At the headquarters of a large multimedia company inspirational quotes cover the downstairs walls. On a recent visit one in particular caught my eye "Are you doing your best work?"Intrigued I asked the person I was meeting what this meant to them in the context of their day to day work? The answer was pretty clear "We believe in better, doing our best work each and every day. In reality that means prioritizing our time towards our best work, work which will bring the most value to us and the company."
This really got me thinking, I'm pretty good at prioritizing my work and focusing on what I think is the best use of my and my team's time but was I really doing my best work each and every day, and is that even possible?
This lead to me realize that in order for me to do my best work each and every day three things need to happen;
I need to plan my day to ensure I maintain my work-life energy. I've already covered this in my blog on learning to plan your day - see it here.
I learnt that it is OK to disappoint people. So what exactly do I mean by disappointing people? This means that I learnt to not always say yes and not always inconvenience myself for others. Does this sound familiar to anyone else? Whether it's the patriarchy, my parents or some innate part of my character that is driving this people pleasing nature I have learnt I just have to stop. If I am unable to genuinely help someone then I've learnt to offer alternative suggestions of who to contact, when I might be able to do it or signpost them to training or resources to help them solve it themselves. This then places the issue firmly off my immediate to do list and allows me to focus on the work I need to do.
I have started to reduce my control. This means that if I delegate something to a colleague I assume they will do it well and will reach out to me, outside of agreed check-in points, if they need help. Obviously I don't just give them the work and hope for the best - I do focus on making sure that I provide clear guidance and make sure that the colleague fully understands the deliverable and any stakeholder engagement required, as well as any clear timelines for the project. Once delegated I don't micro-manage outside of agreed check-in in points. This is a particular challenge for my perfectionist personality but it is now something that I've learnt to accept. To get more time to focus on my best work I've learnt I need to learn to give up some control.
So do I produce my best work each and every day - probably not - but it does happen most days of the week, and the work I do undertaken is meaningful and interesting which keeps me coming back for more.
If you enjoyed learning how to find more time please check out my other blog posts on the topic; Learn to plan your day and re-evaluate your calendar.
All opinions are solely my own and do not express the views or opinions of my employer.