Time & Productivity

Time Power

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If you could have any superpower you wanted what would you choose?

This question has always been a great one to get people thinking and talking. For me, the super-power ability to be able to control time would be amazing.  Time is one of those resources that is extremely limited and yet operates in that wonderful paradox where there is so much of it that we don’t value the little we have. When I realised how much difference I could make to my life by managing my time better, it was a key turning point towards a better path and a better version of myself.

However, I have found that in recent times there is something that is far more important than managing time. Time management taught me how to block my time and get key chunks of work done. I still maintain that time blocking is the single most effective form of time optimisation. However, the concept of blocking off an hour to complete an activity - write an article, or to do your calling, or to update your CRM - makes the assumption that you have control over one of the greatest interrupters of your time.  That of course, being yourself.

Technology has made it so easy to get distracted so that doing a bit of research for an article, or researching some key information on a client, or even something as simple as looking up a client’s contact details on the web, can very easily and surprisingly quickly lead to clicking on interesting articles and chasing information down rabbit holes, that consumes all the time we have put aside with nothing to show at the end of it.

In the modern era, it is no longer a case of time management, or time optimisation as we like to call it.  Rather, it is has become an issue of focus management. Our ability to focus and get done what we know needs to be done is what separates productive people from highly productive people. Where would you rate yourself in terms of your ability to focus on something and stick with it until it is done?

There are many tools available to help you to focus, from mindfulness techniques to specially designed music at websites like focus.com. I have found that the best methodology is to make my time blocks smaller to be incredibly clear around what is intended to be achieved in that time block, and to get someone to hold me to account.  This combination of focus, clarity and accountability makes it a lot easier to take ownership and, when combined with seeing clear measureable outcomes, it does make it a lot easier to get the most out of your time.

Lessons From Schoolkids

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October 2018 and the hall was packed with eager young adults all keen to be a part of the next Boys High/Girls High school production. Fast forward to mid-March and the Addams Family production has had its final performance - 80 odd people all working seamlessly together to deliver a stellar performance. Having watched and been alongside of our two girls through this experience, I have reflected on many lessons learnt.

Being on the team was a privilege that had to be earned. I was amazed at how clear the play director was on the information evening, around the commitment that was going to be required. He actually stated that he was attempting to put people off before they got carried away with dreams of how wonderful it would all be. The play was to be the top priority - more important than family days out, work commitments, sport commitments or friend commitments.

The play would require total dedication and any deviation from this would see team members been removed from the company. Lines were to be learnt in your own time and team time was to practice and refine the delivery of the play. School work and performance at school was not allowed to be negatively affected by involvement in the production. In the five months build-up to the performance there were many long nights and tiredness was frequently evident. The whole team kept focused and committed.

The amazing thing with a school production is that all of this effort and time is put in by people who will not receive a financial reward! The effort given from a pure point of passion and wanting to contribute and make this production awesome was inspiring. What lessons could you take for your team to get them fully engaged and totally committed?

Some lessons for business: 

Select team members very carefully with clear roles in mind. Get people to perform their task before you select them to ensure they are right and can deliver in their role. Be very clear on the commitment required and the vision that your people are buying into.

Have understudies for key roles so that the vision is not at risk due to one or two key people being sick or absent. In the workplace, this is seen in role rotation and cross training of skills. In the build up before team members are released to do their role, train them thoroughly. Practice and feedback regularly, always setting the bar high so that team members know the standard expected and what they're striving for.

 In the training period ‘rehearse’ often and reinforce what you want more of (rather than what's wrong). Foster and build team spirit. Keep the vision in front of everyone's mind and have encouraging mantras “We will be awesome” was one I heard often. The culture was built around clear expectations and making it fun with regular feedback - I was amazed at the constant communication over Facebook after every performance practice. Practices were regularly filmed to give people the opportunity to reflect and see what needed to be worked on. 

 When we create cultures that allow everyone to bring their best, to come complete with their skills, willingness to learn and passion to excel, then people are fully engaged and any company will excel!

Here’s to your success!

Get It Done - A Template

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“Nothing Changes if nothing changes”

“Action speaks louder than words”

“Not just action - the right action”

There is so much said around the importance of action. Nike’s famous 3 word slogan “Just Do It” is often lauded as the rally cry for productivity. The real secret though, lies not just in taking action but ensuring it is the right action.

