Keeping motivated through tough times (Week 3-4)

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Your focus area for weeks 3 and 4 is to take control of your time by prioritising what’s really important.

Spend 30-40 minutes creating your plan now, then follow it for the next 2 weeks.


Reading time: 5 minutes
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Prioritise and take control

What to do

Know what’s most important for you to deliver – what performance and results are expected of you. If you’re unclear about this, go and find out – don’t wait or expect to be told. Once you’re clear, then prioritise your time and energy to focus on the most important stuff.

Why do it

When we feel overwhelmed by our workload or we’re unclear about what’s most important to deliver on, our motivation can suffer. So taking control and understanding what’s most important and what’s expected is vital. It’ll help you:

  • Feel more in control and on top of things
  • Take responsibility for yourself, your performance and your results
  • Keep your motivation high, whatever the conditions
  • Make sure you’re focused on the right stuff that’ll deliver results

How to do it

There are 3 steps to take with this. Read through these, look at the example and then create your own plan.

1) Get clear on your priorities

Be super clear on what your priorities are. Know what’s expected of you and what’s most important to deliver on in your role. Be clear on your short term deliverables and the goals for your role in the longer term. If that’s not clear, talk to others who will help you get clear. Check your understanding with ‘the business’ if you need to.

2) Understand the enemy

You’re clear on the priorities but only half way there. Being aware of the distractions is also important. There are plenty of these – stuff that you’ll be asked to do or things you might be tempted to get involved in because they’re most interesting or you care about them. Knowing the distractions will help you resist temptation to spent time on them!

3) The 2 week plan

You know your priorities and you know the distractions. You’re all set to create your two week plan to stay in control and focus on what matters. Having that plan will also help you manage your time and energy on a day-to-day basis. You’ll feel in control and be as motivated as possible.

Example plan

You’re nearly ready to prioritise, take control and increase your motivation. But to help you along the way, we’ve completed an example of keeping your motivation high through restructure and change. Read through it, get some ideas from it and then create your own plan.

1. Get clear on your priorities

To do list/goals  Important (for long term deliverables) Urgent (needs to be done by)
  • Connect with team members on how they’re feeling about the changes ahead
High High – by 21/9
  • Chat to other team leaders about their thoughts on their roles
Medium Med – can wait til Oct
  • Have a conversation with Tim about potential role in the restructure
High Variable – need to talk to Mary and Ann by 23/9
  • Marketing strategy – outline plan to take to consultation meeting
High High -By 15/9 ahead of meeting on 19/9
  • Clear email backlog
Low 20 mins per day
  • Outline plan for pitch meeting
Medium Low – by 28/9
Who I need to speak to get clearer/check my priorities:

  • John re pitch meeting. I don’t think this is entirely my role and I think he’s taking the lead on it – need to check this
  • Tim – I need to get more info on the restructure overall – I’m not clear on the business priorities that’s driving the restructure and want to understand it better.
  • My team – I’m assuming that some people are fine with the changes ahead and I don’t need to speak to them urgently – but need to have a quick check in during the team meeting on this.
  • Tim (boss) – check my overall priorities with him


2. Understand the enemy

Probable distractions over the next 2 weeks:

  • Being asked to attend meetings last minute – probably the marketing one on Thursday and a customer pitch next Monday
  • Picking up work that Ann doesn’t get done
  • Stuff going on at home – Ted starting school and planning the bathroom renovation
  • Tim not knowing details of the restructure or a future role which will frustrate me

3. The 2 week plan

The essential stuff is:

  • Get as much clarity as I can on my future role from Tim
  • Focus on the marketing strategy – that’s important for my role now and likely to be important for the future
  • Connect/support with my team – this is critical – I’m the leader of the team and I need to support them to perform through this period and coming up.
Stuff I’ll choose not to get involved in:

  • Going to meetings which I really don’t need to be at/contribute to
  • Getting caught up in speculation about the company future
  • Picking up work that others can do – ask others to help
  • Responding quickly to emails which I tend to do – most don’t need a response!
Things that’ll help keep me keep focused and motivated:

  • Daily exercise and good nutrition
  • A plan at the start of each day
  • Talking to my wife so that she understands and demands at home are minimised

Coaching tips

Use what you’ve done here to keep focused each day. Check in with your priorities, what’s not important and what potential distractions each day could bring. Chose your mindset each morning and plan your time to make sure you stay in control and focused on what matters. It’ll help keep your motivation and performance as high as possible in challenging times.

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