Two years ago, Fast Company posted an article titled How to Redesign Your Days to Give You Back a Few Extra Hours Every Week. The author listed five categories where we can make changes:

  • Quit Something;
  • Limit Something;
  • Pause Something;
  • Delegate Something;
  • and Add Something.

Contemplating these five areas during a pandemic and cultural reckoning may yield some new answers. Let’s take a closer look.

For Quit Something, they wrote “Quit a recurring meeting. Quit a committee. Quit Facebook. Quit Candy Crush.” I’d say it’s a good time to quit a poor policy: going with the same old speakers. Some audience favs are okay but take some extra time to research and find new and diverse speakers for your next webinar, podcast or virtual event. Almost everyone is available these days. With those new speakers might just come a new audience. Growth consultant Robyn Duda, who moderated a great events panel for us at BIMS, led a charge to Change the Stage earlier this year. “Whether the content is digital or physical, I am challenging us all to set the bar higher, to make our stages and screens inclusive of new, different voices.”

For Limit Something, how about limiting a lack of collaboration? “Journalism has become more collaborative, but our culture, for the most part, has not,” writes Bo Hee Kim, director of newsroom strategy for The New York Times, in NiemanLab’s Predictions for 2021. “Leaders will need to believe that newsroom culture has a bigger impact on the journalism than they understood in previous years—that a strong team dynamic is as important as their sharp and shiny stars. Managers are key to this transition and will need to reset with a new definition of success, followed by support and training to change.”

For Pause Something, they wrote: “[Go] on a walk in the middle of the day. [Give] yourself permission to run an errand during your lunch break. Stopping for a moment to assert your ability to do the non-urgent reduces the sense that everything has to happen at a frenetic pace, and that there’s no time to slow down.” Wow, this has just multiplied in its relevancy! Many of us are starting our work day earlier and ending later, amplifying the need to take breaks. There is one problem, however. In his book, When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect TimingDan Pink wrote: “Research shows us that social breaks are better than solo breaks—taking a break with somebody else is more restorative than doing it on your own.” That may not be easy right now. Try reaching out to a neighbor for a socially distant walk or call a friend while you walk.

Delegate Something has become a bit tougher in these times, for two reasons, I think. One, we’re interacting even less, of course, with co-workers so delegating something takes more intentional outreach. And two, maybe “delegate” isn’t a great word anymore because we only think of giving tasks to someone less senior, rather than sharing tasks and perhaps giving one or two to someone who is more suited to them, regardless of your command chain. Writes Fast Company: “As you plan your day, ask yourself: Is this something that I really need to do myself, or could someone else do this instead?” If this makes you reach out to a colleague, then that’s a good thing. A 10-minute phone call can supersede 30 minutes of emails sometimes.

For Add Something, their advice made me chuckle a bit. “Add an exercise class, book a trip, plan a get-together with friends.” Can’t do, can’t do, can’t do. Okay, well, actually, I do have a virtual yoga class at 5:45 pm today. At our last staff meeting, our CEO got such a good reaction to his request for favorite holiday cookies that he’s now asking for recipes to compile into a guide. That is one very enticing and tasteful addition that can be replicated in many ways.

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