We go through our days in and out of meetings, on and off conference calls, sending and answering email. All while we’re touching many different issues and projects.
So, when and how can you ever feel a sense of accomplishment?
- When you’ve handled all your critical email (for now)?
- When you’ve finished a presentation (but you may yet tweak it one more time before you deliver it)?
- When you’ve resolved an issue (or think you have)?
- When you’ve completed key tasks on a big project (but there is so far yet to go)?
Our work is endless and all we do is move the ball forward a bit each day. In the IT world, a major go-live provides a collective sense of accomplishment for everyone involved. But as IT professionals, we know that there is the post-go live support phase and then, probably, an optimization phase. Are we ever done with that project? The project management professionals on our teams will ensure we close the core project and open new ones for future phases.
We maintain “to do” lists in some form — paper or electronic. There are individual lists, and there are group ones known as project plans. You may work on a team that effectively uses collaboration tools that show all the individual and shared tasks as well as any follow-up needed. Breaking down any size project into more bite size tasks or steps is a good approach. And it can help give a sense of accomplishment along the way.
Working from home, as I do when not at a client site, there is a new “to do” in the summer months. It’s called “weeding.” Now that there are no deer to snack on our flowers, we have a big garden with all different types. My husband’s approach is to fill in all available space between the shrubs with perennials, and all the spaces between the perennials with more perennials, and then, some annuals.
Yet there is always room for weeds.
Spending just 5 or 10 minutes weeding the garden is great therapy. It gives me a break and it is immensely satisfying. It is an improvement, enhances the beauty of the garden, and is rewarding. I get a sense of accomplishment.
Yet I know as well as anyone (especially my gardening husband) that there are more weeds in other parts of the garden. And I know that the ones I just pulled will return if I didn’t get the root. It’s like a system problem. If you don’t get to the root cause, the problem will return. It may manifest itself in other ways causing a whole new round of analysis.
So, from the garden to the office, here are my tips for the week: Break down the work to manageable tasks and aim for a sense of accomplishment each day. And, keep digging until you get to the root.