Archive for the ‘Staying Focused’ Category

Show Up Fully And Share Your Limits

Thursday, November 17th, 2016

One of the tragedies of modern life is the way it fragments our attention. We are almost never completely present in anything we do. There are a dozen things on our minds and a bevy of blinking and beeping devices to make sure we stay frazzled and fractured. We bring work home with us, and we bring the concerns of home to work. As a result, everything suffers. Nothing gets our full attention.

Make a pledge to turn that around.

First and foremost, make a pledge to fully show up wherever you are. When you’re at work, be at work—100 percent. When you’re at home, be at home. Both work and home will benefit from your full attention. Schedule “free days” where you do not think about work. You need that restorative time so that you “focus days” at work can create powerful results with limited time.

At work—turn off the cell phone and don’t turn it back on again until after work. Studies show that people who have their cell phones on are 40 percent less productive than those who turn them off.

And when at work—work. Complaining to your teammates that you’re overwhelmed is not work. Stopping to chat with your neighbor is not work. Often people who are overwhelmed are just not focused. Put in a solid day’s work and then go home relaxed knowing you were powerfully productive.

And set definite limits on work done at home. Sometimes bringing work home is unavoidable. But when it becomes a norm to work through the evening, you are sapping your energy and reducing your productivity.

Finally, share your planned limits with those around you. If you’ve decided not to work after 7 pm, tell your spouse and the kids. They’ll hold you to it! It will force you to be more productive prior to that time.

Blocking Time

Friday, October 28th, 2016

How do you structure your work schedule each day? If you’re like most people, you really don’t structure it. Or you open your email in the morning and let IT tell you what to do.

I’ll tell you, there’s no better way to slice and dice your day into hopeless little pieces.

Instead, start every day by blocking time. Scribble a complete list of everything that’s barking for attention. Not everything is equally important – heck, not everything even needs to be done at all. Cross off anything you can forget about or delegate. Next, mark anything that doesn’t have to be worked on today.

Now you’re ready to lay out your schedule for the day.

Block time first for the most important activities. BUT—that doesn’t mean you have to do those things first. In fact, since those are often the most complicated and time-consuming, piling them up in the morning may just guarantee you’ll never finish everything. Instead, scatter those non-negotiables through the day.

You might not be working on the Dickerson project the moment you sit down in the morning, but you know that 10:30 to 12:00 is for the Dickerson project, period. And work on the budget summary is scheduled for 1:00-1:30, the revenue forecast is 3:00-3:45, and the inventory report is 4:15-4:45. Block those projects first, then fill in the gaps between them with negotiables—the things you’d like to finish today, but don’t absolutely have to.

What happens if you need extra time on that budget summary? It bleeds over into the time scheduled for those less important things. Maybe one of the less important items gets bumped to Tuesday. So what? You finished the thing that needed finishing, and you still start the revenue forecast on time.

Now what if you had stacked your non-negotiables at the beginning of the day, and each one took more time than you thought? Now you’ve got crucial things bumping into crucial things. That’s not going to end well. Something important is going to end up unfinished.

It’s like the old story of the jar, the rocks, the pebbles, and the sand. Put the sand in the jar first and there’s no room for the pebbles or rocks. But put in the big rocks first—the most important things—then you can pour the pebbles and the sand into the spaces in between, and everything fits.

Likewise, when you make your daily schedule, block time for the big, important things first, but allow space for the less important things in between. Do this and you’ll never have to tell your boss you were too busy to do what was most important.

 

Creating Your Best Year Ever 20-Point Checklist

Monday, January 4th, 2016

Are you ready to have your best year ever? I thought so.

Well, first of all, forget about your New Year’s Resolutions.

I know, it’s true. They don’t work. But habits do.

It’s interesting…when Tom Corley did his research of the 20 things rich people do every day, it’s amazing how those habits are transformative and create abundance, however you define it. So if wealth isn’t important to you from a money standpoint, perhaps more loving relationships are, or better health, or making a bigger impact on the world.

Regardless, I think it’s important to know what the twenty habits are, because they carry over into every area of abundance.

Let’s start.

