Last week I asked you to buy post-its and start to plan Week 48 to Week 52. Did you write down 15 priorities for the countdown to the holidays? Did you split a whiteboard into five weeks? Did you do really do this?

I bet you didn’t do this even if you thought it was a great idea.

Why is that?

I have a contract with the NSA and installed a small camera in your i-phone and can watch you all day long.

I know how we all function and you and I have a lot in common. Sometimes we are making ourselves too busy to do what helps us to be less busy and more organized.

Last week I gave you the example of the laptop that I had not cleaned up in years so I could hardly work on it anymore. This week I have a new example: The lights in my bathroom. They need fixing. I think they have been broken for about two years. You might wonder, why I have not been able to call a handyperson or go to COOP Bau&Hobby and get this done.

Well, there is a simple explanation: I tried once or twice to find the lights and then I was discouraged and gave up. Next, I tried to delegate the responsibility for the task to my partner, which did not trigger any action either (just a few discussions).

And about two weeks ago, I finally emailed the rental agency. And you know what? A handyperson called me and will come by shortly. Well, I’m telling you this little example because we often do this in our professional lives as well. We accept a mediocre solution or we try to put a plaster on a process instead of analyzing the root cause of the issue.

We hire more consultants to help us administer a workflow tool that does not deliver the data we need instead of training the data entry specialist in the Philippines or in India so that the data is entered correctly. We implement three levels of controls instead of helping the first handler of the data to deliver a zero error quality report.

Have we lost all of our ideals of Total Quality Management from the good old nineties? What about Kanban and visualizing process flows? What about getting it right for the first time and being highly effective?

What I have noticed is, that I can live with certain flaws in my personal space. I can accept a less than perfect light in the bathroom but I cannot accept it in my work. One of the reasons why my apartment almost looks the same as five years ago is that my energy goes more into my profession. You could say that this is fundamentally wrong or you could say that maybe one needs to balance both areas.

My main message for today is that inaction and delegating responsibility won’t get the job done. If you wish to push your fifteen priority projects until the year-end you need to visualize them and then tick them off or decide which ones you can push to 2018.

Ok, have you started finally?

Then, I would like to encourage you to chose now another color of a post-it note, e.g. green and write down five projects you wish to complete at home. Then take another color such as yellow and write down five contacts you wish to connect with before the year-end.  Finally, take another color such as orange and note down five requests of your partner or children that you would like to fulfill until the year-end.

Once again, I invite you to send me a photo of your project wall, ideally with your name on it. If I receive ten or more by 1 December, I promise to share mine with all of you. ☺

Kind regards
Angie Weinberger

PS: Sign up for our mailing list, if you wish to receive information about the RockMe! Retreat 2018

Depending on where you live, your job prospects can vary a lot. You may live in a city with a lot of jobs in your industry and it’s great when that happens. However, sometimes as outlined in this infographic from Hansen & Company, it can be difficult to get a break. Some people might need to move to a new city if their job search is proving fruitless. It isn’t nice but sometimes there is no other option.
If you live near Texas, it may well be worth checking out the jobs boards in cities there. For example, in Plano, Texas job growth has been fantastic in recent times. It still has extremely affordable housing and the highest number of full-time employees in the United States.
Unfortunately, there are still plenty cities with very high unemployment rates. Even the most qualified people might find it difficult to pick up work in certain areas of California such as Fresno, Stockton, and Modesto. Find out more information about the best cities to get a job in the infographic.

Go to http://www.hansen-company.com/immigration-into-us/.

I just looked at my diary in shock. Lucy, our holiday lights will be lit in Bahnhofstrasse on Thursday. My agenda is full of evening events and the dentist popped the question first for 2017 “Do you already have all your Christmas presents?”. I think, he was kidding. Mid-November, who has Christmas presents already? Is that a thing?

 

It’s high time you and I discuss the secret to managing the year-end.

Maybe it is obvious to you but the secret to managing the year-end and every other transition phase is to take small steps, baby steps actually.

 

Most bigger projects in life such as an international assignment with a move to another country or a move to a new company seem stressful because we are trying to tackle everything at once.

 

Transitions force us to change and do stuff in a different way, which our whole body resists too. (I’ll spare you the long explanation but you can read about cultural transition phases if you like.)

I used to feel overwhelmed when trying to create more space on my laptop BUT two weeks ago, I had been to a coaching retreat where I reprogrammed my brain. Then I approached the laptop issue step-by-step. (@TK, no, I still don’t read instructions…I still go intuitively).

 

I updated my dropbox, so I can move the photo library to my bigger Mac. Then I cleared space for old files. Then I finally updated the laptop. Then I used a program called Gemini to find duplicates and now I have 19 GB free space and can work on the road again. (Not literally the road but when I am traveling.)

What we are trying before the Christmas holidays looks a bit like my laptop pre-retreat. We are trying to stuff more activities in the same amount of time and then our system blocks and goes into overdrive- We either explode or despair.

One of the qualities of Switzerland is planning. Here, we schedule in advance so that all processes can run smoothly and without clogging. Sometimes this feels very slow. When you come from an action-packed, high activity country, you might get impatient.

 

I had a hard time adjusting to planning for at least two years. Then I finally accepted that this is the way it is and since then I plan my lunches four weeks ahead. I take the next appointment for the hairdresser while I’m still sitting there.

Yes, this is the way the rabbit runs in Switzerland (literally translated from a German proverb).

You probably wonder how to take those baby steps. I recommend first of all that you start planning 2018 by buying a physical calendar that shows the whole year. You can already enter your industry events, vacation, seminars, and other long projects. Anything you already know you committed to. Also special days such as anniversaries, birthdays, children’s vacation where you probably won’t work a lot.

