Jennifer Wilson

Gain Busy Season Power

Use these five ideas to become more centered, physically fit, positive and proactive this busy season.

November 8, 2010
by Jennifer Wilson

Most of us work hard to enrich the lives of others. Sometimes, this leads to neglect of our own life, burnout, poor health or a feeling of burden and obligation that can undermine our power and impact.

This article reveals five ideas to help you “get your head on straight” and prepare for busy season. That way, you’ll have more inspiration and power to draw from as you lead your organization, department or team in the months ahead.

Idea #1 — Get Centered

Most of us keep lists of tasks or work to do in some form paper or electronic. One of the best ways to get centered and regain your positive power is to identify all of your good traits. To do so, make a list of your personal traits, considering these questions:

  • What are your talents and abilities?
  • What are your physical gifts (your body and health)?
  • What about your family?
  • What about your friends what have you (or can you) learned from them?
  • What about your clients?
  • What about your partners and staff?
  • What about your material possessions and wealth?
  • What about your access to nature?
  • Where else have you been acquired new traits and talents?

Making this list will allow you to see how fortunate you are and how much “right” there is with your life.

To complete your centering process, you also need to get in touch with the things that worry you and the things of which you’re afraid. Consider making a list of all of the things that concern you about your health, your family, your friends, work, money, our nation, etc. Making this list can give you a wonderful list through which you can identify any worries that you can commit to work toward resolving. Some of your worries may be beyond your control, but writing them down can help put them in perspective and allow you to quit “secretly” fretting over them, which can unwittingly drain you.

Consider making these lists side-by-side (T-account style!). For most of us, if not all of us, our blessings will outweigh our concerns and we can see that there is far more positive in our lives than we realized. Whenever you’re down or too focused on worry or fear, pull out your list of traits and review it it will help to center you so you can approach the day with renewed positivity.

Idea #2 — Get Physical

You may not like me for this one, but to maximize your power, positivity and endurance during busy season, you should exercise regularly (after getting your doctor’s permission, that is). Many of us have lots of reasons for not doing so and they all feel justified. But if you’re spending more time rationalizing not exercising than you are actually working out, then your excuses may be holding you back from being the very best you.

Consider keeping a pair of tennis shoes under your desk. Schedule two lunch hours during the week and an hour on the weekend to walk your office complex or neighborhood and you will be a better person for it. Exercise will improve your outlook, reduce your stress, increase your muscle mass and metabolism (both of which are diabolically declining every year that goes by) and it’ll allow you to look better in your clothes. When you exercise, you’ll have more energy and patience to extend to others in your firm and family during busy season, which is always a good thing.

Idea #3 — Choose to Be Positive

In his book, The Last Lecture, Randy Pausch writes his parting wisdom as a man dying of pancreatic cancer. If you haven’t read the book or been out to his web link, please do view the lecture!

In one chapter, Pausch asks us to contemplate whether we want to be seen as Eeyore or Tigger from the children’s books, Winnie the Pooh. To maximize your power and influence on others and improve the way you feel about life, you want to be seen as Tigger hopeful, energetic and ready for anything; and not like Eeyore, who is gloomy and downtrodden. We wonder why people may not aspire to ascend to our level in our practices but it’s often simple and obvious. It’s because we make our jobs look like this: many hours, lots of pressure, no real “help,” unrealistic deadlines and often thankless work.

If you want people to join you in whatever your mission at work, at home or in your community you’ll attract more enthusiasm and commitment from others when you portray a positive and upbeat outlook. Who are you being right now as you read this? Are you ready to take these ideas on as Tigger or want to make them wrong or not apply like Eeyore?

Idea #4 — Get Organized

Clean your office. Clean your room. Clean out your fridge. Every day organize a little corner of your life. Reduce the clutter. Give to charity and recycle. Enlist others in your fight to reclaim organization and order.

If you’re already pretty organized, reduce your volume. Get rid of anything you can and simplify your space. Go through past file cabinets and electronic files and purge what you can (within your organization’s retention policies, of course!).

If you haven’t been too organized lately, ask for help from an administrator or someone else who has it together. Schedule an hour per week in your work life to clean out one drawer, one standing file area and one bookshelf in your office until it is done.

Then, update your pictures and bring the feel of “freshness” into your work area. Start the new year off with a higher degree of order than you have now. You’ll be surprised at how much easier it is to manage your time and your outlook when the spaces you inhabit are organized.

Idea #5 — Reprioritize

Remember Covey’s distinction between urgent and important things in your life? Urgent are things that come up all the time and usually monopolize your time, while important things are the items that will make the most difference to you in the long run. In our work, urgent things are e-mails, phone calls, client crises and filing deadlines. Important work activities include conducting mentoring meetings with staff, spending quality time catching up with your partners, attending conferences or networking events to explore new ideas in the profession and working on ideas #1 through #4 outlined above.

The same urgent and important distinctions apply at home grocery shopping, laundry and mowing the lawn are all urgent, but reading to your children, having a date night with your spouse or significant other and revisiting your family budget and retirement plans are all important activities for which we often “run out of time.”

Important things have the most impact in the long run and can help solve or shift the urgent things in your life when you take the time to do them. So, idea #5 is for you to look at your calendar for the months to come and consider rescheduling or deferring two urgent hours per week and slot in two hours of important, longer-range activities both professional and personal each week.

Be more centered, physically fit, positive organized and proactive this busy season. Choose one of these ideas and begin taking action today!

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Jennifer Wilson is a partner and co-founder of ConvergenceCoaching, LLC, a leadership and marketing consulting and coaching firm that specializes in helping leaders achieve success. Learn more about the company and its services at www.convergencecoaching.com.