I took advantage, last week, of a class sponsored by our HR department. It was called Franklin Covey: The Five Choices to Extraordinary Productivity. It's a class based on the time management giant's new way of managing time.
I LEARNed it's not about filling every time slot in your planner with something to do, someplace to go, or someone to meet. It's less about calling that person at 2:47pm and more about LEARNing what it is they want or need, or determining if what they offer is something you want or need...
It's about LEARNing to make better choices. And after all, isn't that what life is all about?
I use that phrase a lot, "making better choices." I have a niece and nephew who are brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. So smart. So capable. And they have made so many (to me) obviously questionable choices in their young lives. But I've also seen them LEARN from their mistakes/decision, and that's what it's all about, right?
There were 16 of us enrolled in the class, and we spent the day, from 9am to 4pm, in Corporate 2. We ranged from assistants to editors, from sales coordinators to tech support managers, from directors to VPs. It was empowering to spend the day with such a wide range of people - it's not just me struggling with the day to day maintenance on Salesforce.com. It's not just me spending more of my day than I should in Quadrant 4... I'm not the only one who has spent her career on Outlook but never learned to highlight incoming emails. I'm not the only employee who feels she's not maximizing her productivity.
I had to do some digging to LEARN more about myself and about my work habits. I LEARNed - well, I finally admitted out loud! - that I spend more time organizing and planning to organize than I do actually doing. I admitted that at 53, I haven't yet LEARNed to be a good housewife, to keep an organized and spic-and-span home. I LEARNed that I have to take more responsibility in our home; I LEARNed early that my husband will do it if I don't. While this has made my life very easy, it's time to take charge again. I need to be more productive at work (yes, I'm writing this blog post during work hours, but I'm going to let myself slide considering I'm writing about an HR class I took...).
I LEARNed that I really need to pay closer attention in class. I am, for the most part, a good student. I enjoy LEARNing and I understand that LEARNing requires active participation. It's NOT a passive activity. But I tend to get distracted very easily, and even in a class about being more productive, about managing my time more efficiently, about making better decisions, I still get distracted by others, and I even distract myself! (Which, btw, is more common than I like to admit!)
I LEARNed that I take great notes, but not great enough! There's a lot of detail in my notes, but I think with age, I've sort of assumed (wrongly!) that instead of my notes sparking my memory (the way they used to in school), I really have to actively pay more attention - there are things I wrote down that I can't tie to a memory. I quite obviously intended the notes to be enough to help me remember more of what was presented, but I'm finding with age that I am not remembering as much as I did when I was younger. Sure, I can remember anything important if I have to, but when it's a discretionary memory, something I don't have to remember, it's a 50/50 shot that I retain it.
Okay, 50/50 might be an exaggeration, but I'm seriously making an immediate commitment to try to LEARN better, to remember more, to pay closer attention...