Marathon training – Week 5

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“Of all the races, there is not better stage for heroism than a marathon”.

(George Sheehan)

The Walk into the Future blog is based exploring opportunities, adventures and then sharing them with my readers.

I have tapped danced around the concept to run a full marathon for a few years now.  Well, no more tap dancing, I am fully engaged in the marathon training process and just completed Week 5 of an 18-week training program.

My targeted race is the 2022 Palm Beaches Garden of Life Marathon in West Palm Beach, Florida.  Wanted to pick a race that was close to home and with a flat course—check and check.  I have friends who have run this marathon and they say it provides the perfect course, backdrop, and time of the year to tackle the 26.2 miles.  Excited and terrified at the same time but my training program will get me to the start line and beyond. 😊

I selected the 18-week training program to allow myself time to prepare for this major life event mentally and physically.  There are multiple training plans available (12-weeks, 16-weeks, etc.) but I went for the longer plan to ensure I had time to train with a buffer.

This training plan starts out with lower mileage than most people would think of considering this is preparation for a marathon.  The following are the total weekly miles in the plan:

  • Week #1: 19 miles
  • Week #2:  20 miles
  • Week #3:  17 miles
  • Week #4:  23 miles
  • Week #5:  24 miles

Again, the training plan is building up base mileage, but I exceeded the prescribed miles each week so far since I have been training for half-marathons throughout 2022.  I did not go over the prescribed miles by much but wanted to ensure I put in the work to lead to a successful and enjoyable marathon in December.

My plan calls for incremental mileage increases as I prepare my mind and body for the challenge of completing a 26.2-mile race in December.  I complete my long runs on Saturdays with my longest run of 20-miles coming in Week #15.  I complete my long runs in Fort Pierce on Hutchinson Island where I do not have an issue of crossing traffic.  It’s the same route I run to prepare for my half marathons, but I am discovering unique points of interests on the route as I run out further due to my increased mileage.  My long runs are completed at a slower pace to ensure I can start and finish—this is recommended for all long runs.

I just invested in a running hydration vest so I can carry water with me as I extend my runs.  Hydration is vitally important considering I am running in the August heat and humidity in Florida. 

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(Hydration vest)

Looking forward to seeing how the hydration vest enhances my training as I continue to prep for the 2022 Palm Beaches Garden of Life Marathon.

FYI—the next update will come in Week #10 of the training program.

Irie

“When you run a marathon, you run against the distance, not against the other runners and not against the time”.

(Haile Gebrselassie)

Black Wall Street–100 years later (Repost)

hostility-sculpture-in-tulsa-3910356_1920

Hostility Sculpture in Tulsa, Oklahoma

(Image by Mike Goad from Pixabay)

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”.

(Dr. Martin Luther King)

My first introduction to Black Wall Street came when I served as a panelist for a Florida State University (FSU) Black Student Union (BSU) program.  The students invited me to enhance their professional development program, but I got a history lesson I did not expect or know I needed.

I love working with college students because they bring a passion for subjects they are interested in and that passion keeps them curious and intent on growing daily. My role on the panel was to help BSU students understand how to present themselves when networking for future career opportunities.  We got that process going and had a good question and answer session with lots of input from the students in attendance.

One of the students present asked the moderator why the activities for the week was labeled Black Wall Street?  The response is where my education on the subject began.

The BSU leaders saw Black History Month as the perfect time to educate its members and guests on important periods, i.e., The Harlem Renaissance, Black Wall Street, Black Excellence and Black Power.  I was familiar with each of the periods identified for the month except Black Wall Street.  I assumed this was BSU’s way to show members how to build financial freedom and eventually make their way to Wall Street (NYC).  I was wrong and totally missed the boat on the meaning of Black Wall Street.

