Staying on Top of Things

Staying on top of things can greatly improve the way your peers perceive you and the value you bring to the organization.

Have you heard that compliment for someone? “He is always on top of things!” It sounds really good, doesn’t it? Are you that person? Maybe, maybe not. Do you want to be?

Staying on top of things is a direct consequence of putting the first things first on your calendar each day. More information here. But there is more than that. You need to unlearn to operate in crisis mode and you need to learn to operate strategically. This is not easy, but, like everything else in life, it is a self-improvement process.

This article is about learning how to anticipate the important requests that may (or may not) come your way in the future. And how to prepare for them in advance.

Continue reading “Staying on Top of Things”

Mid-term Goals – The Power of a Roadmap

Long-term goals align with your desires and values. Short-term goals are the steps you take every day in order to achieve your long-term goals. In this case, the mid-term goals are the glue that holds them together.

Where do mid-term goals fit? You’ve defined a number of short-term goals, you started using the First Things First process to pick the most important tasks each day. And you have a vague idea of where you are going (the destination or the long-term goal). To track your progress, you’ve started doing monthly reflections. But how do you connect all these? What are you monitoring during your self-reflection sessions? How do you know you are on the right track?

Based on my observations over the years, most of us are good at setting the short-term goals. We have to, otherwise we will not accomplish anything in life. Also, most of us have an idea of what we are trying to achieve (strong family, promotion, financial independence, etc.) And yet, most of you probably feel a disconnect between the two. This is where the mid-term goals fit into the big picture.

This article is about mid-term goals that link your destination to your day-to-day activities. It is about setting the milestones on your way to your destination that will help you get there. As always, this is a personal exercise. There is no template to do this. You cannot just copy what somebody else is doing.

Continue reading “Mid-term Goals – The Power of a Roadmap”

Life Roles: How to Find and Influence the Hats You Wear

We have eluded several times already about the roles each of us takes in their life. And we finally reach the part where we will dive deep into that. How many hats do you wear in your life? How many masks? Each of these is a role that you play. The more you try to multitask between the different roles, the more stress you generate in your life and the less satisfaction you get from what you do. And on the other hand, the more concentrated you can stay for a certain time period on one of your roles, pursuing one of your goals, the better results you get overall and the better life you have.

This article is about defining (or uncovering) the roles that you play, plan to play, and want to play in your life. About associating the goals (mostly long-term, but also mid-term) that you have already defined to your life roles. And ideally, about defining new goals that will improve your performance in one or more of your life roles.

Continue reading “Life Roles: How to Find and Influence the Hats You Wear”

Yearly Review

Yearly review means taking a moment to tap yourself on the back for the achievements and success you had in the previous 365 days. This article gives you 8 steps to achieve this process.

Each year since 1997, Jeff Bezos publishes an annual letter to shareholders. There, he outlines the achievements of the year and sets the stage for the upcoming year. This is moment of celebration and a moment of focus. Each year since 2009, Bill and Melinda Gates publish their annual letter of their foundation. There, they outline their achievements as a family, as philanthropists, and as professionals. How do you celebrate your success over time? Are you ready to start an yearly review process?

The process of reviewing your year at a macro level comes on top of the First Things First process and the Monthly Reflection processes. As you work on and complete your goals you will change. Also, as you change some of the things that meant the world to you last year may no longer be relevant. This is why you take some time each year (it does not have to be Jan 1st, the actual timing is up to you) and evaluate everything you have done. Gratitude is a big part of this exercise. Yes, you have only yourself to thank for all the hard work that you’ve put and all the long hours. But can you honestly say that you did not have some luck here and some luck there? Can you diminish the help that you’ve got from other people, circumstances, and fate in general?

Continue reading “Yearly Review”

Monthly Reflection

Monthly reflection means scheduling time every month to review your principles and map them to the achieved goals to make sure you are on the right path.

You’ve defined your short-term goals and you’ve started putting them on your calendar. You feel that you are progressing toward your goals. But how can you be sure? You need a mechanism to pause, get out of the trenches, and see the big picture. This is called a monthly reflection.

It is easy to get lost in being productive for the sake of being productive. Once you make productivity a personal habit and you start ticking the most important tasks (MITs) on your lists, then it becomes very fulfilling. You’ve also added a progress bar and you know how you are progressing toward your mid-term and long-term goals. But are they still the right goals? Do they still make sense? Doing a monthly reflection will help.

In this article I cover the process of monthly reflection, where you take a step back to see the big picture again. You take a look the the goal in the distance in front of you and you take a look at the trail that you have left behind you. Also, you consult your map (roadmap or plan) to make sure that you are on the right track and that the track is still right for you. The process takes only about an hour a month but the benefits are invaluable.

Continue reading “Monthly Reflection”