As September comes around, once again, our thoughts turn to Fall activities. Whether it’s putting away your Summer wardrobe, raking the leaves or enjoying the sunflowers, it’s a new season and a time of change. Many people will be sweeping up the dead leaves and planting bulbs, in anticipation of Spring.
Sweeping away the old and thinking about things to come could be part of your Fall plan for the workplace. Why not take a look at where you are with some of your projects, goals, working practices, staffing structure and other aspects of your business and see if there are areas where you might get rid of some things that are no longer relevant, have run their course or never really took off.
It’s not necessarily a time for big changes, but you could look at this as a time to start planting some fresh ideas, thinking about where you want to be come next Spring, share ideas and mull over the direction in which you want to go. According to SunSigns.org, “The symbolism of September month focuses on refocusing our energies.”
Even if you don’t feel the need to make changes, it could be that you do need to just refocus your energy and regain some enthusiasm for what you are already doing. But, that may be easier said than done.
You may be fully committed to a particular project, but if it is one that is going to take some time to complete. I found a piece from the team at Liquid Planner on “How to Stay Motivated When You’re Working on a Never-Ending Project”.
Posted on February 14, 2019, it is full of ideas and I’ve highlighted some of them for you:
1. Focus on small, meaningful wins.
Bite-sized accomplishments are the key. Give yourself one meaningful task a day. To up the ante, make it something that stretches you a bit. It doesn’t have to be around the project either. Examples include having a conversation with your boss or team member that you’ve been putting off or talking to the customer about how to bring this project out of the sphere of infinity.
2. Make a game out of keeping the project aligned with business goals.
Big projects are like epic stories; it’s easy to forget the beginning of the narrative when you’re a year into it and there’s a lot more to write. Study the project schedule to see if the work completed and the tasks left to be done are consistent with the goals and deliverables agreed to on Day 1. Make sure your priorities are up to date, and if not, start communicating, updating, and reworking the project plan.
3. Cross tasks off your list!
If you’re waiting on dependencies, change orders, or decisions to be confirmed on the part of the customer or stakeholder, it can be tempting to rework an existing project task into the ground to keep yourself from being idle. Unless something really needs to be updated or improved upon, however, let it be and mark it done.
4. Reassess your goals.
If you’re facing a project stall, dipping back into your career goals and job commitments are always useful and could be inspiring. You might be able to cross off some, update them, or use them to help solve some problems or answer some lingering questions that exist on your current project. This exercise also reminds you of the big picture you’re heading toward as you get mired down in the details (or lack thereof).
5. Give yourself side assignments.
It’s important to feel like you’re accomplishing something every day, but when your project feels like it’s sprawling into no man’s land, it’s hard to get that satisfaction. Make yourself useful in other ways. See if you can contribute to other projects. Reach out to other teams or team members and see how you can pitch in. Offer yourself up as an objective eye or ear or to be an extra welcome resource. If you’ve ever wanted to be a mentor or volunteer in your professional field, this could be a great time.
6. Keep your team members challenged.
If you’re a manager, pay attention to the mood of your team. Keep their minds engaged by asking questions and delegating work that challenges people in their roles and prepares them for the next level of their career.
7. Learn something new.
If your enthusiasm is flagging or you’re feeling burned out, what would get you excited? Make a list and follow through. Ideas could include learning a new skill or training to become a leader or a mentor inside or outside your organization. Ask your manager for ideas. It’s hard to feel bored or restless when you’re learning.
8. Remember that long projects end.
When you’re in the middle of a big project (or any challenging experience), it feels like it will never end. But, it will! Even if it’s the worst disaster of a project you have ever experienced, you will walk away with something. If you look at work as a way to keep learning, growing, and developing, the truth is the difficult experience is the best experience you will ever have. Make it worth your while.”
Whether you are making a clean sweep, planning for the future or simply revitalising existing projects, this may be a good time to take a look at the state of your business and review your current situation.
About the Author
Martin Parnell is the Best-Selling author of MARATHON QUEST and RUNNING TO THE EDGE and his final book in the Marathon Trilogy, THE SECRET MARATHON-Empowering women and girls in Afghanistan through sport, was released on October 30th 2018. He speaks on having a “Finish the Race Attitude – Overcoming Obstacles to Achieve Your Full Potential” and has written for, or been covered by CNN, BBC, CBC, The Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Runners World, Men’s Journal, Canadian Business, and Maclean’s.
In a five year period, from 2010 to 2014, Martin completed 10 extreme endurance “Quests” including running 250 marathons in one year and raising $1.3m for the humanitarian organization Right To Play. In 2016 he ran the Marathon of Afghanistan in support of Afghan women and girls running for equality and his film “The Secret Marathon” will be out in the fall of 2019. Find out more about Martin at www.martinparnell.com and see what he can do for you in the long run.