One of the things I’ve been thinking a lot about lately is how to organize my priorities and responsibilities at work. I’ve been open about the fact that at times in the past I’ve struggled to find the right balance between being productive and being available. More recently, I wrote about the fact that regardless of the context, leadership is fundamentally about effective communication, and that focusing on that core function is a valid use of my time (even if I sometimes feel less-productive when focusing on communication).
Doing highly productive work (work that results in documentation, reports, implementation of new systems, and other such deliverables) is rewarding, but how much of my day should be spent on those tasks at this point? In months and years past, a lot of my time was consumed with these types of tasks. However, in the past 6 months we’ve brought on quite a lot of help in the areas of accounting, legal, finance, and HR, and that has allowed and forced me to refocus a bit.
Another idea I’ve been ruminating on recently is the importance of being visible and positive. In a busy remote work environment, that has to be done intentionally.
My Everyday Perspective Statement
With all of these ideas swirling around in my head, and while still enjoying some degree of vacation-induced clarity, I realized that I needed to take some sort of tangible step to remind myself of all of these ideas on an ongoing basis.
So I jotted three ideas down on a sticky note and stuck it to my monitor, right next to the notes that I use at the beginning and end of each day to make sure I startup and shutdown my work day in a way that sets me up for productivity and effectiveness.
I’m calling these three ideas my everyday perspective statement ™. My everyday perspective statement consists of these three affirmations:
- Stay positive.
- Be available.
- Solving problems for others is your job.
Each of these affirmations is there for a specific reason.
My attitude will affect how I work, how I talk, and how I react. So, staying positive is not about pretending to be happy, but about improving the likelihood that things will work out in an acceptable fashion. Staying positive is a strategy to improve my chances of success and to improve my effectiveness.
In addition, I recognize that others will feed off of my energy. So if I consistently bring positive energy to the table, others will be affected by that in the moment, and come to expect it over time. Staying positive is something of a virtuous cycle that improves my own results as well as those of others around me.
When I’m focused or have something pressing that I need to get to, I can be short with those who seek my attention. That’s not good. So the affirmation to be available is a reminder that when someone asks for my help I need to slow down, listen, and help.
Solving Problems for Others IS Your Job
There have been times when I’ve been annoyed by someone asking me to help them work through a problem, I admit it. I’m not proud of that, but it has happened. Usually it happens because I have something else that I need to get to and that feels really important. However, you can basically summarize my core job as “be the glue that binds the company together”, and that means that being aware of and understanding the problems facing members of our team, and working with them to solve them, is one of my core responsibilities.
Applying My Everyday Perspective Statement
As I mentioned, and as you can see in the featured image, I put my everyday perspective statement where I’ll see it several times every day. I also visit it to start every day. It’s the first thing I read when I start my workday. The plan is for me to revisit it anytime I’m feeling impatient or negative, and for it to serve as a reminder that I need to course-correct and stay positive, be available, help others solve problems.