Archive for the ‘Staying Focused’ Category

Who do I want to be today?

Monday, April 5th, 2021

What if you started today, and every day, by asking yourself this question: What kind of person would I like to be today? What one word would describe me? Well, that’s an interesting thought. Maybe you’re gonna say kind. Well, that would change the way you’d go about your day. Or maybe you’d be innovative. That would change the way you’d go about the day. Or maybe it’d be resourceful. I’ll just figure everything out. That too would shape the choices you made throughout the day.

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How to Thrive in the Recession: Lean-in to Your Customers

Sunday, April 19th, 2020

Difficult times require us to get massive about making an impact on our customers. What used to work will not be enough in the future. Now is the time to be calling them and finding out what’s going on with them. Find out what they’re fearful about, find out what their dreams are, find out where they think they might be compromising their dreams, asking them how they might take advantage of this situation to find other revenue streams and different opportunities.

Recessions historically have been the opportunity to pull ahead. And one of the best things that you can do is help your people dream the next possibility. Those who sit and wait to be told what to do and stay in the old actions will be very limited, both for you, within your organization, and also for them. So now is the time to get massive about helping your customers see a new possibility, and get busy helping them accomplish that possibility. By helping other people, that’s how we help ourselves and our own organizations.

Now is a wakeup call for us to get even better at that than we ever were before. So seize the opportunity.

In Crisis, There’s No Time For Nonsense

Sunday, April 12th, 2020

In difficult times, there’s no time for nonsense. Forgive yourselves everything from the past, but right now there is no time for excuses. There is no time for whining and complaining about what doesn’t work. There’s no time for gossip, whether you spread it or are receiving it. In fact, that should be a non-negotiable at all times, because that makes for an unsafe work environment.

Instead, this is the time to bring your highest and best self to work every single day, to also find ways to do things that you never thought that you could. Listen, everything that someone’s a master at, they didn’t use to be a master at it. So why would you be different? If you’re not good at grammar and spelling, use these challenging times to go home at night, read a couple of books, get online, take some testing, learn grammar and spelling, become a master. If you’re not good at marketing copy, go figure that piece out. If you’re not good at sales processes, go decide to be a master of it. Whatever it is that is your profession, step in, get good at it, and allow no-nonsense from yourself or from anyone else in your organization.

These are the times where everyone wants to be a leader, and if you’re waiting for someone else to say, no, we don’t do things like that around here, let me assure you that that nonsense will be the reason that layoffs will happen and that your salaries will be frozen. So step in and be a shepherd of your culture right now.

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.