Three unexpected ways to get more done in less time

October 14, 2016

You’ll no doubt be familiar with most of the common ways that are suggested to help you improve your productivity. Things like:

  • Don’t multitask; land one plane at a time
  • Switch off email alerts (If you’ve worked with me you’ll know I’m quite insistent about this)!
  • Start with planning your day / week / month rather than just launching into ‘doing’

These are all great and loads of my work is helping busy managers and leaders improve their productive use of time. It is still the biggest pressure that so many people face at work and it’s no small issue outside of work too.

I have also stumbled across some far less conventional ways of getting more done that are worthy of your consideration. You may find one or more of them helpful, and if not helpful, perhaps at least interesting! Waiting over. My three juicy nuggets of wisdom are:

Plan some messing about time!

Do something deliberately slowly.

Stop and chat for longer than usual.

Here’s why.

  • Plan some messing about time! If you have things you’re interested in but aren’t crucial to your work at hand, keep a list and schedule some down time (not loads) casually playing / learning / experimenting / reading etc…generally just satisfying that interest. Sometimes brilliant new ideas come from these times. It will also help focus you on the more serious work for the rest of the day

 

  • Do something deliberately slowly. Think of something important that has many options and requires your thought and creativity. Decide how long it should take. Then double it. Deliberately take it slowly. Explore every option. Discuss every possible outcome. Pretend that there’s no hurry at all. You might uncover some gold that otherwise would have remained lost forever.

 

  • Stop and chat for longer than usual. “Grab a quick coffee, quick chat…and straight back to it.” Most of the time that mantra may be spot on. However, the discerning amongst you will sometimes recognise the time that this one conversation could lead somewhere. It might just open a door, solve a problem or reveal an opportunity if given the chance.

Have a great day. Perhaps do a little less, a little slower….just this once!


Are we still in search of leadership character?

September 28, 2016

This is the question that’s been stewing around in my head all day.

Time after time we seem to find ourselves back at the same point. People of undoubted skill, talent and charisma have risen to positions of leadership which they have subsequently been unable to maintain due to issues of character.

‘Being a character’ and ‘being a person of character’ are clearly not the same thing.

Another politician. Another football manager. Another Chief Executive. Those are just the ones we hear about. There are undoubtedly thousands more falls from grace that never make it to the news headlines, yet are equally sad and certainly devastating to friends, family and anyone who’s livelihood depends on the organisation marred by the latest leadership unravelling. Regret is such an unfriendly companion.

Easy to sit and judge. Easy to miss the lesson. Isn’t this a struggle we all face: I don’t always do what I want to do; I don’t always do what I know I should do.

“There but for the grace of God go I”, as the ancient saying goes.

How many times have I, have you, made errors of judgement and were never discovered. Or entered the murky world of half-truths. Bent the rules. Blurred the boundaries. Acted in ways which were not in keeping with our responsibilities. Not lived to our values. Let down those who look to us. (As a dad, I feel this often in respect of my kids. I’ve learned I’m not yet their perfect role model!)

“Nothing so conclusively proves a man’s ability to lead others, as what he does from day to day to lead himself.” Thomas J. Watson

Of all the areas of leadership development, nothing is so important as personal leadership. The greatest impact on our company, our team, our family, our life…will always be us. You. Me.

The more thought, care, effort and investment you give to becoming the leader – I’m talking character, not charisma – that your world needs you to be, the better for everyone, not least you.


If you are already using, or have used, personal leadership resources, great. Go back to those with renewed vigour. If not, and you’d value some assistance, Effective Personal Leadership is an indispensable part of LMI’s Total Leader Concept™. It’s a life-changing programme and I’d love to share it with you. Get in touch with me on 0800 116 4749.

 

 


The critical importance of a lasting change process

September 9, 2016

We often define change that we’d like to see, even implement change in a positive way. But how many times do things waver or even completely disintegrate so that 2 years, 2 months, even 2 weeks later, the initial enthusiasm and adherence of the new way has evaporated and things are back the way there were before.

In this video, taken from the Foundations of Success Workshop, I share one of LMI’s foundational concepts – the critical importance of securing lasting change through spaced repetition.

 


The start and the finish

September 6, 2016

Today is my kids’ first day back at school and my second day back at work after returning from our holiday some silly time in the middle of Sunday night!

