Your best work gets done when it needs to be done, you have to want it and be ruthlessly intolerant. With clear priorities and focus you work on the right things at the right time.
Only YOU are accountable for getting “stuff” done. We find it easy to set monetary targets however we need to give the same priority to time targets. Unproductive people have no idea where their money has gone.
Success is about our behaviour and how we manage the time we have. Your goals and your achievements are compatible to your behaviour.
Each week think about what you want to achieve and put that as the heading of the week. Achievement underpins motivation and having one big goal for the week, will be you identifying what matters most that week.
David Allen’s book, Getting Things Done describes the process. If we can put all of our stuff in buckets, nothing gets lost and it is out of your head and into a system.
- Daily – the to do list, only what you can do that day (be realistic)
- Weekly – what is the biggest thing you want to achieve in the week
- Monthly – headings that give an indicator of how effective you were in the month
- Annually – year to view on one page, with your holidays and key dates
- Projects – present and future so that everything is captured
Please do get in touch for a practical approach to Time Management firstname.lastname@example.org
The “C” word being Christmas.
The countdown to Christmas begins this Friday and it is like any other project it needs to be managed and the focus of what it means to you, must not be lost.
Stephen Covey’s time management exercise “What matters most” is a great way of looking at Christmas. Covey invites delegates to squeeze big rocks into gravel. The big rocks represent “what matters most in life” and the gravel is just “stuff” e.g. work.
The only way the exercise works is to put the big rocks in place first and then pour the gravel on top. Delegates have been known to sweat profusely trying to squeeze rocks into gravel. This feels uncomfortable and to be honest is how life feels when you lose focus on the things that matter most.
Focus on Christmas and work back, ensure you are spending it with the people who matter most and get all the “stuff” into perspective.
We have all done the Christmas Eve shop and regretted it afterwards when the person you care about most is surprised and disappointed.
The biggest rock at the moment is Christmas, so therefore make it your priority.
Please do get in touch for workshop on Time Management email@example.com
The media is awash since the Harvey Weinstein of abuse cases and how do you determine the line that people cross.
My own experiences has measured my thoughts around appropriate and inappropriate.
In my early 20’s I went for an interview to work with a very well successful businessman. With hindsight this first introduction to him should have been a warning of what was to come, the level of control. I was asked to wipe off my lipstick (my trademark bright pink). This felt very odd, and I had lots of time to reflect on this instruction as I was left in a room for a very long period to wait for the “big man”. Looking back I think I was being watched and the whole situation was a test.
I got the job without the lipstick which I was still advised to hold back on.
The prestige of working for the company and the man himself let me initially enjoy the situation. It became apparent that it was not business as normal. Five secretaries to one PA, could easily tell you that we were just ever slightly over manned.
We would be rewarded with money for carrying a brief case, however in the process the wandering hands went too far. Sex toys would be placed on our desks to see our reaction, and I was particularly naive.
I left after 6 months and the first thing I did was make sure my lipstick was brighter than ever. The resilient pink continues and I know where the line is for me.
I ask myself would I want my daughter to be humiliated and lose confidence due to an individual who believed fame and money would protect him.
Arriving at meeting last week there was lots of banter about whether we could greet each other with hug. I laughed with the group, however I was delighted that there is now thinking around personal space. My own example is somewhat extreme, however there are levels within everything and there is always a line to cross or not to cross.
We can create a better place and be resilient with or without pink lipstick.
“We must lead emails rather than them leading us…” Bev Wilkinson
Being effective with email management is how you behave around emails rather than the simple processing. We need to set ground rules and set up rituals and habits that fit with our lives. We can control it rather than it control us.
Dan Pink’s book – “To Sell is Human”, listed the number of emails he received in two weeks:-
To improve organisational effectiveness is not too focus on the number or volume. The attention should be on clear guidelines as to how you manage your in-box.
There is no easy way and the whole idea of personal productivity means that it is personal to you. Systems need to be tweaked and adapted to work. Sharing ideas with team members can give you new ways of interacting with the screen.
If you look at an email 5 minutes before you go into a meeting you take that email into the meeting. Checking your email before you go to bed means that you will take that email to bed with you.
