In addition to my efficiency goals this year, I've also set some healthy eating goals as have many of my clients. Healthy eating means different things to different people, and for me it means striving to eat Paleo 80% of the time. For me to stick with this, I know that I need to use one day per weekend to prep foods for the week so I don't have any excuses when I'm hungry. Periodically I'll share some of the recipes I've used just in case anyone else might find it useful toward their own healthy eating goals.
This week's dinner: Chicken with butternut squash and tomatoes with sweet and savory spices. I was inspired by this post from a friend's blog a few years back. Yum!
4 boneless skinless organic chicken thighs
1-1 1/2 cups of cubed butternut squash (I buy mine pre-cubed from New Seasons Market)
1 cup of cherry or grape tomatoes
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1. Pre-heat oven to 350.
2. Place the chicken in an 11×13 baking dish.
3. In a medium bowl, mix together the olive oil and spices. Pour 1/2 of the mixture on the chicken (I swirl it around to really mix it in there). Bake the chicken for 15 minutes at 350.
4. While the chicken is cooking, throw your butternut squash and tomatoes in the bowl with the olive oil and spices. Grab a big spoon and give those veggies a gentle toss over and over to really get everything nice and coated.
5. After the chicken has cooked for 15 minutes turn the oven up to 400, add the squash and tomatoes to the dish, and cook for another 20-30 minutes (or until the chicken is cooked through--no pink juices, and the squash is soft).
Scoop one chicken thigh and a spoonful or two of veggies and eat it up! The rest can be your meals for three other days of the week. It re-heats amazingly well. Enjoy!
Quite a few of the clients I'm currently working with are struggling with how to be more efficient in order to help them manage their stress levels. One of the perks of being a coach and helping people realize their potential is learning from them as well. When I'm with my clients, many of them value our brainstorming sessions where we explore possibilities and options. Honestly, it's one of my favorite things as well! During one of those sessions, I had an a-ha moment for myself and put it on the back burner until the client session was complete.
Upon doing a bit of internal exploration myself from my a-ha moment, I realized that I had lots of room to improve as far as being organized in my life to increase my own efficiency. I do pretty well keeping a clean inbox through my email folder system, but I realized what gets me caught up in the day-to-day are things like searching for band-aids and pain relievers in the linen closet, trying to find my favorite nuts and seeds in the pantry, or digging through the garage to find a hammer (gasp!). To that end, I set some short-term goals to get closer to my long-term goal of being more efficient.
Silly as they may seem, here they are:
1) De-clutter the hallway linen closet (DONE!)
2) Organize the kitchen pantry (DONE! See pic below)
3) De-clutter and organize the garage (ummm, not done, but definitely in progress)
It's really amazing how satisfying a few hours of sorting, tossing, and labeling can be. Simply setting aside a few hours to get this done will increase my ability to quickly grab what I need and move on to the next thing. Not to mention, it just looks great!
Consider your own life and ways that you can be more efficient. The small things can add up to the bigger picture and long-term, so what goals can you set for yourself to help you get there? I'd love to hear your ideas!
I'm not sure when I've ever come across a more fantastic career resource than this list put together by Forbes. If you're stuck in your career, take a look at this article and see what resources resonate for you. I'd love to hear which ones are new for you that you hope to leverage in working toward your goals!
The Top 75 Websites for Your Career
If you're bored with your own leadership style, imagine how your employees feel. Check out this list of Top 20 books on Leadership and Management to inspire you to greatness.
On my list:
Strengths-Based Leadership, by Tom Rath and Barry Conchie, 2009Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, by Daniel H. Pink, 2011 (check out the Ted Talk as well)
The Leadership Pipeline: How to Build the Leadership Powered Company, by Ram Charan, Stephen Drotter, and James Noel, 2011
Here's the full 20:
Top 20 Books on Leadership and Management
For those of you that have read these books, which have been impactful for you?
_ So many of us deal with the various life and career stressors that accompany the Thanksgiving holiday:
* I'm on a diet...should I eat that?
* Whose family do I spend time with, mine or my significant other?
* I have so much work to do, how in the world can I fit everything else in?
* I want my direct reports to have a break, but I really need them here!
* I can't take a day off, let alone a whole weekend!
* How in the world am I going to deal with the in-laws?
* What if my Thanksgiving dinner doesn't live up to my guest’s expectations?
Here are a few tips to help you in creating a plan to work through the holiday guilt that may creep up in the “most wonderful time of the year”…
Take 10 minutes each day to make a plan and goal
This can be as easy as taking 5 minutes in the morning to plan and goal set for the day, and 5 minutes each evening to review and plan for the next day. Your plan could be as simple as this: Must Do/Nice to Do; Who Can Help Me/What Do I Need to do Myself. This plan and the accompanying goals will easily help you focus and prioritize what is most important to accomplish each day. Heck, if you need to, take 5 of these 10 minutes to just breathe, think, and have a moment to yourself.
Know your limits
Don’t try to squeeze too much in. Easier said than done, right? Know what you are capable of offering not only to others, but also for yourself. If your plan consists of nothing but To-Do’s for others, you’ve already done yourself a disservice. Think about your limits, and graciously communicate them to those around you.
