why aren’t you getting to these things? (Go ahead: Write out the whole list.)
Would your manager or peers agree that the items you’ve outlined in #1 are a priority?
When you look at your list for #2, have you actively tried to address the primary reasons why you can’t move forward?
Schedule a meeting today with people that can discuss your answers to questions #2 and #4 and collaborate with them to help you to solve your issues.
Repeat this process and schedule a weekly follow-up with your identified stakeholders until you can resolutely say you’re making the best use of your time.
I know what you're thinking (or at least I think I do). “It can’t be this easy.” “My boss doesn’t listen.” Or, “We don’t have any budget to solve the issues.” There are hundreds of reasons that we use to explain why we get stuck, accept our current state, and let the waves crash over us.
I get it. I’ve been there many times in my career. But you know what? You deserve better. Your gut instinct that’s poking you with unhappy disapproval of your current state should serve as a steady, much needed reminder that you can—and should—choose a different path.
For those of you that work in a situation where you’ve tried to chart a new course without success, I encourage you to go through this process one more time. If you’re still unable to find answers to my questions, ask yourself if it makes sense to put more time and energy into an environment that doesn’t allow you to improve. It’s a highly individualized choice that takes courage. But your best life and career are out there to be discovered—despite what may feel like impossible roadblocks at the time. Be awesome. Be yourself.
For leaders out there, I encourage you to ask your staff this question. Even better, I dare you to create an open door policy that empowers team members to find their own truth. This will also require courage and some tough conversations and decisions. However, it’s a risk worth taking. Imagine a team that’s aligned around a system of self-assuredness and self-worth—and what that would mean for your business. If you ask me, doing so only improves your chances of maintaining an awesome business that delights your clients.