Interesting. During the past two weeks I have heard, no less than a half a dozen times, how …. “now that summer is over I can get back on track”. When I inquired as to what that meant … specifically how did summer take him or her off track? … here’s what I heard:
- ‘I was distracted with the various weekend trips I took … the planning, the long weekends and then the recovery which impacted the week that followed.”
- “Summer is the time when people are on vacation so it was very difficult to meet or even speak with those people I needed to do my work effectively … in my organization or outside of it.”
- “Summer is the hardest time for me to stay focused. There are so many distractions of my own making and others doing. I just kind of accepted that this year and didn’t fight it too much or too well.”
Wow. This sounds extremely costly. Three months of veering off course. So it made me curious as to how many of us might give into the same rationale? How many of us can recognize and admit that we lose some steam when there are competitive forces that are creating a magnetic pull in another direction? Oh, to be sure, we all went to work and put in our time. And yes, maybe some people we needed at a given time were ‘on vacation’. And yet when we think about it, how did that absolutely impact us in ways that allowed us to devise the rationale that put us on vacation?
What gave rise to these comments was because we were discussing where the person was in their plan and what they needed and wanted to do in order to ramp it up. The first order of business became one of getting back on track. Nice words and to make them really mean something what are the actions that will actually enable us to do this? What do we need to do to make it happen? Here are some possible suggestions that can help all of us sooner than later:
- First and foremost, recognize in what specific ways you’ve fallen behind. Is it in prospecting for business? Perhaps in the completion of a project that is beyond the original due date? Or, could it be that you cancelled group meetings thus impacting needed internal communication … just because some participants were on vacation?
- Track three day’s of your work activity as a fast way to determine how you have gotten used to spending your time … some of which are working against your ability to be on track. Even just three days will reveal any off-track patterns.
- Get your train moving again by creating a structured plan to return to the actions that you’ve allowed to lag. Reestablish your team meetings by announcing when and where they are to be held and the structure they will follow. Identify were you ‘left off’ on the projects and what you need and commit to do to get them back into serious motion
- Identify some ally … on your team, sitting next to you, your boss … telling them what you are working to do as you reclaim control of yourself and ask them to check in with you so you can report as to what you have accomplished in that day or whatever time frame you choose. Nothing like a good ‘friend’ to help us stay the course we’ve chosen.
Taking a three month sabbatical or one-fourth of a year can have a very significant impact on how well we meet expectations … those of our superiors or those of our own. Maybe next year I’ll address this issue say in May … in advance of allowing summer to overwhelm and overtake me. In the meantime I’ve got to fall forward … or is it fly forward … now! Care to join me?