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One Difference Each Day

I was inspired to write this blog by a recent coaching session, where we discussed the important of scheduling and accomplishing something each day. It comes from many different places, as the person I was speaking with referred to a podcast. For me, it comes from Stephen Covey’s principle of “first things first”, where the concept of Quadrant II activities (not urgent but important) are recognised as one of the greatest leverage areas we have to increase our effectiveness.

While it undeniably has the impact of increasing effectiveness, it has the added benefit of increasing our sense of well-being, our mental health.

Through most of my life, I have worked in fairly high pressure environments, where there was never a lack of things to do, but rather a constant prioritisation combined with firm scheduling of QII activities (for me, horribly tedious but necessary tasks like budgeting), often with all chat/email/phone silenced and hiding in an isolated place (there truly is nothing like budget work to make me look for any possible distraction that is decidedly more interesting, even cleaning the coffee machine or loading the dishwasher in the Swedish office).

The past year was mostly that way, although I professionally worked less, my unpaid job (as CEO and Chairman of the Carlsson Family) consumed a tremendous amount of time and energy. There is nothing like moving a family overseas during a pandemic to create a lot of challenging extra tasks, particularly frustrating as should be simple things like getting a drivers license, opening bank accounts, and paying taxes have constantly changing rules and places while the world is coping with a new normal.

This summer, I took a well-deserved, hard break with a five week road trip across 6200 miles (10000 km) and 17 states. It was a chance to share with my daughter a part of her heritage, and for me to see friends and family I had missed in my many years abroad.

But once school began, basically the time between 8.00 and 15.00, became my own. We have a place to live, we have drivers licenses and bank accounts, are registered and paying taxes, and most things are now set up on automatic handling.

It’s my chance to work with the training and coaching that I have loved most as part of my work in leadership. But it takes a new kind of discipline, and a new way of managing myself. It’s quite easy without deadlines pressing to procrastinate until tomorrow, or next week. Especially as I am someone who does my best work under pressure, without any, I found I needed to create it. Particularly to overcome the obstacle of recording myself.

So that is the target I set, to make one difference each day. Some days it is easier, as I have coaching session booked, and hopefully I can add some insight or inspiration. Other days, I need to be a bit more creative. I also need to recognise that an action today (such as recording or editing a video), might not have a direct impact or difference for someone today, but it hopefully will to someone next week, next month, or even next year or years in the future.

It touches me the most when I have a message from someone who was in a past training, who still thinks about the material today, and has had it make an impact to them in their lives. If you have done that, thank you, your reaching out made a huge difference for me!

It keeps me going, trying to make one difference a day, and scheduling the difficult things. What about you? What keeps you going?

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