As we enjoyed the recent Labor Day weekend, it was more quiet than usual since many people started their holidays earlier. This past Labor Day is the 128th time it has been celebrated as a National holiday. I have always smiled when thinking of Labor Day. Having a day off to celebrate working seems a bit contradictory, but in reality, Labor Day originated during a time when workers were establishing their rights and fair labor practices. While we have just celebrated the 128th Labor Day, our intentions should be to reflect and assess how we are working and how we can make ourselves available for our clients, colleagues, friends, families, and ourselves.
So, I took some time to think about how I spend my time on a daily and weekly basis. I spend time in meetings with clients, teammates, as well as numerous other internal meetings. I write and answer emails, answer and make phone calls. I write communications, I read and educate myself, and I prepare analyses and presentations. I assess what I believe is working and not working, and I make plans and decisions. From this perspective, I don’t think this is any different from anyone else at Wheels Donlen. At times, the external demands and requests for my time and actions can dominate what I am doing. As a result, I may neglect some things I should be or want to be doing.
Knowing all of this, I have been reminding myself of the importance to keep some time dedicated to assessing what I am doing and the impacts my actions are having. This time requires that I get “off the tread mill” and think:
• Am I focused on what I am trying to achieve and assessing how I am spending my time to get there?
• Am I trying to do things on my own that would be better served by others with better capabilities and knowledge to do those things?
• Do I have better capabilities and skills for certain things that I should dedicate more of my time to for maximum impact?
• Am I drawn into activities that I really do not contribute to and therefore waste my time?
• Am I being fair to the whole other parts of my life that are outside of work?
If my answer to any of these questions suggest that I am not optimizing my time, skills and interests, then what changes will I make to get into a better balance.
This activity is no different to taking your car in for preventative maintenance or seeing your doctor or dentist for a health check-up. It gives you time to evaluate and assess the big picture and move your “levers” to give yourself the best chance for accomplishing whatever things you want to accomplish.
I know everyone is busy with a lot of demands on their plate. However, I cannot encourage you enough to take time to regularly sit back, assess and move your levers to your benefit. If you are unsure, talk it out with someone who can give you an outside perspective. In small and repetitive ways, this practice can be your personal Labor Day to establish your rights to an effective and fulfilling work life balance.
I hope you enjoyed your holiday weekend and that you had time to sit back and recharge to stay customer driven.