Posted in Bite size learning, Change management, coaching, Decision Making, Goals, Leadership, Relationships, Time management

Getting the best out of working from home…

We strive to be effective and efficient and we have to create our own routine.

Initially we went racing into the lockdown, it was powered up productivity, we did not know we would still be working from home, three months later. Some of us have now burned out and don’t have the initial excitement and enthusiasm of being at home.

Just as you change gear in your car to alter your performance, we are now at that stage as people we need a boost a new gear change.

Start the week with a plan of what you are doing and ensure that you break it into a daily task list of what can be achieved. Having a rolling to do list for the week is not as motivational as looking at what you have done each day. Ensure that you review at the end of the day what you have completed and even add to the list of tasks the things you have completed that weren’t on the list. Highlighting or ticking them as complete seems childish however the acknowledgement of your achievements and the reflection of how you spent your time is all good inputs for the list for the next day.

There is no escape to see colleagues and a chance to loiter in the kitchen. We need breaks and working from home you need to book them in. Sadly they are not as spontaneous as at an office, but if you have other people in your home, schedule a coffee and meet up with them. Most importantly have a change of scene move away from desk and if possible take the break in another room.

For some having no set hours is scary, managing the day, week and the whole calendar seems to big and endless. We need to start thinking like a leader who operate from a framework of freedom. Leadership thinking is having a clear purpose or vision that every thing you do everyday factors into that vision and overall purpose as to who you are. This umbrella view of everything then gives you an idea of what needs to completed each quarter/monthly and then at a micro level daily. Ideally having on display your purpose can be motivational and a guide as to whether you are on track.

nuggets overall vision is to “Help people think and work differently…” do I do something everyday to make that happen.

We have had to fit life into work as never seen before, parents home schooling and attending zoom meetings. Dogs being walked, houses cleaned and endless meals being prepared. We have to treat life with as much importance as work, you need to plan it and schedule it. You must not squeeze life in around work. Map out when is a good time to walk the dog or to exercise yourself, ensure it is in the diary everyday. Plan and write up your meals, so the thinking and uncertainty of what to eat does not fill your head. Your hours don’t have to be as they were and they don’t have to be the same everyday, however for your own mental health know when you start the day and when you are going to stop the day.

Accountability has to be robust, more evidence to justify what you have achieved, therefore have we slipped into a more results driven culture. The balance of how much you are trusted and the measurement of your performance from a far. If you are more trusted is the performance more guaranteed. We cannot rely on our Leaders to simply trust us we have to communicate with them regularly to ensure they do trust us. Trust underpins any relationship we have and it is built on a foundation of knowledge of the other person. Remember the name of some-ones dog on a Zoom call could be a motivational gift and that simple insight could increase productivity.

Working from home is what we make it and what choices we make around how to set it up and it is now the time to review:-

  • What has gone well? – you have enjoyed?
  • What has not been so good?
  • What can you do differently?

Please do get in touch for a workshop on “Making the most of working from home…”

bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, Decision Making, Goals, Learning, Time management

Timing is not an art its a science…

“We all know that timing is everything. Trouble is, we don’t know much about timing itself.” – Dan Pink

When is the worst time of the day?

The book written by Dan Pink uncovers some of the mysteries around time by using scientific evidence.  Here are some questions used in one of his recent talks about the book to give you the idea of “When” is the right time.

  • When should a CEO make an earnings call to investors?

We should all avoid the time between 2.00pm – 4.00pm and especially the unproductive time in the middle 2.55pm. This period Pink refers to as the “Trough”.  The studies show that CEOs are more likely to make mistakes on an earnings call in the afternoon.

  • When is a good time to ask for a pay rise?

Studies show that if your line Manager is returning just after a break they will be refreshed enough to make a more positive decision.  Pink based this on analysis of parole board decisions, prisoners repeatedly got a more favourable decision just after lunch than just before lunch as the peak of the morning wore off.

