I cannot get it all done!

We have all heard it: “I NEED more time!”, or “I cannot get it ALL done!”. And many of us have said it, too.

Here are some relatively short perspectives on those statements: perhaps you may find a nugget or two that will be useful. 

  1. The real issue is most often NOT TIME! After all, we all have the same amount (except for those of you who sleep too much! And as I understand the universe God gave us, there will not be created any more time for any of us.
  2. I have discovered that the more likely real culprit is TASKS (that we feel need doing AND need doing by us).
  3. So change your viewpoint from Time Management to Task Management. What does that look like?
  4. Begin by making a list of the TASKS that you need to do. Prioritize them with two parameters: a. Important versus Urgent; b. Long/hard versus Easy/short.
  5. Next, chunk your time(s) for a day or a week into significant chunks (where you can tell people to NOT interrupt you).
  6. Then begin!
  7. Do ONLY the Important because that is your job as a leader: delegate the urgent to others.
  8. Do the Long/Hard ones FIRST, and until they are done. (If you leave them til late afternoon you will rationalize why to leave them until tomorrow!).
  9. Then do the Easy/Short ones.
  10. While some of you will find this useful others will find it frustrating because some tasks will not get done.
  11. Here is the exercise to help that situation:
    1. First, list those tasks that ONLY YOU can do, or you can do so much better than anyone else. These become priorities.
    2. Next list those tasks that you feel you ought to do: if they fit your time chunks, schedule them in. If not, see c below.
    3. All other tasks NEED to be dealt with by deciding that they really no longer need to be done; or, they can be delegated to others.
    4. Lastly, be certain that you really understand how you spend your time. See 11.
  12. One of the least known and understood aspects of time/task management is that we have incorrect or incomplete knowledge of how we currently spend our time. So figure out a mechanism to track for two weeks how you spend your time (in 15 minute blocks). Use a recording tool/application, ask your assistant to track it, etc.
  13. In most cases you will be surprised that how you thought you spent your time – and on what you thought your were doing – is grossly incorrect.
  14. So now re-visit the exercise of how to chunk your time, and then fit in the TASKS (that only you can do or are responsible for!)..

Avoid these common time management mistakes

Fall is upon us! With summer having come to a close, your schedule is back in full swing. Now is the time to reevaluate your time management approach to make sure you end 2015 achieving your goals. Make the most of your time, work efficiently and smart, and avoid these all too common time management mistakes.

  1. Skipping prioritization - Sure, that expense report is easier to complete than the comprehensive sales strategy you promised to create, but the expense report won’t move you as far towards your goals. During your most productive times of the day, focus on your most important tasks.
  1. Failing to set daily goals - Be realistic and formulate your daily goals based on your weekly and monthly goals. Always leave room for flexibility, you never know when that elusive client will call with a special request.
  1. Succumbing to distraction - Ever spent the day checking email, reading the news, or surfing the internet instead of working? We all have. No doubt you will get distracted throughout the day, however, it is essential to set aside times when you shut off your email, close your internet browser and tuck away your phone. After your work is complete, reward yourself with a 10 minute internet session.
  1. Neglecting to take breaks - Far too often, I have tried to work through the day without stopping. I end up being less productive, and more stressed. Take time to recharge, grab a coffee or go for a short walk. I think you’ll find these breaks help make your day more enjoyable, and more productive.
  1. Multi-tasking - On paper it sounds like a good idea, but in reality it produces less than stellar results. Check out this article on why you should start single tasking.
  1. Failing to reevaluate your schedule - When you start your day, take time to look at your schedule and run through your goals. If you no longer need a meeting, cancel it. This will help you prioritize, schedule breaks, set daily goals and avoid having to multitask. If you are flexible, you’ll be better equipped to handle the unexpected client call at 4:45pm on Friday.

Hopefully, being aware of these common time management blunders will increase your productivity and help you close out those 2015 goals!

