How Not To Lose Track of Takeaways

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in We=All Who Matter
Reading time: 2 min.

In all the busyness, it’s easy to lose track of what we have agreed to do for each other, that is of our takeaways. Here is a 5-step process that works well.

Recap. End each live, text, or email conversation or meeting with a review of who is going to do what by when.

Confirm. As soon as possible after a conversation or meeting, write an email to the person or people confirming what you have committed to do by when. Note that each person with a takeaway will be sending an email. If appropriate, you can replace this email with a full set of meeting minutes.

Track. Keep a running list of what you’ve committed and what others have committed to you. Copy the commitments you’ve sent and received. If meeting minutes are available, copy from them the relevant tasks due from and to you. Tedious? Perhaps. But doing this makes it much more likely that you’ll  remember what’s been promised. Include “by when” on each item. You can use a notebook with a different page to track each person’s commitments (including yours to them). Or you can track things in an app (like Todoist) and tag those items with the relevant people’s name(s). 

Review. Scan your list every day and pick the items you’d like to get done today and now what you’re expecting from others. This should take about a 2 minutes.

Do. Then do those things you’ve committed to do and, should they forget, remind your teammates of what they still owe you.

And should you find that you can’t keep your commitment, reach out and renegotiate a new what by when.

 

In your corner,

Mike

Today’s photo courtesy of TeroVesalainen

Getting It Done

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Do=Natural flow of action, We=All Who Matter
Reading time: 1 min.

“I have to know or figure it out. Others will judge. I have to make it happen.”

Hmmm.

“I don’t know how it is going to happen. I don’t need to know, really. Others will help. I am excited to see how it all works out.”

We think the former will work but it actually slows us way down.

Instead, set your sights on your goals. Set aside worries and focus on how great it will be when what you want arises. Next overcommunucate what’s needed and how people can contribute. Then build systems to support their work.

That’ll do the trick.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: dview.us Checkered Flag via photopin (license)

Turn Struggle into Flow

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

Our worries about how something will get done are merely us focusing on what’s wrong. This, we’ve seen, is a great way to prevent progress. It feels bad and has us struggle through sub-optimal next steps.

Next time you catch yourself with worrying about how, stop. Focus for a bit on what end result you really want, why you want it, and how great it will feel when it happens. Then ask yourself what is the next best thing to do.

You’ll be delighted as struggle turns to flow.

 

In your corner,

Mike

Today’s photo credit: James Whitesmith The Strid via photopin (license)

How to Have Simple and Effective Processes

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Do=Natural flow of action, Leading, Systems
Reading time: 1 min.

Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.

–Albert Einstein

Our companies thrive when we have the simplest possible systems, processes, and policies. Anything too simple would be incomplete and cause confusion and waste. Anything too cumbersome will slow us down.

How, then, would we put Einstein’s advice into practice? It’s simple, of course! For any system, process, or policy,

  • Work back from the desired results. Start at the end and ask, “What do we need to have this outcome?” Then repeat the question until we get to the beginning. Whatever we build will be as simple as possible. Desired results describe what we want to happen for how much investment of time, energy, and money.
  • Add safeguards to address only those potential errors with unacceptably high expected costs (probability of it occurring times cost in relationship currency, dollars, and time).
  • Agree to revisit/redesign the systems, process, or policy whenever the desired results (outcomes and/or investment needed to get those outcomes) start slipping.

Simple.

 

In your corner,

Mike

Today’s photo credit: photosteve101 Pencil’s nib / pencil close up / macro / with with cross-section paper via photopin (license)

Hafta Versus Gonna

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

There’s a fundamental flaw that makes all time (or task) management awful. When we think about time management, we make the unwitting assumption that we “hafta” do, dump, delegate, or do later all the tasks that come our way. “I hafta answer that email. I gotta give Margie that feedback. I need to lose 5 pounds. I hafta reduce my environmental footprint.” Since there is no way we can ever get to all the things, the tasks just pile up. And we spend energy feeling bad about or trying to ignore it all.

Here’s a better way to think of it: let’s consider all the tasks that come to us as things we might do. From this perspective, we can happily let things pile up. “I might answer that email. I could complete the TPS report. I might book a ride in a helicopter. I could launch a line of parakeet clothing.”