  • When should you start a new diet or exercise regime?

We use a temporal landmark this is a point in time that we naturally think of as an opportunity for a fresh start. These come in two forms: social temporal landmarks, dates that are seen as a fresh start by many people collectively (your birthday, anniversary etc) or New Year’s, or the other landmark is the start of a month, the start of a week, etc.  Pink describe it as  mental accounting of when to start your spreadsheet.

  • When are you most likely to run a marathon?

Our life is planned out in episodes and this pattern leads to endings and beginnings.  We are more likely to run a marathon at 29, 39, or 49 before we hit the big number.  We want to achieve something at the end of that chapter or episode.

Please do get in touch for further insights on timing bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

 

Posted in Bite size learning, Decision Making, Time management

Top Tips for Time Management…

Time is non spatial it is not a product that we can buy off the shelf.  We have to learn how to manage it by altering our own behaviour.  We have to work at habits that enable us to manage time in our own way.

10 Top Tips 

  1. Clear distractions – clear your desk, peripheral vision, you can easily be distracted by other papers on your desk.
  2. Email – take your email alert off
  3. Identify prime time – scientifically we all have one hour in the day that is our best hour to get stuff done.  Ensure you protect that hour by not having meetings during that time.
  4. Buckets of time – Be realistic about what you are going to achieve each day.  Allocate tasks to buckets of time:-
      • Daily
      • Weekly
      • Monthly
      • Annually
      • Projects
  5. Patterns of the day – understand when to get your best work done according to the patterns of the day:-
      • Peak (in the morning) – analytical work
      • Trough (after lunch) – administrative tasks
      • Recovery (late afternoon/early evening) – creative thinking
  6. Procrastinating – Get your hardest job out the way as quickly as possible.  The term is “Eat that Frog” – if you had to eat a live frog you would want to do it as quickly as possible.
  7. Decisions – make quick decisions, can I do it now? can I delegate? can I delete it?
  8. Pomodoro – Breakdown work into intervals, the pomodoro technique is that you work for 25 minutes (a pomodoro)  and then you have a 5/10 minute break.  Once you have completed 4 pomodoros you can have a 30 minute break.
  9. Transformational – Review your day at the end of the day and write what you want to achieve the next day.  Be realistic and allocate some tasks to other buckets.
  10. Power of 3 – Identify the 3 things that will make the greatest difference to your day

 

 

Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, motivation, Stress management, Time management

Procrastinating…

Procrastinating something we are guilty of.

What actually is it?   In a nutshell it is self regulating failure.

We all have too many distractions so it is very easy to procrastinate.  We need more than just will power.  Some of the reasons we find it so easy to avoid tasks is that we can have a dip in our overall motivation.  We might be feeling anxious, or we simply hate the task in hand and will try every aversion tactic possible.

We can also affect a task by just how we talk about it “I have to or I need to…”  This is all reactive language and does not put you in a positive mindset.  If we used proactive language around the task we would feel more positive.  “I choose to or I would like to…”

Some top tips to prevent procrastination:-

  • Set up your environment with minimal distractions, just one screen on your desk
  • Ensure that your phone is on silent.
  • Set your own deadline, if the end point is too far away you might put it off
  • Ensure you are not overwhelmed by a task, break it into smaller chunks
  • List your tasks and actions – What gets written gets done…
  • Identify your best time in the day and ensure that is when you work on the tough stuff
  • Committ to a time limit with a break built in, and reward yourself so that you still feel motivated
  • Visualise how you will feel once you have completed the task

Please do get in touch for a 90 minute Time Management workshop bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

The photo is courtesy of:-

@KrishantiPhoto_commercial

@KrishanthiPhoto

Posted in Bite size learning, motivation, Relationships, Stress management, Time management

I’m a celebrity teamwork…

Last night in “I’m Celebrity get me out of here” we saw the most amazing team work.  They were all involved in a challenge and there was no-one who did not have a role and no-one who did not perform.  Albeit very different to an office situation we can learn a lot from a group of people who come together and focus on a common goal.

