Last week, The NemetzGroup team met (virtually, of course!) to share insights from 2021 and how we could make 2022 even better. We broke into small Zoom groups, each of which was given 10 minutes to brainstorm on four topics:

  1. Best tried and true tools for staying organized
  2. New tools we love
  3. Coping mechanisms (e.g., dealing with fragmentation, too much/too little)
  4. 2022 resolutions (e.g., new approaches for improved work/life balance)

Highlights, in no particular order…

“Best tried and true tools for staying organized”

  • Email is a beast that cannot be tamed. Some ideas to manage include: star emails that require additional thought or production; create folders for each initiative (or client, in our case); if filing is not your thing, just use the search functionality to find what you need — it is amazing how good it works these days; keep unread emails in the Inbox until the task is done.
  • Hand-written “To-Do” lists still prevail, often because they are visible and can be updated during Zoom time.
  • Create a new hit list each week; organize by urgent or eventual or consider the Eisenhower method of prioritization.
  • Calendar “holds” (or work blocks) with tasks that need to be done prior to the next meeting; manage via calendar hold and delete hold once all tasks are complete.
  • Getting Things Done” (the book).

“New tools we love”

  • Smartsheet to track it all
  • Mural to brainstorm it all
  • Kudoboard to express gratitude for it all
  • Loom to communicate it all
  • TeuxDeux app to keep track of the personal all
  • But, at the end of it all … still mostly paper and pen!

“Coping mechanisms (e.g., dealing with fragmentation, too much/too little)”

  • Acknowledge that coping is an active process.
  • Don’t check email in real time, if possible (can this really be done?!).
  • Ensure that every email subject line includes the core topic (as consultants, it is often the client company or project name).
  • Set boundaries. Block out-of-office time on the calendar and stick to it (especially EU companies)!
  • Schedule planning time. Creating the necessary output can’t happen without a plan.
  • Daily exercise/“me time.” With some mindfulness for good measure.
  • Time off during the day — I mean, it’s not like we aren’t putting in the hours.
  • Be present — no multitasking! (Hint: We can all see that you are doing it.)
  • Recognize when you need to walk away or just walk.

“2022 resolutions (e.g., new approaches for improved work/life balance)”

  • Start the day by reading — ease in.
  • Plan the next week: Sunday nights or the Friday before. (Friday afternoon prep does help to reduce the Sunday scaries.)
  • Minimize weekend work so you can rejuvenate.
  • Clearly communicate how to best reach people on emergent issues (text, Slack, email, phone call).
  • Take 30-minute breaks for reading articles/professional development.