“I’m just too busy” is an excuse many have heard and used. Busyness does not equal business. It is oft the whirlwind of activity that is responsible for the speed of disappearing days. The well known ‘secret’ to effectiveness is to ensure we work on the important and stick with the task until it is completed.

This raises two key questions: How do we know what is important and how do we “stick with it”?

After a decade of working with companies to answer these ever present questions, I have found that one way to answer this is a simple 90 Day Dash Template. Before using the template it is important to have a goal and a plan - many companies do this, but as Peter Drucker pointed out, “The purpose of information is not knowledge. It is being able to take the right action.”

So your steps are as follows:

Step One - Take time out to decide what is important - A strategy day/session is great for this  

Step Two - Prioritise at a board/management level how you will succeed in reaching these goals - your strategic priority areas

Step Three -  Next work out what is most important now i.e. Your Strategic objectives

Step Four - Decide who must do what

Step Five - Make it easy to know what must be done by when

Step Six - Execute and follow through with reporting and feedback

Where do you get up to in those 6 steps? I see many people doing steps 1 & 2 well and doing ok at step 3 and 4 before it all gets swept away in the busyness of busyness.

To ensure the important gets done break your goals and objectives into 90 day segments (A 90 day dash) and then further break this down into a 30 day sprint which is monitored weekly. This can be done on a whiteboard (one of my preferred methods as it is visible to the whole team and brings in peer accountability) or shared online documents - Google Docs, Smart Sheet, etc

Very simply this is how it works:

State the goal(s) it the goal area (I like to do this on a Post It note as it keeps it short and succinct)

Break this down into the key actions and decide within which quarter the tasks need to be completed

For the current quarter break the tasks down into what needs to happen monthly if we are to complete the tasks

Take the current month and break the actions into what needs to happen in each week and allocate a person to ensure this is done (they do not need to do the actions - they are responsible for ensuring the actions are done!)

The link on this article will take you to a video and downloadable version, should this be a tool you would find useful in your business. Please do get in touch if we can help you through any part of this process.

Here's to your success!

Are You Gliding Or Clutching At Straws?

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As the pace of life increases we can often feel like it is a sink or swim situation. When everything is all go and you feel you are up to your ears and drowning, one of the helpful realisations is that we have a choice - we can swim and glide through the oceans of work or we can sink.

I have recently been exploring this further as I seek to optimise my time. As I have so often before, I have attempted to do everything and judged my success by crossing everything of my to-do list, emptying my inbox and having the CRM up to date with all KPI’s met.

There have been glimmers of success - successfully emptying my inbox on one day, updating the CRM on another day, meeting all KPI’s on another day. The challenge has been that these days have not aligned. That dreamy place of having it all done seemed so elusive and, with that being the goal, the sinking feeling seemed ever present.

Oddly it was my to-do list - which I never got to the bottom off - that gave me my epiphany moment. It is not how much you do but rather how much of the important that you do that matters.

You are probably thinking, “Well nothing new there. Prioritise - ABC tasks. Do the A1 tasks first” My challenge, and I suspect one many can relate to, is the executing of this. Mid week, this week, I found myself in the familiar clutching at straws position and took a moment to think about where I add the most value to the team and company.

Ruthlessly looking at my to-do list through this lens did not suddenly make all the other stuff disappear but rather made the key things pop forward. As with much of the truly value-adding tasks these ones were not easy and certainly not the ones I felt like doing right then.

I did them anyway.

Curiously the sea of things to do remains but suddenly I find myself gliding through with purpose. The clarity and sense of achievement fueled more similar action. I made myself finish stuff - what gets rewarded gets repeated.

It is so simple. Not necessarily easy but certainly simple. Be clear where you add the most value and pour your focus, effort and energy into doing those activities. It might feel unnatural - bit like your first set of swimming lessons, but the confidence that comes from it changes everything.

Here’s to your success!

Getting Some R&R

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Many people look longingly at retirement as the time in life when you will finally be able to relax with no pressure. In the interim, we have holidays. The risk is that it is used as ‘catch-up’ time rather than the rest and recuperation we tout it as. Whether we are rushing around catching up with family and friends, or attending social functions, or using the quiet time to clear emails and “just” finish that last little bit of a project that “will allow me to come back next year a lot fresher!”

