So, January’s drawing to a close.  Month 1 of the year under our belts.  How are your new year’s resolutions going?  Have you stuck to your zealous diet and fitness pledges, body a temple and all that?

I am pleased to report that my new year mantra of ‘work smarter not harder’ has proved to be maintainable.  I’m feeling in control, relatively zen and insatiably productive (no booze really does make you feel quite marvellous).

What’s been the key?

Push Back

1. Push back – I am hell bent on filtering out the whirlwind of time stealer meetings, tasks, email requests (and even people) to ensure I only do something if I can wholly see where the work will impact the broader business/project/agency outcome.  If I and it will add value then it’s all systems go.  If it can be approached another way, delegated elsewhere, or rejected as a ‘to do’ then away it goes.  Push back intelligently, intuitively and sensitively and watch delicious gaps appear in your calendar.

Agile Working

2. Embrace agile working – I am fortunate to work in an agency readily encouraging an outcome driven mentality.  It’s not about tasks and presentee-ism but about driving business results in the most efficient and solution-centric way possible.  If that working more productively, rapidly and innovatively happens to remove hours of commuting across a week then again watch output rise as more space appears in that beautifully managed calendar.  There’s nothing more satisfying that immersing immediately into ‘thinking time’ the moment you wake (as opposed to adrenaline fuelled get ready, de-icing the car, freezing platform, train delays, tube sardines, and so on, wasting your most alert brain power – 8am is when we reach our peak of the day apparently).

Meta-View

3. Own a growth mindset with a meta-view – focus on strategic business goals by stepping out of the minutiae of daily deliverables and logically plan the week, who you’ll most usefully spend time with and where.  Headline your core goals for the subsequent week on Friday before you shut the laptop (for your family, personal goal focused weekend) and map your meetings, objectives and where you intend to be the following Friday by 6pm.  Ensure the raison d’etre of every meeting ladders up to the primary client/agency business goals and represents a path on your longer term growth roadmap.

It all sounds so obvious really.  Just takes a bit of mindful adoption.  And unbroken resolution of course.  Put it into practice for yourself and enjoy your transformation from corporate water tread-er to leader.