December: Prioritizing Your Work – And other Topics

This month is a mish mash of topics focusing on soft skills that will help the mentee in their IH role.


Prioritizing Your Work


Here is a free webinar for prioritizing and planning your calendar: that the mentor/mentee should review if they have time ahead of their 1:1 meeting.


I recommend setting time on your calendar for a weekly review (one hour).  In fact, the mentee is encouraged to copy and paste the Weekly Review steps below into a recurring meeting on their calendar.  I recommend Thursday afternoon or first thing on Friday morning.


Three Steps for a Weekly Review

1.         Processing and organizing your collection points.

  • Empty Your Head.  Create Outlook tasks for any outstanding items that you recall.
  • Empty All Your Collecting Points (folders, papers, notebooks, sticky notes, voice messages, emails, etc.)
  • Eliminate any leaks in your Collecting System.
  • Review last week’s calendar and reschedule items that did not get completed.
  • Review the coming week for items that require preparation for and create strategic next actions.

2.         Reviewing and prioritizing your planning categories (meaningful objectives, supporting projects and 1:1 meetings)

  • Go through each Meaningful Objective, establish current status and create SNA’s (30,000 foot view that keeps you strategic).
  • Go through each Supporting Project, establish current status and create strategic next actions (SNA’s) or “tasks” .  Ask yourself, what can I do in the next week or two to move this project forward?
  • Go through each 1:1 category (Outlook Task Categories you have created for your boss, co-workers, etc.), establish current status and create SNA’s.

3.         Prioritizing and planning your action categories on to your calendar.

  • Determine time frame for scheduling calendar (i.e. one week or two weeks in advance).
  • Review all SNA categories and delete those items that are completed.
  • Prioritize remaining SNA’s.
  • Move items from the Task Pad into the calendar.
  • If it’s worth doing, it’s worth putting on your calendar.
  • 75% greater chance of actions getting done, if on your calendar.
  • Renegotiate those commitments you can’t keep.
  • Make your weekly review a priority.


Recommended source:  Take Back Your Life:  Using Microsoft Outlook 2007 to Get Organized and Stay Organized by Sally McGhee and John Wittry.


Work Life Balance

I recommend using the same strategy for creating meaningful business goals and objectives back in February for setting personal goals.  Some suggestions for areas of focus might include:

Area of Focus 1:  Career

Meaningful Objective:  Update Resume

Meaningful Objective:  Start Searching for a New Job

Meaningful Objective:  Participate in AIHA’s Mentoring Program

Area of Focus 2:  Finances

Meaningful Objective:  Increase 401k Contribution

Meaningful Objective:  Decrease debt by x%

Area of Focus 3: Spiritual

Area of Focus 4: Fitness

Area of Focus 5: Health/Medical

Area of Focus 6: Home/Around the House

Area of Focus 7: Community Service/Giving to Others

Area of Focus 8: Leisure/Travel


When you have your weekly review for your professional life, consider using this time to also review your personal objectives.  Additionally, consider having a weekend retreat with your spouse, partner or a close friend (or yourself) to reflect on the goals accomplished the prior year and to start capturing the new goals and objectives for the coming year.



TED Talk

Nigel Marsh:  How to make work-life balance work.



Customer Feedback

The mentor should encourage the mentee to take the approach of providing world class support and services.  Try to far exceed the expectations of the customer.  Just don’t try to meet the customer’s expectations; aim high!   If your customers don’t like the services you are providing, they may go elsewhere and that’s not a position you want to be in.  The best way to gauge customer satisfaction is with a survey.  If the mentor doesn’t have a formal customer feedback program at work, help them develop a survey to send to their key customers.  Here’s a sample format (below) that I once used in the form of a word document that I emailed to about 20 internal and external customers at the end of the year.  It is also attached as a Word document.  Try and select a random sampling of individuals you have work with who are considered your best customers and some you think may not have been completely satisfied with some of your prior work.  The idea is to try to avoid skewing the results one way or the other (positively or negatively).  If you send your survey to only people you are friends with, there’s a good chance you won’t get much in the way of useful feedback.  Once you have the results, work with your mentor (if you maintain the relationship) to find specific ways to improve on those areas of weakness.



You have been identified as someone I have worked with since the beginning of the year.  I would like to solicit your feedback on my performance.  I would ask that you spend no more than 5 to 10 minutes on this.  Please rate my performance in the area of using a 1-10 scale with 10 being the highest score:


  • Quality of Work:               1     2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9     10





  • Dependability:                 1     2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9     10







  • Team Work:                       1     2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9     10






  • Communication:               1     2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9     10






Or if it’s easier for you, just type a couple of sentences.  Please forward them to me via email.  I welcome positive, negative and neutral comments.  If you wish to remain anonymous, please print this email and send it back to me via inter-office mail with your comments.  I thank you in advance.  I am attaching my self-assessment for your review.


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