|End-of-Year Review - It's Personal|
by Cynthia Howard RN, CNC, PhD
It is that time of year, holidays
are approaching and the end of the year review is coming up. As a leader you
might be dealing with scheduling demands with physicians, staff and patients
and need to juggle the increase (or decrease) in demand for services. You have
your own demands with family, friends and coworkers. And then there are the
actual work demands that still need attention.
I have some proven tips to make
the most of this time of year and start 2017 energized and focused. The tips
are divided into Productivity (Getting it Done), Personal (What you eat, drink
and think) and Professional (Managing Performance and Career).
Let’s get personal. This is the
time of year when it seems like everyone wants to sabotage your best efforts at
eating healthy; cookies, fudge, gifts of chocolate along with specialty drinks
with lots of whipped crème and caramel suddenly become part of the daily menu.
I am sure I do not have to tell you that high sugar will only lower your energy
and blur your focus. It also causes weight gain. Be intentional with what you eat, drink and
think. Sugary foods can be the go to when demands increase. Did you know that distraction
makes it easy to reach for that double fudge brownie?
The more distracted, the greater
chance you are in a fight or flight mode. This changes your body chemistry
making you crave sugary, carb loaded foods and drinks. It also makes it easy to
tell yourself, “I deserve it.”
Did you know that over 50% of
what is being done in a day is a do over? Distractions make up the majority of
the day making focus near impossible. And studies now show that when distracted,
the sense of urgency shows up, making you more tired and irritable at the end
of the day. This is the perfect environment to indulge in foods that will
actually sabotage your best efforts.
Having a plan to handle sweets and other foods that interfere with your best performance is the first step to
taking charge of this struggle.
One of my favorite tools to manage stress, stay focused and get more done is the:
Daily Review. Even if you
have never used this, start now and get ahead of end-of-year confusion. The
Daily Review is a practice of looking over the day (week, month and year) and
asking these 3 questions, What worked, What didn’t, What’s next. Spend 5 to 15 minutes at the end of the day
and Journal the answers to these questions. You can use an app or old fashioned
notebook and write it out. The most important part of the exercise is to do it
every day. It doesn’t help to binge review and spend 2 hours one day and then
forget it for a month.
The Daily Review is designed to
be short, cryptic and get you to the best and worst part of your day. You can
reflect more deeply at the end of the week, end of the month and end of the
year, where you spend more time looking at where you have been and where you
This Daily Review is a discipline
of focusing your mind on what is most important. With so many distractions, the
brain does not have the capacity to retain information in long term memory
making recall harder and the sense of urgency typical. Strategic focus like planning, prioritizing
and goal setting seem like a luxury for which you do not have time.
The Priority Matrix is another one of my favorite tools. It has four
quadrants and helps you sort out: Most Important, Urgent and Important, Urgent
and Not Important and Neither Urgent nor Important. For the most part, things that are urgent are
usually some one else’s’ agenda. When
you spend the time in planning (a Most Important activity), the less
susceptible you are to other people making their agenda yours.
The ‘Neither Important or Urgent’
Category is where people go to waste time. And when the brain becomes
overwhelmed or fatigued, this can be where you spend time on social media,
scrolling the internet or otherwise losing focus. When you spend time planning,
you can also plan for down time and give yourself the opportunity to truly
Make a list of everything you do
during the day and put each activity in one of the four categories. What can
you delegate? How will planning help you
get more control over your time and energy?
Professional (Managing Performance and Career)
The end of the year has most leaders focused on making sure
everyone has what they need. This is also the time of year when you have to
save time for you to reflect on your professional goals. Where are you with
your plans? Use the 3 questions in the Daily Review process to reflect on your
Most people are not planning their career and simply think
in terms of what jobs are available that will pay more or offer opportunity.
Having a plan is one of the first steps you should take to make sure you have
the opportunity you really want.
Take the time as part of your end of year review and think
about your ideal career path. What skills do you need? How can you plan ahead
and develop these skills? Do you want a mentor?
Do you want a coach? What will help you get to where you need to go?
This time of year highlights a “best practice” for success –
gratitude. In spite of the pressure, demands and whatever might be going on,
take the time to be grateful for what is working in your life, at work and at
home. Studies show that leaders who lead with a solution focus (vs a problem
focus) are more compelling and attract more followers. Gratitude keeps your
energy and focus on what is possible, as opposed to what went wrong. It builds
resilience and feels good, too.
Use these suggestions and get out in front of whatever
demands and pressure may be coming at you; have a successful end of year and brilliant
start to 2017.
Cynthia Howard RN, CNC, PhD is a Focus and Performance Consultant, working with leaders and
organizations to develop resilient leadership and resilient organizations.
Visit www.vibrantradianthealth.com for more insights and solutions to high performance leadership.