This week my Fitbit died. I don’t know if it had too much sun, too much time in the lake, or lack of recharging time, but it’s tiny screen never came back on.
Even though I lived without any sort of fitness tracker for over 30 years, living without it for the past 4 days has left me in a bit of a fitness haze.
While I used to make the effort to take the stairs, trek to the far end of the office for a bio break, or park in the back of the parking lot – I found myself taking the faster path this week. During evening walks, I used to keep moving until I hit my 10K step goal. Now, I stop when my podcast or phone call is over without a clue how close or far I was from achieving this daily goal.
I liked that this system gave me credit for the steps I took, and that it would hold me accountable to my daily goals. It’s not that this tiny wonder of a device strapped to my wrist was forcing me to walk more. It was simply an accountability system. It recorded progress; it told me my effort in terms of calories, steps, and zone minutes. It nudged me to keep going AND even celebrated my micro wins.
Sometimes I wish we had Fitbits for work.
Can you imagine a device that objectively tracks our progress, prompts us to keep going, measures effort, and celebrates the tiny wins of the day? There are many days where it’s difficult to see the progress (or lack of) we’re making when so much of the work we do at an individual level is hard to quantify.
While it’s tempting to track the quantity of meetings attended or e-mails processed – these are NOT like steps – and don’t bring you closer to work wellness or reveal your performance.
So for professionals who can’t point to quantity-based achievements each day – what can you track to see daily progress?
Let’s get tactical
Every Friday, during my Prep for Next Week sessions, I ask myself “what do I need to do to win the week?” Maybe it’s drafting a report, making a connection, lead a challenging meeting, or finishing the presentation deck. Whatever the answers, I write them down – usually at least 3 things, and then put the time blocks on my calendar to ensure I have the time to make those wins happen.
When I complete the daily progress tasks for the weekly wins, I can check them off, move the sticky to the done column, or cross them off – however you track you work! Just make sure you do something to acknowledge that it’s complete.
It’s a little like hitting your step goal for the day – the buzz of a job well done with some digital fireworks really do feel good. There’s nothing immediately life changing about achieving your daily step goal. You won’t lose 10 lbs pounds, or extend your life a year, but you can smile knowing you achieved YOUR goal for the day. On days you don’t make your goal, at least you know you need to work a little harder tomorrow.
Not making your daily work goals?
One thing I hear from professionals is that a meeting with yourself (aka a time block) is easier to skip than a meeting with other people. So true!
Taking note of the items I didn’t do at the end of the day is as important as acknowledging what I did do. It gives me an opportunity to reflect on why:
- Was it hard?
- Did something more important came up?
- Was I missing something I needed to finish?
- Or did I just not want to?
Knowing the reason why can help me be smarter about rescheduling it. For instance, if I was missing some data for a presentation, I can send a quick note to the analyst. Or if I just didn’t have the energy, I can reschedule it for my morning focus time to knock it out.
While it may be a while before our smart watches keep us accountable to our work progress, with this Weekly Win system, you can create daily accountability for yourself that can help you win the work week.
Try it this week and let me know how it goes!