1. 70% of wealthy eat less than 300 junk food calories per day. 97% of poor people eat more than 300 junk food calories per day. 23% of wealthy gamble. 52% of the poor gamble.

2. 80% of wealthy are focused on accomplishing one single goal—focused. Only 12% of the poor do this.

3. 76% of wealthy exercise aerobically four days a week. 23% of poor do this.

4. 63% of wealthy listen to audio books during their commute to work vs. 5% of poor people.

5. 81% of wealthy maintain a to-do list vs. 19% of poor.

6. 63% of wealthy parents make their children read two or more non-fiction books a month vs. 3% of poor.

7. 70% of wealthy parents make their children volunteer 10 hours or more a month vs. 3% of poor.

8. 80% of wealthy make “Happy Birthday” calls vs. 11% of poor.

9. 67% of wealthy write down their goals vs. 17% of poor.

10. 88% of wealthy read 30 minutes or more each day for education or career reasons vs. 2% of poor.

11. 6% of wealthy say what’s on their mind vs. 69% of poor.

12. 79% of wealthy network five hours or more each month vs. 16% of poor.

13. 67% of wealthy watch one hour or less of TV every day vs. 23% of poor.

14. 67% of wealthy watch reality TV vs. 78% of poor.

15. 44% of wealthy wake up three hours before work starts vs. 3% of poor.

16. 74% of wealthy teach good daily success habits to their children vs. 1% of poor.

17. 84% of wealthy believe good habits create opportunity and luck vs. 4% of poor.

18. 76% of wealthy believe bad habits create detrimental luck vs. 9% of poor.

19. 86% of wealthy believe in lifelong educational self-improvement vs. 5% of poor.

20. 86% of wealthy love to read vs. 26% of poor.

So, forget about those New Year’s Resolutions right now. And instead, think about the habits that you want to create to create the abundance that matters to you in your life.

Because this year could be—and probably should be—your best year ever.

The Project Initiation Brief

Monday, December 21st, 2015

When confronted with a big, complex project, a lot of people just dive right in. Hey, the sooner we start, the sooner we finish, right?

Not always. This approach often results in people working ahead of their understanding. They don’t have a full picture of the steps and obstacles ahead. That’s where a lot of rework ends up happening.

Companies that are plagued with rework usually have people who don’t take the time to stop and say, “Okay, what’s the specific outcome that we are trying to accomplish here, and what’s the best way to get there? What will be the key points? And hat do we want to be sure happens? What do we want to be sure doesn’t happen? Who does this go to? What are the steps and who owns each step and how and when does the baton pass?”

The salient points need to be thought through BEFORE work is begun. So as you are about to begin a major project, say, “Hey, let’s start by doing a project initiation brief to see where we’re going with this thing before we create the need for all kinds of unnecessary work.”

Try it once, and you’ll be sold forever on the value of going in with your eyes wide open.

Show Up Fully, And Share Your Limits

Monday, November 9th, 2015

One of the tragedies of modern life is the way it fragments our attention. We are almost never completely present in anything we do. There are a dozen things on our minds and a bevy of blinking and beeping devices to make sure we stay frazzled and fractured. We bring work home with us, and we bring the concerns of home to work. As a result, everything suffers. Nothing gets our full attention.

Make a pledge to turn that around.

First and foremost, make a pledge to fully show up wherever you are. When you’re at work, be at work—100 percent. When you’re at home, be at home. Both work and home will benefit from your full attention. Schedule “free days” where you do not think about work. You need that restorative time so that you “focus days” at work can create powerful results with limited time.

At work—turn off the cell phone and don’t turn it back on again until after work. Studies show that people who have their cell phones on are 40 percent less productive than those who turn them off.

And when at work—work. Complaining to your teammates that you’re overwhelmed is not work. Stopping to chat with your neighbor is not work. Often people who are overwhelmed are just not focused. Put in a solid day’s work and then go home relaxed knowing you were powerfully productive.

And set definite limits on work done at home. Sometimes bringing work home is unavoidable. But when it becomes a norm to work through the evening, you are sapping your energy and reducing your productivity.

Finally, share your planned limits with those around you. If you’ve decided not to work after 7 pm, tell your spouse and the kids. They’ll hold you to it! It will force you to be more productive prior to that time.