The BSU leadership wanted to show members how financial freedom could be gained by following the blueprint laid out by the founders of the true Black Wall Street in Greenwood, Oklahoma (Tulsa).  I had never heard of Black Wall Street, Greenwood, Oklahoma or the massacre that happened there in the early 1920’s.  My students were more than happy to fill me in on another history lesson I never received during my formal education programs—this seems to be a common theme with American history.

The concept a black town in Oklahoma was self-sufficient in the 1920’s seemed unreal at first but decided to learn more after talking with students.  I consider myself a lifelong learner and this was another educational journey I needed to fully see the great things that happened on Black Wall Street prior to the massacre.

O.W. Gurley was a prominent figure who relocated to the Greenwood district and purchased land which then could only be sold to people of color.  This was Gurley’s vision to establish a place for the black population.  Most of his businesses were frequented by black migrants fleeing the oppression of the Mississippi delta.  Gurley worked with others to pool their financial resources and support the thriving businesses being developed in Greenwood.  The residents of Black Wall Street were doctors, lawyers, and entrepreneurs. The success of the black residents of Greenwood played a role in the 1921 massacre because of the jealousy of their white neighbors in nearby Tulsa.

My Black Wall Street education increased my knowledge of this important period of Black History and led me to dig deeper on the actual massacre.  The news program, 60 Minutes did a report on Black Wall Street and the massacre a few years ago.  This led to additional investigations and a team has been formed to find and excavate hidden graves to bring closure for descendants of the massacre victims.  This painful piece of American history continues to garner interest and my hope is we never experience something like this again.

Learn more about what happened in Greenwood here:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/antoinegara/2020/06/18/the-bezos-of-black-wall-street-tulsa-race-riots-1921/#65183f08f321

60 Minutes program on Greenwood, Oklahoma:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yA8t8PW-OkA

“History has shown us that courage can be contagious, and hope can take on a life of its own”.

(Michelle Obama)

Note:  This was a repost.  My mentor thought it was timely to put this in front of readers again.  It has been 100 years and this injustice is finally getting national attention.

Square Grouper Jupiter

SG1

“Seas the day.”

(Storyteller Travel)

Summertime is conference season for everyone working in Higher Education Career Services.  We have multiple organizations that provide fantastic opportunities to network with colleagues.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), Southern Association of Colleges and Employers (SoACE) and Florida Association of Colleges and Employers (Florida ACE) are three of the organizations I have membership or participate in professional development.  My current role aligns more with NACE these days, but I stay up to date with SoACE and Florida ACE.  I have a lot of my tree branches who are extremely active with the regional and state associations.  I am proud to say one of my tree branches is the current President of SoACE.  I have others coming up through the ranks so happy to watch them grow daily.

The Florida ACE annual conference was held in Jupiter, Florida this year and several of my friends and tree branches attended.  I was not an official attendee for this conference since I was just returning from the NACE conference in Portland.  I received several texts and emails from my folks in attendance that they wanted me to come down for the conference to say hello.

Decided to drive down to Jupiter for the last day of the conference which was a Friday.  My current school is closed on Fridays during the summer so got up with the intent to catch the last portions of the conference and get a chance to catch up with my folks.  Jupiter is about a 50-minute drive south from Fort Pierce so made my way down.

Arrived at the conference location and located the Florida ACE group on the second floor.  They were wrapping up the conference with awards and door prizes, so I hung back to avoid disrupting the conference, but my friends spotted me towards the back of the room.  Got a few smiles and waves but this did not distract from the conference.

I was able to see and catch up with friends once the conference ended.  It was great catching up with people I have not seen in a while.  Some of this is because of COVID and some was because I moved down to Fort Pierce.  Either way, this was a fantastic opportunity to see some great people and reconnect! 😊

The original Square Grouper is in Jupiter, and I had never visited this location before.  I am a regular at the Fort Pierce Square Grouper and wanted to check out the OG location for myself.  FYI, one of my friends refers to the Jupiter location as the OG (Original Gangster) location so decided to join in on the fun. 

Google maps got me to the Square Grouper in about 10 minutes from the conference hotel which was down the street.