The illusion of retirement is rose tinted by hectic holidays, giving it a heavenly hue of a serene paradise. Speak to anybody who has been retired for any length of time and you will quickly have a much clearer picture - without purpose, the days drag on interminably. Many people wish they had developed a hobby, sporting interest or group of friends or something while they were younger.  Time waits for no-one and looking back wistfully is something many of us have an opportunity to avoid.

How do you live with no regrets? There are many wonderful ideas around this but for this time of year I thought I would share one: REST

Relax - Plan to do something (ideally lots of) whatever helps you to relax. Some people like to read a book, others love to travel and see new and beautiful things, some are active relaxers - choosing to do something physical and rewarding that helps them disconnect from work. “Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer. Go some distance away because then the work appears smaller and more of it can be taken in at a glance and a lack of harmony and proportion is more readily seen.” Leonardo da Vinci

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Escape your routine. Do something a little different. Break the normal mould and routine of your life. A change is as good as a holiday. “Sometimes it's important to work for that pot of gold. But other times it's essential to take time off and to make sure that your most important decision in the day simply consists of choosing which color to slide down the rainbow.” Douglas Pagels

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Stillness holds magic. In a world where survival often feels like it is dictating the need to become the perfect ‘human doing’ there is a deep joy to be found in being. “When was the last time you spent a quiet moment just doing nothing - just sitting and looking at the sea, or watching the wind blowing the tree limbs, or waves rippling on a pond, a flickering candle or children playing in the park?” Ralph Marston

Think about different things. Allow your mind to rest and be creative, to solve a puzzle and day dream, to marvel at the wonders of creation and do nothing more than watch a cloud float across the sky. “Your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer.” William S. Burroughs

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However you relax do take time over the holidays to rejuvenate your body mind and soul and bring your best self into 2019.

Here’s to your success!

3 C's of Teampower

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Here are three short exercises to share with your team to help them understand the importance of clarity, communication and commitment when working in a team.  Using these simple and practical illustrations, you can help them develop a mindset which allows them to adjust their practices and move towards successful practices both in their work and personal lives.

Clarity

Grab a pack of tiny waterpistols, and hand them out to your team. (You can choose whether to load them or not!) Give the following instruction: “Pick up your waterpistols and fire!” Notice how some fire will fire at you, some fire at their friends, a few fire at their enemies.  Rarely will any fire in the same direction. As the laughter dies down, without saying a word, draw a target on the board and repeat the instruction. Over 90% of the people will aim at the target.

What is your business aiming for?  Does everyone know and are they all aiming at the same thing?  When we have clarity in our objectives, it gives clarity to the work we do and why. Aiming to get better profits? Or to increase your turnover by 30%? One is a big goal, the other is much more clearly defined.  The more clearly you set the goal, the more clearly you can describe the outcome you’re looking for and the more likely you are to achieve it.

Communication

Give each of your team a piece of paper and ask them to follow these instructions.

Respond positively to questions, clarification or repetition of the instructions. (This encourages people to use feedback loops to learn!)

  • Draw a circle with diameter 5cm.  

  • Draw a circle in the centre of that with diameter 1cm.  

  • 45 degrees up and to the left of the centre of the inner circle, at distance of 1cm from the centre, draw a dot .  

  • 45 degrees up and to the right of the centre of the inner circle, at a distance of 1cm from the centre, draw a dot.

  • Beginning at the circumference of the outer circle, vertically above the left dot, draw a line on a 45 degree angle up and to the left of the circumference, 1 cm long

  • From the outer edge of this line, draw a vertical line down to the circumference of the circle.

  • Beginning at the circumference of the outer circle, vertically above the right dot, draw a line on a 45 degree angle up and to the right of the circumference, 1cm long.  

  • From the outer edge of this line, draw a vertical line down to the circumference of the circle.

  • What have you drawn?

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Usually, you will get vastly different pictures from the same set of instructions. People hear the same thing, but interpret instructions differently. If it’s that easy to mess up drawing a picture of a pig, think about some of the complex information that we sometimes need to communicate, and respectfully use the tools of repetition, questioning, slowing down and feedback to ensure you are being understood.

Commitment

Ask people to stand up and stretch as high as you can. Once they have done that, challenge them to stretch 10% higher.  Who gave their commitment to the first instruction?  Who gave more on the second instruction?

Find the things that motivate you to give that little bit extra and ensure you practice giving your all to the very best of your ability. You will find your ability increases incrementally in proportion to both the amount of effort and consistency of effort you put in.

