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Archive for October, 2015

Go to the ants…

In our new productivity improvement programme, “Productivity Breakthrough for Outlook Users: 8 Basic Work Habits That Will Skyrocket Your Productivity”, Habit 6 is all about completion.  How to finish what you start.

Procrastination prevents us from getting stuck into a task or project and to keep moving it forward.  Perfectionism, on the other hand, keeps us from finishing a task or project.

2015-10-25 14.19.07Yesterday I noticed ants working away at doing whatever they were doing with this dead creature (don’t know what it is called – let me refer to it as “worm”).  As I looked at them a few thoughts entered my mind:

  • Looking at the relative sizes of the ants and the worm, from the ants’ point of view this was a big thing they had to tackle.
  • Therefore, they pooled their resources rather than leaving it up to one ant to get the job done.
  • They knew what they wanted to do and just did it – no unnecessary meetings. No Twittering on #TheWormHasFallen.

When we are faced with a task we often procrastinate because the task is so big that we feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start.

What can we learn from how the ants dealt with the worm?

Suggestion:  Take a look at something you are procrastinating on and:

 

At the end of a day, review what happened and if there are things that you have not started or finished due to procrastination.  Think what you can do that will help you move forward.

Maybe it is as simple as asking for support.

Enjoy!

Quote: “We’re all imperfect and we all have needs. The weak usually do not ask for help, so they stay weak. If we recognize that we are imperfect, we will ask for help and we will pray for the guidance necessary to bring positive results to whatever we are doing.” — John Wooden

 What’s happening?  I will be going to Vleesbaai for a few days so chat to you from there next week.  In the meantime, click here to drop me an email if you want to let me know if you would like me to help and support you with increasing the productivity in your team or organisation.  Think about the worm (the task to increase productivity) and your resources to do it.  I will be happy to help.

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It was such a beautiful day in Cape Town yesterday (Sunday)!  A day to be in Kirstenbosch, on Table Mountain, visit a wine farm, go to the beach or go for walk on the Sea Point promenade…

On the same option-filled day I had other things I wanted to take care of.  Decision time!  The word “decide” comes from the word in Latin and old French that means “to cut off”.  Being faced with 6 options, I had to “cut off” 5 of them.

So there was no garden, mountain, wine farm, beach or walk – they’ll have to wait for another day because I cut them off.

priorities

Basic Work Habit 3 of our new productivity improvement programme suggests – “Align your actions with your priorities.”

Once you are clear about your priorities you have a point of reference (almost like a watershed) that you can refer to when deciding what to cut off and what to go with.

 

 

Say “yes” to things that will move you toward achieving your priorities and say “no” to the rest.

The important thing is that you need clear priorities in order to decide what to leave and what to do.

I recommend a visit to the web site of Steve Pavlina where you will find valuable posts about living your values. Another approach is simply to look at all the entries in your Calendar – your behaviour (as per the calendar) will show what you value and what your priorities are.  How much time is there for family?  Friends? Learning?  Self-improvement?  Your career?

Whichever way you go, take some time to clarify your current priorities and then you can decide with integrity what to do in the moment of choice.

Quote: “The key is not to prioritize your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” – Stephen Covey

What’s happening?

If there are more than 50 active Outlook users in your company and you want them to get more of the right things done in less time and with less effort, click here to drop me an email and I will be in touch to see if you qualify for two free seats at one of our upcoming public Productivity Breakthrough for Outlook Users workshops.  The purpose is simple: come and experience and evaluate the workshop as my guest and then decide to do one or more in-house workshops.  No obligation – just an opportunity to see if we could do some great work together.

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Hi Gerrit

I was invited by Landbouweekblad to give a talk at their annual conference in Bloemfontein last week Tuesday.  I shared the first 4 of the 8 Basic work habits of highly productive people with more than 100 people, and they loved it.

Just before me, Peter van Kets gave an inspirational talk about his expeditions to the North and South poles, and rowing across the Atlantic Ocean – first with someone in the boat and then all by himself.  Amazing stuff, and surely he could not get away from being where he was.

Peter’s talk tied in very nicely with what I read over the weekend, namely that mental inspiration can be improved and nervousness decreased by – guess what?  Washing dishes!  From the Time Magazine web site:

“In the study, researchers at Florida State University had 51 students wash dishes. Before they started, half of the students read a short mindfulness dishwashing passage and the other half read a short descriptive dishwashing passage. The descriptive passage was straightforward, but the mindful passage focused on being present mentally for the task. Here’s an excerpt:

While washing the dishes one should only be washing the dishes. This means that while washing the dishes one should be completely aware of the fact that one is washing the dishes. At first glance, that might seem a little silly. Why put so much stress on a simple thing? But that’s precisely the point. The fact that I am standing there and washing is a wondrous reality. I’m being completely myself, following my breath, conscious of my presence, and conscious of my thoughts and actions. There’s no way I can be tossed around mindlessly like a bottle slapped here and there on the waves.