The 7 hallmarks of a highly effective team give you an idea of how those random celebrities are learning to work together:-

  1. Shared vision – food seems to be the ultimate vision instead of focusing on winning as an individual this group seem to be motivated by enjoying decent meals together.
  2. Clear objectives – the trials are all about getting stars and the instructions are very clear.
  3. Team resources used to their best – sometimes they don’t get a choice as to who to deploy, but when they do, they think about the physicality and the enthusiasm of every member of the group.
  4. Open atmosphere – the camp is surrounded by cameras although in previous years we have seen whispering, the team at present seem very comfortable with sharing all their stories and some of their more intimate rituals.
  5. The team regularly reviews its progress – there is a lot of encouragement during a trial and a lot of commentary as to how much time you have left.  They chat about their experience and review their own performance.
  6. The team builds on experience – the trials get more horrific but the team know which critters are worse than others and seem tougher every time from learning from the last interaction.
  7. The team can ride out storms – when there are no stars or a camp mate is particularly down the group rally and morale lifts them.  Last night showed how they can work together with tight time constraints.

The office might not be the jungle, however how many of the hallmarks can be applied to your team.  As an exercise get each team member to give a score out of 10 as to where you are currently on each of the hallmarks.  Revisit the score in 90 days to see if you can come up with actions to improve the score.

For a team workshop please contact bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, Goals, mindfulness, Time management

Book summary of “When” by Daniel Pink

The scientific secrets of perfect timing

 “We all know that timing is everything. Trouble is, we don’t know much about timing itself.” Daniel Pink

 Pink explains that we use our gut to make decisions on when we should eat or sleep when in actual fact there are scientific answers.

The book covers three main lessons:-

  • Our emotions run through the same cycle everyday
  • Knowing how you “tick” will help you do your best at work
  • Taking a break or an afternoon nap is not counterproductive, if anything it helps you save time

If you divide the day in three parts the obvious answer would be morning, afternoon and evening. A global study by Cornell University analyzing 500 million tweets in 84 countries with 2.4m users. The sociologists used a linguistic inventory word count to ascertain the dominating emotion for each of those parts of the day. Their findings were:-

  • Morning peak – Whether its right after waking up or 1- 2 hours later, most people feel pretty good early in the day
  • Afternoon – the tough period after lunch
  • Evening rebound – after work you have a gear change and enter recovery mode

The same variant pattern applied across genders, race and age. Pink described this as Peak, Trough and Recovery.

Similar studies produced the same results, they looked at standardised testing of Danish students. Every hour later in the afternoon produced a decrease in the students score, so not only emotions but performance alters according to time of day.

The results would suggest that in business we would be best allocating tasks accordingly:-

  • Peak – analytical tasks – intensive thinking and vigilance
  • Trough – administrative activities
  • Recovery – creative activities less intense focus

Corporations don’t focus on when only the what and how and yet the variance in human performance has an impact.

Even with this study in mind you still here people say “I’m a night owl” or “I love to get up early”.

Other studies can analyse your chronotype whether you are a Lark, Owl or something else which Pink describes as Third bird.   Larks are the ones that love to get up early. The Owls can get to work at 9.00pm and don’t like getting up early. The Third Birds are the people who are neither early or late just follow the standard pattern which is the largest group.

The old fashioned view that breaks were a waste of time is changing with the spotlight on mental health. A time tracking company DeskTime did a study using millions of data points determining the ideal break to be 17 minutes for every 52 minutes of work. That means one hour down for every three hours.

The other study Pink shared was the “nappuccino”, you have a coffee after lunch and then set a timer for 20 minutes. It takes 7 minutes to fall asleep, you wake up a little later refreshed with the caffeine kicking in.

Viewing human performance through “When” could alter the way you manage your time and your life.

