This image has been my WhatsApp wallpaper for the last 3 months. To me it shows three women who enjoy each other’s company. They are taking some time out of the busyness of everyday work to catch up and clearly loving it.
I chose it for my WhatsApp as a reminder to my introverted self who is leaning towards isolating myself from people when life is heavy. It’s a reminder to stay awhile and chat, to ask how people are and mean it. It’s a reminder to say more if I possibly can, to joke, to tease, to laugh. It’s a reminder to be the bigger person and check in on loved ones I haven’t heard from in a while. It’s also a reminder that it’s okay when I really would rather be in my own company, to do that because these kind of friends would understand and we can pick up where we left off – anytime.
I usually change wallpaper every month but think I will keep this one a little longer. It’s doing the Lord’s work in my life.
If it is good do not try to fix it. I learnt this the hard way this past week and am currently eating humble pie. Let me tell you all about it.
I had an overgreen blog post on this blog which has racked in the most readers since it went up. It was the best performing on Pinterest too and just an old round over perfomer. Then I had the brilliant idea to move things around and revamp some of the old posts, including this one.
Now it seems nobody is looking at it. The blog stats have taken a hit and I am learning to not mess with a good thing.
An important secondary lesson here is to never depend on just one good thing. There is no way a handful of viral posts can grow a blog. So instead of mourning what I have lost, here’s to creating more content and many more viral posts.
There is one constant in life – change. So you can be sure that whatever skills you need for your current job will evolve over time, the job itself will change. In order to stay relevant it’s important to keep learning, re-learning and unlearning things in order to add value and get ahead in your industry – whatever it may be. I am not talking about getting another certificate or degree but a constant brushing up of knowledge and different skills that makes you cutting edge.
Working people are busy, especially women, and it’s not always easy to get time for upskilling. We need to make time.
Robin Sharma popularised the “Traffic University” and encouraged us to use the dead time during our work commutes to learn something through audiobooks and podcasts. But now that we are working from home, this dead time is lost and all we have is a busyness that’s almost numbing. Yet the need for continued learning remains.
Busy is all about what we prioritize though. Make learning a priority. Deliberately schedule learning time into your days and make it part of your busyness.
Here are a few options that I am trying which could help you get started;
1. Schedule 30 minutes daily to read up on topics of interest to you. If it’s a big subject, explore it bit by bit over time. The hours add up and you will soon be a whiz.
2. Schedule in 1-3 hours every Friday afternoon. Having a larger block of time set aside can give you room to take an e-learning course or watch talks by experts on your subject of choice.
Like all things it will be harder finding time for your learning commitments when you start. But with a few adjustments you can create time for this new commitment. It’s an important investment into yourself.. Make it happen.
The workplace today is overcrowded with talented and educated people. It is hard to stand out, get noticed and move ahead in your career. There are a few things that are guaranteed to set you apart though – “meraki” is one of them.
Meraki is commonly described as “to put your soul into your work” or “to do something with love”. In a society where we often see work as an almost mechanical doing of what needs to be done for the pay it may seem weird to use words like “soul” and “love” in the workplace.
The word Meraki refers to a concept that will change your life. It’s about work ethic and how we should bring ourselves to our work not as beasts of burden but as craftspeople, imbuing our soul into everything we produce. Meraki is about doing things with the utmost care, giving each task our undivided attention. It’s about doing things with a willing heart and letting our love shine through in the product or service we give.
Meraki is about being diligent in your craft, it’s about giving excellence each and every time.
Anyone can learn a skill, anyone can gain experience but very few have meraki. It goes beyond work ethic.
When you have meraki your work literally speaks for you, customers prefer you and ask for you by name because you will have “that thing” they can’t even name.
We all have it if we care enough to take the time and put our heart into things.
You don’t even have to like your job to have meraki. You could be scrubbing toilets and still do it with heart. Meraki is what will carry you through to the job of your dreams and have you doing with you love. It’s an investment in yourself that will make you unforgettable.
If you work from home and sometimes find virtual meetings tiring here’s something to try this week. Have working meetings where you can.
A walking meeting is when you walk and talk with business colleagues. It became popular pre-COVID 19 as a way to integrate physical activity into the working day, break the monotony of endless conferencing and spark creativity. The benefits hold true for these virtual working and socially distanced times.
Not every meeting can be turned into a walking meeting though, so tread carefully. It’s best to have a walking meeting when;
1. You know you are not leading the meeting
2. You are not presenting any content
3. You are not using collaborative software such a Mural which may require your undivided attention
4. You are mostly listening and not having to actively input for the majority of the time.
5. One on one check ins especially with people you already have a strong relationship with.
Virtual walking meetings are not ideal when you are making big company wide presentations, live in an area with patchy network or high traffic volumes.
You make want to give the person you will have the meeting with a heads up that you will be walking and not at your desk. They may even want to walk it out too and real the benefits of being out in the sun and breath in fresh air, who knows. Enjoy!
Over the last year a lot of people have slowed down and taken the time to think through what really matters to them in life. Death has a way of forcing you to seek perspective and start to live right. I had always been preoccupied by the big questions of life, including this one, so it’s nothing new but I find my priorities shifting as I stare over the edge into the second half of my thirties.
As a woman it’s mostly expected that family will be top on my list of things that matter most. I am expected to want to look good and age slower, focus on marriage and home and maybe a side hustle.