Closing The Execution Gap

Jesus was very clear on His mission, and no person, crisis or circumstance was able to get Him off line. Do you have clarity about what your goals and top priorities are? If not, then your work force is diluted. You will find that your energy is dissipated, flying off in multiple directions—being swallowed up by the “black hole” of confusion and misalignment. The inability to take the organization’s high level priorities and translate them into productive behaviors is a problem. Ram Charan and Steven Covey call this “the execution gap”.

Simply put, what is alignment? Alignment exists when there is agreement on the goals of the organization and the process of allocating resources to achieve those goals. It reflects the ownership of team members. There is commitment, not just consensus. The systems and structures must support the strategic vision. And members must understand how top strategic objectives translate into personal goals.

A study by the Harris Group reveals astonishing statistics why execution breaks down.

  1. Only 15% of those surveyed can identify their organizations most important top priorities or goals. There are various reason for this. They either didn’t have any, or they constantly changed, or there were too many. Where they did exist they were simply under communicated. In many cases the leaders were clear, but the rank and file were unsure. And since the frontline produces the bottom line, the problem is obvious.
  2. Only 19% felt passionate about their organizations goals. Four in five felt no ownership. Since they’ve had no say in the process, the product—or goal—was not embraced. If there’s no connection, then there’s no involvement, which means there is no commitment. The process is as important as the product.

People embrace what they help create.

  1. People spend only 49% of available work hours on their most important goals. Most of the time was spent on the urgent activities and not the important ones. Distraction is a major time waster. Emergencies always steal the limelight if priorities are not absolutely clear.
  2. 51% did not know what they should be doing to achieve the organizations goals. They knew the goals but didn’t know how to translate that into productive execution. People need to know, not only the goal, but also where they fit in the plan and how they can execute.

Clarifying your goals and priorities closes the execution gap and results in productive behavior.

To achieve things you’ve never achieved before you need to start doing things you’ve never done before.

That happens when you align your daily activities and behaviors with compelling priorities.  There is a power unleashed in your life, both personally and professionally when you have a clear and compelling understanding where you are going.

So how do you know if you have a compelling vision? Rate yourself on the following with a (3) for “yes”, (2) for “sometimes”, and a (1) for “no.”

  • Everyone on my team shares the same vision.
  • Our vision excites, inspires, and motivates us.
  • Our vision helps us understand why our activities are important.
  • Our vision provides guidelines that help us make daily decisions and identify priorities.
  • Our vision creates a clear picture of what we intend to accomplish.

How did you do? Now that you know where you are, you can make the appropriate changes.

The best way to predict the future is to create it.” - Peter Drucker

Closing the gap between priorities and performance will help create the future you want, and we need!


Do What You Hate, But Do It Easier

One of my executive coaching clients hates public speaking. He even gets antsy presenting informal information to the senior management team. We all dislike certain parts of the job. One way to reduce our hesitation is to rely more on our StrengthsFinder talent themes.

I suggested my client try a simple 3-step process I refer to as Name It! Claim It! Aim It!

1. Name It!: Write out your top 5 strengths. In this case his strengths were:

  • Deliberative, Belief, Responsibility, Discipline, Relator.

2. Claim It!:Write down the value and power that each strength contributes. For example:

  • My Deliberative strength can decrease my stress and see potential problems before I speak.
  • My Belief can help identify the speaking topics I’m most passionate about.
  • My Responsibility can help me prepare and follow through with dedication.
  • My Discipline can help me structure and organize my talk for success.
  • My Relator can help me connect with my audience heart to heart.

3. Aim It!: Consciously apply your strengths to specific action steps.

  • For Deliberative – I will write out the potential problems and a solution for each before I speak.
  • For Belief – I will let my colleagues know what topics I’m willing or not willing to speak on.
  • For Responsibility – I will prepare, practice, and get feedback on the talk from Toastmasters.
  • For Discipline – I will write a draft of my talk and time how long the talk takes to present.
  • For Relator – I will use personal stories in my talk.

What challenge do you face? Any chance you could minimize these challenges by using this 3-step process: Name it, claim it, aim it.

For help leveraging StrengthsFinder in your organization visit Convene Resource Specialist and GALLUP Certified Strengths Coach