Planners’ Picks — October 11, 2022

Planners’ Picks

A collection of resources from CSN planning committee members worth mentioning

This week we’ll look at our habits (in honor of the presentation Rich Gassen and Jenny Erickson are doing this Thursday on the book Atomic Habits by James Clear). We’ll also listen to some music at work, catch up with Brené, Simon, and Adam, and define some big moments in your leadership journey.


:: Image of the Week

When you feel overwhelmed by a to-do list, try making a done list.

Don’t forget to note how far you’ve come already. Sometimes our to-do list looks overwhelming but remembering that we’ve accomplished a lot already is an important part of moving forward.


:: Resources on Developing Better Habits

One Habit That Will Change Your Day

From Greg McKeown’s Weekly Newsletter: Do you know what matters to you today?

Recently I spent time with 1,200 senior business leaders. During our discussion, I asked these leaders, “Who here today spent 10 minutes making a list of what matters to you and put it in priority order before you hit your day?” Between all of those people, I would say less than ten people had done it.

That’s shocking to me. But, on the other hand, it’s not because I’ve been there.

Life gets busy. We start living out of our inbox. The last thing you do at night is email, email, email. Then, first thing in the morning, it’s checking on what’s happened in your email overnight.

When we live this way, we live reactively instead of purposefully, and we miss opportunities to refine and improve our lives. My friend, Rob Dyrdek, put it perfectly when he said, “You cannot evolve if you do not have time to reflect.”

It’s not that you, I, or the 1,200 business leaders don’t have 10 minutes to try and connect the dots of our lives. It’s that it’s not built into the routines, rituals, and habits of our day. Whether you are the CEO – or the CEO of your own life, taking time to reflect on what matters to you each day will change your day. And when you do this consistently, it will change your life.

10 Minutes to Change Your Day

  • Block out 10 minutes at the beginning of your day.
  • Make a list of what matters to you today.
  • Put the list in priority order.
  • Reference this list throughout the day.
  • Reflect on how you did.

“New goals don’t deliver new results. New lifestyles do. And a lifestyle is not an outcome, it is a process. For this reason, all of your energy should go into building better habits, not chasing better results.”   – James Clear

Create Healthy Habits That Align With Your Values

From Author Mark Manson:

Our goals should be aligned with healthy, consciously chosen values.

But exactly how do we go about living out our values?

Well, while I do think goals have a place in our lives, I think they get far too much air time and we place far too much emphasis on them.

The reason is that goals are too event-oriented. We fall into the trap of thinking that if we achieve a goal (an event), then we’ll magically be better off: “If I achieve my goal, then I will be happy/healthy/loved/etc.”

Then, when we do achieve our goals, we’re left empty because we don’t feel as happy, healthy, or loved as we thought we would.

So instead of focusing on event-based goals, it’s far better to consciously create healthy habits that align with our values.

Where goals are event-based, habits are process-based. You have to do them over and over and over again. And doing things over and over and over again is how we live out our values.

The goals we achieve along the way are just the side effect of living out our values through our habits.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”  That’s the historian Will Durant paraphrasing Aristotle in his book The Story of Philosophy.

James Clear on Getting Back on Track

Life presents an endless series of interruptions and distractions. You will continually be pulled off course or asked to put out a fire created by someone else. People will disrespect your time and steal your attention—usually with no intention of malice, but simply because different people have different priorities.

When your day is interrupted or your progress stalls, it’s easy for your mindset to collapse as well. You may feel guilty for not following through on what you intended to do. But you are not guilty, you are human. Everyone gets distracted.

In many ways, the real divide is between those who get back on track quickly and those who let interruptions expand into longer periods of inactivity. Top performers get back on track faster than most. This is the skill to develop. You will be interrupted, but you can choose to keep it brief.

Visit for more from him on habits.

“Success doesn’t come from what you do occasionally, it comes from what you do consistently.” Marie Forleo


:: Resources on Mental Health and Self-Care

What Listening to Music at Work Does to Your Brain (It’s Pretty Amazing)

Music has enriched people’s personal lives pretty much since the beginning of time, but scientists today have uncovered how best to make music enrich your professional life, too. When the office is almost too much to stomach, music can deliver much-needed relief on the job. Before you press Play, however, have a handle on when your tunes will be most beneficial for you and your brain.

Dr. Laurie Santos On Increasing Happiness

Dr. Laurie Santos teaches people how to be happier. She’s the host of the Happiness Lab podcast on Pushkin, and the creator and teacher of Yale’s most popular class, known on as “The Science of Wellbeing.” She sits down with Jessi to share her journey with the science of happiness, what many people misunderstand about how joy works, and how we can each increase our own happiness.