Made my way into the OG location to see how/if it was different from the Fort Pierce location.

 The bar setups were very similar, and the food menu was the exact same—not surprising.  The difference I saw was what was beyond/behind Square Grouper.  The Fort Pierce location sits on the Fort Pierce inlet and is great for watching boats on the water.  The Jupiter location has a dock directly behind it with boats sitting.  Not a horrible look but the views are almost night and day for me.  Love the freedom and great pictures I get at the Fort Pierce location. 

I’m sure the Jupiter location has a group of regulars who love their views, but I would not trade the Fort Pierce view, vibe and feel for anything.  Plus, the Fort Pierce Square Grouper is 15 minutes from where I live as opposed to having to drive 50 minutes to Jupiter.  FYI—the Jupiter location seems to get better live music options since it is closer to south Florida and the Miami music scene. 

https://squaregrouper.net/events/month/?venue=jupiter-inlet

Happy I made the stop in Jupiter to see what the OG Square Grouper has to offer.  Need to explore more in the Jupiter area since the beach is so nice down there.

Irie!

“Life takes you down many paths, but my favorite ones lead to the beach”.(Good Housekeeping)

2022 National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Conference

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The 2022 NACE Conference was held in Portland, Oregon this year.  This was our first in-person conference since 2019 and there was a lot of excited and anxious people in attendance.  Safety protocols were taken to keep us safe, but you can never truly feel safe with over 1,700 people in attendance.

I have been a member of NACE for the past 15 years and have continued to look for ways to expand my role within the organization.  I have served in multiple roles which have allowed me to grow a network with professionals across the world.

I am currently finishing up my role as a Co-Chair for the Mentorship Enhancement Task Force.  I received a phone call from the incoming NACE President in July 2021 to talk about the task force and the importance he placed on mentorship.  He asked me to Co-Chair this critical task force and work to revamp the program and increase awareness/participation for NACE members.

Fast forward to the NACE conference in Portland and my task force was provided a session to discuss the work we have been doing for the past 12 months and highlight the improvements we recommend to the Board of Directors.

I have attended past NACE conferences in Anaheim, Chicago, New Orleans, Dallas, and Orlando but this was my first opportunity to present to my colleagues.  We were given a prime slot on the second day of the conference to present our work and recruit new mentors into the program. 

My Co-Chair who is based out of St. Louis, Missouri and I spent multiple Microsoft Teams virtual sessions going over the presentation format, slides, and flow.  We decided to give a big overview of the program changes and then jump into a panel discussion with current NACE mentors and mentees to get their perspective on the impact of mentoring for each of them.

We soon discovered the NACE conference committee booked our session in the LARGEST room at the event.  We had no preconceived perspective on how many people would attend our session, but we did not imagine we could fill every seat in this large space.  NOTE—we did not get close to filling all seats. 😊

No worries!  We had a very good crowd, and the folks were able to get a more personal touch from my co-chair and I.  These folks were able to ask the panelist questions and we had on the spot sign-ups for new mentors and mentees.

We shared the work of the task force and identified our strategies and marketing plans to create a world class mentoring program.

The new program will have 3 mentoring layers:

  • 1 on 1 mentoring (traditional)
  • Reverse mentoring (new)
  • Mentoring Circles (new)

Mentoring research identifies Reverse mentoring and Mentoring Circles are unique ways to increase mentoring awareness and participation.  We discussed the benefits of each mentoring model and introduced the software we recommended to match mentors with mentees.  The current matching process is manual and does not consider the demographics of the mentor or mentee.  This software matching process was a big hit with the NACE board and folks in attendance during our session.

The marketing plan will utilize all social media platforms and the NACE website to promote the changes and encourage NACE members to join the program. 

I was excited to see the NACE President, David Ong in attendance during our session.  This was his pet project for the year, and he was extremely happy with our progress and excited to roll out the new program to the general membership.

