PLAN. COMMUNICATE. LEAD.
Here is my last week of my long 1.5 month vacation. And this is the last week before I dive back into my work🤯
So, to make my vacation even more memorable, I decided to follow the advice of one of my virtual mentors and source of inspiration – Brian Tracy – and plan my week in advance, day by day. Not only I planned, I executed and even got some few useful insights:)
✅Gosh🤯 it is easier said than done 😂especially when you don’t have to work.
✅It triggers you to focus and schedule time to get things done.
✅It gives you a feeling that you are in control of your life and what will happen to you, planning puts you in a driver’s seat🥇
✅It is tremendously difficult to chase yourself to stick to the plan and avoid distractions.
✅Anything what was not planned takes your time and attention away from the important things which were planned and shifts them further into delay or complete abandonment.
✅ If you don’t plan buffers between activities to account for things which will not go according to the plan, each delayed activity will impact the next activity unless you adjust your plan, so the last activity will experience the compound effect of all delayed staff before.
✅It is much easier to chase others to stick to the plan, but it is the hardest thing ever to hold yourself accountable to stick to your own plan. It requires self discipline and willpower💪.
✅And, finally, it feels so amazing if you make it till the end with sticking to the plan. Feeling of satisfaction, achievement and joy – that is like a doze of adrenalin injected to the exhausted heart☝️🥰
So, my lessons learned are as following: if you want to feel happy and take control of everything of what happens to you or what you plan to achieve🔥, do plan. Plan your weeks and plan your days in detail. Plan your months and years on high level and give yourself and your life the direction. Make it a habbit of putting yourself into a driver’s sit🚘
I have always admired and looked up to people who were creative, did more than they were told to do, looked for better or different solutions, continuously worked on improvements, experimented with new ideas and did not blindly follow the crowd. I guess there is something unpredictable about such individuals and creates a natural charisma.
Today, when I look back at my 12 years of work experience, 7 of them in project management in big companies and corporations – I think that we are often brainwashed to act as we are told to. And only those individuals who are brave enough to keep their minds open, stand up for their ideas and beliefs, think out of the box and push for different course of action than what others want them to follow – only those really stand a chance to become real game changers.
What about you? Are you a game player or a game changer?🤔
Have you already noticed that sometimes you meet people in places you never expected to meet them? Often seems like a very surprising coincidence 😀
Same happens with colleagues at work👨👩👦👦. You never know with whom you are going to cooperate again, who might become your next boss, team member or who will have a final say in your career promotion or job employment. You never know☝️☝️
This is why it is so important to be able to build long-lasting relationship with people, give and take, forgive and accept. I have always said and will keep saying – build the bridges 👂👀👂. Don’t burn them🔥. Establish a dialogue, control your emotions😤🤬, find the compromise, negotiate towards win-win situations, try to turn the difficult stakeholders into your allies. And in 90% this investment will pay back🥇☝️.
If you want to know more about emotional intelligence and learn the concept of how to understand your own emotions and others, I recommend the book of Daniel Goleman “Emotional Intelligence”😎😉
The only way to increase your credibility and improve self confidence is by delivering results!
It does not matter, how much time and effort you or anybody else has invested into that piece of work, if at the end there is no result to demo. Everything else – is just procrastination and doing something for the sake of visibility of being busy.
And before you disagree, let me back up my opinion. It costs enormous amount of energy to deliver meaningful results. No one will ever see or notice how much background work was done behind the achieved result. And this is why majority of people prefer to dive into the process of doing something, as if they have a lot of time ahead, waiting until blockers resolve themselves, expecting someone else to follow up, blaming external circumstances and keeping their conscious clean by saying how much work and time they invested into that task.
Achieving results is difficult. It takes dedication, energy, responsibility, accountability, total ownership and maybe a little bit of luck. But the reward – is your self confidence and “can do” attitude.
Despite the fact that there is a global virus 🦠 which is drastically changing the way we used to live and work, I see it as an opportunity. And if you zoom in, you will be able to see it too.
