Distractions: We all experience them and we all have to deal with them. But did you realize that you are the cause of most – if not all – of them? For example:
You’re busy, but not productive – If you don’t have clear and specific goals for your day, week, month or year, distractions will pull you in different directions and waste your time, and in the end you will have nothing to show for your effort.
You’re an expert at “fire-fighting” – It’s nothing to be proud of. You may actually be the cause of the flare-ups. A big distraction is solving everyone else’s problems. Make sure everyone on your team knows what they must do, why they do it and how to do it.
Nothing gets done, unless you do it – Are you properly training your team to do their jobs as intended? Have you set clear and achievable expectations, and does your team understand them?
There is never enough time for you to have time for you – Do you schedule a 1-hour appointment each week with yourself? Put it on your calendar. You need the time to re-group and re-focus on the right things.
Your open door is a revolving door of constant visitors who all ask, “Hey do you have a minute?” – If you do, say “No!” Saying “no” when you have to is critical for your sanity and ability to properly lead. Fight for and guard your time. Stop giving it away.
There are always more things that you can possibly do. The biggest challenge we all have is that there’s never enough time to get done everything that we want to do. Staying focused on our priorities, which allows you to get things done, is one of the toughest challenges we all have.
Many mistakenly believe that they can “multi-task” their way through anything. I often describe multi-tasking as multi dumb! Some think it’s a highly developed skill that all should possess The fact is, it stifles any chance of staying focused, and only adds to your stress and lack of meaningful productivity.
Many also think that making a list of “to do’s” (the longer the better) makes them effective planners. They proudly display their filled yellow pad like a shield that they think will protect them. Again, another fallacy because they don’t question whether some of the things on their list should be there at all! To me, the most important thing about planning and making a list is to decide what not to do.
Stop doing things that don’t make any sense. Focus on those things that have the highest reward/payoff. Continue reading →
Intentions are those things you “plan” to do. Depending upon how strong your belief in the intention is, it may be distorting your reality making you believe that you are acting on it. Just knowing what you intend to do it seldom results in action taken or a particular outcome.
All of us either have or can acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to be very good at what we do. However, the best intentions will not make that happen by itself. Only the decision to act on those intentions can bring about the desired change.
So how do you go about translating your best intentions into the right actions to achieve the desired result? Sometimes in our effort to create the best intentions we continue to ask more questions and require more information than is necessary which leads to procrastination. Consider the following: Continue reading →
I’ve always encouraged clients, readers and audiences to control their daily destiny by owning the first 15 to 20 minutes of each day before they “officially” start – you know, answering e-mails; text messages and responding to missed calls. These first 15 to 20 minutes are really designed to help you get the right mindset in place for the day. I believe that your mindset will determine the type of day you will have. Hence whatever you can do to put in place the right one, you should do. Right? So here are 7 very simple steps you can take. As you will note, they represent positive and specific “self-talk.” Continue reading →
“Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows that it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning, a lion wakes up. It knows that it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn’t matter whether you’re the lion or the gazelle – when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.” – Author Unknown
So, to be clear, the story is not just about running. It’s about something far more important. The story underscores the importance of having a clear and specific “purpose” that you will focus on at the beginning of every day. Both the lion and gazelle start each day with a clear and specific purpose. Do you? Do you know what you need to do each day that will move you and your organization closer to your goals? Or, do you start each day dealing with whatever comes first whether it’s important or not? Are you prone to activity just to convince yourself that you are busy or is your activity directed towards the achievement of your purpose? Be honest with yourself.
When you lack a clear and specific purpose, you leave yourself open to any one of the following scenarios: Continue reading →
How to lead a meeting – the right way! We all have to go to meetings – and while they’re important for communication, they can be a tremendous waste of time. So how do you make it an effective meeting? Here are Chris’ top tips.
We all make the choice to suffer from procrastination. Procrastination is born from one, or a combination of, the following:
Trying to be a perfectionist.
A lack of self-discipline.
The inability to fight off distractions.
A lack of specific goals and fear.
How many times do you start the day knowing what you want to do, but eventually come up with a reason why you just can’t get started and so you put it off? Whatever your reason might be, the fact is, you are procrastinating.
Left unchecked, procrastination can be a career and/or business killer. Here are 3 useful tips to help you overcome procrastination: Continue reading →
At the beginning of each week, sit down and review where you are as compared to the goals you need to achieve. Based on this review, determine what activities you need to initiate – these activities will determine where “you” will use your time. To the extent practical and possible, your activities (tasks or to do’s) should fall into one, several or all of the following four categories: Continue reading →
From my coaching and mentoring experiences, one of the biggest challenges those who aspire to be leaders consistently face is how to improve their productivity by delegating tasks to other team members. Many do it wrong and eventually throw their hands up in frustration and end up doing the work themselves and then…complain about it.
So the “stuff” I’m thinking about this week (and you should be also) is how to become effective when delegating to others. Think – and more importantly act – on these key delegation points this week:
Poor delegation creates frustration and confusion, destroying any effort on your part to be productive. Train others to do the tasks that take you away from more important things. A team that can’t develop their skills fully will ultimately hurt your business.
Delegation, when done the right way, is one of the most effective tools that successful leaders have. If you can live with the worst possible outcome, then you can delegate the project.
When delegating, choose someone who has exhibited the right work ethic and attitude.
When delegating, be sure to describe the task as clearly and as simply as possible. Invite and encourage questions and feedback.
When delegating, set clearly defined expectations along with a target completion date.
When delegating, don’t turn your back on the project just because you think you’ve delegated it. Periodically check in to see how they are doing and whether or not they need your assistance.
Successful people just do more things than others do. They take more action; they are not risk averse. Clear goals drive their activity. They stay busy working on the right things at the right time. They also have important common characteristic: They take action.
Tom Peters, the author of “In Search of Excellence”, reported in this book that an important common quality of the executives he observed was what he called a “bias for action.” They realized that the future belonged to those who were action-oriented, willing to take the right risks at the right time and committed to following a plan.
Having clear and specific plans are necessary to make sure that whatever action you take is effective and achieves the desired outcome. A plan also makes it easy for you to pay attention to the details as well as the big picture. Here are five key points to take into account when you are ready to “act”:
Set Checkpoints – All action should be built around a plan and for the plan to work you need to have interim checkpoints to measure progress.
Responsibility and Roles – For any plan and the needed action to be successful, everyone must know the following: What they must do, by when, how to do it and why they do it.
Ground Rules – Make sure everyone knows the parameters of their responsibilities; when they should seek help and how problems need to be resolved.
Feedback – Make certain that periodic, objective and specific feedback is given when needed. People work best when they are communicated with about their performance and what they can do to either sustain it or improve it.
Celebrate – When the goal has been achieved, celebrate and recognize it. It doesn’t have to be a “state dinner” type celebration. Just take the time to recognize what’s been done and say thank you.
The most important single factor needed to act effectively is “self-discipline”. Whenever I talk about self-discipline, I always refer to the definition offered by Thomas Huxley (1825-1895) which states, “Self-discipline is doing what you’re supposed to do, when you’re supposed to do it even though you may not feel like doing it.” Even small steps acted upon in a consistent manner will lead you to success.