Doing it Differently in 2012

If the Mayan civilization was right, then the “end all year” is right around the corner.  As if there wasn’t a certain amount beneath the surface stress with the end of the year approaching and a new year’s worth of goals, resolutions, and commitments weren’t enough, this year we have the added stress of prophecies of doom. So with all of this looming overhead, how would one go about planning for this year?

As we all try to end 2011 and focus on 2012, let’s try to keep our eyes intently focused on making 2012 more productive than 2011.  Here are some simple tips:

  • Focus on Projects, not tasks.  In a previous post entitled, “To do or Not to Do”, I discussed how many times we focus more on the tasks than we do on the projects they are associated with.  For 2012, make a brief list of the projects you hope to achieve and let those be the measure of success.  There are many ways to do this.  One of the ways I mentioned in the post was the use of Charlie Gilkey’s monthly planner.  Other methods is to use a daily journal to focus on the the projects you want to work toward that day.  If you do that, you will find yourself focusing on the big picture and not necessarily the pixels that make it.
  • Know who your top employees are and what motivates them.  All too often, I find managers spend more of their time trying to fix what’s wrong with their team and not enough time getting to know their top talent.  Although they know who they are, some managers do not know what truly motivates their top talent pool.  This is critical for keeping this group in your company.  Money is always great, but all too often, it is not the primary motivating factor.  Make it a priority in 2012 to spend some valuable one on one time with your top talent to understand what makes them tick.
  • Control the Internet before it controls you.  This is one I am really going to work on in 2012.  I love the internet and all it brings.  Being a self-proclaimed nerd, I love to read and can lose myself in various articles or case studies.  In addition to this addiction, I have the need to constantly be in touch with email, or IM or whatever other tool at my disposal.  This is not to say it is all for fun, a lot of it is for work, but ironically, it keeps me from that.  Schedule some time to check up on your social media, keep it in check.  Turn off the notifier on your email so your concentration is not broken.  Do whatever you can to help make sure you are more productive.
  • Keep a four line rule- If it requires more than four lines, pick up the phone and talk to the person!  In this day and age of media and emails, keep this rule in 2012 and watch your relationships expand.  Unfortunately, we have become so accustomed to texts, emails, IMs that we have lost some of the personal contact needed for business to survive.  How did this happen?  Very easily, but I don’t remember because I’ve been guilty of this before.  Last year, I decided to enact this rule and found it to be revolutionary for the service I was able to provide my clients.  It was sad that many of them were surprised when I called them to discuss a topic rather than firing off an email.  Additionally, I actually got to know some of them better and found some friendships that would not have occurred if I had not picked up the phone.

So, if the Mayans are right, what are you going to do to make 2012 the most productive year yet?  If you ask me, I think the Mayans may have had some people in the group who had ADD and decided to work on another project, not realizing there would be so many people hanging on their every etching…

Trent Cotton has spent a number of years in management and business consulting. After spending some time in the field, he joined the HR department, beginning in recruiting and eventually serving as the Department Head of HR for one of the major lines of business. With such a varied background, he works to bring all of these together to help organizations incorporate best practices into their business to help them succeed. In his free time, he also writes a lot on his other blog, Christian Men, Christian Warrior.

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