”huh…” says the multitasker and drama queen who just loves 12 hour working days.
We are busier than ever. Thanks technology and consumerism. Okay it’s great, it just increases my choices and decisions. Of course I love being productive and doing work that is meaningful and purposeful.
So here are some useful strategies for your organisation or your work team. These strategies are likely to increase productivity and more innovative thinking if you model and encourage set periods to focus, as well as shorter periods to renew.
As a past manager, here are three guidelines I’d like to share with you, there are more, but I Iike these 3, they are easy and effective.
1. Manage meeting boundaries
Schedule meetings for 30-45 minutes, rather than an hour or longer, so people can stay focused, take time afterward to reflect on what's been discussed, and recover before the next task.
NO meetings straight after lunch. That’s’ known in the facilitation world as the lullaby period. Avoid it if you can.
Start all meetings at a precise time, end at a precise time, and insist that all phone calls not be taken, unless they have an urgent family matter.
Meetings must have an agenda, purpose, and a clear intended outcome.
Record minutes only if really, really needed. Seriously do you need them??
Another meeting process I like to use is team huddles, (or cuddles, if you get along real well) They are short sharp 5 -10 minutes focused on an issue and then disband. I pick a time near meal breaks so not to disrupt the flow of other work. Then say, what are you doing for lunch????
Team socialisation opportunity….!
2. Stop demanding or expecting instant actions of others
I ask people to get back to me by generally by COB, (close of business) rather than in 2 hours. I find the quality is better and the resistance is lower. If I say 2 hours it puts me under pressure as well. The goal is to get your people out of the pressure cooker, release the valve a bit, stop being reactive. Maybe you could be more organised and forecast some the issues. On the odd occasion there will be the odd pressured moment, why, that’s because someone upstream is reactive or disorganised or there is a real emergency (well….you would like to think so wouldn’t you?)
Reactivity is not flow time or engaged time, it fragments focus, and makes it difficult for people to sustain focus on their priorities. In Lean Thinking we call this waste.
My tip to all people is if it’s urgent, please call me, don’t email me, call me.
Next….Stop harassing people and being an urgent drama queen. You’ll survive, the more urgent orientated that you are, the less time you will have…trust me.
3. Encourage Breaks
Create at least one break time during the day when you encourage your people to stop working and take a break, in fact I do it twice a day. It forces me to stop to. I’ve read and heard about others taking a group walk or workout, relax, or take a nap. Personally I've never napped. I do however go for walks. Many years ago I worked with two men who routinely slept at morning tea and they always woke up…amazing.
Okay…you have their backs covered what about yours?
Consider these four behaviours for yourself, you are not superman or superwoman you know.
1. Do the most important things first in the morning or whatever time your work day starts, preferably without interruption, for 60 to 90 minutes, with a clear start and stop time.
2. Establish regular, scheduled times to think more long term, creatively, or strategically. If you don't, you'll constantly enter the world of the the urgent. Visit my blog on email use.
3. Take mini breaks, breakations, real and regular holidays. Real means that when you're off, you're truly switched off from work...now that's a test for many of us….. Hmmm, I think I might plan one of these breakations right now…
4. Delegate it, defer it, dump it, do something that you ought to do... I think that will help, don't you? There will always be problems to solve as long as we keep changing, that's business.
When you're fully engaged at work for defined periods you’re happier and more productive. Some people refer to it as flow. It makes sense and saves the business bottom line and your stress levels
Stop working and living in the crazy time zone
Go for a walk, smell the roses, see the sky and breathe the fresh air. In my case it’s taking the stairs, walking past a tropical garden, crossing a busy road, chatting to the barista and getting a decent coffee. Then I re-engage fully in what matters.
7 Coaching Challenges
- What are you tolerating at work that reduces your productivity?
- What behaviours do you need to change to get more focused time?
- Who do you need to start saying "no" to?
- What do you need to stop doing and delegate?
- What meetings need to be more focused and how will you achieve and do that?
- What obstacles might get in your road?
- How will you overcome them?
If you need help please feel free to drop me a line. Our job is to inspire people, inspire business and inspire results.
Inspiring People, Inspiring Business, Inspiring Results
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