Success comes from hard work and a can-do mindset. Clarity, communication and commitment are fantastic tools to get your organisation there a little easier and faster. Let us know how you get on using these exercises with your team!

Here’s to your success!

TIME

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Time is personal. It is yours and you alone decide how you will use it. The word is made up of the personal words “I” and “ME” and, while others might tell you what to do with your time, you choose how much effort you apply.

Want to make the most of your time? You need to own it! Talk with words that show you know you have options and choices; allow your words to clearly show your decisive and deliberate choices. “I get to work” not “I have to work”, I choose to either spend or invest time.  

Central to time is the personal pronoun “I” – lets explore the 3 ways I reflects in time making decisions. There are 86400 seconds is a day. This gift is equally offered to all humans. The use of each precious moment in time determines the abundance or lack of ‘fruit’ for a day.

IRRELEVANT – how much time disappears in this black hole? The trivial, the unimportant, the scrolling of news sites and social media, the ‘deja vu meetings’ where the same discussions go around and no decisions are ever reached, procrastination, task switching, interruptions. The list goes on, taking precious seconds with it - sometime a few at a time and often in great swathes that leave days empty and drought ridden.

IMPORTANT – The area we like to focus in. People pay us to work here. We see fruit from this time that satisfies the moment and the current day. Time spent here appeases our conscience, gets stuff done, moves the dial forward.

IMPACTFUL – Time invested here feeds our soul. There is a deep satisfaction and joy found mining this space. Time here gives life purpose and meaning. We see the fruit. From making time to be with family and enjoying the growing relationship, to time invested in calling clients to find who needs your product and services – we intuitively know this time produces bounty. Not necessarily immediately but inevitably.

What’s planned for today? When we take count of the time that is ours alone to decide, when we review the use and give account to the person in the mirror staring back, will we make a Return On Invested Time?

Master the Monster - 5 Keys to Managing Email

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I am a huge fan of continuous improvement, and have significantly improved my life by applying the principles across all aspects of my life. One area, however, refused to be compliant. Actually, truth be told, it did not just lack compliance, it actually wielded a whip that had me sapped of energy every time I encountered it – which was daily. The monster?  My email inbox …..

Despite years (over a decade) of different techniques, approaches, methodologies I found myself drowning in an inbox that, on occasions, ran into the 1000’s.  I used to say to clients, “If I have not replied within 48hrs, please hit the fwd button and this will pop it to the top of my inbox and I will see you have fwd it and prioritised it.”  Besides admitting my inability to control my in-box all this did was increase the mail I received.

2018 was the year I drew a line in the sand. I saw a lovely quote in an article that said, “Email is other people's priorities for your day.” I laughed in despair. This year, with the help of Kiri, and the below 5 steps I have tamed the monster:

Empty your email – Do not use it as a to-do list. Only open mail you intend to deal with and then decide and act on it. End the day with an empty inbox!

Make folders. You can either have a full-on folder system or a simple one with: Processed, Awaiting response; Block Time work. Once an email is actioned – file it (rules can help with this)

Allocate time to check and clear – master your inbox, do not let it rule you. Use mailbox rules. Overcome your fear of missing out FOMO and unsubscribe from newsletters you do not read.

Involve your team to have block time to clear emails and ideally have an agreed company methodology e.g. Only put people who have to action in the “To” field and FYI in the “CC”. If appropriate, have a PA to help you stay on top of your mail.

Learn what works for you and work it! If you often have to take action on emails use a tool called followupthen  

Be radical and take action. This is not a monster that will tamed with half hearted effort – all or nothing.

Best of luck – here’s to your success!


What is Most Important Right now?

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What is most important right now?

“Time, if I only had time” is a wonderful line from the classic John Rowles hit. The older one gets the more depth and meaning this line has. Time really is such a rare and precious limited resource.

Do you tend to spend or invest your time?
How do you make the most of your daily allocation of 86,400 seconds?

How do you choose where you focus and what you pay attention to?

When training ‘time management’ to people, these are some of the the common questions that get discussed and asked. These have been asked and answered in various ways over the decades - from Eisenhower/Covey “Urgent/Important” quadrant to Rory Vaden’s “significance funnel”.    

At the heart of all these techniques lies two core questions.

“Where do you add the most value?” and then, knowing this, “What do you need to do right now?”