We have started working from home. We are not as seduced by entertainment as we used to be before the global pandemic: no cinemas, no travel long, no restaurants, no big weddings, no more than 5 people gatherings…. Apparently, now we have huge amount of free time☝️
This free time can be easily shared between 2 most important things: family and personal development. Family is sacred, of course. Would you just imagine for a second how much you can learn and how many new skills you can develop during this period?
Pandemic will certainly come to an end. All those fabulous entertainment opportunities will come back and we will land again into the “ no free time” trap. So let’s seize this chance now, learn, develop, research and “go to bed smarter, than when we woke up”😉.
The difference between theory and practice is in practice.
Recently I am reading a lot on the topic of Agile and Agile Project Management. There is a lot of emphasis on self – organizing teams, self- management, productivity and effectiveness on the team level. This all sounds so exciting, almost like utopia🙂.
But here is the catch🧐 In reality and on real projects, there is no one right way for things to happen. Projects are not the same and people are different. Especially the catch is with people: many like to focus on technical tasks only, they don’t want to manage their work or undertake management initiatives…
Same with processes: you shouldn’t just blindly follow and stick to the book, at least because of the uniqueness of the projects, products and people and environment.
The solution I found handy is to continue reading and getting familiar with best practices, experiment but keep your mind open and decide what to apply to your unique situation in the project, what to throw away, what to modify, so that the chosen practices and processes bring real value.
If you don’t know what you want – you will do what others want you to do. As simple as that.
This should be a minimum sufficient reason to figure out what you want to do, in which direction to develop, what kind of job to do. Especially it concerns those who work for smaller or big companies.
It becomes especially relevant in the context of personal and career development. There are so many jobs opportunities, learning offers and certifications that it is easy to get lost. This is why it is crucial to select that specific knowledge and information that brings value and is aligned to your own goals and plans.
What is more relevant: goal or the journey towards this goal?
Deadlines create a sense of urgency and craft the purpose. The goal is something concrete, tangible, and feels more like a project, which you undertake once and do not repeat. It does not bore you, it actually gives you drive and energy and perhaps the reason to wake up in the morning😀.
On the other hand, the goal is just a dream, a group of words, until it is achieved. The real work happens behind the scenes. All the ups and downs, challenges and unknowns. Imagine that everyday on your way to your goal you learn something new, you experiment, observe, succeed, and fail. It fills the time with a lot experiences. Have you ever had a feeling of emptiness once the goal is achieved? This is because the goal filled you with purpose and gave a reason to go ahead, find workarounds and solutions to interesting and boring problems to ensure you get to that final destinations, when you can call the goal “achieved”.
Maybe this is that secret “makes sense” button? To continuously create goals so that the journey never ends?
It is an absolute must to keep developing personally and professionally. But when can we find time for it if managing projects and teams consumes all available slots?
As Managers (not only managers, of course) we are all consumed by our workload and responsibilities. We have a result measured work, which means it does not matter how much time we need to spend on certain activities as long as it gets ✅ done. Which often leads to working extra hours for many days in a row. Which also means that this eats our time which we could have invested into personal development. We also could possible agree that after long day at work and extra hours our brain simply says enough and does not want to consume any educational overhead😬. So what to do about it?
The only thing which can help is to manage our time better. It is always possible to find time for learning something new or mastering a new skill. As long as we can prioritize and get as effective as possible during actual working hours. It is also important to know when to have a hard stop 🛑 .
Maybe then we won’t need overtime? Maybe instead of sitting extra hours and finishing incomplete activities, we could have managed our time at work better and invest this time into education instead?
There is something I had to learn the hard way. This is about being able to base your feedback and call for action on pure facts.
This is why meeting meetings, decision logs, changes have to be tracked and documented. Otherwise, in case something goes off the track – how will you be able to go back and prove why this event happened or what lead to specific results?
Your management is not involved into project activities on the day to day business. When you ask for their support or escalate anything – they will highly likely ask for evidences. And if you were diligent enough to collect them – you will be able to provide them in the form of facts☝️.