5 Steps to Making Each Work Day Meaningful
We have a blog schedule. I know. I, with the help of my very talented and creative staff, put it together. But, when I sat down to write my article for our regular Wednesday post, I just did not feel like writing about the topic assigned. That is not like me so I decided to take a few minutes to figure out why. Once I did, I knew what I needed to write about. I have struggled to find the time and motivation to do the parts of my job that I love the most because of the never-ending demands on my time. I just never get the opportunity or blocks of time to really sink my teeth into the projects I love. We all have that struggle but I ask you – who really benefits when almost all of our time is devoted to doing tasks that are not really where our talents and passion lie? [Click to Tweet] I contend that no one really benefits – not the employee, the company, nor its customers. So, what do we do about that?
I love communicating and interacting with people. I love sharing what I know and learning what they know. I love sharing information with people that can make them happier and healthier. In the last year, I have devoted significant time and effort into learning how to do this in a way that reaches the most people – through social media. I have always had my own Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram accounts and I know the amazing ability of these mediums to connect people and ideas. Businesses use these mediums as well but, like most, I was not a fan of ads taking over my social space. Businesses have finally started to realize that salesy ads in people’s timelines alienate, rather than attract, potential customers. Savvy businesses now know that they need to operate in the social space in the same way that people do. [Click to Tweet] They need to share their own information, share other people’s information and interact in a real and human way. I love that! Social media allows a business to develop personal relationships with people that can turn into business relationships. Social media allows us, a functional medicine practice, to give information to people that an alternative to mainstream medicine exists. Simply put, we can help more people because more people will know what we do.
So now that you know where my passion lies, I can tell you that if I could, I would devote 50% of my time to building those relationships through our company’s Facebook page, Twitter account, Pinterest page, website, and this blog. That is not even close to realistic. So, I sat down to figure out a way that would allow me do what I love and do what I need to do (but may not love so much) in a way that best serves me, my company, our clients and anyone else interested in functional medicine and good health.
Step 1: Determine what you love to do. What job duties or tasks do you really like? What gets your creative juices flowing or analytical mind churning in your job? [Click to Tweet] What tasks do you never mind doing? This may take some time to figure out. I mentioned that I have worked on social media marketing for about a year, but I’ve been President of this company for almost 6 years. Yes, it took me that long. It does not have to take that long. Sit down in a quiet place (probably at home) and do some real thinking.
Step 2: Break down that task. Now that you have this list, break it down. What about that particular task do you love? Why do you love it? For example, do you love it because the task requires you to concentrate on just 1 thing for a block of time? Or, do you love it because when you are doing that task, you are interacting with people, and not a computer? Or, do you love it because it gives you a sense of satisfaction; you can cross something off your list?
Step 3: Get creative. Now that you have the reasons why you really like a particular part of your job, it’s time to get creative. Figure out how you can get the feeling you get from doing that job from some of your other job duties. [Click to Tweet] For example: If you really love interacting with people, could you set up weekly Skype meeting, or daily phone calls or 15 minute check-in meetings instead of going back and forth on email all day? If you love a particular task because you can close your door and work uninterrupted, could you figure out a way to do that every day even if for small blocks of time? (See my solution for this below). If you love the sense of crossing something off your list, could you start bundling the never-ending tasks with a task that can be completed each day so that you can do more “crossing off.” Or, could you schedule your day so that you can do 1 “cross-off” item each hour or each day to give you that feeling you love?
Step 4: Share the Love. Once you finish Step 3 (and this may take some time), share it. Everyone has the same struggle in their job, no matter what it is. Share your ideas with your co-workers and your boss. You might want to start with the boss first. J Maybe your ideas could inspire a company initiative bringing greater satisfaction to your boss, your co-workers, and your customers!
Step 5: Work it. You’ve come up with your plan, gone through the proper channels to implement it, and shared your ideas. Now, it’s time to work it! Follow your plan. Don’t stray from it. Since you have communicated with your coworkers about how you will be working going forward, there is no need to defend it. Just do it (thanks Nike). You may need to tweak things a bit as you go or when you get promoted because of your ridiculously improved productivity numbers! Just keep your eye on the goal.
As for me, my love for social media marketing comes from wanting to interact with people in a real and meaningful way, loving the blocks of uninterrupted time it takes to create and share content that really means something to people and liking the “cross=off” concept. Shortly, I will cross off, “Write Blog Article” from today’s list. For me and our company, finding an uninterrupted block of time is the biggest hurdle. A few years ago, I worked with a business coach who noted that the biggest impediment to productivity in the corporate world are the constant “gotta a minute” interruptions. You know what I mean. A coworker sticks their head in your door or buzzes you on the intercom needing “just a minute.” These constant interruptions are irritating and harmful to you, the company and its clients. Statistics show that once interrupted, it takes an average of 25 minutes to get back on task. Following this coach’s advice, we implemented a system whereby each person would write out their schedule for the day, writing down each task next to an a particular hour of the day. Included in this schedule was what we called, GAM Time (or Gotta a Minute time). GAM time was a block of time that each person could work “uninterrupted.” Depending on the person’s role in the company, this could range from 15 minutes to 2 hours. Overall, the tight scheduling process did not work in our company and we scrapped the concept as a whole.
My solution to my recent struggle has been to reinstitute GAM time. During these times, I cannot be interrupted except in an emergency. What is an emergency will vary depending on your company. In our business, besides the real emergencies, like flood or fire, emergencies could be if a client only wants to speak with me, or a doctor has an issue that needs addressed immediately, or if an employee needs to leave work early. I am writing this article during my GAM time although I admit I did answer the phone twice when it rang more than three times. Hey, I’m a work in progress. 🙂
Everyone says that finding a job that you are passionate about is the key to happiness. For most of us though, we work where we work because of lots of other reasons that may or may not involve a passion for the job itself. The answer is not to quit your job, put on a back-pack and roam the country in search of yourself. The answer is to find something about your job that you are passionate about. [Click to Tweet] If you have worked for your company for any length of time, there is something. Just find and reconnect with it.
I would love to hear your thoughts or ideas on this topic.
Functional Endocrinology of Ohio
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Dr. Keith S. Ungar, Dr. David Starkey and Dr. Andrew Kender, Chiropractic Physicians