It’s Sunday night. The dinner dishes have been put away. Maybe you’ve finished that second glass of wine. You find your bag or briefcase and set it on the kitchen counter for the morning, wondering what you’ll toss in there for lunch tomorrow.
Your mind wanders to the week ahead. What are you thinking?
Does the work week fill you with anticipation? Or unease?
Do you dread Sunday night?
That’s not good. There’s a big difference between taking a deep breath knowing you have a busy week ahead, and secretly wishing you would come down with the flu so you could stay home.
Deep down, what you want to be thinking is:
“Buckle up! I’m going to kick some tail and take no prisoners! Not sure what, but I’m gonna make something happen this week!”
That feeling of positive anticipation? The best way I’ve ever heard it expressed is “I want to ‘bring it’ every day!”
Moving from a feeling of dread to “Let’s go!” means tackling one or more of five things that stand in your way.
If you think of the week ahead as one big 500-pound bear, you will lose. You can’t dance with a bear. You have to break up the week into smaller, manageable pieces you can attack and conquer one at a time.
Two, admit to yourself you aren’t going to convert Mother Russia next week. As you lay out the days in your mind, or in your planner, be kind to yourself. Set realistic goals you can actually achieve. The rest can wait. Really, it can wait. For once, give yourself permission to succeed this week.
Among the goals that you must embrace for your week have to be the three most important to-do’s on your list. You know what those are. The task we most want to avoid? We convince ourselves it can wait a little longer. Stop avoiding. The task we dislike the most is often the most important. Know the top three things you need to get done next week and commit to them.
One reason you have that knot in your stomach is because your boss doesn’t know what you have on your plate, or because you and your boss aren’t on the same page when it comes to your priorities. You have to fix that.
Believe me when I tell you, if your boss wants to know what you are doing, the two of you need to be on the same page. She or he must know your priorities, and agree with them! If that doesn’t happen, no matter what else you do, that knot in your stomach isn’t going to go away.
Finally, you have to close the door. Literally or figuratively. If you know your priorities, if your boss does, if they’re realistic, and if they’re in manageable bites, that is your focus for the week. You really don’t care how busy everyone else is. Saying to a colleague, “Sure, I can help you with that” becomes a very low priority.
Because the truth is, no one cares how busy you are.
That sounds unbelievable harsh, I know, but it’s true. Not even your closest friend in the office cares how busy you are. He or she has their own work to do and you have yours. Keep it that way.
Please don’t get me wrong. Being a team player was very important to me as a colleague and a boss. But one of the most profound pieces of professional advice I ever received was,
“Stop being such a nice guy.”
In this case let’s translate that to “Love others AS YOU LOVE YOURSELF.”
Spending all your time looking after others and not looking after yourself is one of the five reasons you feel out of control, and one of the five reasons you dread Sunday night.
You can change that.
Excerpted from “Winning: The Five Truths of Fundraising.” Available by clicking the link above.