 The researchers found that people who washed dishes mindfully (they focused on smelling the soap, feeling the water temperature and touching the dishes) upped their feelings of inspiration by 25% and lowered their nervousness levels by 27%.

The group that didn’t wash the dishes mindfully did not gain any benefits from the task. “It appears that an everyday activity approached with intentionality and awareness may enhance the state of mindfulness,” the study authors conclude.

One of the most important productivity and prioritising principles is “Wherever you are, be THERE”.

When making phone calls, be where you are and focus on making the phone calls in a mindful way.

When attending a meeting, be in the meeting in a mindful way.

When playing with your children or enjoying a great dinner with friends, be where you are.

A very simple yet powerful thing you can do to calm down your mind and focus on where you are and what you are doing, is the “mind dump”.  Try it – for the last 5 minutes of your work day, write down anything and everything that’s buzzing around your head.  You will feel relieved and more in control.  Then the next day you can process your mind dump into projects and actions.

One of our clients sent me an email the day after one of our Productivity Breakthrough workshops and said that after the workshop she took about an hour to clear her mind – and for the first time in many months she had a night of uninterrupted sleep!

This evening, how about washing your dishes by hand in a mindful way?  And let me know how you experienced it…

Quote: “Mindfulness helps you go home to the present. And every time you go there and recognize a condition of happiness that you have, happiness comes.”  – Nhat Hanh

What’s happening?

I am thinking of re-opening my Productivity Mastery Programme 2016  for a group of no more than 10 people in January 2016. This will be sixth one.

 

Some of the things we will do:

1.     Two intensive one-on-one coaching sessions per month using Skype.

2.     Two group coaching sessions per month using online technology.

3.     You will get free membership for life to my new membership that will launch in January 2016.

4.     A free seat for you or anyone of your choice at my new public “Productivity Breakthrough for Outlook Users: 8 Basic Work Habits That Will Skyrocket Your Productivity” workshop in Cape Town, Durban or Johannesburg.

5.     I will be available for all your questions by email, phone or instant messaging.

6.     Should you want to do any in-house work (workshops or individual tuition) in your company, we can make special arrangements for you.

If you would like me to keep you in the loop and co-design the programme as things move forward (no commitment!) – just click here to send me an email with PMP in the subject line (that’s short for Productivity Mastery Programme).  Thanks!

Enjoy your mindful evening!

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During a luncheon of world leaders in New York last week, President Zuma was photographed holding his cell phone to his ear when President Obama greeted him.  Who, if anyone, was wrong?

ZUMA-Obama (1)

It depends on who you ask.

On the one hand are the Obama-bashers who says he is younger than Zuma and therefore should have waited till the phone call was finished.  It was bad manners to interrupt.

On the other hand there are the Zuma-bashers who say that he should not take/make calls in a social setting in the first place, and that it was a sign of disrespect to remain seated, phone to the ear when Obama greeted him.

Same situation. People see it differently because they come from different backgrounds.

Let’s bring it closer to home.  How much time and energy get wasted because people in your family or team see the same thing differently and defend their point of view rather than taking some time to first understand the other’s viewpoint?  As Stephen R Covey put it so well: “Seek first to understand, then to be understood”. 

 Taking time up front to clarify things allows us to move with greater speed down the line.  It is an example of basic work habit 7 “Slow down to speed up”.

Something to experiment with this week to see how it impacts productivity over time: Every time you are not 100% clear about what someone is asking you to do, push PAUSE to clarify and make sure that you are both on the same page.  Also, when you delegate work, rather than assuming that the other person/people know exactly what to do, let them explain to you what they are going to do.  Although this takes time up front, it save time in the long run.

Quote: “Clarity affords focus.” – Thomas Leonard

What’s happening?

I am thinking of re-opening my Productivity Mastery Programme in January 2016. From 2012 to 2014 I conducted five intensive 13 week programmes deigned to help business owners, executives and managers to become masters of their personal productivity and also improve the overall quality of their lives.

I am thinking of re-opening the programme again for a group of no more than 10 people in January 2016 and would like to know if you would like me to keep you in the loop as things move forward.

Some of the things we will do:

  1. Two intensive one-on-one coaching sessions per month using Skype.
  2. Two group coaching sessions per month using online technology.
  3. You will get free membership for life to my new membership that will launch in January 2016.
  4. A free seat for you or anyone of your choice at my new public “Productivity Breakthrough for Outlook Users: 8 Basic Work Habits That Will Skyrocket Your Productivity” workshop in Cape Town, Durban or Johannesburg.
  5. I will be available for all your questions by email, phone or instant messaging.
  6. Should you want to do any in-house work (workshops or individual tuition) in your company, we can make special arrangements for you.

To let me know if you want to be kept in the loop (no commitment!), just click here to send me an email – please put “PMP EOM” in the subject line (that’s for Productivity Mastery Programme) and End Of Message).  Thanks!

I wish you great week of listening and clarifying!

 

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