Ideas to refine focus, prepare and deliver results consistently, summarized from monthly posts
Picture your success!
Your brain loves images. Rather than a to-do list, try a photo timeline of your immediate goals. This could be hand-drawn or images on printed page. Either way, your picture list will be worth thousands of “to-do” words…
Turn off the unread email count badge!
When you begin to feel daunted by a staggering pile of unreads, sometimes ignorance is bliss. You will feel recharged and motivated to take scheduled bites out of your inbox. http://www.howtogeek.com/181734/how-to-disable-the-number-on-the-mail-icon-for-ipad-iphone/.
Record and monitor the duration of undisrupted practice, planning or work that you are able to achieve during a week. For knowledge workers, Cal Newport suggests optimal time split is 50% undisrupted, 50% collaborative. Are you giving yourself the space to succeed?
Follow up – consistently
This applies in all cases: if the plan changes, when a task is completed, if you need more info, in sales. An active sales/service person I’ve dealt with includes a quote with his email signature, “90% of business is lost because of indifference”
Stand up to get more done – the science is in from a Texas A&M study.
Set aside a place to record your commitments to others. Write down, dictaphone, or draw the actions you have to deliver: update for your supervisor, draft report for co-worker, be on-time for meeting family member, pay Visa. Then regularly review and follow-up with those affected! Too many lists will leave you running in circles. No list will have outside of the circle completely.
Bullet Journal – become a better note taker. http://bulletjournal.com/
When you hit a mental impasse, step away, engage in conversation, and seek the bigger picture.
That was my take-away after reading “Your brain at work” by David Rock.
His description of the real-time “aha moment” viewed through fMRI was pretty cool. Like a reverse-motion film of a water droplet hitting a pond. Waves of thought subside briefly before the moment of insight erupts!
What is a something you regularly forget or that you waste time at everyday? How can you resolve it?
- A hook for your missing car keys?
- A cup beside your bed for morning glass of water?
- An evening checklist to rest easy knowing all matters are resolved?
Review personal one and two year goals daily.
You have written them down, right ? Keeping your goals fresh in memory will allow you to see more opportunities toward achieving them. Never miss a chance to move forward!
Select the correct medium of communication for the results you want.
Don’t send an email when a phone call will do.
- For information sharing: in person, sticky note, email, paper
- For team coordination: team meeting, status and forecast tracker, resource loaded schedule, FaceTime or video conference, conference call as a last resort
- For group collaboration: in person meeting with white board or graphics, video-screen sharing, video conference.
This idea came from the podcast: Coaching for Leaders, Episode 95. Check it out. http://coachingforleaders.com/podcast/reduce-distractions/
Capture ideas and save the brain power wasted trying to remember!
Carry a small pocket notebook or pad and pen/pencil to capture ideas, notes, reminders. Write action or follow up items as you think of them. Then input them to your self-management system (calendar, weekly planner, to-do list) later. Save your brain power for action planning, not remembering!
I finally read “Getting things Done” by David Allen.
My take away, was page 76 of 291 (in my epub version) The Natural Planning Model.
- Define purpose and principles
- Visualize outcome (features of success)
- Brainstorm open, relevant questions (what, when, how, who?)
- Organize (components, priorities, sequence)
- Next actions – start executing: pick up the phone, write the letter, build the web-site… etc.
If you haven’t already found a copy, locate the first edition on Bookzz.org as a free epub.
Ensure any meeting you attend has an agenda. If you have not seen one, follow up with the organizer. If you are hosting, send a proposed agenda to all attendees at least the day before. A meeting without a road map and schedule will waste valuable time.
Set less time to accomplish tasks with which you are familiar – track your results.
This “gaming” will help you to optimize the effort and free more time for new challenges and opportunities.
Learn and practice speed reading
There are lots of free video training resources and free ebooks available online. Absorbing information more quickly will enable you to make decisions faster and spend the time you have on important priorities.
Schedule quiet time for strategic activities
- Block 60 – 90 minutes to plan actions and timelines on paper
- Write your purpose on a piece of paper and refer back to maintain direction
- At the end of your block, summarize a path for any additional future planning, for easier future restart
Review your work week. Record personal lessons-learned
- Schedule 30 minutes in your calendar Friday afternoon.
- Print your Outlook calendar or open your Weekly Planner for the current week and the 2 weeks coming.
- Make notes in your weekly or daily journal (do you keep one?) of missed opportunities this week. How will you capture these in future?
- Look at your schedule for the 2 weeks coming and identify opportunities.
Set up daily blocks of time to spend on emails.
- During that block sort and file emails that don’t require your action.
- Move items requiring attention to an action folder.
- Now visit the action folder and prioritize.