Appreciation is one of those things that never fails to make even a crummy day turn golden. I remember how wonderful it felt when a boss complimented me on the work that I did. I’ll bet you can recall some instance where a pat on the back put a spring in your step. Even when we’re working for a larger ideal acknowledgement still feels great.
However, if you’re an entrepreneur, a student, or a stay at home parent you are quite likely flying under the radar in terms of being appreciated. Customers expect things to be of a certain quality. Professors don’t always know your name, much less the work that you’ve done. And kids are pretty oblivious when it comes to an understanding of how much is done to get them fed, clothed, and out the door to soccer practice on time.
Here’s where being your own boss comes into play. You can give yourself the appreciation that may be lacking from your environment. Most likely you’re currently running from to-do list to to-do list without ever stepping back to feel satisfied with the work that you have done. Here are three tips to help you create that proud, satisfied feeling of appreciation for yourself.
So often the things that we plan to do or notice that we need to do all run amok in our heads. They swirl around and feel important based on whichever thought crosses our mind first. We see trash that needs to be taken out and that’s what we do. We see an email from a potential client and we respond.
Yet some of our actions carry more weight and importance in our lives. They may not be the things that feel urgent, but they are more meaningful when we take time to do them. Maybe sitting down to learn a new technology skill. Or pausing to give our kids our full attention.
To get a sense of your priorities write down all the things that you need/want to do this week. Which items will have a positive, long-term impact on your life? Circle the items that will mean something to you in a year.
Of the items that you circled, what are your top three priorities?
And if you only did one thing this week what would the most important item be?
Going to the gym. Getting new clients. Studying for an exam. Cooking meals for my family. I call these ever-present, re-occurring tasks maintenance tasks. They are often a priority, but they can be a grind because we never define for ourselves what completion actually looks like.
Instead they perpetually hang over our head. We’re left with the feeling that there is always more to do. This is where definition can really save the day.
Break one of your broader, maintenance type tasks into a chunk that you would like to accomplish this week. For example, comment on two blogs, study for one hour a day, or cook three home made meals for my family this week.
With this new definition you will know when you have completed your task. You can cross it off your to-do list for the week and feel the energy of completion.
Set aside a time once a week to sit down and note all the things that you’ve accomplished. See where you put your time and energy toward your priorities. Look at the places where you were able to accomplish the tasks that you defined for yourself. Just stepping back and looking at what you’ve done can be really powerful.
Pick one of the items on your list that you felt that you did a particularly good job on. Imagine a kind boss was looking over shoulder and fill in the blank, “Hey, you did a really nice job on that ___.” Feels good, doesn’t it?
Your advice about breaking up maintenance tasks is gold. I always have grandiose ambitions that seem to be perpetually put off in favor of just getting through the day-to-day. Great suggestion!
Alison Elissa Horner says
Thanks Becky. Lovely to have you commenting on the ol’ blog!