Have you ever been in a situation where you had lots of “little” tasks filling up your days, that over time made you feel overwhelmed (or bored, frustrated or longing for a change)?
While it may mean that you’re in the wrong job, not valued, or need to learn time management skills, often the answer (and solution) may be closer to home.
Last week a new client of mine was feeling “done” with her job. She was torn, because she works for an organization she loves, with co-workers she respects, and at a salary that she is grateful for. But she described feeling like she was just on a hamster wheel, with never-ending tasks, and not really being seen as having a lot of value – other than being able to get a lot done.
While instincts to make a change may indeed be the right choice, before you make any big decisions or spiral further downward, here’s a Guiding Questions Strategy I use that can help in a variety of scenarios.
Start by making a list of your “tasks” and “to do’s” – it could be documents you’re preparing, a project, a deadline, running errands, etc.:
- Define the PURPOSE of your efforts: Ask yourself “What will be accomplished when I finish this? Who will benefit – directly and indirectly? And why does this matter – to others and to ME?”
Sometimes, knowing those answers is enough to create positive shifts in your outlook, approach, and effectiveness.
As Interim President & CEO of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, as in all my Interim roles, there are myriad urgent issues – all looking like they need to be addressed – awaiting me. Starting Day One I need to quickly determine where to put my time, what to address and when. By asking the guiding questions above, my focus is immediately clear. By the end of every week, I have helped the organization tangibly move forward. It’s exhillerating.
- If you have a list of more than two items – and we usually do – ask those questions for each task, and then note and name the patterns of impact that appear.
When my client did this exercise, she realized that the long list of “menial and mundane” projects making her feel burned out, could be categorized into two major areas of impact: 1. Creating the structure and systems for other people to do their best work – that resulted in increased revenue for the development department and staff not feeling as stressed, and 2. Making people feel taken care of – resulting in a willingness (and ability) to interact more with each other.
Not so menial!
Knowing these truths, and elevating how she was thinking about her work in terms of impact, instantly revealed her true value (to herself) and began to create a road map for time-management, prioritizing, decision-making, and honestly, living in her purpose. We’ll also be using this process to continue to reveal additional key foundational self-knowledge for her to use to re-position herself at work, or in networking, job applications and interviews, if she decides to apply for jobs. And, the same “to do” list now gave her a spring in her step.
- Once you know a little more about your impact, and knowing your unique strengths, insights, and… what brings you joy: SET YOUR INTENTION: How do you want to help move the needle? How can you recommend/advocate/initiate your unique process to achieve the overall purpose? And have the impact you are meant to achieve?
Task [divided by] Task Purpose + Your Ripples of Impact + Your Intention = Success & JOY!
We’ve all seen tasks “completed” and yet not move the needle or result in any positive impact. We all know what it feels like to be working in this manner.
Once you know the purpose of what you’re doing, your impact when you do it (well), and set your intention in ways to help you “show up” as your best self, the quality of what you do will shift, your “value” will increase, and most importantly – you will create positive impact around you.
And, you will instantly feel more empowered, purposeful, motivated, valued, energized, proud. Without needing anyone else to change!
Check out these additional blogs on creating shifts by setting intention:
- Transform Your Meetings by Setting Intention | Jan 24, 2019
- Determine your professional trajectory/success: Leaders: Don’t hide your YOU-niqueness | Feb 21, 2019
- Time Management: Too Busy? Here’s something that can help | Sep 20, 2018
- Or enter in “Intention” in the search bar on my BLOG PAGE
To your success,
P.S. – I love hearing from you. How are YOU elevating your tasks so that your true value and impact can be acheived?