Well, on vacation I found out that I had picked up some bad habits. As I’m building my business I’ve been using social media to connect with more folks, so I am on my phone more often than in the past. Well, when you go to the middle of nowhere, land without cell service and poor internet you find out just how much time you spend mindlessly scrolling. Now mind you, all my time on social media is not wasted, I’m connecting, meeting people, learning about challenges my clients are facing, and talking about what I’m doing. That’s all-good stuff. The impulsive need to see what friends are up to, to look at new reels, or scroll through my feed isn’t necessarily helpful.
Once I realized how often I was picking up my phone only to be frustrated by the lack of service it was time to be mindful about what I was doing. As I started to pay attention to when I was accessing social media and why I could start to make it valuable time, not mindless scrolling.
This impulse really hit home as I thought about the other habits I have developed around my work. I’m fairly compulsive about capturing all that I need to do, to plan out my work, to research the topic of the week, to document my ideas for new programs, and using spreadsheets to capture a lot of this. 😊
For the most part all of these are great habits to have. I know that my need to plan the work and document it helped me find my spot again as I came back from 12 days away. If I hadn’t had a plan for my content and what was up next I would still be struggling to get back on track. While vacation set me back some, I’m only hours behind not days due to my habit of documenting everything.
Another habit that has really helped me grow my career to the point where I can focus on coaching women in STEM on their careers is beginning with the end in mind. I read Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” around 30 years ago and still practice several of his habits to this day. One of my favorites is the 2nd one – Begin with the End in Mind. This helps me plan my work and set myself up for success.
This has also helped me plan my career by looking at where do I want to go next and back tracking to figure out what I need to do to make it happen. I’m pretty good at making changes on the fly but I need to have a direction and a destination in mind otherwise I’m wandering around doing things that can pull me in too many different directions which means no progress is made.
Here are my favorite ways to make this habit work:
As an engineer all of this comes naturally to me and it gets applied to so many parts of my life, not just my work and business. I have a sewing project on my worktable that is loosely planned so I’m not progressing as fast as I could be. I don’t have an end date so while I know the steps, I have no urgency in getting it done. When I set a completion date I will know exactly when I must get started again to hit that date. Knowing the end makes it easier for me to get started.
Right now, I’m creating a new coaching program, so I laid out on a calendar when I wanted it to start and back tracked to when I had to start building all the pieces to launch it. Well, when I laid it all out I had to make some adjustments because I didn’t have the time on the front end to make the date I had in mind. Not a big deal, but I realized I need an extra week to get things in place without working 24/7. If I hadn’t started with the end in mind I would have stuck to the original date and not had all the pieces in place and I would have either launched with information that wasn’t clear or I would have moved the date out and been mad at myself for missing the date. Neither of these works. It’s better for me to start with the product I want to launch and figure out the timing needed to get it right.
Pay attention to the habits that you have built around your work. Are they helping you or hindering you? If you have looked at your work habits, take some time to pay attention to what you do without thinking about it. My mindless scrolling doesn’t help me build relationships; it just kills time. To create the growth in my business I must be mindful of how I’m spending my time so that I can launch new programs, help my clients, and move forward successfully.