“An easy happiness hack is to become more social.”​ – Laurie Santos

Happiness is a practice, not a mood. I’m certain of it. And we’re rarely needed to practice more than we do right now, in this moment. So this week on the #hellomondaypodcast , Dr. Santos and I discuss how to cultivate this practice. You’ll hear more about these three tips for deepening your own happiness, and much more:

GET SOCIAL: We often want to hibernate when we feel down, but research suggests that it’s helpful to find a way to be around people, especially friends.
CULTIVATE GRATITUDE: Grateful people are happier people, and there are things you can do to bring your attention to that gratitude.
TRY MEDITATION: It’s been said that a wandering mind is an anxious mind. Focusing your attention will release that anxiety.

Dr. Santos discusses many approaches to happiness, but if you’ve lived awhile in the world, you’ve like cultivated your own. What straightforward tips do you have for strengthening your happiness muscles? Learn more about Dr. Laurie Santos here and check out The Happiness Lab podcast.


:: Resources on Work Culture & Team Development

What’s Happening at Work, Part 1 of 2: Brené Brown, Simon Sinek, and Adam Grant

What’s happening in the workplace right now? In this first of two episodes with Adam Grant and Simon Sinek, thought leader Brené Brown talks about what we are seeing in organizations across the world—and there are definitely some trends that emerge. And so much learning. These three brilliant authors talk about disconnects between what we know from data and what we’re seeing practiced. They also talk about what high performers actually look like and the most meaningful way to succeed.

Be watching for part 2 of this two-part series soon!

The Secret Ingredient of Thriving Companies? Human Magic.

Performance development should be more about honing strengths than addressing problems. Managers conducting traditional performance reviews typically highlight three things going well and three development opportunities, based on a precooked list of attributes required for the job. Over time, I have embraced the idea that developing the individual means nurturing each person’s unique talents so he or she can become even better—what authors Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall call “spiky” people.

We do not need to be good at everything, which is not only unrealistic in real life but also leads to dulling our areas of brilliance and inner drive. It is in coming together in all our diversity of talents and of what gives us the most joy that we create the best possible performance. Mastery does not come from working on your “weaknesses” but in relentlessly honing and leveraging your unique combination of strengths. It is of course a balancing act, but the focus on building strengths can lead to a more powerful outcome.


:: Resources on Self-Leadership Development

Lifelong Learning Essential In Today’s Workforce

April McHugh of Continuing Studies reminds us: The one certainty about the world of work is that it’s constantly changing.

From the first industrial revolution when water and steam mechanized production, we’re now in the fourth industrial revolution – a fusion of technological advances that are rapidly changing the labor landscape. We’re also in the midst of reeling economics and a labor shortage.

What does this constant change mean for workers? No matter your profession, learning needs to be woven into your career path. In fact, lifelong learning can improve your career prospects, particularly now as employers face a skills gap and yearn for job candidates willing to adapt to changing needs and goals.

3 Big Moments That Can Define Your Leadership Career

We work for decades, yet for most of us, there are a handful of moments in time that define the course of our leadership career. Unfortunately, these moments — opportunities or crises — don’t come with a caption suggesting, “Hey, pay attention and embrace this mess because it’s going to turn out to be important to you.” For individuals who choose to lead, it pays to see the signposts— Art Petty

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” – Confucius

The Evolution of The Successful Leader

The pandemic caused many people to reexamine their life priorities, including their relationship to work. Employers today are still confronting challenges posed by the Great Resignation, with roughly 20% of workers planning to quit their jobs still in 2022, according to a recent report by PwC. This naturally shifts the balance of power from senior leadership to employees, and that means leaders must focus more than ever on truly listening to what their employees want and need.

Successful leaders are going to be asked to show their humanity and heart more and more, by listening intently, being willing to be vulnerable, recognizing and rewarding team members for their contributions, and building more flexible and individualized work arrangements to keep people committed and engaged. This means embracing the mentality of Heart First leadership.


:: Upcoming Events – Help Bucky!

Family Weekend 2022 Staffing Opportunities

Stephanie Benson-Gonzales asked that we solicit our fine community of leaders to see if you might want to help Bucky with an event this weekend. Family Weekend 2022 will occur October 14-16 and is an event hosted by the Parent and Family program that welcomes the whole family to experience life as a Badger and features a variety of fun events.

They are seeking student and professional staff to help welcome over 2,000 families. If you sign up, you will receive additional details about your role and student staff members will be paid for their time. Read more below and sign up here.

  • What: Family Weekend 2022 staffing opportunities – sign up here!
  • Who: Student or professional staff
  • Perk: Free food and Family Weekend shirts for all staff + paid opportunity for student staff
  • Greatest need: Friday check-in and the Saturday Camp Randall Stadium event
  • Camp Randall overview: This event will be fun and easy! Staff will greet families, guide them to the field, and offer to take photos (note: this is not a tour of the stadium, just an opportunity for families to go on the field). Happening Saturday from noon-3:30 p.m.
  • Check-in overview: Check-in will occur at the University Book Store throughout the weekend and is designed to be an easy, welcoming experience for both staff and families. Your role would include greeting folks, checking them in, and providing them with a welcome bag.

Sign up here: