Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, personal impact, Time management

Getting to the Finishing line…

We can see the finishing line but we don’t get there, on projects at work and home. Peter Hollins the author of “Finish What you Start” explores why this happens. He describes the unfinished projects as the mental scrapyard in our heads.

We go into projects in week 1 with a surge of inspiration we are full of ideas we are literally fizzing. We have four follow through muscles:-

  • Focus
  • Take Action
  • Resist
  • Persist

The starting point is being focused on what you want to achieve being clear of those first actions and knowing what distractions we must resist in order to persist.

However in reality what happens is we weaken those muscles by either getting distracted or just deciding that the task is too hard. We then create the psychological roadblock of Perfectionism. When the task gets harder our ego kicks in and we don’t want to fail so we make the task impossibly hard to achieve. Perfectionism is insecurity in disguise, we have made the task impossibly good instead of good enough.

The sad reality is that we only learn when we have a finished product. By adopting a finishing mindset you know at the end you can look back and evaluate this is where you know that you have learnt something. You might create a terrible blog post but it is there for everyone to see and you can take the feedback and write a better one the next time. It is better to have put something out there than not have done anything.

We need to get better at finishing so therefore we need to create a manifesto (a set of rules) that we can apply when we start on a project.

  • I want – write down ultimately what you want to finish
  • I will – think of the first action, it can be really small as the momentum will lead to bigger actions
  • I won’t – in the next hour I won’t look at my emails

This rule is simple to adopt if you think when scheduling your day of packets of time/1 hour blocks and state using the want/will/won’t is going to happen.

By starting you are crushing procrastinations the most potent weapon inertia

This is an implementation intention and will triple the rate of follow through.

The second rule to adopt is the 10/10/10. We have our two selves Present and Future self. Your present self is wanting immediate pleasure and wants to avoid immediate pain at any cost so will drag down the future self into inactivity. The 10/10/10 rule is imagining the following:-

  • What does it look like if I procrastinate for 10 minutes?
  • What does it look like if I procrastinate for 10 hours?
  • What does it look like if I procrastinate for 10 days?

The idea is that the 10 day procrastination will be so unattractive as a visualisation exercise that you encourage and get yourself into action. The pain and guilt of letting yourself down and others of being inactive for that long is so damaging you want to start to work those follow through muscles. You don’t want to be that person.

Finish is about learning, use those follow through muscles today and share your nuggets of learning with me bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, Leadership, Time management

Have to…or get to…!

I am delivering a Time management workshop later today and it always strikes me how much we think Time has power over us. Time is a non-spatial continuum it does not really exist and yet we think it is a “Thing”.

We have to have the right mindset and language as to how we look at Time. It must not lead us we must be able to make choices and lead our own time.

“I have to…!”

We can feel so much more empowered if that report we have to finish we say in our heads “I am choosing to work on that report this morning”, rather than “I have to…!”

If this feels a bridge too far then try “I will get to that report this morning”. This gives you momentum and moves you towards the task.

Feeling that time is controlling you, will overwhelm you and the increments of time will slip away. If you know during the waking hours what you want to achieve and split the day up you will feel so much better. Achievement underpins motivation and you will be in control.

I read a recent article that said rather than viewing a day as wasted divide the day into 3 sections. What did you get done in the morning, mid afternoon and evening? If the morning becomes a very reactive time and you do not feel you have achieved what you wanted to, make sure you pick up in the evening and then focus on the positive outcomes in stages. Never right off a whole day, in a part of it there will have been an accomplishment.

Working in teams listen to other people’s language, and see how much people believe that time has control. As a leader say to your team members when are you going to “get to that …” rather than “You have to …” pass on power.

Think about how you feel about time today? Lead it and enjoy it, we all know how quickly it passes.

Please do get in touch if you would like a Time Management workshop bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, Decision Making, Goals, motivation, personal impact, Time management

Effortless & Enjoyable

Diving into a task and visualising it as being effortless and enjoyable is hard. I often practice the approach from Brian Tracey’s bestseller “Eat that Frog” that if you had to eat a live frog you would want to eat it as quickly as possible. However my procrastination kicks in, and I am often overwhelmed by the frog. I look at it for a long time and have no idea where to start.

There is another approach that comes from the book “Effortless” by Greg McKeown. He uses a acronym to put us in the right frame of mind for a project.

D.D.O.G.G.

Done – What does done look like?

McKeown says take 60 seconds to visual the moment of completion. What is the final action? Pressing the send button on an email, pressing upload on YouTube or closing your window on the Zoom meeting, or is it plate of food you have created.

Delete – What steps can I delete it?

Start looking at the piece of work from 0 and thinking what steps do you need to carry out. Minimise the steps by deleting and combining, fancy recipes often have ingredients you don’t have and the taste might not be affected. A project or task on paper looks a lot less scary than in your head.

Obvious – What is the obvious first action?

Once you have the momentum of starting you relax into the project or task. The need to identify the first step is crucial, you may have done this by mapping out your tasks. In the book McKeown gives an example of some-one needing bookshelves and the first task would be to measure the walls. It materialises the reason the task has never moved forward is the individual did not own a tape measure – the obvious first task would be to buy or borrow a tape measure.

Gradual – What gradual pace can I sustain?

Establish a rate of progress that you can sustain and will enjoy. If you have to walk 30 miles, visualising a mile a day for 30 days is sustainable, 2 walks at 15 miles might overwhelm you. To quote McKeown “Do not do more today than you can completely recover from by tomorrow”.

Grateful – What can I be grateful for?

If you were to run a marathon and only focus on the aches and pains, you would feel every step. You need to focus on what you are grateful for. You will be grateful to the support you are receiving the progress you are making. Think of every time you complain replace it with something you are grateful for, and your step will be lighter.

In summary if you enter an:-

Effortless State – believing you can achieve the task and you will enjoy it.

Effortless Action – your gradual progress at the right pace for you

Effortless Results – focusing on the gratitude

Please do get in touch for a bitesize workshop with nuggets or a colourful coaching session bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

http://www.nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, mindfulness, motivation, personal impact, Time management

Time to focus on time…

Time is a non spatial continuum, so what are we focusing on…

We can build a relationship with it by asking some key questions to ensure we are maximising our use of it.

  • What did you do with the last hour yesterday?
  • How do you feel about it today?
  • If you had more of it, what would you do with it?

Think about your answers, most of us waste our last hour of the day and the second question normally challenges everyone. How do I feel about time, do I treasure it, do I have any feelings around it? Start to care about time and have feelings around it, guarantees you will make better decisions if you care. We all wish for more time, however unless you write down some goals that you want to achieve will you know what you are going to do with more time. Goals will be accomplished if they are written down and you will find the time.

We have peaks and troughs throughout the day and if you identify your “Prime” time you can ensure that is the time you get your best work done. It has been proven that there is an hour that is best for you. Protect it and ensure that is the time you get your work done that needs the most concentration.

Dan Pink’s book When looks at the science behind time, he explains that there are three phases throughout the day peak/trough and recovery. Analytical and detailed work is best tackled in the morning at the Peak and then when you hit the Trough you should work on procedural/administrative jobs that require little thought. Late afternoon we hit a creative period where we can brain storm and have some of our best abstract thinking this is late afternoon/evening, known as our Recovery time.

To have a better relationship with time, see it as a skill that you need to work on and a behavioural shift you are making a conscious effort to focus on. Try new planners, to-do lists and see how each new system feels until you hit a ritual or pattern that works for you. Extra time cannot be purchased but greater focus and clarity on what you are doing with it can help you achieve better results.

Here are some key nuggets around time:-

  • Identify when is your prime time is during the day
  • Devise new working patterns to include breaks
  • Write down what you are going to achieve each day
  • At the end of the day acknowledge your achievements
  • Get your most important task done first thing – don’t over think
  • Prioritise your to-do list
  • Decide whether a task is important or urgent
  • Try new planning tools and techniques
  • Create a space for productivity – put your phone out of sight
  • Clear your work space – focus on what you need to focus on
  • Don’t overwork and waste time “good is good enough”

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

http://www.nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

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

24 hours…

We start each day with 24 hours and how do you ensure that you make the most of the 24.

If you were working on a project there would be a debrief meeting and an evaluation/review of what went well and what you could do differently or anything you would stop doing.

Look at today or tomorrow and write down what you did in your 24 hours.

We all need a decent night sleep that will cut into a large part of your allocated 24. Keep a log of what your average sleeping time is, you might see a pattern of when you are sleeping well, is 7.5 hours perfect, or are you more alert after 8 hours.

We all are craving structure and have realised in lockdown we need to create our own timetable however are we using the time to its optimum.

Be realistic about work, break it into manageable chunks, look at one hour periods at a time. If you scheduled 3 hours for a project, guaranteed the last hour will be phone surfing, reading the news feed or tidying the pens on your desk. Far better to cut the project into small chunks with breaks.

We lose the most hours when we decided to watch TV in the evening and even worse if we eat and watch. We have more time than we have had before, so making eating, just eating and make watching just watching. Be discerning about what you watch and schedule how long you are allocating, otherwise we realise we have lost 3 hours of our precious 24 and if you were to ask what we had watched we cannot remember.

Exercise can be chunked as well, far better to do something for one hour, instead of doing nothing, which can easily happen if we have not worked effectively with our 24.

Be indulgent with your 24, in the middle of the day read with a coffee and rest assured you will look back on that 1 hour and see it as a good investment.

Just because we are at home, we can still see the people we want to see, with the power of technology. Write a list of who you want to see? The is will be a good allocation and even the time to set it up and reach out will be worth the feel good factor for you within 24.

Log what you do with your 24 hours and look at patterns and ask yourself did you maximise the “24”.

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

Nuggets to get you through November…

We have one month of lockdown come Thursday, so what does your November look like?

Map out your month by using the number 4, as we have 4 weeks to focus on:-

  • Plan 4 weekends – create special meals/home cinema night/family Zoom calls/cocktails
  • Select 4 people you wish to connect with this month
  • Focus on 4 work goals – that will make the biggest difference
  • Identify 4 big exercise routines
  • Read 4 books (one a week)
  • Think of 4 house projects that have been outstanding for a while
  • 4 ways to relax or simply 4 ways to be on your own

Traditionally monthly planning would ask you to think about the following as well as your Power of 4:-

  • Note any special dates (any Birthdays etc…)
  • Check your project list
  • Meal planning and shopping lists
  • Schedule your household chores
  • Bills to be paid
  • Schedule time for you

The other way to check whether you are on track, is to use Stephen Covey’s Habit 7 from the book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Sharpen the saw. He says to ensure that we are functioning on all cylinders think of your mind/body/heart and soul. So for the month of November map it out using this key:-

  • Mind – what activities this month will grow your mind, reading, learning and acquiring knowledge
  • Body – how much exercise will you do this month, and have you created a ritual or a routine to make sure it happens
  • Heart – Who will you connect with this month? on a one to one basis outside or virtually
  • Soul- What do you need to do to find space? – silence/meditation/outside/nature

To help get through November get in touch with bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk – happy to provide (reasonable rate) one off coaching sessions through this lockdown

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

Eat that frog…

Eat that frog … and fight procrastination, the book by Brian Tracy, gives really practical steps as to break free from limiting patterns of behaviour:-

  • Be clear about what you want to achieve
    • How much money do you wish earn a month?
    • How much is guaranteed income?
    • Do you know how much money comes in and out?
    • What do you cost a day?
    • You must value your time and others will to…!
  • Remember why you are doing what you are doing
    • Photos of your family
    • What is the money for…?
    • Give the dream a number…!
  • Break it down
    • Bite size chunks – never eat a banana whole
    • The next action is – keep the momentum
  • Everything has a deadline – impose it
    • Give everything a date
    • Remember accountants have fines
    • Make the deadline public
  • Be serious
    • Work at the best time for you
    • Be in the zone – focus
    • Be serious about yourself and others will be as well
  • Plan in advance
    • What do you want to achieve each day?
    • Decide on a start and end date
  • Be tough
    • Book time with yourself
  • Just do it
    • Eat that frog – always best to swallow whole if eating a live frog
    • Remember to grade your tasks – A/B and C’s
    • C’s rarely get done – that is OK

Go on “Eat that Frog” today

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