This Is Big

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Will=Our inner game
Reading time: 1

How we (deep down) feel about ourselves determines much (almost all) of our effectiveness at work and in life.

We can see this easily. If we doubt ourselves or have something to prove, we will be strongly driven to perform but also easily discouraged. If we see ourselves as connected and worthy, we will be calm, resilient, and creative. We don’t need to wonder which is better. We need only ask ourselves, “Which type of person would we rather have as a boss, friend, or partner?”

See?

This insight points to our greatest source of leverage as leaders and live-rs of life. By cultivating our sense of ourselves–seeing ourselves more naturally connected, valuable, and deserving–we’re tapping within us a huge source of inspiration and effectiveness.

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: This is big.

 

Today’s photo credit: P. Marioné landscape via photopin (license)

Selecting What NOT To Get Done

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Do=Natural flow of action
Reading time: 1

It’s not about getting it all done. We can’t even get most of it done. There’s just too much we could do and more is always coming.

The trick is to get good at selecting only the best things to get done. And to actively NOT do the rest.

To do this, we first give ourselves and our teams permission not to get everything done. Otherwise, the stress and guilt will derail us. Next we set aside time daily and weekly to choose those best things to get done. Otherwise, we’ll be too reactive. Then we dedicate time monthly and quarterly for reflection and planning. Otherwise, our strategy will get stale, we’ll clash with each other over what we should be doing, and the reactive fire-fighting will creep back in.

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: What’s the most important thing to get done today? (See, you knew the answer right away.)

 

Today’s photo credit: Tim Pierce accomplished (344/365) via photopin (license)

Seeing the Good

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Leading, Will=Our inner game
Reading time: 1

Listen to conversations on the street, through the media, at work, and even at home. Much of what we hear is complaint. And too much complaint is bad for our health. Just being around it, our buzz drops and we become less vibrant, healthy, and effective.

We need a little complaint (from ourselves and others) so we can know what focus on next. But we’d do very well to limit exposure and spend more time plugged in, seeing the good, and offering people an antidote to all the complaint.

That’s what we need from you most, good leader.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: Nicolas Raymond cc

How To Say No To Emails, Meetings, Etc.

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Do=Natural flow of action, What=Compelling Focus
Reading time: 1

It’s hard to say no to all the emails, meetings, interruptions, and other demands on our time. It is hard, that is, until we commit to something bigger, better, and more important to say yes to.

Yes. It’s that simple.

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: Easy? Nope. Simple? Yes. Doable? By you!? Of course.

PPS: How to find that something? Look for something compelling. It will use your talents, engage your passions, involve you in problems and opportunities you care about, and leave you well cared for including being well paid. In short, it will feel terrific to imagine and exciting (and perhaps challenging) to pursue.

 

Today’s photo credit: John&Fish cc

Getting Unpleasant Stuff Done

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Do=Natural flow of action
Reading time: 1

What’s the best way to get something unpleasant done? We can use various techniques to push ourselves to do it. Or we can find ways to avoid it until it goes away or becomes unbearable. But both of these approaches drain us.

A better way is to ask ourselves,  “What end result do I desire here? Why is that result important to me? What’s the very next step (perhaps even a minute one) I can take to move things along? Do I have the time and energy to do this now or should I defer or delegate it? What do I choose?”

It may seem that pushing or avoiding is easier or faster. Nope. This better way gets us into a very productive flow with a small investment in thought.

Flow, good leader, flow.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: Dave McLear cc

Happy New Week!

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Uncategorized
Reading time: 2 min.

What if we could only get three things done today? Or if we could only get three things done this week?

The answer is straightforward: we’d get very clear what the most important three things are, we’d do them, then we’d relax or go for a walk or something.

Of course, we can choose to enforce this creative limitation any time we want. We could pick our most important things each day and each week and do just them. Then we’d be free to spend the rest of the time enjoying doing whatever (including, perhaps, more work tasks or not) and enjoying having the most important things done.

That would make quite a week.

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: We all tend to suffer under The Grand Myth of Productivity: “More is Better.” We push ourselves to do more. More actions done, more decisions made, more boxes ticked, more meetings had, more delegations made, more emails processed are–so the myth goes–much better than less. Nope. More leads to stress, sub-optimal thinking and decisions, overwhelm, and mistakes. Worse, whatever we think is really most important to us gets lost in the worlds of push, make-it-happen, and more-and-more.

 

Today’s photo credit: C.E. Kent cc

Standard Stress Strategy Backfires

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Will=Our inner game
Reading time: 1

When we fall a bit behind in our work, we deploy our standard strategy: working a bit harder. But when we are feeling overwhelmed, our standard strategy backfires. We try to work harder but, under stress, we are so much less effective. Which makes us feel more overwhelmed, stressed, behind which leads to even crappier work which leads to …

No amount of activity can ever get us out of overwhelm. But feeling good–raising our buzz–will.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: Nicolas Garcia
cc

Task Systems Too Full

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Do=Natural flow of action
Reading time: 2 min.

Have you ever started using a new productivity system (app, list, notebook, cards, etc.) then abandoned it?

This usually happens because we let our systems get full of stuff to do that we haven’t done yet. As the pile of things to do grows, we add “do it today” flags and reminders to all sorts of items. It gets so unwieldy (and we often feel so guilty) that we go back to using email and fire-fighting to get stuff done.

Here’s the way out: instead of seeing items in our productivity system as a things to do, see them as things we are not going to do. Then, every week, we select three to four best next things we will do that week. And each day, we select three to four best next things to do that day, most of which will support the weekly things. (Lest you worry, we are remarkably effective at making these “best next” selections.)

Throughout the days and weeks, we complete what we chose to complete. We handle any truly urgent items as they come up. But we put most requests (emails, meeting takeaways, etc.) into our “not to do” list. Whatever doesn’t get done during a particular day or week goes back into the “not to do” pile. We can reselect them for the next week or day or pick all new items to do. If we complete everything for a day or week, we can choose to do the next best thing from the “not to do” list.

By actively keeping most things in a “not to do” pile, our systems remain manageable and we remain focused.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit:
Alexandre Duret-Lutz
cc

What Does Your Work Pie Look Like?

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Do=Natural flow of action
Reading time: 2 min.

We can categorize any work into three types: routine, project, and fire-fighting.

Routine work is mostly repetitive. Examples include cranking the same widget over and over on a factory floor, processing accounts receivable, and delivering the same executive training course over and over.

Project work has a goal that will take more than one step to achieve. It has a beginning, middle, and end. Examples include selecting a new vendor, launching a new offering, and preparing for the important board meeting.

Fire-fighting is urgent work that we didn’t see (or didn’t try to see) coming. Examples include responding to angry customer complaints, dealing with requests from the press, and handling a breakdown in a process or project.

We can define our work pie or preferred blend or work types: what percentage of time we want spend doing each type of work. Some of us are are more adrenaline addicts and want little routine or project work. Others of us prefer mostly project work. Some of us like a good blend of all three types.

Though there is no perfect blend, we can be out of step with our roles. When our roles demand a blend of work types different from our own, we suffer. And, as leaders, if our preferred blend is out of step with the needs of the company, we will tend to force the work to match our preferred ways. In this way, everyone else suffers, too.

Of course, we can make adjustments. We can measure and compare the preferences of people and the needs of their roles. We can also redesign roles and workflows, hire people with compatible preferred-work-type-blends, and watch to make sure our work preferences don’t derail the company.

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: The measure and compare tool is called Task Quotient™. Contact me if you would like to explore this tool in more detail.

 

Today’s photo credit: various brennemans cc