David gave us a by-name shoutout during the general session late that day to thank us for the work we put in over the year.  This was the highlight of the conference for me and got more members wanting to discuss the mentoring program and to sign up.  I walked around with sign-up sheets for the rest of the conference and got many mentors and mentees signed up.

My official Co-Chair role ends on 7/15/2022 but we still must complete one more project before our term ends.  I have decided to take a year off from serving on another NACE committee or task force.  This was my second national commitment to the career field in the past two years—time to take a small break and concentrate on my local duties. 

I plan to get back into the national work of our career field in 2023 by either serving on another committee/task force or taking a larger step up to become a NACE Board Member.  This would provide me with additional leverage within the career field as we set policy to keep us relevant.

Yes, I’m still dreaming big! 😊

My 2023 conference travel plans will be less than this year.  The 2023 conference will be held in Lake Buena Vista (Disney World) so I do not have to endure another 7 hours of traveling.  My travel time over to Disney World will be just over an hour and I don’t have to worry about flight layovers in Salt Lake City or Minneapolis. 

Look forward to getting the band back together next year.

Irie!    

The Walk into the Future blog continues to grow

“Blogging is like work, but without coworkers thwarting you at every turn”.

(Scott Adams)

The first Walk into the Future blog article was introduced to the world on May 21, 2018.

Yep, four straight years of creating blog content and sharing it every week (mostly) with anyone willing to read about my thoughts, adventures, travel, and leadership pursuits.

Looking back my writing style has changed and grown over the past four years as I seek to find content that others may want to read.  Scratch that thought—I am writing content based on my life and sharing with anyone who wants to read it. 

I never had a clear idea where this blog would take me but decided to just sit down on my laptop and create content to publish.  I did not set out on a particular direction for my articles but felt an urge to write and the blog concept seemed like a natural place to showcase my words.

I would be lying by saying I knew four years ago I would still be writing and sharing content through this platform.  A bigger lie would have been I knew I would attract an audience of people who never met me and read my articles weekly.  My friends and family are ALMOST obligated to read this stuff so knew ya’ll would be along for the journey! 😊

I quick THANK YOU to my day 1 folks and everyone who follow this blog and my journey.

I did a summary blog article awhile back to highlight Walk into the Future blog stats.  Decided to do that again for this article to showcase the continued growth for the blog and the impact it has in the world.  I am amazed daily when I get a new blog follower from another country.  This puts a huge smile on my face because I never thought starting a blog in Tallahassee, Florida would generate international interest.

Martin Lawrence once joked that Michael Jackson was BANGING in Bucharest.  Well, I get weekly blog views in Romania so I can joke I am banging in Bucharest too—not as big as Michael Jackson but happy someone over there likes my work.

I will continue to produce content for the blog as long as it is still fun to me and people want to read my work.  Let’s see how long we can continue to Walk into the Future!

What topics do you want me to write about in the future?  No pun intended!

Irie!

Wordpress

Happy Anniversary with WordPress.com!

You registered on WordPress.com 4 years ago.

Thanks for flying with us.  Keep up the good blogging.

Walk into the future blog stats May 2022

 

“Blogging is a conversation, not a code”.

(Mike Butcher)

 

 

My 2022 reading progress

Reading list

(Books I’m reading now)

“A book is a gift you can open again and again”.

(Garrison Keillor)

I start each year with a measured set of goals.  Reading and writing are two areas I focus on for my goals.

These are the areas where I find a ton of joy daily along with my running program.  My 2022 reading and writing goals are below:

  • Read bible daily / Proverbs, Matthew, and other areas for better understanding
    • Read 2 books monthly
  • Write daily (poems, journal, BLOG articles, LinkedIn posts monthly)
    • Publish Authentic Leadership eBook (April 2022)

So, this is where I update you on my progress. 