Please do get in touch for a workshop on Time Management bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

 

 

 

Posted in Bite size learning, Goals, Management, Time management

Summary of Agile

The principles of Agile can be applied to any team they are not exclusive to software development.

The Agile manifesto with its 12 principles was created back in 2001. Underpinning the concept is creating a learning culture which came out of the Toyota Production System. This was the Lean principle one of the foundations of Agile.

All of the 12 principles can be put into 3 main categories:-

  • Clarity & Transparency Delivery – approaches to improve how teams understand their system of work
  • Learning & Leaning – Approaches to improve and optimise team processes
  • People focus – Approached to creating an autonomous and engaged culture

The set of principles increases the awareness of the team to different approaches that lead to improvement over time.

Clarity & Transparency Delivery

  1. Regular measurements & milestones
  2. Clear intent & continuing prioritisation – vision and goals
  3. Understand what is valuable – to the customer
  4. Visualised work – white boards

Learning & Leaning

  1. Minimise waste
  2. Repeating tasks to spot incremental changes
  3. Limit work in progress
  4. Short feedback loop

People focus

  1. Team effort and collective ownership
  2. Empowered to improve as a team
  3. Collaborative learning
  4. Driving process through people interaction

 

Posted in Bite size learning, Emotional Intelligence, mindfulness, Time management

Taking back control…

Don’t just be a follower in the office world, start to lead your behaviours and your thinking.  Take back control of your time and your mental well being.

Challenge your attendance at meetings by ensuring you know the purpose before you attend.  If you are chairing the meeting keep it short and memorable. More than three participants will it really give you the answers you need.

Manage your email by booking an appointment with it, don’t drift in and out of your in-box, a lot will be irrelevant and take your mind away from work.

Type messages on a proper keyboard, nothing is that urgent that you have to resort to a tiny phone key pad or use emojis for real actions.  Everyone can wait.

Always have a proper to-do list and rank the items in order “what if…?” If that task was not completed what would be the worst that could happen.

Be realistic and only write down the tasks you will really complete that day.  Create buckets for the other tasks, e.g. weekly, monthly and overall project list.

Pick up the phone more and speak to a “real” person, often quicker than the email, to get your view across takes many written words.

Ensure that you do not have your phone with you at meal times, enjoy the ritual of eating again. Go a stage further and ask that there are no phones at your meeting, (it will be a lot faster with no distractions).

Give yourself space and time for thinking, book an appointment for it.

Take back control and lead your life.

Please do get in touch for 1:1 coaching or a Time Management workshop bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

 

 

Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, Emotional Intelligence, Goals, Management, Time management

Unlocking time…

Time is a non spatial continuum it does not exist and yet we are forever referring to it as if it is a commodity. “I never have enough time” or “I don’t know where the time goes”.

If we evaluated are own behaviours associated with time, it might begin to explain are association with it.

Pause and answer the following questions:-

  • What did you do with the last hour in work yesterday?
  • How do you feel about time today?
  • If you had an extra hour what would you do with it?

The last question has to be answered by saying something you would do specifically and sleep is not allowed as an answer.

When we look at these questions we need to decide whether we are controlling time or is it controlling us.

The last hour at work, were you in charge, or were you working on other peoples work or were you tired and unproductive.  This review of the last hour is quite enlightening as to how you are managing your priorities.  The last hour ideally should be spent getting yourself ready for the next day.  Take time to write down what you want to achieve tomorrow.

How do you feel about time today? This is time to recognise the quality of time and enjoying the hours you have.  Being pro-active in your mindset about how you will spend it and the value you will get from it.

The extra hour  is  identifying, what matters most in your world.  We often answer the question with something that is linked to what we value in life.  Spending time on our mind, body or with our loved ones.

Please do get in touch to book a workshop on managing time

bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

 

Posted in Bite size learning, Goals, Stress management, Time management

Getting “stuff” done

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.

The buckets:-

  • 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 bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk