Learning to work differently

Photo courtesy of Julie Falk (Creative Commons)

Photo courtesy of Julie Falk (Creative Commons)

I am a planner by nature. I thrive on lists and checking things off as completed. I love having an organized plan for the day, and seeing the progress.  I’m also used to being at my desk and on the computer a lot.

As I transition to a new role at work, my lists, plans and days have gotten more nebulous – instead of a list, I have a bunch of notes, and instead of a plan for the day, it seems I am pulled in multiple directions with changing priorities, each with its own sense of urgency. I’m taking care of things before they ever even make it to a list. And I’m not at my desk much anymore.

Rather than swimming laps in a calm pool, I feel like I’m being tossed by the waves in the ocean.

One of the benefits of the new way of working is the connections and the relationships that I’m building. I want my team to realize I am action-oriented, and working toward being proactive instead of reactive to issues, challenges and ideas. There are things that will take some thought and a plan, but a lot of what needs to happen, just needs a quick decision so we can move on.

I love touching base with each person and learning what their suggestions are or struggles they are having for which we can consider alternatives. Whether it’s an issue of space or a process, I’m excited to get their feedback.

It’s also important to be speaking to customers and getting to know the regulars – or welcoming the first-timers. Same with donors at our back door and our volunteers who help in so many ways – thanking them face-to-face is a privilege.

These days I seem to have less focused desk time and more fluid activities, but at the end of the day, I feel like I’ve accomplished more if I have built connections, taken care of immediate issues, and been present for my team.

How do you need to work differently to be more effective?