I discovered the book The Richest Man Who Ever Lived by Steven K. Scott 15 years ago and adopted an aspect from the book into my daily life.  The book highlights the benefits of Proverbs and how King Solomon identified secrets to success, wealth, and happiness.  I originally read the book thinking it would TELL me how to become rich financially which did not happen.

I read the book and did not understand the lessons the author was trying to relay to the readers.  I dismissed it as an attempt to get people to read the book because of the catchy title.  Luckily for me I decided to go back and read the book multiple times and followed the directions provided to see where they would lead. 

I adopted the practice of reading Proverbs daily because of the wisdom (secrets to success, wealth, and happiness) this book provides to readers.  I have been a daily Proverbs reader for over 15 years now and continue to discover new wisdom insights.  Decided to add other books in the bible to my daily reading program in 2022.  This is the reading goal I continue to meet and/or exceed so far this year.

Now, let’s talk about my goal to read 2 books each month.  I started the year off with a bang and was able to handle my book goal in January and February.  I started to go downhill with my reading program in March.  I added more racing and training to my routine to get prepared for multiple half marathons but that’s not the real reason my reading has been slacking. 

I have not done a great job of identifying book topics/titles that keep my attention.  I big part of reading for me is an interest in the topic/title and the author.  I started grabbing books off Amazon based on recommendations but some of the books did not have a true flow and caused me to become a slower reader than normal.  No excuses but it is taking me longer to digest and get through the books I have selected.  I’m averaging a book a month but need to increase my pace or make the time to read these books.  There is still a lot of 2022 left to get more books read but I may not average 2 books each month.

My writing program remains strong, and I am happy with my progress in 2022.  The blog articles keep me searching for new adventures and ideas, but I am happy with my ability to create content.  It helps that a lot of my life revolves around traveling, running and the beach.  I am sure I will continue to have content to turn into another Walk into the Future blog article. 😊

I have published multiple articles and posts on LinkedIn so that is another goal win.  I continue to look for ways to network and connect with a larger audience.  LinkedIn has allowed me to attract readers to my blog and share my adventures and leadership thoughts.  I will use LinkedIn to build my leadership audience so I can get back to conducting Authentic Leadership workshops for organizations looking to improve/grow.

I have rolled my publishing a leadership eBook into 2022.  I have the content for the eBook but need to get busy with cover art and putting the content into publication.  I will use the summer months to finalize the content and work to get cover art so I can get the eBook to market.  It’s coming—I promise! 😊

Still got work to do but I am making progress towards my 2022 reading and writing goals.

How are you doing with your 2022 goals!  I welcome your thoughts—thanks!

Irie!

“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body”.

(Joseph Addison)

2022 Orlando Track Shack Winter Park 10k

WP 10k 1

“If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you”.

(Fred DeVito)

Dictionary.com defines aggressive as making an all-out effort to win or succeed; competitive.

You could characterize my 2022 running schedule as aggressive.  I decided to test myself and get back to racing like how I ran prior to COVID-19.  My 2019 training was focused on getting faster each time I toed the line and resulted in my fastest time at the 2019 OUC Half Marathon in Orlando (2:05:51).  I was able to maintain my race form over the Christmas break and ran my second faster time at the 2020 New Orleans Rock N Roll Half Marathon in February 2020.  Races and the country came to a standstill in April 2020 due to the pandemic.

Fast forward to 2022 and I made a concerted effort to find more races and stay active with my race schedule.  I identified 9 half marathons I wanted to run throughout the year and targeted races to help with my quest to go faster.  I don’t run a lot of 5ks but added a challenging one to my race calendar to help me push myself. 

My most aggressive move for 2022 was to tackle the Winter Park 10k less than a week after running the Treasure Coast Half Marathon.  This concept made a lot of sense when I signed up but proved to be a bit more difficult than I thought.

The goal for the Winter Park 10k was to set another 10k Personal Record (PR) since I was able to lower my PR in this same race in 2021.  I did not think the limited time between races would impact me so toed the line with the confidence of someone who would be able to dictate pace and adjust when needed.

