‘I’m reliving the same day over and over.’
If you feel that this is the case, there’s no need to take Bill’s extreme approach and hop into the bath with a toaster. As the movie progresses, he grows and learns, eventually learning to influence the world in which he is trapped. This option is available to you too, and better still, there are things you can do to make far quicker progress than Bill Murray!
If you are serious about altering the impact you have from day to day, this article can help you to do so.
‘What would you do if you were stuck in one place and every day was exactly the same, and nothing that you did mattered?’
Whilst it’s easy to feel within large organisations or industries that you have little impact or control, acknowledging this sensation without acting to change it is admitting instant defeat. In the movie, Bill initially allows events to unfold in exactly the same way around him, day after day. He predicts the barking of dogs, the dropping of plates, without taking action to alter the situations he knows will arise. When he resigns himself to living Groundhog Day forever, Bill does not make the most of the opportunity to improve himself until Andie MacDowell’s character suggests it.
So, think about your routine. Are there events which you can predict, complications which you know will arise? Can you time to the minute when a disgruntled colleague will appear, yet never take enough action to prevent them from needing to do so? If you find yourself stepping into the same puddles over and over, it is definitely time to try new things. As Bill comes to learn, the things that you do do matter after all.
So what should you be doing?
‘Anything different is good.’
Bill’s relief as he utters these words is a testament to their truth. Whilst mastering the arts of ice sculpture or the piano may not help you towards productivity, consider what skills you could strengthen or cultivate that would help you to achieve more in each working day, helping you to take dynamic steps away from monotony.
Each time you repeat a day, you ought to learn something new. Whether this is by making a good choice or a bad choice, you should assess your actions and their outcomes and learn from them. Initially, Bill fails to do this, delaying his eventual success by expecting the issues to resolve themselves. Every decision you make will spur you towards progress and teach you something for the following day, small or large.
Better still, can you think of ways to turn this ‘one step at a time’ approach into leaps of progress instead, enabling you to obtain your goal faster than Bill does? Learn from his early inaction: by remaining static, you will never achieve anything new.
‘If you gotta shoot, aim high.’
Develop a quick list of what changes you could make to your day or your processes in order to become more effective and feel less stuck in a time warp. Once you have done this, don’t delay in putting these changes into effect. The next time you settle down to work for the day, give your new approaches a whirl. Is the difference positive or negative? Is it minimal, or having a wider impact on your working day and environment? How can you build on what you have learnt?
When Bill Murray has discovered through trial and error which tasks are rewarding and beneficial, he fits as many of these “errands” as possible into his day. Completing a multitude of tasks instead of taking shortcuts and making excuses, he succeeds at last in his goal of getting the girl. Planning is the key to beating Bill’s slow uptake here. Decide what action you will take, work out what will be most effective.
Thankfully, Bill Murray does eventually escape Groundhog Day, and you can too. It’s important for your wellbeing and job satisfaction to be the master of your environment and not simply trapped within it, watching events unfold around you. Work out how to make the most of each day as it arises, try something different and see what the outcome is. You might step into a puddle, but you might get a kiss from the girl.
Once he has worked out how to get more from his days and set time in motion again, Bill looks forward to a full and varied life, one of which he is more in control. Furthermore, he will be able to use the skills he has developed along the way to extract even more from each day, personally and professionally.
The actions you will take to free yourself from Groundhog Day will depend upon your working environment, but if you’re struggling to think of ideas for specific steps you can take, why not pick up the phone for a consultation with one of our coaches? It could be your first progressive step towards beating Bill to the girl.
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