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Here is a simple calculation for you:

Total number of hours you work a week - focused hours spent working in the area where you add the greatest value = effectiveness ratio

I often find that when people do this the figure is far from desirable. It is amazing how easily time is frittered away. Other people's priorities for our time (often disguised in email), procrastination, interruptions and task switching steal our time. Mix into this the effects of Parkinson Law where work expands to fill the time available and it is easy to see why many people struggle to spend even half of their available time focused on the one area where they add the most value.

The much touted example of Perpetual Guardian illustrates this well. Upon observing the time wasted each day the offer was made to staff to work 4 days and receive 5 days pay if they could maintain output. Not only did they maintain output - they increased it!

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This is not really surprising. When you know you are due to take leave, how much more focused and productive do you get? Here’s a challenge - take the next 3 Fridays off and watch what you do to maintain effectiveness at work. Some of this will be harder work but, for the most part, it will come down to being a lot more focused on what is needed and making decisions quicker. There will also be less space given to distractions. 3 weeks is a habit forming length of time with the reward of 3 long weekends to help galvanise you to action.

Is it time you treated yourself?

Here's to your success!

3 Steps to Moving Forward

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The emails are building up in the background as I open our accounting programme to deal with the receipts that need reconciling.  My phone buzzes and I’m reminded that I need to send out that confirmation form to the client. As I pick up my phone to stop the distraction, I realise that I haven’t booked the travel requirements for the other client who is doing a similar course to the one I just got the notification about.  Distractions abound on every side, from within and without, and compete for my attention as I seek to do the next thing.

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How do you prioritise?

The first step in prioritising requires is knowing all that there is to do (or pretending it needs to be done).  When the world is whirling round in a haze of activity, demands and ever increasing noise, I find one of the most useful things I can do, is get the world out of my head so that I can focus on getting at least one thing done completely.  The trusty notebook by my desk is a scribble of yesterday’s organisation, and I turn to a new page, and begin to put down all the things that are fighting for space in my thinking and attention. I even put down the background noises - home and family stuff such as buy dogfood, or take a child to the dentist.

The second step is to look at all the things - some are important, some urgent, others can be stalled, delayed, even not done.  One thing - just one - is more important than all the others. I love Fridays, because my one thing on Friday is getting Learning BITES out to our people.  What is your number one thing? Put a big red square around it. Turn the page and begin a new list and write that at the top. The way you do it is less important than the action of choosing what is most important.  Once done, look again at the jumbled mess of things that were in your head, and choose what is the next most important thing. Continue this process until you have 3-5 most important things. I find this step enables me to have real focus on the first things, as it reminds me that I have prioritised other things, not just taken one and left all the rest.

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The third step is to set your list aside, and work on the most important thing.  Just that one thing. No distractions, no interruptions, work on it. A note here - it can be really helpful to make sure your “things in my head list” is broken down.  In the back of my head presently are the two twenty-first birthday celebrations coming up for our kids. I can write down Arrange 21st, but this is so big I’m scared to tackle it.  If I write down smaller steps such as Create a guest list, book a venue, decide on catering… these are more manageable.  In a work situation, Open emails and scan for important replies required is much more specific and manageable than Check emails. Keeping your focus on completing the one thing enables you to move forward.  

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You climb a mountain one step at a time.  These small steps take a little time at the beginning of a day, but save me a lot more in wasted and distracted time throughout the day.  They also enable me to be a lot more productive. What will you prioritise today?

Here's to your success!

Make It Easy

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Rush hour in Palmerston North is more like rush minute.  The swell of people going to work and parents taking kids to school slows one down by a few minutes, and even when brought to a crawl, the crawl usually lasts for less than a block.  Driving about Palmerston North is easy - no more that twenty minutes to anything you need to attend. It’s one of the reasons we live here - it makes our lifestyle easy.

 

What do you do which makes life easy for your customers?  In a world which is increasingly busy, time poor and pressured, those businesses who make life easier for their customers are the ones which draw more attention.  Businesses such as Frog Parking, which allows you to use your phone to pay for your parking, and stops that endless search for spare cash, or the unexpected holdup which means you don’t get back to your vehicle in the time allotted, have honed in on a need and created a product which makes life easier.