Turns out, this person did not exist for the Winter Park 10k. LOL.

The weather forecast in the Orlando area called for severe weather and it was hot, humid, and overcast as race time drew closer.  A lot of runners were checking the weather apps to determine how much time we had before the skies opened and we were going to get wet.

Luckily, the rain held off long enough for us to run the 10k and get some time to spend in the race village before getting soaked.  FYI—this was unusual weather for Orlando in March—temperatures are normally cooler and no threats of rain.

Track Shack does not use corral starts for the smaller races so everyone can line up as close to the start line as they want.  This brings runners with different race expectations together and creates a unique environment where you must be careful not to run over or bump into people. 

The first mile of this race is always interesting since you have elite athletes mixed in with weekend warriors.  I like to hang back during the first mile to avoid collisions and the possibility of tripping while trying to get my pace up.

I entered the race with a goal to run sub 55 minutes and I got off to a better-than-expected start in Mile 1 (9:00), Mile 2 (9:14), Mile 3 (9:57).  I was happy with this pace considering the amount of bumping we had just to clear people during the first mile of the race.  I did not realize how much I slowed down during Mile 3 while running the race but felt myself slowing down.  I chalked it up to the energy expended during Mile 1 and figured I would level my pace out and kick it into gear to move faster.  Well, I kicked it in gear, but it appears the gear kicked me back.  😊

Have you ever pressed your gas pedal in your vehicle, and nothing happens?  That’s exactly what happened to me during this race.  I put the pedal down ‘in my mind’ but my body did not react in the way I wanted it to.  Mile 4 (10:09), Mile 5 (10:46), Mile 6 (11:00) did not go as planned, I had no extra gear or legs to carry me much faster than what I just threw down.  I was able to muster up a kick to finish the race that allowed me to cross the finish line with a smile on my face.  The crowd along Park Avenue was great as they cheered for all runners—I appreciate them being out so early to cheer for strangers.  I finished in 1:02:17 which is a 10:01 per mile pace.

I pouted about my results for about 3 minutes after the race.  I spoke with several elite runners who described their race like what I just experienced.  The heat and humidity got to them too so hearing that made me feel a lot better about my race.  Several mentioned they thought about quitting during the race because the conditions were so tough.  It’s funny how hearing about the misery other runners felt made me feel good about myself again. 😊  We are a funny group of people.

I originally thought running a 10k less than a week after a half marathon may have been the reason I did not have an extra gear.  It may have been a factor, but the heat and humidity also contributed to my results.  I plan to space my races out a bit more but will continue to be aggressive with my selection.

Currently prepping for the 2022 Nashville Rock N Roll (April) and Atlantic City Rock N Roll (May) Half Marathons.  No races scheduled for the summer.  I start the new racing season in October with the 2022 Clearwater Rock N Roll Half Marathon and a couple local races throughout the fall.  The running tourist will stay active with races if it remains safe to travel.

Being aggressive is not a bad thing! 😊

Irie!

“Running releases more than just sweat”.

(run-for-good.com)

Make your bed! (Repost)

Books

“Good order is the foundation of all things”.

(Edmund Burke)

My Walk into the Future allows me to pick and choose my adventures and some take me to amazing places.  Others find me rooted at home but still bring a level of joy and satisfaction.

I am an avid reader and love to find new books to help me as a lifelong learner.  My latest find was the book by retired Admiral William H. McRaven titled Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe The World.  

The title is simple enough and gives the reader an understanding of what the Admiral will cover in this book.

I love the fact the book is broken up into short chapters that are easy to follow and integrate into daily life for readers.  Admiral McRaven uses things from his life to help highlight the importance of how little things add up to make life move forward.

