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Don't Just Wait for Things to Happen

Democrat and Chronicle, 11/15/11
Dorothy Madden

Live your life by choice, not by chance. Those eight words, the theme of a national conference, captured my attention. It made me realize how simple the words are and yet how meaningful if accomplished.

When this theme is applied to your work life, you are invited to thoughtfully consider the choices you make vs. letting things just happen as they may. Being intentional about what, when, how and why you do things makes a significant difference in your productivity, effectiveness and professional future.

Here are some workplace choices you may encounter. Only you can make choices that are right for you.

With your list of tasks in mind, ask, "Which ones add value to the company? Which tasks are the best use of my time? Which are the highest priority?"

When should you do them? Schedule time on your calendar for today, tomorrow or a specific time in the future. Set a deadline for each task and place a reminder on your calendar one or two days prior. This is a great stress reliever and it allows for flexibility should a higher priority arise.

Do you need to do the task yourself or can it be delegated? If others are involved, build consensus and delegate with specific criteria and deadlines.

How can social media play a role? Think creatively and use the best tools at your disposal.

Are you dressed professionally? Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.

Leaving things to chance is often easy but lower priority tasks naturally get completed and more challenging, important tasks remain undone. Deadlines are missed and time is wasted.

The choices you make in your professional life reflect the person you are. Don't leave your choices to happenstance. Take control and make the right choices for your future.