Welcome to the first weekly insight newsletter for 2019!

You may have been back at work for a few weeks, or perhaps next week is the start of your working year. Whatever the timeframe, after a holiday it can be a little hard to get back into the swing of things.

And then soon enough your holiday feels like a distant memory and your holiday glow fades.

It’s not surprising that the happy holiday vibe dissipates quickly when you consider that most people dislike their job – as Gallup research reports.

What can you do to hold onto the holiday feeling for longer?

It starts with making conscious choices and taking deliberate steps every day to manage your energy, time and focus so you are moving to a rhythm that best works for you.

Pick your playlist
I like to use the analogy of music. Every day, there’s a range of songs you can select, platforms you can use to access, and devices you can use to listen to music. You can pick songs that are slow, fast, modern, classical and in any variation and order.

Everyone has a playlist that brings out the best in them. That gets them inspired, motivated and moving.

Of course, our working week is usually more complex than picking a song and playing it on a device, and yet there are still many options we can select each day to put us in the best state to make the most of each day.

Ask yourself:

  • What’s on my playlist (ie tasks, meetings, planning etc) for the working week?
  • To what extent can I influence or determine my playlist?
  • Which items should I reschedule on the list to create space for other more value-adding activities?
  • What could I delete off my playlist because it isn’t best helping me or others?
  • Do I need to be bold and have the courage to find a completely new playlist and a new device on which to listen? That is, do I need to find a new job or make a career leap?

Lick the toad
Over the holiday, I read Kevin Lawrence’s book, Your Oxygen Mask first: 17 Habits to Help High Achievers Survive & Thrive in Leadership & Life.

One of the habits he outlines is the concept of ‘Lick the Toads’. The ‘toads’ are the things which are important to do, but not urgent. They are also the tasks you find the least enjoyable, and consequently, they get put off – again and again. It may be doing your tax return, having a meeting with a difficult client or team member, or reviewing a document.

Often our instinct is to start with what we like or find easy. When you lick the toad, you flip that approach on its head.

I love this concept, because you structure your day by starting with your toads – the tasks you least want to do; rather than leaving them hanging around all day with the ever-creeping dread knowing you’ll have to get to them at some stage.

Frame your mind
Benjamin Franklin is known for being a man of routine and productivity. He framed his day and set his intention by asking himself at the start of the day: ‘What good will I do today?’. He then finished the day by asking: ‘What good have I done today?’.

When you frame your day and set your intention, you are honing your mind to focus on what you want to achieve and more importantly, how you want to approach the day.

Intentionality is powerful. But to be intentional you also need to be mindful and so building a daily meditation practice which helps you build this capability is important.

The added benefit of meditation is it enables you to better respond (rather than react) to what’s happening around you. Many years ago, Richard Carlson’s book Don’t sweat the small stuff was a nationwide best seller. The concept still applies today. It is easy to get caught up in minutiae, gossip and issues that in the whole scheme of life don’t matter.

Reward yourself
The last idea is one of my favourites. Make sure you have lots of things to look forward to during the year. This may be:

  • A mini break and going away for a long weekend
  • Booking your next long vacation
  • Scheduling a monthly date night with your partner
  • Having some time each week – even if it’s just 30 minutes – where it is all about you. This is where you get to do exactly what you want to do

Lastly, find time each day for self-care. I know that may sound like a luxury, but it’s not. For you to put your best self forward each day you need to be rested, refreshed and energised. Set boundaries and don’t be afraid to say ‘no’.

Here’s to an awesome year for you. Hope your 2019 is your best year yet!

Getting you ready for tomorrow, todayTM.

Michelle Gibbings is a change leadership and career expert and founder of Change Meridian.  Michelle works with global leaders and teams to help them get fit for the future of work. She is the Author of ‘Step Up: How to Build Your Influence at Work’ and ‘Career Leap: How to Reinvent and Liberate Your Career’. For more information: www.michellegibbings.com or contact [email protected].


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