The book starts with the simple premise of why making your bed daily sets the tone for the day.  I understood this fact when I read the book but did not fully gain knowledge until I shared the book with a coworker who reads more books than I do.  My coworker assumes since I am retired Air Force the concept of making your bed was instilled in me during my time in the Air Force.  He was surprised when I told him I rarely make my bed because I did not see the importance of the act.  I am not a slob but making my bed happens when it happens—I did not go out of my way to make the bed before heading to work.

My coworker was shocked with my admission. I can be set in my ways but went back and read the chapter on making your bed to figure out what I missed.

I started making my bed DAILY after reading again to see if this simple act made a difference in my day.  The verdict is in—yes, it does!

This simple act appears to be a springboard for a productive day for me. 

The flow I have been able to display at work came once I made the decision to start my day with a simple act of organization.  Taking the time to make my bed and organize before leaving the house for work or my runs puts me in a better mindset for the day.  I arrive at work with a mindset to organize and I can transition quicker once I make it to my desk.  This may all be a coincidence but the flow, production, and ability to get more accomplished came once I decided to make my bed.

This is a recent phenomenon for me but exciting at the same time.  The ability to make a difference daily is something I take pride in.  Making my bed appears to heighten my ability to get this done.

Let’s be clear on this!  I fully understand making the bed has not given me a new superpower, but it provides me an opportunity to cross off a daily task early in the day.  I view making my bed as the first win of the day and gets me ready to win throughout the day.  I love crossing things off my to-do lists and I can get this started before I leave the house. 

Therefore, making your bed is an important step for the day!  It sets the tone and establishes a foundation for success—give it a try and let’s see what making your bed can do for you!

What are your thoughts on the importance of making your bed?  How does it set the tone for the day?

“For every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned”.

(Benjamin Franklin)

Busy or productive?

Busy or Productive

“Beware the barrenness of a busy life”.

(Socrates)

Dictionary.com defines busy as having a great deal to do.

Conversely, Dictionary.com defines productive as producing or able to produce large amounts of goods, crops, or other commodities.

So, which of these definitions describes your daily endeavors in the workplace?

People use the terms in a similar fashion, but I am quick to tell folks my goal is to be productive daily

Busy can quickly become a mindset that leads to staff becoming overwhelmed with the tasks they must handle in the work environment.  I ask staff members how they are doing throughout the day and when I hear someone say they are busy I simply ask:  are you busy or productive?

This makes folks pause for a bit and then they want to know the difference.  Again, I refer to the two distinct definitions.  Someone who exclaims they are busy is identifying they have a lot of things to do, and they are thinking about that workload.  Some will just come out and say I have a lot on my plate and need to get things done.  Sounds reasonable but it can also cause a mental drain on the staff member and anyone else who hears a constant “I am busy” drumbeat in the work environment.  Yes, there may be a lot to do but saying ‘busy’ does not move the needle to get things done. 

Flip the script!

My goal is to be productive daily, and this starts with the concept of coming to work to get things done.  The old saying talk is cheap would apply here.  Talking about being busy does nothing to get task accomplished.  A productive mindset allows staff members to come in with focus and take an active role in getting things done.  Tools I use to increase productivity:

  • To Do Lists (daily, weekly, monthly)
  • Outlook calendar (meeting reminders, team time off, out of office reminders)
  • Face to face conversations
  • Email
  • Large Post It Notes on my office walls
  • Staff meetings (group, 1:1, virtual)

I have used To Do Lists for most of my professional life and these lists help me plan/organize my day to keep me focused on deadlines and work products I need to complete.  I begin each morning before going into the office with a list of action items I want to accomplish for the day.  I sync this list up with any items I did not complete the previous day once I arrive in the office. 

FYI, I am also the first person in the building most days so I can have 45 minutes to consolidate my lists and build a game plan for the day.  Yes, I put this much thought into my operation to ensure I have a productive day.  I am trying to maximize my opportunities to be productive and leverage all the tools available to help me with this.  A secondary benefit of my lists is they allow me to pick up where I left off when I must help staff members with a task or problem.  I can come back and pick up where I left off without wasting time trying to remember what I need to get done.  Please note, staff and clients take priority, so I get a lot of practice coming back to my daily lists.

