It's September in North America, and I can feel a change coming as I step into autumn. Families are stepping back into a routine. Kids are returning to school, the daylight hours are shorter with a crisp feel to the air in the morning and evening. Summer vacations are only a reflection now in happy photos and cherished memories. Is there a project management correlation here? I think so…..after contemplating the changing seasons, some simple suggestions and thoughts bubbled up for this time of year:
- Ways to be in routine while avoiding being in a rut. Think about this for all sorts of tasks – but here I am specifically addressing meetings. There are so many articles about deathly dull meetings and time wasted at work. Here are some ideas to keep meetings lively:
- Team trivia – While some attendees are on the line for the Webex but not everyone has joined yet, ask questions like what is a recent movie you have watched / what are your hobbies / what is your favorite dessert / what was your first job / are you a cat person or a dog person / where were you born? This is a great way to create comradery and learn more about the people we work with without taking any extra time and has offered so many benefits. I found out someone spoke a 2nd language – which was a language I needed interpretation on another project. Another time I found out someone was an artist, and we were able to tap into that skillset!
- Standing meetings or huddles – Short, sweet and to the point. Better yet, make sure the meeting is really needed – can the information be obtained or shared in any other way? Cancel meetings or avoid meetings wherever possible, keeps the teams on their toes!
- Walking meetings – This even works for virtual teams. When appropriate, ask everyone to walk during the time. Doing this enhances brainstorming sessions or works when considering solutions for an issue – walking (especially outdoors) can invigorate creativity and might help your team find a solution!
- Show your screen and keep attendees engaged – Type your notes in front of everyone – hover over items – highlight items – keep them engaged in the conversation visually. Yep, sometimes you’ll make a typo – but this really helps everyone stay focused.
- Right attendees - No more extras sitting in the room who don’t need to be there, instead make sure to have revolving attendees as needs change and tasks are completed. Great way to stay out of a rut!
- Keep work fresh and interesting
- Start your day with a purpose – Exercise, meditation, prayer, healthy breakfast, joy and gratitude…..whatever works for YOU…..find a reason and be in touch with the blessings of the day and how you can help others. If I am alert and fresh, it might help energize my work as well.
- “Great Mondays” – To avoid dread or monotony, find ways to start and end your week on a high note. Maybe start with a favorite coffee with a favorite friend…. and end with sending notes of thanks to others who stepped up during the week.
- ALWAYS Learn – keep growing and learning about things that can enhance your role, your resume and your skills.
- Reach out to others – Ask others about their jobs and what they do to remain engaged and interested. Inquire what they love about their work.
- Listen more – In meetings, in conversations, especially to others with different perspectives. Be curious and try to look at life from the other person’s perspective.
- How to remain professionally relevant and growing
- Be a ground hog – poke your head up and look around at what other admirable PM’s are doing. How are they contributing? Ask if they have a mentor or if they will mentor you!
- Now do something – Work toward another degree or certification, volunteer in your community and online, complete PDU’s, register for seminars and webinars – or, better yet…..offer to give a presentation yourself! Research new technologies and industries and move forward – be a leader. Embrace change.
- Talk to people of all ages – A great way to remain relevant is to speak with younger people and strive to learn from mature professionals. Talk with everyone, listen to their stories and ask what they study or read these days. Ask how they remain relevant.
I’m anxious to hear YOUR story – how do you avoid a rut, keep work fresh & interesting and remain professionally relevant and growing at the same time?