It turns out that 2020 is a leap year, which means that tomorrow is February 29. For many of us, this is just another day, but I challenge you to look at this leap day in another way. Imagine a year has passed and you’re celebrating tremendous success.
This week, I’m sharing five articles that will help you make the most of that one extra leap day … every four years.
Let’s start with some simple shifts in mindset. This article from Inc. gives a great list of 29 ways to use February 29 in new and challenging ways. Some of my favorites include reconnecting with an old friend or colleague, beginning the project you’ve been procrastinating, or making something creative. There are plenty of suggestions here along with links to plenty of other resources for you to explore. The point is to challenge yourself in unique and fun ways. Try not to spend the day doing the same old thing.
This article from Toggl, a time management app, gives some great tips on how to make the most of the 24 hours we get each day. I don’t use the app myself, but I found the suggestions in the post to be interesting. Using your leap day to create new habits is a great way to anchor your progress. And while these tips may be a little obvious, sometimes just reviewing them is enough to help you take the first step in changing some self-defeating habits.
This is a great article by Forbes that gets to the heart of how you want to show up as a strategic thinker. If you find that you’re struggling with showing up at work preoccupied with the details and not focused on the bigger picture, this article could help you out of that rut. There are three areas of focus: being more reflective, being a better leader, and demonstrating organizational value. The bonus to the article is the great collection of coaching questions intended to shake you out of the usually way of thinking and make you go deeper with yourself.
This article from Harvard Business Review isn’t just about delegating, it’s about making sure you’re doing work that puts you in the path of promotions. As the intro to this article says, “Are you convinced that you’re indispensable and that everything you do is critical? Yet you feel under appreciated, stuck in your current position, and torn between prioritizing every task and your own well-being?” If your boss or colleagues constantly ask for your help to put out fires, but don’t include you in bigger strategic conversations, listen up. This article provides six powerful questions to ask before you agree to take on someone else’s overflow. This is about setting boundaries.
This last article from Medium is about choice architecture. The article focuses on the work of Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein, who won a Nobel Prize for their research on the topic. To read their book, Nudge, click here. Or you could read the article, which takes the premise of the book and applies it to how we can use these concepts on our everyday decisions. In simple terms, you can ask your friend where they might like to go to dinner and come up with any number of answers, or you can ask a question that’s more specific — would you like to go for Chinese or Indian food tonight? As the article says, people prefer simplicity.
Ask yourself how you can start creating simple choices for the people around you that will make your life easier. And, if you’re interested in more books on leadership, take a look at my post on the 10 books to improve leadership development.
Now, let’s go back to the beginning. Imagine a year has passed. You’ve accomplished some great wins and you’re in the process of telling a friend how the past year played out for you. When you create that story, ask yourself:
Think about it and write it down. This leap day could be just the thing that helps you move out of stagnation and into evolution.
Christina Holloway is an executive coach and business coach. She helps executives and entrepreneurs grow their companies faster, create results-driven teams, and increase profitability. She has been featured in Forbes, The Huffington Post, Addicted2Success and Fast Company. If you’re interested in working with Christina, take a look at her strategy sessions and contact her to get started.