Do you look for the little things that make it easy for your clients to use you?  Products that are easy to find and buy on your website. (Ever been to a website, found exactly what you’re looking for and then not been able to find a way to purchase it?) Clear and readable information on pricing, content, capacity, process.  Most people know what they’re looking for and making a decision to buy is easier if they have all the information at their fingertips

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Clarity in price, delivery times and consistency in service. I cannot count the number of times our family would have called into McDonalds on a roadtrip because we know what we will get in terms of service and food, and in a full and busy life, it’s an easy decision.

Do you talk to your customers?  And listen carefully to their words? You cannot replace a few minutes of genuine face to face conversation for knowing your customers, their pain points and their sweet spots.  

Consistent and carefully constructed conversations with your people, with genuine interest in their lives will enable you to create way to make life easier for them and you.  Shopping for a ring for our daughter’s 21st, the variety of service between the dozens of jewellers we visited was huge. From those who scarcely noticed you’d entered their shop, to those whose careful questions helped them understand our needs and provide us with viable options to choose from.  Careful attention to conversations, looking for patterns and pain points, means you will have solid knowledge to provide the help your clients are looking for.

 

Is your buying process clean, clutter free and clearly communicated?  Processes are a work in progress and a gentle tweak, shift in perspective or lift in efficiency can make a tremendous difference.  The couple of extra minutes spent ensuring your processes are well taught and used can save you huge costs mopping up mistakes and caring for disappointed customers.

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Step back from working in the business and have a good look at what’s going on.  What could you work on to make it easier for your customers, or for your team?  It’s those little things you implement that make a big difference in the lives of your people.  

 

Here’s to your success!

 

Managing As A Working Parent

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“You’re like a mother duck with all your little ducklings trailing along behind.”  The observation was shared uninvited as I worked through the monthly shop, five helpers scurrying to various places for needed items, a small child seated in the trolley and another growing in my swollen belly.

Nowadays, the supermarket shop is vastly different – although many of our ducklings have flown the coop, there are still a few to grow, and dovetailing this with a managing a thriving business has its challenging days.  “How do you manage?” is still a question I field between creating videos for our business, organising client bookings and travel logistics, and mothering four school children while maintaining relationship with six adult offspring scattered near and far across New Zealand.

It's a journey. From managing our schoolwork as children, to managing our personal lives as we head into adulthood, to managing working 40 hours a week while managing our personal lives, we are set up in life to increase our skills and ability at managing, on a fairly constant basis. Here are my top three tips for management.

 #1 Prioritise. Management comes with an implication – you have to prioritise.  You have to know what’s important and what is urgent and what is distraction.  I remember a time when I would repeg the washing my mother-in-law hung, so it fitted my way of how it should be done.  Now I am grateful when the washing is hung and only repeg if the person who thought that item of clothing would dry pegged into a bunched up heap like that, is not around to retrain how to do it so it dries effectively and quickly, efficiently using line space which is occasionally at a premium.

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#2 Vision. Knowing what you’re working to achieve and getting there are not the same thing.  Directing, keeping account, training and delegation are necessary for survival, but more than that, they are necessary to achieve the goal. There are too many things to be done to get them all done yourself.  A good manager knows how to delegate, and how to maximise the potential of their team.  This comes bundled with a necessity to know your people – their strengths and weaknesses, their roles and responsibilities, and to help them to own their “cog in the clock”, to contribute to the team as a whole, and to grow personally.

#3 Keep people accountable. Listening to Mike discuss deeply with a potential client, and promise to have a proposal to them in the next couple of days, I found it necessary to point out the list of things that he had jotted down to do before the weekend and remind him that while he’s pretty incredible, he only has a finite amount of time.  It was logistically impossible to do everything and he needed to refocus on giving realistic timelines to clients.  Ensuring that you can have real, building and aligning conversations with your team creates an environment of trust which means both the team and the business thrive.

As you hit your workplace today, whether it’s simply your own role you’re managing (I know – that may not be simple); managing people in a team;  or managing a home/work balance – keep focused on the big picture while working through the details, daily routines, and tasks that need to be done.  Get the big and important things done first, and enjoy the journey.

Here’s to your success!