Recognize what you appreciate in others
Rather than thinking about what you don’t like about the in-laws or how disappointed others might be in your cooking, use Thanksgiving to appreciate moments of greatness. This could be acknowledging your mother-in-law for being able to say ‘no’ to dessert, thanking your son/daughter/significant other for setting the table or telling your direct reports to take off early to be home with their families on Wednesday. By recognizing those small moments, think of how wonderful your dinner-time “what I’m thankful for” speech will be!
What are some goals you can set for yourself over the next few days? What can you do to make sure you’re held accountable to them? Take action now to keep yourself as stress-free as possible!
So you want a successful career, huh? Well geesh, who doesn't? Seeing as we spend a bazillion hours in our lifetime at work (that's barely a scientific fact, more like a general estimate), we should probably figure out a way to be successful while doing it, right? While we each keep digging to find that perfect fit, I'll offer my top 5 tips of what I believe will make you not just successful, but happy:
1. Be authentic: Work in an area of Interest to you
Can you sit inside for hours figuring out formulas in Excel to make your job easier (thank goodness for people like you!)? Maybe you prefer being outdoors doing surveys on animals. Love doing research? Perhaps you're an athlete? Whatever you do, be real and true to yourself in what actually interests you on a daily basis. Don't settle for a paycheck. Find something that interests you so much that you could do it as a hobby. If you don't, you'll find yourself watching the clock so closely that the second hand will look like it's going in reverse. Gah. Sounds awful, doesn't it?
2. Play to your Strengths
No one wants to do what they don't like to do. Remember back in high school when you were pretty much forced to do Algebra (ack! maybe that was just me), but all you really wanted to do was write that poem, conduct that science experiment in your fridge, or (gasp!) socialize with your friends? You likely had some strengths in one of those areas. By this point in your career, you probably know what you do really well. Guess what? Do it more! Become a resource for others in that area. Show others how fantastic you are with that strength. Play it up! If you are playing to your strengths at work, you're likely losing track of time because you're having so much stinking fun while doing it. Carry on.
3. Match your Values to your work
Are you a carefree, creative person? Do you need an outlet to get all of that innovation out? Then a job that is filled with rules and procedures may not be for you. Is family one of your strongest values? Then is an 80-hour/week job the one that will offer you the best work-life balance possible? Does having meaning, direction, and serving a purpose drive you through each and every day? Consider the deeply rooted values you have that support who you are as a person. When there is alignment with your work and your values, it's fun to get up and go to work each day, and you'll perform at high levels that connect with your personal mission and drive.
4. Recognize others
Sure, it's perfectly fine to talk yourself up in a job interview and your performance evaluation, but on a day-to-day basis, make sure you're throwing in some recognition to your direct reports, colleagues, and even your boss. Why is recognition so important? It shows people that you appreciate and value them and their efforts. Hey, let's be real: you're not the only one busting your rump to get stuff done around the office. Send an email to someone and 'cc' their manager, write a quick note and leave it on their desk, give them a shoutout during a team meeting. Or you know what? Just say a simple "Thanks".
5. Do what you say you'll do
What happens when someone tells you they'll follow-up with you and they don't? Do you write them off? Realize you can't trust them? Stop asking them for help? Check, check, and check. If you want a successful career, you'll make sure you live up to every commitment you make to someone you support. That could be your boss, your direct reports, your cross-functional partners, your customers, or even your significant other. True success is possible by making sure you're not committing to more than you can handle. Learn to take responsibility responsibly. Know your schedule, know your boundaries, and know what you're capable of handling. Delegate when possible, volunteer when probable, and block out your calendar to keep you accountable.
That's it! Simple, right? Wellll, maybe not. Pick one of these five tips for success and put a goal around it for the next week or two. Think about how you'll feel if you succeed. What will others say? My bet is happy faces all around.
One of my favorite things to coach people through is finding the career that makes them feel as if they're not even working because they love it so much. I was reminded recently of how much I loved the book "Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements" by Tom Rath and Jim Harter, which touches on this thought exactly. The book itself talks specifically about the five areas of importance for your own wellbeing: Career, Social, Financial, Physical, and Community.
As I coach folks, I've noticed that it really is like a ripple effect if any of these are out of balance. Can you think of a time when one is out of balance and it effects the rest of your life in some way? I sure can! It's incredible how an imbalance in one area can feel like a tailspin in other areas of our life. Something out of wack at work? How is your social life affected? Do you spend less time with friends and family? Do you work out as much as you'd like? Usually not.
During my coaching sessions, I love doing an activity called the Web of Life. It so closely mimics the exact premise of the Wellbeing book by Rath and Harter. I've also noticed a cool program on the Wellbeing site that "measures your wellbeing over time". What a great resource.
I love talking careers! There is such a strong emphasis on careers in our whole life that if something isn't "right", it can just feel so incredibly wrong. One way to work through that is coaching. We can dial in to what I call the career sweet spot: what you love to do, what your good at, and what supports your values. Anyone want to give it a shot? If so, make an appointment with me so we can explore it together!