bacon-shaped pillow
My office companion. His name is Kevin.

I have been a user of GTD fairly consistently over the past decade. As those familiar with the task-management system know, the “weekly review” is an essential step in the workflow. My review process is augmented significantly: there are 15 subtasks in my weekly review and I reserve the last 1.5-2 hours of my work week to accomplish it. One of those subtasks is to write down one thing I’ve learned.

Last year, the “outreach team” at mpow was upgraded to the “outreach department” with me at its head. The transition has been protracted and I am still working on the finer details, but I’ve learned much along the way. I’m in the midst of writing my annual review and so I thought I would share some of my lessons learned from last year. As you’ll notice, there’s an overarching theme. Each one of these below represents one week of the academic year.

Things I’ve Learned This Year

  • I have skills and resources to offer. Don’t forget that.
  • Sleep makes such a difference (need to remind myself of this every day).
  • Planning ahead works. Really works.
  • Get some sleep.
  • Two weeks of late nights will run me down by Thursday or Friday.
  • I need to delegate more.
  • You will never “win” as supervisor/admin (even if you think you do). Deal with it. And then be clear about what the next steps should be.
  • I need to start the planning process and get details outlined sooner.
  • Working late into the evening sucks. Let’s never do this again.
  • I can get more done in a shorter amount of time when I have sleep. Seriously. How hard is it to remember this?
  • There is much I can do to be a better leader. Specifically: passing along information sooner; giving staff/team members the freedom to pursue projects; recognizing strengths; being thankful. The responses to what motivates people and the type of recognition they crave is useful information to track.
  • Getting sleep doesn’t reduce stress, but helps with managing it.
  • If I do things quickly, or as soon as they arrive, I get more done in the week… just not always what is most important.
  • Energy wins the day.
  • I don’t have to make decisions on the spot. It’s OK to say “I’ll think about it.”
  • People can surprise you – expect the best.
  • I have to build workflows and constantly remind people of them if I want to have control over the aspects of my job that require my attention.
  • I can get by with working 9-12 each evening, but the hangover sucks.
  • I have to give people options. If you want to help them make a decision, give them options.
  • Keep quiet. Be discrete. Wait for the right moment.
  • Don’t get caught unprepared.
  • I can be a leader when I try to be. Take the lead.
  • Delegated works needs to be followed up on.
  • I can get a shit-ton of work done if I don’t check email all day.

I’ll work on that sleeping part. 😉

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