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10,000 is the new magic number. Whether you’ve bought into the latest lifestyle craze or not, you’ve likely found yourself using the word “steps” more frequently than ever before. And if you are a Fitbit wearer, chances are you’ve taken an extra lap in the grocery store or given your dog the longer walk they've always wanted in order to hit the physician-recommended 10,000 steps per day.
Goal setting for wellness has its benefits, for sure, but Fitbit ownership implies a lifestyle change that has far-reaching implications for your career, and your ability to effect change at your organization. The Harvard Business Review calls this phenomenon “self-quantification” touting it as an indicator of high potential employees. Whether you are mastering this technique already or learning about it for the first time, we have the tips you need to become more efficient and successful at work.1. Cultivate self-awareness
This is true professionally as well. Understanding our bad habits, triggers, and weaknesses makes us vulnerable, but is necessary for personal and professional growth. Self-awareness leads to a healthier, more productive, and often more compassionate life. All of which are qualities that improve performance and morale in the workplace.
Try this: Keep a diary, take the Myers Briggs personality test, track your exercise, or simply ask your friends and co-workers for feedback after a tense conversation. Do your behaviors indicate dedication or discipline? Do you listen openly to criticism or become defensive? Take time to reflect on your actions and feelings, and record them when appropriate.2. Identify your passion
Keep in mind that you might find that you’re fired up about public relations and marketing, but not crazy about situations that require you to make a direct ask or a sale. You might find that your communication style is clashing with the way your boss processes information. That’s okay! Information will allow you to find more effective ways to work within your team, discover that you’re not in the right department, or even realize that you aren’t fired up about the mission at your organization. Each of these conclusions puts you in the driver's seat on the way toward a more impactful career – be it where you are right now, or where you need to go.
Try this: Set consistent touch points with your boss to talk about your work on different projects – not just during your six-month or annual reviews.3. Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize.
On an organizational level, the metrics you choose to track are known as Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). We recommend that you don’t choose more KPIs than you can count on one hand: first, because you may not have the time or bandwidth to actively tend to that many factors, and second, because you want to be sure that the metrics you’re following directly impact the bottom line (your goals).
Try this: Take an inventory of the goals that are most important to your success. Then, write down the metrics that indicate whether or not you achieve those goals. Finally, look at those factors and ask yourself the following questions: Does this metric directly impact the bottom line? Do I have time and resources focused on this metric? Is this metric based on good quality data? If the answer is “yes,” keep the metric. If the answer is no, ditch it. You should be left with a handful of metrics that will serve as your personal KPIs.4. Measure your progress
Try this: Set periodic checkpoints that are appropriate for each of your KPIs – be they weekly, monthly, or annually. Take the time to look back at your progress to date, and consider the factors that influenced your progress. Were you more productive and focused during the 14-hour workdays, or when you worked a normal schedule? Did you benefit from more involvement from leadership? How did your physical and social activities affect performance?5. Hold yourself accountable
Change is hard. Period. Allow yourself to lean on coworkers, mentors, friends, and family for support – after all, we all need mentors, gym buddies, and a shoulder to cry on. You don’t need to tackle your weaknesses alone – and in fact, you shouldn’t. Chances are, someone has already experienced your struggle and developed the strategy or technique that you’re looking for. You just have to find it.
Try this: Take your “not quite” wins or failures seriously, and commit to changing up your approach to achieve the outcome you’re looking for. In that process, don’t retreat into yourself to search for solutions: ask for help, use the Internet, or hit up Amazon for outside support. There’s no need to rely on intuition alone.
Once upon a time, we didn’t have the tools or technology to track our progress in a quantifiable way. Whether we like it or not, we now have more data at our fingertips and in our pockets than the President of the United States had at his disposal just decades ago! And using that data to cultivate a deeper awareness of your interests, habits, productivity, and successes doesn’t have to be complicated or painful. In fact, self-quantifying will not only leave you feeling more connected to your work, your mind, and your body – but it will also bring you closer to the impact you’re trying to make in the world.
Oh, and if you haven’t already – stand up take a lap around the office! A few extra steps will do the body good.
Need some reading material for your jog around the office? Download our e-book "The Seven Success Factors" for an in depth look at the seven areas of your fundraising program that have the most potential to impact your organization's success.