I have a confession: Sometimes I put things on my To Do list that I’ve already done just so I can cross them out. It makes me feel good.
I was thinking about that on a particularly busy day at work. I decided that what I really need is a “Done List,” a list of everything I have done that day. So I tried it. At first, it was a bit difficult. I’d finish something and move on to the next thing, and I had not added the first thing to my Done List. To be honest, the first day I tried it, it was day’s end before I added anything to the list.
Each day it became a bit easier. I became more mindful of what I needed to accomplish each day. When I added it to the Done List, I gave myself a moment to recognize and acknowledge that I had accomplished something. It felt good.
Of course, sometimes reading the list at day’s end exhausted me. I had no idea how much I did in a day, both at home and at work. It was good to see that even when things remained on my To Do list, I had achieved much on my Done List.
I also discovered that sometimes I did things that I didn’t need to do on that particular day. I became more aware of how I used my time on any given day. I also recognized that the work week is 40 hours long and that I don’t have to do everything in the first eight hours of the week.
So today, instead of making your To Do list, create a Done list. I bet you will feel great about the day!
In the bustle of the holiday season, try carving out some time to focus on you and your career. Here are a few simple ways to do that:
Reflect: Think back on the past year about your accomplishments and then update your resume. Did you learn a new skill? Receive recognition? Complete a big project? Add it to your resume. Once you have done that, do the same on LinkedIn.
Connect: This is a great time of year to send a short note to someone and update them on what you have been doing. Even better, provide that person with information that would be useful to them. I recently shared with a former colleague who is interested in improving her Twitter skills about a great online class I took in just that area. If you are job searching, be sure to have business cards with your contact details and areas of interest to share when you meet someone.
Shop: Yes, I just wrote that. If you have not updated your wardrobe in a while, take advantage of the sales and give your professional wardrobe and upgrade. If you wear glasses and haven’t purchased a pair in a few years, it’s time for new frames.
Learn: Download a book or visit your library to find a book on a topic that could help your career. In an upcoming post, I will share what’s on my list. My goal is to finish one during the holidays.
Relax: Sometimes the best way to help yourself professionally is by taking care of yourself. Schedule time to sit quietly and be mindful of all that you do have.
Fred Cook was honored at the 2014 PRSA International Conference with the Gold Anvil Award, the Society’s highest individual award. It is considered to be PRSA’s lifetime achievement award and is presented to a public relations practitioner who is a PRSA member and whose accomplishments have made a major contribution to the profession.
Cook describes himself on his LinkedIn profile as the “unlikely CEO of the world’s most unorthodox PR agency.”
He didn’t follow a traditional career path, and he told the audience he barely graduated college. But he did gain experience in many areas, whether working on an ocean tanker, as a limo driver or as a doorman.
“My experience became my credentials,” he said.
He wasn’t afraid to take risks and to do things differently. “We need to be more brave, we need to have bigger ideas, and we need to act more boldly,” he added.
In a recent post, he wrote, “Improvisation, like evolution, is a critical survival tool.”
He talks about all of that in his book Improvise – Unconventional Career Advice from an Unlikely CEO.
Cooks suggests treating one’s career as if it was a pool table and the balls are experiences. “The more balls on the table, the more options you have.”
How many balls do you have in play?