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Posted 08/09/2017

Where Has the Year Gone

We’re only six weeks away from the last quarter of 2017. I know—where did the year go? How can it possibly be the middle of August already? Do you remember those aggressive goals you and your gung-ho team set last January 2—or in mid-December if you were really on the ball? Have you checked back in on them since? Measured the progress or lack thereof? Or have you been too busy, too focused on the day-to-day operations/crises/issues (take your pick) to evaluate where you are? It’s super easy to be so intense about the hour-by-hour, day-by-day work that the bigger picture becomes out of focus. The concentration it takes to stay on task amid a myriad of distractions is all-consuming to the point those beginning-of-the-year goals may be but a distant memory. Hopefully, all of that intense focus has produced a good deal of progress toward those goals. It’s time to find out. So, trade the meaningless pondering about how the months have flown by for something a lot more productive, a reality check. A progress report that will measure how far you’ve come, and more importantly, how far you’ve yet to go. If a quick perusal of those goals leaves you weak in the knees, muttering, “WHAT was I thinking?” then just sit down. Benchmarks set while looking toward a fresh, blank-slate year are often overly-aggressive. Take a deep breath and remind yourself it’s not too late to make progress before the year ends. And then be happy it’s only August and not December. Of course, if you’ve achieved good progress, motivation to surge ahead will blossom. Confidence will soar. Either way, a realistic assessment of the situation is necessary. Identify the Culprits and the Heroes With the data and numbers laid out in front of you, it won’t take long for the “culprits” and the “heroes” to rise to the surface. “Well, that obviously didn’t work. But look here. This strategy netted good results.” It’s interesting how often what appears, on the surface, to be “working” is, in reality, achieving little toward the bigger picture. And what may seem to be making only very slow progress is accomplishing an appreciable gain due to the steady, consistent nature of the headway. That’s why progress checks are so essential. Focus on the “heroes,” ideally increasing the impact of those successful strategies. A no-brainer, right? Then decide whether to tweak – or abandon altogether - the “culprits” that stole time and energy from the big picture goals. Be prepared to defend your decision with the numbers and data that support the ineffectiveness of what may very well be someone’s “baby.” Steel yourself for the obligatory, “But we’ve always done it that way!” Work Smarter Not Harder Chances are the progress report results could have been better. Maybe a little better, maybe drastically better. Either way, as you strategize for the four plus remaining months of the year, focus your plans on working smarter, not harder.
  • Engage Your Management Team
Ask each member of management staff to evaluate any specific 2017 company goal/projection/ etc. that fall under their direction. Schedule a meeting where each member shares their report and their suggestions for the rest of the year. Evaluate your progress together. Clear communication, a unified plan, and a spirit of comradery will fuel your plan to complete 2017 ahead of the game.
  • Make The Calendar Your Friend
“But I’m not a write-it-down kind of person,” you insist. Well, it’s time to move toward the habit highly-productive people have found to be essential:  noting everything on a calendar. A calendar will keep you focused and more mindful of the way you spend your time. “You must master your minutes to master your life,” says Olympic gymnast Shannon Miller.
  • Prioritize Food and Sleep
We don’t expect our cars to run on an empty gas tank. Yet, we push ourselves to the max, ignoring the need for adequate sleep and nutrition. We try to “run on empty” because there’s no time to sleep or eat regular meals. Both nutrition and sleep play a critical role in the ability to concentrate, make decisions, problem solve, to remember, and to function on a daily basis.  A concentrated effort to get enough sleep and a commitment to a properly fueled body will empower your time management efforts. At MPS Technical, we stand ready to assist with all your fluctuating and seasonal employment needs. Contact one of our staffing specialists to discuss your company’s unique situation and how MPS can be a valued resource.