Back to School Lessons for Organizations
The summer sadly has come to an end; all of us are back into our routines. Regardless of whether or not you have kids, you were once a kid. The practice, preparation, and simultaneous joy and anticipation associated with back to school can be translated into the following lessons that can be applied at work, both within corporations and nonprofit organizations.
Jump back in with both feet – All major cities tend to have a lull in the summer; business slows and vacations are in full effect. Just like being a first grader on day one of school, you have to jump right in after a relaxing and fun vacation. It is important to be mentally prepared for this, enjoy your time off and re-focus when necessary. Having a plan is key; plot out your schedule and prepare next steps for each outstanding project.
Get organized and clean house – Take an afternoon to follow up on items that you have on your plate. Make to do lists of the things you have to handle, things that you’ve asked others to do and things others have requested of you. Clean up emails, re-connect with colleagues and contacts. If you work for a non-profit and are looking for new supporters, make a commitment to reach out to two new people a week and introduce your organization.
Be prepared, pack a lunch – Not a literal lunch, though that would be a healthy and inexpensive idea, but essentially we mean having a mindset and daily diligence to prepare for each day. Without a plan, failure is imminent. Need some motivation? Create daily or weekly goals with consequences and rewards. If you hate to make sales calls but know you have to do five a week, set the goal for 6 and give yourself a reward when you accomplish the calls. If you fail, give yourself a consequence that you don’t enjoy and that will encourage you to meet the goal on the next go round. Have someone in your life hold you accountable, an assistant, a co-worker, a friend, or your spouse.
Have a recess – You remember the feeling of anticipation, the fun of your time outdoors, and the renewed vigor with which you attacked your classwork after recess. As an adult we forget to take these necessary breaks. Time out is important to every day life. A quick stroll outside on a nice day, a trip to the gym, five minutes on Calm.com to practice guided meditation, coffee with a friend that works nearby or a ninety minute massage at Blue Heron Wellness (or the spa of your choice) can give you work-life balance and make you an even more effective contributor to your organization.
Practice Appreciation – Finally, we end with appreciation. Appreciation is not only key to feeling fulfilled in your own work but also important to express to the people with whome you work, your donors, your partners, and your teams. Who doesn’t want to feel good about their work? Remember those gold stars you got on papers in grade school that made you feel special? The good feeling of a job well done never gets old. We are very quick to complain about poor service or a customer that is difficult but fall short in the appreciation arena. Try to practice appreciation daily. When in meetings make it a habit to go around and express appreciate to each other. And with that, thank you for taking the time to read our blog, we truly appreciate you!
*Photo of TME President Christina Taylor’s brother, Keith Taylor on his first day of 1st grade, now a freshman at University of Maryland.