Next, let’s get clear on what we really want to accomplish. We can do this by answering the question, “How will I know I’ve done a good job here?”

Then we step into a productive flow by asking ourselves, “What feels best? From all the things in the pile, what am I gonna do? What do I choose to do now?”

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: Flow much better, ya?

 

Today’s photo credit: davdenic Colors via photopin (license)

No Rules Say We Have To Start There

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

Most of us know the leverage of feeling good before getting into action. Feeling good makes everything flow so much better. But it is often difficult or impossible to feel good about a topic that is important to us. For example, most of us will find it hard to feel good about an upcoming encounter with a challenging colleague. Try as we might, it’s just too tough some days to find good-feeling thoughts about this. Luckily, we don’t have to.

There are no rules that say we must feel good about the topic-at-hand. Well, not immediately, at least. Intead of trying to feel good about our colleague and the upcoming conversation, we can achieve a great buzz level by starting with good-feeling thoughts about anything else. Puppies. Strawberries. The freshness of the air outside. Anything.

Once we reach a good-feeling place, we can return our attention to the topic-at-hand and much more easily find and benefit from good-feeling thoughts about it.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: brianarn Universe Closed via photopin (license)

So, You Say You Want Better Results

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Do=Natural flow of action, Will=Our inner game
Reading time: 2 min.

Okay. Maybe we are convinced that jumping into action to get desired results is problematic. Perhaps there is something useful in raising our buzz–that is, to feeling good–then acting as inspired to generate better results. But why does raising our buzz seem so difficult?

Mostly, it’s because we are fighting age-old, inherited habits. We are so used to (1) reacting to outside influences and (2) thinking that we have to figure things out and get into action to handle those outside influences. Any attempt we make to raise our buzz (that is, feeling good despite the outside influences) presses against those two habits. It is hard to do. But here’s the thing: saying it’s hard makes it harder. (See?)

So we need a way to gently, lightly move ourselves away from reacting to outside influences and toward an inner-generated, high-buzz perspective.

What works is starting with small, daily practice. Being playful about it also helps. It is especially useful to do this practice as we are going to bed and as we wake up. It takes just a few minutes each time. Within a few days, we will notice a difference. And inside a month, whoa!

Keep going.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: Arya Ziai September 13, 2013 at 09:58PM via photopin (license)

It’s Very Hard Work

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Do=Natural flow of action, Will=Our inner game
Reading time: 1 min.

We talk about approaching our piles of tasks with ease. We note how jumping into action when feeling tense, angry, or otherwise bad about stuff is counterproductive. And we at least suspect that taking the time to first feel good then act is a smart way to go.

Yet many people complain that we advocate being lazy, not getting stuff done, or ignoring what’s important. They insist that success comes primarily from hard work.

And there, they are right.

It takes lots of hard work–focus, concentration, discernment, and organization–to replace our habit of jumping into action with a habit of doing whatever it takes to first feel good, then act as inspired. When we do, though, wow!

Gotta do the right hard work.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: Amanda Slater from Coventry, England (Suffolk Horses Ploughing) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

re: Never Mind the Pile

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Do=Natural flow of action, Will=Our inner game
Reading time: 1 min.

A large pile of tasks can make us feel anxious, annoyed, or apoplectic. We think that these feelings are a reaction to the pile–a call to buckle down, push harder, and make stuff happen.

Nope.

That feeling is the wiser part of us sending us a memo: “Never mind the pile. You’re fine. You’re just thinking about it the wrong way. There’s an easier, more fulfilling way. That pile isn’t a threat. Nor are the stories you make up about what would happen if you don’t do them correctly, on time, or to someone else’s satisfaction. What you fear is baseless. Action taken when buzzing low is always counterproductive. Be easy about it all. Things always work out. You will never get through the pile; you’re always adding more. Think of it as a “could do” pile, not a “to do” pile. Breathe. Get perspective. Enjoy the process. You’ve done this before. You’ve got this now. Yes. Feel good, raise your buzz, then act from the ensuing inspiration. Repeat. And enjoy the results.”

Better?

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: The stronger the feeling, the more imperative the memo.

Today’s photo credit: Allysse Riordan Piling up via photopin (license)