Then buy a pack of colorful post-it notes. Split your whiteboard into five sections for the time until the year-end. Write down headers as Week 47 to Week 51.

Now, add three post-its of the same color of the most important projects you have to complete in each week. You should come up with your 15 main professional priorities. I would suggest you use pink for those but it’s up to you. Then take a picture and send it to me. I will continue to explain next steps next week.

Have a productive week ahead (and start buying those Christmas presents).

 

Kind regards

Angie Weinberger

PS: Sign up on our mailing list, if you wish to receive information about the RockMe! Retreat 2018

I recently stayed in a “special hotel” in Munich. The mission of this seminar hotel is to support young “disadvantaged” adults. I was welcomed and my small requests were all adhered to. I noticed that all my small wishes came true. A glass of red wine here, a sausage salad there, extra coffee, TV and generally a cozy atmosphere. I almost felt like I was at home. I did not feel like I had to go out alone.

What I noticed was that happiness can boil down to simple wishes like an apple pie or meeting friends that you have not seen in a while. You sometimes just need to ask for them and express your wishes.

Often we feel that we do not deserve those little treats. We feel that we have to work harder to be able to afford them or we use them as an incentive to perform better.

Is this one of the ways you make yourself feel undeserving? Do you deny yourself chocolate, carbs or a glass of wine because you need to “earn” it first? Or would you love to spend a weekend away with your loved one but feel it could interfere with work or your routine? Do you sometimes feel like a robot on autopilot?

If you feel like this, it might be time to get out of Switzerland for a while. You probably also enjoy the productivity here and that everything runs like clockwork, but maybe we also need the other side of the world.

I enjoy going abroad because the little faults, the imperfections, the annoying traffic, the lack of structure inspire me. I feel like I’m a prisoner on home leave, someone who was let out of their straightjacket and just floats. I feel that I can get into a slack mode where I don’t check emails and where I don’t have to look immaculate. It’s the miracle of waking up without a plan, without an agenda and with the freedom to experiment. Tell me, when was the last time where you allowed yourself a day without a To-Do List, without an obligation, without a task to perform?

And if I told you that I might have the key to a life of inner freedom would you believe me? Would you believe that the key to a life of fulfillment is probably not in your next career step? Would you believe me when I say that the force is inside you already, you just have to unlock it? (Starwars Fans, pun is intended)

I will offer a new coaching format for you in 2018. Join us for the eight-day RockMe! Retreat in November 2018 (probably from 2 – 9 November 2018) in Lindau (South Germany) where we will work on your personal key to a life of purpose. If you would like to be included on the potential attendee list or if you have questions please reply to this email. Please also share with your friends and colleagues who could profit from such as a retreat. Details will be shared with those who are interested.

Wishing you a week full of productive energy.

Kind regards
Angie Weinberger

PS: Do you know the 31 reasons why Switzerland is the happiest country?

Last week, I was in a state of frenzy. I rushed to get everything important done on Friday morning, ate a quick lunch, dropped a few household chores dropped on my partner’s lap and visited the cash machine to ensure an urgent payment.

Then, I breathe out. I sit on that one train I needed to catch. The whole day I have been dreaming about a relaxed weekend with my bestie, long walks, chats and a quiet train ride to catch up on my writing. I comforted myself in the blue seat, let the footrest down, set the alarm,  took off the warm coat and was ready to move into the creative zone. (Writers you all know what I’m talking about…)

Then (Baa – bi – baa) – an announcement.

“Welcome to ….Please note that pickpockets might be working from stations.”

What?
Pickpockets?

They might be in the process of stealing my little red suitcase right now. Not to mention that gypsy woman with black skirts, golden earrings, and a black tooth. She is there – bang. In my head and my inner movie theatre starts. Gypsy woman rips open my (locked) suitcase with a sharp pocket knife. No, a huge sickle worth a pirate. Now, she looks like a pirate too.  Her left eye is made of glass. What will she find? A few clothes and books with piano lessons. To her disappointment, my clothes are boring and old.

My impulse is to get up and take my suitcase to my seat. This would mean that no other passenger can sit there.

(Pause)

I don’t get up. I have travel insurance and all my important belongings are right next to me. Yes, it would be annoying to lose my suitcase but it would not be a catastrophe.  What “gypsy lady” makes me think about is how I was listening to the announcement and this one sentence pushed me into a negative inner movie theatre. Or a momentary state of paranoia.

Did you ever experience anything similar?

As a coach, I am trained to listen to my inner voice and voices and there is one strong voice inside of me that says: “People are good. The other people also want to sit on a seat instead of sharing with a suitcase.” I trust this voice today.

In 2017, we jump mental lanes fast.

Every day, only a small incident can push us over an edge. Not every day this means that we will turn into mass murderers but I never before experienced such an affluence of negative thinking and negative assumptions about human beings. The general level of trust in our affluent society is extremely low. The batteries are flat. Most people have psychological and physical health issues.

We are judging someone in an instance and we do it all the time.

It’s matter of seconds between the “Like” and “Dislike” button. It’s a split moment between feeling needy and feeling resourceful. It’s a small line between mental illness and genius. Our attention span is so short that I need to check twice if I have locked the car.

This is why I encourage you to follow weekly routines to ensure you maintain your mental and physical sanity. This is why I ask you to reflect your achievements once a week. Within the RockMe! program we have now established a regular process to remind you to answer four questions every week. Have you noticed a difference since you started to do this?

Hit reply and let me know.

Angie

PS: I’m happy to report that little red suitcase is still with me. 😉