#WFH What are Your Priorities?
If you want good health, you need to eat right, exercise and manage your vices. If you want love, you cannot go around focused on how much you hate your ex, the political candidate or the government. You can’t focus on hate and get love. Which one is your priority? If you want self-expression, what are you doing to get it? Writing, painting, building, designing…there are many ways to do this. But if you are afraid to be wrong, creativity, innovation and invention are probably not happening. If you want to be a relaxed person and you run yourself ragged, you are not going to be very relaxed. Some people relax by watching movies and other people meditate under a tree. It is not important what you do. What is important is that it is your priority and you take action to move in that direction somehow. If you have your work as a priority, do the best you can at it. Show up and give it your all. If you need to get a babysitter or take the kids to day care, do it. The idea that anyone can concentrate with dogs barking, kids laying and door bells ringing is ridiculous. Outsource what you have to and focus on where you need to be.
You also will want to schedule some time to disengage from work. You cannot always be “on.” If you don’t schedule time to disengage, you will find that always being “on” will have a negative effect on your psychological state and your work. Psychological detachment from work during off-job times can give you high positive affect and low negative affect; that psychological detachment is particularly important when work engagement is high. A 2008 study looked at 159 employees from five German organizations, across several industries. It found that a person’s level of work engagement and level of psychological detachment from work during off-job times predicted affect at the end of the workweek. The study suggests that both engagement when at work and disengagement when away from work are beneficial for employees’ affective states (Sonnentag, Mojza, Binnewies & Scholl, 2008).
Finally, don’t beat yourself up for not being perfect and achieving everything you want this minute. Again, there are lots of good books on this topic. Setting and enacting priorities is about valuing yourself and knowing that you can achieve what you want. You have the capabilities. There is every reason to know, recognize and understand that you can make it in this new virtual world, and be very successful. You can accept yourself right where you are and make the necessary adjustments to set and enact your priorities. With The Pajama Effect comes freedom; with freedom comes more fun, more flexibility and more responsibility.
To get your desired results, you have to begin. This sounds obvious, but can be a stumbling block for many people. They never start. Fear is often part of the equation: fear of failure, fear of success, fear of what others will say or not say. What is important is that you begin what you want to accomplish. A saying often attributed to Goethe states:
“Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” If you don’t start, you can’t finish. Figure out who is involved and what stake they have in the project. If your daughter needs a ride to tennis lessons, she has a stake in that event. If she is not home from being with her friends on time…well? If your company wants a report written by Friday at noon, when do they have to get you the content? Who do you have to talk to and by when? Who are the stakeholders and what do they need to know? This can be as simple as your boss, your kids or your team members. It can be as complicated as other companies halfway around the globe. Identify who has a stake in what you are doing and the results. If there are gaps in any part of this project called you, identifying them up front is very important. You might also want to identify how you will measure your success.
What needs to be done and what resources do you need to do it? Analyzing what it takes to get the job done is important. Break it down and be honest with yourself and others. You can’t do it all right now with no time and no resources. Create a breakout of the tasks, connections and communications, resources and budget you need. Next, determine a schedule. Create one that you will try very hard to stick to and that is realistic for you. It is important that everyone – your boss, your client, your team, and your family – be with you on the same page.
Make realistic plans, set dates and then work towards them with integrity. If you estimate some task will take three hours and you know it is at least a six-to-eight hour job, you are already behind. If you tell stakeholders up front that you need more time, you have a better chance of keeping the peace and gaining their respect. If you are always coming up short, handing things in late and making excuses, things will get old really fast. So, be realistic and honest with yourself first, and remember you need both time and resources to make plans happen. No excuses, no matter how realistically constructed, actually let you off the hook for poor planning. And planning alone is not enough, you need to monitor your progress and make adjustments regularly.
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