Week 32 – Fill the skills gap

This is a personal story of reversing a bad mood and finding things to make me see the situation more positively.

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Following on from last week, a source of negative thoughts is fear of not being able to do things well, of making mistakes, looking stupid and wasting time.

As I return from my summer break, I am aware that there are parts of my work I am dreading, and the cause is my doubts about my ability to do the work. My job seems to constantly evolve, the expectations on my continually shift. That means I am always playing catch up, needing to learn new skills and bring new ways of thinking into my work. I know this is a personal list of all the things I need to start doing (but doubt my ability to do) but I am sharing it in case some of it resonates with you:

Being more structured in my use of time – I have a heavy workload as I have taken on a major new program. To deliver on this as well as my other responsibilities, I need to allocate set days and times to get through the work and enable others to know when to work with me.

Applying prioritisation criteria to my work – limited time means I need to be much tougher about allocating my limited time to the most relevant work. I know the criteria – value; can only be done by me; time sensitive; enabler for other work etc but it is sometimes easier to know the criteria than to apply it, because the negative voice in my head tells me I am failing if I don’t do everything!

Doing more recordings of my work – to satisfy demand for my training, I need to record more of my sessions so that learners can attend when they are available. I am aware there are lots of techniques about lighting and sound and probably lots of other ‘rules’ about video content that I am not aware of.

Making virtual learning more interactive – as more courses and workshops move online I want to bring in more imaginative collaborative techniques, so I need time to research and practice these.

The only way to fix this is to learn and apply new skills:

Time management techniques – there are lots of them, and working smarter and not harder is more enjoyable. But….I have to catch myself in the moment when I am not sticking to the schedule, and go back and focus on what I should be doing, not getting distracted with other things

Quieting the negative voice, which tells me I should not let anybody down (when we all know that pointing out I do not have the time for something is not letting people down but being honest) – one skill I have learnt from neuroscience is reframing. When I catch myself saying “I don’t know how to do this” I reframe this away from a criticism of myself to a question “what skills do I need to do this?” and that leads me to the next question “how can I learn these skills”

This pushes me into solution mode – I find people to show me what I need to do, I set aside time to practice the new skills.

Identify the things that are giving you the most worry/stress and analyse them for the skills you need. Find the help you need to learn new ways of working.