TGIM! So in the spirit of my post last Friday (TGIM!) I decided that a good idea would be to have one day a week dedicated to something actionable. As great as it is to philosophically stare at the world and remark on what’s works, what doesn’t, and what we can do about it, at the end of the day it’s all rather worthless – unless we actually do something about it. For that reason, I will try to share something you can actually do starting today that I think is a worthwhile endeavour (although, admittedly, you may not agree with me). Also, as today is the inaugural ‘forward movement Monday’, I will give you not one, but two ideas!
Read 30 Minutes a Day, Every Day
The key with setting up a habit (especially if you have the tendency not to follow them, like myself), is to go black and white – there cannot be any middle ground. If you tell yourself, in the above example, five days a week – guess what? Those five days will probably be the last five days, as you (and I) procrastinate – and that is, if they happen at all.
So here is the first action item of the day – commit to read 30 minutes per day, every day, moving forward. Think about it, that’s one episode of a TV show. That’s very little time in actuality – you don’t even need to give up your TV time if you don’t want to. Read on the commute, read on your lunch break, read while waiting in the dentist’s office – just make the time. Do it just today. Then, do it just tomorrow. Then, do it just the day after. Before you know it, you will have begun a habit that will pay huge dividends – and I bet you will be reading more than 30 minutes a day.
Let’s look at the math now. Let’s say you’re reading at 1.5 pages per minute. That equates to 20 pages every day. If you read your 30 minutes for the next year, that’s 7300 pages. With the average book being about 150 pages, you will have read about 49 books in your first year. Imagine that – only 30 minutes a day, and this year alone you could read 49 books – and if I had to guess, that’s probably going to do a lot more for you in long run then a re-run of How I Met Your Mother (unless your boss routinely likes to ‘suit up’ and hi-five). Also, try to read something of substance – there is no point of substituting one for of junk information for another. Go where the quality is high.
Reach Out to One Person This Week (and make it a monthly habit)
Reach out to one new person this week to form a new professional relationship. It can be someone in your company, someone in your industry, whatever – just start to reach out. Building your network – from what I have heard – is much easier at a younger age then later on in life. Right now, no one will see you as manipulative (assuming you are close to my age, in your 20’s), you are just a keen ‘kid’. For that reason too, you will get access to more people now, then later on in life. Many people like to talk to an eager twenty-something year old. Very few people want to take the ‘up and coming forty-something year old’ under their wing.
A strong network is the lifeblood of your career – especially in these turbulent times. If you were to get fired today – would you have a strong enough network to get some oars in the water on finding a new job? If not, then this action item is for you.
The other great perk of this is that the gains are not linear – meeting two people is not just twice as good as meeting one person. You get network effects – the effect of each new contact multiplies exponentially. Finally, you never know who is going to be that ‘one person’. The person who opens all the doors for you – they get you that first job, that first introduction, that first meeting. You never know who that person is going to be until you meet them, so get out there!