A good day

Disclaimer: It’s possible that this is lifted directly from a book I’ve read recently or something I’ve listened to. If so, please point it out! If not – it’s certainly a variation on a theme, but I hope it’s helpful.

I started work this morning by sitting with a notebook for five minutes, writing (and then answering) the question:

“What will make this a good day?”

My list started with something about how (or who) I wanted to be:

  • Show care;
  • Notice how people are doing, and Good Things;
  • Be patient and encouraging.

Then I had some things I wanted to achieve – totally unscientific, only vaguely specified and measurable goals:

  • Have a good phone call with X and Y about a plan for a new teacher training project;
  • Reply to emails in general and three in particular;
  • Update a visa agent about current process;
  • Be available to support two colleagues working on something urgent and stressful;
  • Review a cost-and-price list with another colleague;
  • Talk to X about next steps with a video about our work.

Simple goals that break most of the rules of good goal setting, although still in line with big priorities.

I ended the day with all but one of them highlighted green, and had covered a few other things in the meantime (things I left space for by keeping the list fairly light).

On the back of one conversation a colleague took the initiative to prototype a new product that I was skeptical about, but looks like it will turn out well.

Another discussion moved something along to the point where someone else could make faster-than-expected progress with a new proposal.

There were pockets of intensity and a bit of stress here and there, but there was space to think a bit, make progress on a couple of strategic resources, and to help people get good work done. And a couple of good surprises.

And at the end of the day – an irksome, bureaucratic end – no matter how I felt at that moment, I could look at the list and say to myself – objectively:

“This has been a good day. You can go home now.”

One Reply to “A good day”

  1. Great idea, good way to start the day. Emotion and frustration can creep in but this takes you back to objective reality. I like it!

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