The quiet time between Christmas and
New Year has been a special time for me to bring closure to the previous year
and intentionally prepare for the next. I often find that my days are so
full throughout the year that I lose myself in the grind and neglect to
recognize how much I have accomplished and grown in a given year and what major
events and memories have helped shape who I am.
This tradition started five years
ago when I went through some painful events that, frankly, I found difficult to
process, bring closure to, and pick myself up from. It was during this time
that I borrowed a workbook my father had purchased from the Michael Hyatt
Company on bringing year-end closure.
While initially I was skeptical that this would help, I found that I loved
the process that Michael had outlined, the clarity and perspective his
questions provided, the way I was able to see the good and lessons learned in
the midst of pain, and ultimately the way I was able to tangibly see and track
my own personal growth.
Over the years, I have refined my
annual review process and have experimented with additional
methodologies/questions that I have added to the core list that Michael outlined.
I’m always tweaking to adapt to my needs in a particular year, but here’s a
look at how I’m currently closing out 2019:
In May, 2017 I embarked on new stage of my career as a Customer Success Manager and more recently, a Service Manager, for The Walt Disney Company. This was really a dream come true! My family is a big Disney fan and I’ve always dreamed of working for the company that brought so many wonderful memories, stories, lessons, and adventures to me and millions more around the world.
been a whirlwind 2+ years at Disney and I’ve learned a lot through my
time. As I reflect back on the journey,
I decided to share a few lessons I’ve learned on the journey. Through the
course of getting my thoughts in writing, I decided to split this post into a
mini-series to keep it at a reasonable length.
Look for the “Pixie Dusting” moments
If you attended one of the orientation days for new employees, you might hear the term “Pixie Dusting” referenced. “Pixie Dusting” means those magical (pardon the pun) experiences that you can only get as a Disney cast member. In essence, it’s when the fact hits you that “Oh wow, I actually work for Disney!!!”.
The reality is that
no matter how good the company is, some days on the job can be harder than
others and it can be easy to be bogged down by the technical details. When I started at the company, a dear family
friend who also works at Disney encouraged me
to take advantage of every opportunity I can to keep myself inspired and
remind myself how special it is to work here.
The Getting Things Done methodology has provided tremendous value to so many drowning professionals over the past several years, but have you ever wondered what it was like to grow up in a GTD household? I’ve had the privilege of being trained in the Getting Things Done (GTD) methodology since I was a little girl.
My family’s a little “Type A”, and as I grew up around the time GTD was being developed, my parents decided to run an experiment with their homeschooling family and tack on Productivity 101 as an extra “subject” in school (Thanks, Dad). I fell in and out of love with GTD as I grew up, but once I hit university, I was shocked to realized that the habits I was taking for granted were missing in many of my peers.
That bold statement by Jocko Willink on the Tribe of Mentors podcast resonated deeply with me and sent me on what is becoming a year-long journey to understand the meaning of discipline and better apply those principles in all areas of my life (not just productivity). Inspired by Gretchen Rubin’s podcast, Happier I set “Discipline” as my one-word theme of the year.
Throughout the past six months, I’ve been struck by five observations about discipline:
Discipline needs a positive reward
Discipline is inherently hard. It’s the act of denying ourselves something now for future benefit. Charles Duhigg shares that every habit has a reward that reinforces that habit in our brains. We can effectively change our habits and be more disciplined by being intentional with how we use those rewards. My favorite example of this is the jar of chocolates Duhigg has on his desk that he can only eat from once he’s finished a weekly review.
Have you ever thought through your philosophy of rest? Is rest something to be achieved after the work is done or equally as important as the work itself? Are you intentional about deciding how to rest? These are some of the thoughts that have been swirling through my head in the aftermath of the GTD Summit. I mentioned in a previous post that one of the quotes that hit me hard during the Summit was:
Last week I had the
incredible privilege of attending and participating on a panel at the 2019 GTD (Getting Things Done) Summit in
Amsterdam. This was a special
opportunity for me as I have grown up with the GTD methodology my whole life
and was able to participate on a panel in the first GTD Summit in San Francisco
ten years prior. David and Kathryn Allen are dear friends of my family and it
was wonderful to see them again and hear how the productivity techniques they
developed have helped so many people.
I have been blogging ever since I was nine years old. Yes that’s right, nine years old! We setup a blog for our robotics team, the LEGO Imagineers and I became a regular contributor there and for our family blog.
Initially I was
skeptical of the value of blogging and it felt like a chore, but over the years
I’ve become convinced of the value of blogging.
I often see posts that promise incredible financial benefits from blogging,
but I want to share five other reasons why I found blogging to be invaluable:
I can still remember the pressure as my sister called out, “three, two, one, LEGO!”. We had worked toward this goal for the past year – drastically revising strategies and even the physical construction and program of our robot at the last moment to achieve what we had originally thought impossible – a perfect score.
“One minute remaining.” The pressure mounted, but we fought to stay calm and focused. While stress could help us get in the zone, it could also cause us to make rash decisions or become imprecise in our alignments of the robot.
When I worked as the Educational Technology Specialist at The Master’s University, I was always looking for ways to help professors maximize their impact. I designed a workshop entitled “The Canvas Next Steps”, where I taught the faculty how to make use of a variety of tools that would expand their reach beyond the classroom. One professor who attended this workshop decided to tuck away the Canvas Conferences, a video conferencing tool, for future reference. He messaged me a while later to share how this technology had enhanced his class and helped a student:
Tonight I had a student text me that she was not coming because she was in bed sick. Well tonight was a very important class and the first half of the class would be a brutal lecture to miss for the semester…We set up a conference in Canvas (in about two minutes) and had her join the class remotely. Since she was ill, we had her mute her line and message in her questions. It was extremely successful!
I’ve been using the Getting Things Done (GTD) methodology over the past 10 years as my personal productivity system. I love GTD because it doesn’t just provide a way for me to keep on top of everything; it also provides a way for me to recover if – and when – when life gets out of control.
This recently happened as my family moved and my sense of order was completely eradicated. My desk became a dumping ground for papers and mail until it was almost unusable, and my brain was overwhelmed with the next “to-do’s” or things to remember. Ever been there? I felt stressed and burned-out and it was hard to know where to start.
Enter one of my all-time favorite productivity tools: the Mindsweep. One of the core principles of the GTD methodology is to get things out of your head – fast – and store it in a trusted system. Our brain can do some wonderful things, but it can also be our worst enemy. We can wake up in the middle of the night worrying about something we need to remember to do that we can’t do at that moment, or we go shopping and forget that one item we needed to buy. Writing things down and processing it into a trusted system helps take the mental load off and allows us to stay focused on the task at hand. We’re less stressed because we’re not spending our mental energy trying to remember everything. At that point, we are working smarter, not harder and we are quickly approaching the point of “stress-free productivity”.