After watching a weekend of football, it was so obvious how important the fundamentals are. The teams that rely on the big play are inconsistent. Basic blocking and tackling aren’t that interesting, but without them, they will prevent you from winning.
Same is true with your performance as a professional. If you ignore the basics, you will find yourself losing—losing energy and losing focus. And eventually it translates into losing engagements and losing clients. In the end, you lose your professional stature and career fulfillment. And to think it all started with ignoring the fundamentals. So let’s review.
Fundamental #1: ALWAYS have your goals, targets and priorities in place BEFORE you begin.
· What do you want to accomplish before this week concludes?
· From what will you refuse to be distracted?
· What do you need to complete in order for you to say at the end of the week, “it was a good one”?
Fundamental #2: Plan your work and yourself. Both of these are critical because, as a knowledge worker, your ARE your work.
· When will you schedule your challenging, high-concentration work?
· When will you take care of the administrative stuff that takes little creativity?
· What markers (time, day of week, percent complete) will you use to gauge your progress?
Fundamental #3: Anticipate by looking ahead. In the middle of executing your plan is when the unforeseen stuff happens. Recognize it, adjust to it and stay in front of it. Otherwise, you’re left to reacting from behind.
· What has changed from when you planned your week?
· What is moving more quickly or bogging down that you didn’t count on?
· Who is likely to be the wildcard in executing your plan?
Returning to the fundamentals will keep you on top of your game—your “A” game. With a short week this week, you need to bring your best. Make it happen.