Staff Corner

Squirrels used to live in my head

"I think in work and business, it’s important to know your weaknesses and plan to counteract them as best you can."
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Staff Corner: Chris Lawlor
Current location: County Kildare, Ireland

So I read an article… (thanks Hubstaff… great stuff)

I was determined to bring more structure to my work week.

I am sure that the team would tell you that it’s often difficult to get in contact with me and harder still…….(oh there’s a WhatsApp…wonder who that is…..oh it’s Dave…he always sends hilarious guilty dog gifs…) to keep my attention at times.

I think in work and business, it’s important to know your weaknesses and plan to counteract them as best you can.

Oh there’s a message from the team on GChat… I’ll just answer that quickly

…….15 mins later…….

Okay……where was I? Blog post, RIGHT,…….blog post, blog post, blog post…..bloggedy posty……hmmmmm

…..holy moly I forgot to add those other 10 things to my lovely, ever lengthening ‘to do’ list….I’ll just dump them on it now……

Okay, enough of that mayhem….

As suggested in the article, each day I am trying to think of things that I am thankful for.

One of those things is the chance to stop, to reset, both personally and professionally.

For the purposes of this post, I’m thinking professionally. The disruption to the usual work day is going to be a positive influence on me. This is what I have decided.

I am going to shed my scatty, 30 mins on this project, 5 minutes on that project, etc. And all interspersed with regular squirrel visits in the form of SM pings.

So I am restructuring my day to keep myself on track and avoid distractions.

We meet at 9:00 am for a quick non-work chat. This brings us closer together, regardless of distance. We learn more about our colleagues, their funny, sad, happy, interesting stories. It gives us a chance to ease into our day in a pleasurable and friendly way. I love this initiative.

After this, I have 30 mins for the team to reach out with any quick questions that they need answered or decisions that they need from me. Anything that requires more time, we can schedule a meeting for in the afternoon.

I have 2 hours for Rocks (see the article re: rocks, pebbles and sand). During this time, there is no checking of email. The only reason that the email is open is for me to push out communications related to the Rock that I’m working on. This helps keep me on track.

I’m breaking up my morning into sprints of 45 minutes of serious productivity and 10 min of team interaction, if needed or other tasks, like dumping my ‘to do’s out of my head and onto my list (again, see the article). This really does help me not to dwell on them. I know that they’re on the list and I’ll get to them when I have to, but I do not constantly need to worry about forgetting about them or missing a deadline. I take a 5-minute walk around the garden to get fresh air. This is amazing. It gives me time to reflect on the work just done and often I get great ideas that were not evident when I was at my workshape. The separation is really helping my cultivation of ideas and problem-solving.

After lunch I have a mixture of meetings and partner outreach. Keeping relationships going and relevant is more important than ever in these times. I need to make time to reach out to our sending and receiving partners as well as community groups and other providers to make sure that they are doing okay. Sometimes it’s just about listening, if their day has been difficult, sometimes it’s about them listening, if my day has been difficult. From these conversations comes the reinforcement that, even though we are in different organisations, we have worked together to build some pretty amazing educational experiences and changed the world view of many students over the years. This is something special and we have this shared professional history. This shared human history.

Conversations lead to ‘hey, what if we did….’ or ‘I wonder if xyz would work’…..the start of an idea that could change more lives and promote that one impossibly important and universal truth. We are all living and experiencing the one common humanity and many, if not all of the perceived negative differences are a product of misunderstanding and simple lack of knowledge of the wonderful world that we live in.

Finally, I reflect on my day. Is there anything that I need to delegate to the team? Is there anything that I need to discuss with Cara (my long suffering and ever patient partner in life and business). Did I get done what I planned to, if so, go me!! If not, why not, what happened to get me sidetracked and reduce productivity?

Let’s do better tomorrow!

chris lawlor

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Chris Lawlor

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