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  • Teresa McKee

Getting Ahead of the Resolution Rabbit-Hole

As we head into the holiday season (yes, it’s here!), taking a more proactive approach can make your new year transition so much smoother, productive, and exciting!

If you are familiar with us here at Work2Live, you know we are not big fans of resolutions. Why? Because they frequently don’t work, and in the process of listing out our BIG GOALS, we get discouraged, frustrated, and sometimes even quit altogether. Wouldn’t it be nice if we were always in line with what we dream of achieving or accomplishing?

We do workshops and zoom presentations so frequently that sometimes, I will admit, I become a bit bored with the topics - but only because we have taught them a zillion times. I love the content, but it really does become a bit repetitive for facilitation. Our last in-person workshop, however, was quite the opposite for me. Teresa worked incredibly hard on a workshop built around a new concept (new to us, at least) she came across called the Kanban method. I am not writing this piece to teach you the concept, but if you aren’t familiar with it, there is a link below to some more information.

What really sparked my interest about this workshop was that it was a completely new concept to me. Basically, the point of the Kanban method is to be able to visualize your processes and how efficient and effective they are. It limits your work-in-progress items, and allows your productivity to flow smoothly. It is really designed for teams, but can be used any way that you want - in fact, I have just implemented it in my office at home.

I am not sure if this sounds familiar, but I am one of those people who loves lists. I just do. I like to write my tasks down, get everything out of my brain and onto paper, and then absolutely LOVE to cross them out. You know that feeling, right? But like Teresa has taught us all in our workshops, there’s a bit of defeat at the end of the day or week when all of those tasks aren’t done.

I am also one of those people who gets distracted pretty easily. It’s not surprising that I do, I have a ton on my plate like I am sure most of you do. From sharing the workload of two fewer employees here at Work2Live, to being the CEO, CFO, Professional Chef and Housekeeper of my home life. It’s two full time jobs, on top of trying to manage my own social relationships and my mental & physical health. I will start a task, and then halfway through I find myself on my bank website paying a bill that popped into my mind while tasking away…which had NOTHING to do with what my original task was. UGH!

So when I have my goals and my ambitions set, and then wonder how on earth 7 months have passed and I haven’t even started a single task to help me get to those milestones, I start to feel like time has just passed me by. Where am I going wrong? Where am I losing my time and productivity? My culprit is definitely distraction, which then leads to lack of focus. Because I get pulled off task (by my online banking, petting the dog, taking the trash out), I am now trying to remember what I was working on and what else needs to be done. With my Kanban board, I have noticed a LOT less distraction. I don’t need to wonder where I was - it’s all right there. And pulling one of those post-it notes off the board is just as satisfying as crossing out a task, I promise!

I have a feeling a few of your team leaders may be implementing the Kanban boards for your team in the near future, but I encourage you to start one for yourself at home. Here are some instructions, and really all you need is some post-it notes. I have noticed that now that I have everything visible - not just written down in a notebook, but on a board, in front of my face where I am forced to see it throughout the day, I can see how much I have to do. And I can manage my time so much more efficiently because I am able to choose what I am spending my time on, but nothing is getting lost because it is all on the board. And my board also shows me where I am losing valuable time - why those tasks are causing me a bottleneck in getting them completed.

What’s great about this method is that you can tweak it any way that works for you. If we could apply this to our bigger goals, I imagine that we could accomplish more than we likely thought possible. Sometimes the goals we set are so big that we don’t have a solid plan to reach them. But no goal is really too big, is it? We just need the steps and individual tasks to get there. My board is my work and home life in one board, color coded so I know what is what. Once a task is done, it moves from my Action Items (to-do) over to the Done column, and then I can see how my time was spent. It's also helpful because the family can see how busy I am and hopefully decide to help out a bit more. Maybe. Ha!

Give it a shot. Before you know it, you could be on your way to accomplishing some pretty great things - as long as you can visualize it and streamline your processes. So when this year is over, you won’t need your resolutions. You’ll already be working on your plans and maximizing your efficiency. And inevitably, that will mean less stress with the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. I'd love to hear if you give it a try - and if it works for you too!


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