After time away, do you ever experience the “who am I and what do I do here” feeling? I certainly do! There’s the horrible discomfort that comes from being out of the habit: the work habit or the school habit…or the exercise habit, or whatever. It’s why we can often feel like we need a holiday just a few days after coming back from one!

The trick is to get straight back into starting and ending well. If you do that bit, the middle will mostly take care of itself. Avoid the temptation to put aside all those good disciplines. Make a list – yes, physically write it down! – of all the positive actions that have helped you stay productive in the past and make a bigger-than-usual effort to make sure those things happen again from day 1.

Get straight back into your ten magic minutes habit – review your goals, make a plan, schedule important tasks. Set an end point.

Re-establish your end-of-day routine. Review what’s gone well. Record today’s victories. Transfer unfinished tasks. .

This start well / end well mantra works! In fact, it works like a dream and you can apply it not just to organising your day, but to almost everything you’re involved with – staff one-to-one’s, monthly team meetings..the list goes on.

Decide how to start and how to finish. Do that routinely and the bit in the middle goes better and better!

Have a great start to autumn!


Fortnightly half-hour leadership & management webinar / workshops

June 22, 2016

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Leadership and Management are big subjects. Important subjects.

Learning essential skills in these areas can be complex and take years to master. There are, however, some simple concepts & really practical ideas which underpin great leadership and management and which everyone who is seeking to lead and manage well can benefit from. That’s what this is all about.

Every fortnight I will be hosting a 30 minute live webinar / workshop focusing on just one leadership & management keyword. This way you’ll know what to expect by way of subject matter and can come ready with your questions, thoughts and ideas to share.

The first half will be presentation. The second half discussion and action. 15 minutes of each and then back to work. 

This means you won’t be in ‘sit back and listen’ mode for any more than 15 minutes. The goal is your engagement, participation, learning and action. Every session will include one activity or template that you can take away and use straightaway.

The focus is on the practical ideas and actions relating to these subjects that will help people currently in leadership and management roles do their job better.

Here is the latest list of live dates, with the leadership and management keywords we’ll be exploring:

Thursday 30th June – Vision

Wednesday 13th July – Alignment

Thursday 28th July – Engagement

We use Skype for Business to host these live meetings which you can access via PC, Mac and on just about every kind of mobile device. You will receive the meeting link in your registration confirmation email.

REGISTER HERE – join as many or as few sessions as you like.

Suggestions for subject keywords that you’d like covered welcomed.


Mission 168 (part 2)

May 10, 2016

Let’s say that I work 50 hours on average. Most work about 40. I often meet people who work 60.

In a working day it may not always be possible amidst the many and varied demands that come my way to carve out an hour or two to invest in some important new project, or to meet with an interesting new contact to explore exciting possibilities. In a week though, it’s always possible. That is why I love weeks!

Let’s say that I sleep 8 hours a night. I rarely do. Neither do most people I ask about this. Six or seven seems to be usual.

If I do sleep 8 though, that’s 56 hours each week just laying back and catching some zzzzz’s. And I work 50 hours remember, so that’s 106 of my 168  hours already taken. Blimey, I still have  (quick bit of maths…sneak out the calculator while no-one’s looking…168 – 50 – 56 = ) 62 hours each week to do other things with that aren’t working or sleeping. Of course lots is spent doing all those things that need to happen just to keep life going, but can I find one or two hours amongst those 62 (or 52 if you work 60 hours….or 42 if you work 70 hours) to invest in something meaningful that will make my world a better, happier place? I definitely can. That is why I love weeks!


Mission 168

May 3, 2016

This is the start of a new topic that’s been on my mind for a while and I’ve just begun writing. I hope you enjoy. Feel free to join in using #Mission168 if you find it interesting and worth sharing!

There are 168 hours in a week. You may already know this. There are 52 weeks in a year. That’s 52 defined sets of 168 hours, every year for our entire lives.

This is why a week is my favourite block of time.

Months are good, but there just aren’t enough of them to create the same sense of rapid progress and achievement.

Days are good. There are loads of them. But they come and go so quickly, and there are so many variables on any given day that can lead to ending a day far from where you had intended to be.

Weeks, though, tend to be long enough periods of time to be reasonably predictable in the kinds of things going on and the amount of time I might have available to achieve something significant, but short enough to still feel like a new one is just round the corner, offering a fresh start and the promise of new opportunity.

This is why I think working in weeks is a good thing. I’d love to hear your thoughts too as this series unfolds.