I have been working long hours lately, often past 1:00 am, including weekends. Balancing consulting assignments and staying ahead of my commitments has been more than a full time job.
Two nights ago, I finished writing a training program that was a 'must do' task before I could sleep. It was 12:30 am and I only had one more thing to do before I could go to bed.
As I scanned the document, I realized that not only had I finished a learning module, I had completed the suite of support materials I had been working on for six months. People would soon be using these tools to help them navigate their change. My work was done.
I quickly closed the file and called up my next one. Then I paused. I felt I had missed something: I had skipped paying tribute to my accomplishment. I didn't feel like celebrating (I felt like sleeping), but I knew that not taking a moment to acknowledge my work would set a bad precedent.
I wanted to avoid the trap you can fall into when in constant production mode: getting work done becomes more important than the benefit from doing it. I needed to stop and acknowledge this milestone. I needed to celebrate it.
I closed my new file and opened the one I had just finished. I scanned through the over 100 pages of guidance and tools, imagining how people would benefit from them. I noted the design changes I had made to overcome challenges and the input I had received to make it better. I was celebrating the experience as much as the outcome.
Here are some of the benefits of taking time to celebrate your accomplishments:
- Marks the end of a piece of work―you did it!
- Gives meaning to the work you do―this is why you chose your profession
- Acknowledges lessons learned―both what to do and not do
- Honours a commitment ―as promised
- Demonstrates what you are capable of doing―to a client, manager or your team
- Marks the beginning of a new chapter―what's next?
It only takes a minute to celebrate and the benefit lasts much longer. Next time I will plan for my celebration.