Face to face conversations are a great way to keep the productivity flowing.  I find simply getting up from my desk and going to have a conversation is more productive than emailing back and forth.  We can talk things through, come to a consensus and eliminate potential misunderstandings.  Of course, this only works if the person is available to have a conversation. 😊

Busy or productive office

The large Post It Notes on my office walls is something I started while working in the Florida State University’s Career Center.  The concept was for me to put big projects on Post It Notes so staff could come into the office and add updates to each project.  I began to allow staff to build their own projects and put them on my office walls so we could work them together.  I got the Post It Note idea because my white board was not large enough to highlight multiple projects.  I purchase the Post It Notes from Staples and they stick to the wall.  These notes provide a great visual to highlight how productive we are on any given day.  One of my current staff members said coming into my office and seeing the notes is like being ‘in my mind’.  I quickly told her to get out of there because there is a lot going on up there. 😊

There are other ways to become productive in the work environment, but these are a few that I leverage daily to help move me and the organization forward.

So, I ask you, are you busy or productive?  What tools are you using to help your productivity?  I welcome your thoughts—thanks!

“Focus on being productive instead of busy”.

(Tim Ferris)

My Refrigerator Door!

Fridge

“Life moves so fast.  You gotta document the good times, man”.

(Big Boi)

Luke Combs is one of my favorite artists and he continues to generate hits on the country music charts.  His lyrics have a poetic flow and speaks to daily things we all experience in one form or another.

I discovered his music during the 2020 Country Music Awards (CMA) show and quickly identified him as a rising star and promptly added his song, Beer Never Broke my Heart to my running playlist.  Yes, I run with country music! 😊

I continue to dive into his discography and discover songs that I identify with.  I did not realize how long he has been in the music business, but I love everything he has put out.  Fans routinely identify ‘Luke has never made a bad song’ comments on his YouTube channel.  I am sure he has a dud or two somewhere, but I can’t find one.  I have been on a monthlong binge of his music where I play his music at work, driving home and then again when I get home.  Guess you can say I am a fan.

My latest find is a song he put out in 2019 called Refrigerator Door.  Very basic concept where he identifies the family memories that are on the refrigerator door in his house.  This is something we can all relate to, most of us have placed something memorable on the refrigerator door:  report cards, kids sports schedule, family vacation pictures, etc.

Decided this was a great time to let the Walk into the Future blog readers in on my refrigerator door secret.  I have never placed report cards, sports schedules, or vacation pictures on my refrigerator door. 

My door is covered with magnets.  Yes, you read that correctly.  My refrigerator door is covered with 70+ magnets.  I started collecting magnets as part of my travel while in the Air Force and never really stopped.  My goal is to collect a magnet each time I travel to a new state, city, or country.  I always thought I would get bored with putting magnets on the door, but it is exciting to me to look at the door for the memories that are hanging there.

I have had family members and friends who send me magnets from places they have visited, but I do not put those on my door.  My entire magnet concept is to put magnets up for places I have experienced.  This keeps me motivated to continue my running tourist momentum to find races in places I have never been so I can explore new places AND get my magnet.

I added Clearwater Beach (Florida), Norfolk and Virginia Beach (Virginia), Southern Shores and Duck (North Carolina) and Savannah (Georgia) to the refrigerator door in 2021.  I will add Atlantic City, New Jersey to the door in May when I head up there for the 2022 Atlantic City Rock N Roll Half Marathon.  I am sure I will find some other places to visit and collect more hardware for my door.

The memories I can capture with pictures are great, but my magnet collection allows me to relive great memories daily since I see the door every time I am in the kitchen.  I know magnets may not be for everyone, but this is a simple, easy, and inexpensive way to capture memories.

What do you have on your refrigerator door? 😊

“Nothing but good times ahead”.

(Jennifer Cruisie)

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