Being Consistent

Last year I came across Chris Bates on LinkedIn and was impressed with how he posted every day. At that stage I was doing one blog and a post or two a week. What struck me the most is that Chris, much like myself, chose to share information and interesting viewpoints rather than pitch and sell.  In December as we reviewed our business and marketing plan for 2018 I reached out to Chris and asked if the daily posts worked for him. He generously replied with straight forward answer and advice, “Yep works very well :) stay consistent and be yourself.”  2018 has seen me post most days. It does work. The “be yourself” bit I find easy. The “stay consistent” bit - not so much. I have stuck with it however and these are the 10 things I have learnt about being consistent.   Clarity  matters. Be clear on what you will do, when, with what purpose, and know why you are doing it, then commit to it completely..   Only  commit to what you know can manage ongoing. In the past my tendency to leap into “the next shiny project and idea” has seen me over-commit and over-promise.   Nail  down a time and ideally make it part of a routine - it makes it a lot easier to remember and to action!   Stick  with it! 3 or 4 out of 5 days is not a failure - it is better than before and the more you do it the easier it is to do. Keep going. Habits take a while to form and stick.   Images  make a difference with doing a post. It is a lot easier to write when there is a picture. Look for ways that inspire and make following through easier for you.   Standardise  as much as you can. I aim to share a tip people can apply immediately or to ask a challenging question, or share an insight. Using those 3 formats reduces thinking time which increases my bias towards action. (Nothing quite like over thinking to convince yourself you will get back to it later!)   Tell  someone who can hold you to account. Tip: Pick someone you do not want to let down and whom you know is not going to be ‘nice & understanding’ but rather hold you to account. We all know we are much more likely to do something if someone is going to check in on us.   Examine  your progress honestly and look for what you do well - and repeat it (For me the ‘Images’ and ‘Standardised format’ work well). Also look for what you could improve on and improve on it. We had my brother and sister in law stay for 2 weeks and my post suffered because our routine was thrown. (at the end of the two weeks the “stick with it” while not beating yourself up was very useful!)   No excuses . While this might seem to contradict the above it actually is more aligned with “Sticking to it”. Life happens. Let it be a speed bump, not a breakdown. It is so easy to get to the end of a ‘bad patch’ (my 2 weeks) and go “Oh that didn't work” and not continue. Don’t entertain excuses.   Time  waits for no man or woman! As we teach in our “Time optimisation creating effective teams” course - time is the only thing we are all born equal with. It is what you choose to do with what you have that determines your success.  “Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying basic fundamentals.” ― Jim Rohn  What do you need to be more consistent with? When will you start? If you have a tip that you can share to help myself and others be more consistent please do share it!

Last year I came across Chris Bates on LinkedIn and was impressed with how he posted every day. At that stage I was doing one blog and a post or two a week. What struck me the most is that Chris, much like myself, chose to share information and interesting viewpoints rather than pitch and sell.

In December as we reviewed our business and marketing plan for 2018 I reached out to Chris and asked if the daily posts worked for him. He generously replied with straight forward answer and advice, “Yep works very well :) stay consistent and be yourself.”

2018 has seen me post most days. It does work. The “be yourself” bit I find easy. The “stay consistent” bit - not so much. I have stuck with it however and these are the 10 things I have learnt about being consistent.

Clarity matters. Be clear on what you will do, when, with what purpose, and know why you are doing it, then commit to it completely..

Only commit to what you know can manage ongoing. In the past my tendency to leap into “the next shiny project and idea” has seen me over-commit and over-promise.

Nail down a time and ideally make it part of a routine - it makes it a lot easier to remember and to action!

Stick with it! 3 or 4 out of 5 days is not a failure - it is better than before and the more you do it the easier it is to do. Keep going. Habits take a while to form and stick.

Images make a difference with doing a post. It is a lot easier to write when there is a picture. Look for ways that inspire and make following through easier for you.

Standardise as much as you can. I aim to share a tip people can apply immediately or to ask a challenging question, or share an insight. Using those 3 formats reduces thinking time which increases my bias towards action. (Nothing quite like over thinking to convince yourself you will get back to it later!)

Tell someone who can hold you to account. Tip: Pick someone you do not want to let down and whom you know is not going to be ‘nice & understanding’ but rather hold you to account. We all know we are much more likely to do something if someone is going to check in on us.

Examine your progress honestly and look for what you do well - and repeat it (For me the ‘Images’ and ‘Standardised format’ work well). Also look for what you could improve on and improve on it. We had my brother and sister in law stay for 2 weeks and my post suffered because our routine was thrown. (at the end of the two weeks the “stick with it” while not beating yourself up was very useful!)

No excuses. While this might seem to contradict the above it actually is more aligned with “Sticking to it”. Life happens. Let it be a speed bump, not a breakdown. It is so easy to get to the end of a ‘bad patch’ (my 2 weeks) and go “Oh that didn't work” and not continue. Don’t entertain excuses.