I find myself obsessed with the issue of legacy though, more than anything else. Wealth building and legacy to be precise. What will I leave behind when I die? How do I make enough money to change the financial narrative in my family forever? Frankly I am shocked I haven’t done much in this area yet, life somehow got taken up by having a family and building a career I guess.
Some say it’s enough to be remembered as having been a good person. Others say for a woman raising a family is everything, that we live on through our kids and the fond memories of our partners. This legacy that involves touching the loves of just one person or the few in your family seems limited to me though. There is more.
I look at the people who have created things that are of perpetual use to humanity. From the guy who discovered fire to the good people who create music, movies, art, architecture, inventions. The people who excel at sport, who create successful companies, break world records. These are the kind of big and far reaching legacies I am interested in.
To create generational wealth.
To disrupt the world.
To create something never before seen.
To achieve what was thought impossible.
To serve community, country, humanity.
That’s what’s most important to me lately – figuring out how to be the very best me so I leave I behind a legacy that matters.
In the early days of the pandemic working from home felt like such a flex for people and virtual meetings were almost fun! Over a year in and most are just tired of virtual work calls, virtual family calls, virtual friend dates, virtual church etc. Yet this was of connecting is the best way for a while yet.
How do we manage the stress of seemingly always being in virtual calls?
Here are a few ideas that can help you not dread virtual calling so much.
1. Turn off video: Let me start with the most disruptive one since most people love video calling. Showing face in meetings and social calls forces you to be “always on” and perform for your audience. You feel pressure to appear professional if speaking with work colleagues or to appear jovial and okay if speaking with family or friends. If you absolutely have to do video you can turn off self view so that you are not looking at yourself and constantly self adjusting.
2. Give yourself breaks: Taking calls back to back is never a good idea. Schedule 15 minute break in between calls so you can stretch your legs, rest your ears, get something to drink and just breathe. Virtual meetings are just as tiring as physical ones, maybe even more so. If in long calls with no break schedule, ask for it.
3 Change of scenery: There is a tendency to sit down all prim and proper if having virtual calls. You don’t have to, unless on video. Try and change where in the house you take calls. For example do not take social calls in the same space you do your work so your mind knows it can lighten up. Use headphones with Bluetooth functionality and a built in speaker so you can move around if you like. Take walking meetings even, if possible.
4. Do not multi task: It’s tempting to think of virtual meetings as down time for you to work on other things while “present” at the same time. Truth is multi tasking requires more brain power and you will tire yourself out. Also doing two things at the same time never works because you will fail to be fully engaged in the meeting and your “side project” will not be the best quality as if you had given it undivided attention. Stay present and fully engaged. It’s the least you can do.
5. Know your web conferencing software: Technology can be a joy especially as there are so many things built in that can make your life online easier. Take the time to know them so you can enjoy the convenience they bring. For example, in Zoom you can use speaker view which enlarges the image of the person speaking allowing to follow the conversation more easily as speakers change during your call. With Microsoft Teams if you take calls on your phone you can directly reply to messages in the chat. There are so many hacks I will do a post soon on the more common ones.
We are going to be web conferencing for the foreseeable future, it does not have to be draining. Master different and beat the fatigue of virtual meetings and make it as comfortable as you can. We are going to be here for a while.
If you working from home right now, you are one of the lucky few. Lucky to be working at all in a time when many have lost their jobs or had to close down their businesses. It seems petty to complain at all but I know it’s not all rosy in this WFH world. The hours feel so much longer and it’s hard to know where work stops and life begins sometimes.
If you are like me most days you want up, prepare the kids for online or home school, get to work, finish work and get into homework, dinner and squeeze in a few social check ins before bed. Every day starts to look the same. It’s all one big blur of doing stuff. Lots of stuff. You don’t feel like you are resting at all.
So how do we set boundaries between our work and other parts of our lives? How do we carve out time for our physical, mental and social well being?
1. Set work hours and do not go beyond these unless it’s important and for a set time. pre-COVID we had agreed work hours which were easier to respect because you actually walked out of the office at a particular time. Do the same now. When it’s time, wind down, shut down your laptop, stop what you are doing and leave what remains for tomorrow. Be flexible within reason but limit work to work hours and switch off.
2. Plan breaks and block out time for them. Every 90 minutes take 10 minutes and do something different. Get up and stretch. Grab a coffee or water. Play a funny video, listen to a song or just breathe. This clears and rests your mind so that you don’t get over tired. Make lunch time non-negotiable, use the time to actually eat something health and do not eat at your work station. If possible take the full hour.
3. Change scenary. When you work from home just moving from your desk to the window can be refreshing. Do this often so you are not constantly looking at the same thing. Your brain gets the same cues as it would if you were in office and moving from office to boardroom etc.
4. Take recreation seriously. When you are done with work so not rush straight into “family time” especially if that often involves you doing care work because that is work too. Take some time, it could be 10 minutes or half an hour to unwind. Do something that recharges and energizes you. Take deep breaths. Exercise. Have a beer or wine or tea Yoga. Read. Pray. Watch the sunset. Whatever your “thing” is.
Whatever you do for recreation don’t let it be similar to what you do for work. For example if you work on a laptop all day watching TV or going through your social media feeds won’t leave you feeling rested because you are still working your eyes. Also don’t let what you do for recreation be the same thing everyday. Switch it up and bring some novelty to your life.
In a world where busyness is expected and glorified, rest of an act of resistance. Make time to rest and you will be the better for it.