We can be effective by making choices that work for our lives, book an appointment with your emails as you would any other contact.
The book “Getting Things Done” by David Allen suggests setting up sub folders that sit at the top of your other folders. This can easily be achieved by putting a # in front of the title:-
To be effective think about the rhythm of your day and decide when you want to manage your email. Relax that you don’t have to know everything all the time.
Being effective is the right processes for you.
Sleep is the new drug in town. We reach for the pain killers and eventually we might take to our bed. However what if we saw sleep as a preventative drug.
Matthew Walker is the director at the Centre for Human Sleep Science at the University of California, Berkeley, he has spent the last 20 years studying “sleep”.
“When have you ever seen an NHS poster urging sleep?’ – “when did a Doctor prescribe sleep not sleeping pills, sleep loss costs the UK economy more than £30bn a year in the lost revenue”
Sleep resets our body and brain by working on the following:-
- emotional stability
- immune system
When we sleep it is like hitting the save button on your memories. Studies have also shown that we can learn new facts much better after a good 8 hours. The Hippocampus in the brain is the memory in-box. MRI scans of sleep deprived individuals show the lack of activity or using the metaphor of the in-box no new files.
Sleep manages emotional volatility, scans of the brain show the Amygdala has increased activity with sleep deprived individuals. So for our emotional well being 8 hours sleep a night is the best recovery.
Our physicality is improved with sleep as we have natural killer cells, our immune cells who work during the night. The World Health Organisation has now identified that shift workers are at risk due to poor sleeping routines.
Sleep resets your body and brain so go out there and reclaim it and make sure it is the full 8 hours.
The snow globe is a very visual representation as to how we live our lives. We focus on the small things and yet some-one is forever shaking it up. The building or structure in the centre of the globe we forget about.
We enjoy achieving the small stuff as we get that buzz of achievement, we have ticked a list or highlighted an accomplishment. We release dopamine in the brain the feel good chemical, instant gratification.
We have attended 3 meetings this week however they may have no complexity. Thinking is not linear and involves engaging the brain fully. The temptation to achieve immediate is everywhere. The email pop up could easily take you away from the hard report that needs to be written and involves thinking. We get addicted at accumulating small tasks, it is called structured procrastination.
This short term horizon is due to the fact that we are now a society based on impulse. We crave automatic self stimulation, we send a message and we crave the reply. We create an addictive cycle.
We are encouraged to do more and now with technology we have no limits. There are now work addiction groups. People enjoy the control that task accomplishment gives them, where as living life does not have the same completion and control.
An example would be a Senior Executive has to forecast next year’s figures, it will be a black and white document with figures based on the evidence of the previous year. The same Executive has to manage the behaviour of their 18 month old who has not yet mastered sleeping through the night. You can guess which one has the linear thinking and the control and the latter requires a more creative approach.
The culture we have created is “Try harder” and it is a “Short time Horizon” we need to look to a broader, slower and altogether bigger horizon. Try this week to do more thinking.
Please do get in touch to explore thinking more firstname.lastname@example.org
We wear busy like a badge of honour. The first thing we say to each other is “how are you?” and the most common response is “busy”.
We deal in a currency of numbers, people will tell you how many emails they have in their in-box and how many meetings they have attended.
The “busy” becomes a showcase, we boast about not having time. Our reputation and existence is based on demonstrating “busy”. We need to rush and walk quickly to emulate “busy”.
Even our weekends are about justifying ourselves to ourself. We enter marathons and discuss what is right for our children in terms of after school activities. Studies now show that children need to learn how to be bored.
We cloud effort and results, as often if things take longer we have looked busy for longer.
A locksmith explained that when he first started his trade it used to take him a long time to change a lock. He charged $120 and $25 for the key and was often given a tip. He is now experienced and changes a lock in 2 minutes and still charges a $120, and yet he never receives tips. Ironically people were paying for incompetence, and yet they believed they were paying for effort.
To understand more about “busy” listen to the Radio 4 series by Oliver Burkeman http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07w1dpx/episodes/player
Please do look at our website and get in touch www.nuggetsoflearning.co.uk