Time waits for no man or woman! As we teach in our “Time optimisation creating effective teams” course - time is the only thing we are all born equal with. It is what you choose to do with what you have that determines your success.

“Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying basic fundamentals.” ― Jim Rohn

What do you need to be more consistent with? When will you start? If you have a tip that you can share to help myself and others be more consistent please do share it!

Balance

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Balance - a simple word, holding in it the promise of peace and equilibrium; sought after by cultures, countries, religions, people of every race and creed.

Do you want it? Do you have it?

Mindfulness is a current trend that holds, as one of its appealing attractions, more “balance”. Looking into mindfulness, I was intrigued to discover that it has been around in mainstream society for years under the rather boring (albeit self explanatory) title of “attention training”.

In an increasingly noisy, distracting world the growing cry for more balance is easy to understand. Be it a work-life balance, or family time/personal time; screen time/outdoor time; exercise/food – we know it is good for us but can seem to be a little elusive. A pot of gold at the bottom of the ever moving rainbow, the elixir of life, the philosophers stone! While I do not have any of those, below are what I have found works (when I apply it!).

Have a look at how you actively create balance in your life, and encourage it in your team and family.

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Be present. Be in the moment. Every moment.

Attentiveness is a gift to yourself and other. There is greater depth and joy with increased attention to the present moment.

Live in the present. It is a gift. We are born to live not just exist. Find out what makes you feel alive and do that often.

Appreciate your blessings. It creates an attitude of gratitude. Be aware and grateful for what you do have rather than all that you don’t have. Living in appreciation makes you happier.

Now is the only moment you absolutely have control of. Live in the now. Make the most of now.

Create the life you want, purposely, with vision, persistence, and care.

Every day has its up’s & downs. Learn. Grow. Enjoy the journey!

Be Attentive, Live Appreciating Now Creatively, Entirely

Process - The Answer To Everything

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Question time finished and after the customary photo I could scarcely wait to call and share my biggest learning with the team – “The answer to everything is process!” Earlier this year I was privileged to hear All Black Ben Smith share some insights on Team Motivation and high performance. My single biggest takeaway is wrapped up in one word “Process.” As we look at the topic of “Flow” with our Learning BITES I felt it was perfect to briefly share my top takeaway.

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AARRGGHH!!

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Ever looked at something someone in your workplace has done and slapped your hand against your face in absolute frustration? Or burst out in anger and outrage? What were they thinking? Did they even think? From observation in many sessions of our team training, it would seem this is not an unusual state for team members to find themselves in. This week, I was reminded again that observation is not the same as experience, and that theory is best understood in practice.

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The Power of Choice

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I remember the first time I encountered Dale Carnegie’s classic book – How To Win Friends and Influence People. My free-flowing mind had never encountered the idea of choice over its pathway. If it took me to a state of joy, or of anger, or of despair, I had previously thought that I was at the mercy of where ever life and circumstances had led me. The challenge of Carnegie’s book for me was that I have a choice. I can influence the path of my life by the things I choose to think about, focus on and give my time to. So can you.

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Tough Calls - Reality Check

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How many calls do you get in a day? Ever had one that made you stop and gave you a reality check? We had one this week. Saw a call coming in from Australia and answered thinking it was a work call. It was my in-law's next door neighbour. She told me to sit down and then said that my Mum and Dad in-law had dropped 5 meters off an embankment and had been cut out of their car and taken to hospital in highly critical condition.

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Choose What To Focus On

Travel has a way of bringing the best and worst in people. After the hottest January in NZ history, the month ended with a super moon and February started off with more rain in one day than is expected for the whole month. This great combination caused newsworthy weather and, as happens, caused some flight disruptions.

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The Best and Worst of Meetings

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The best meetings don’t waste people’s time. They add value to businesses and team members by giving them the opportunity to tackle issues collaboratively, and by involving every member. They are action- based, not appearance-based. In other words,their purpose is to get something done which needs to be done. It may be to create a product or form a strategy, or it may be to foster internal connections and an understanding of each team member’s importance in the business. They value the people and the purpose of the meeting. They have a goal, a structure and an outcome. Whether your meetings are regular or spontaneously as required; contribution, acknowledgement and action focus make the best use of the time your people have chosen (or are required) to invest in turning up.

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