Your work habits are costing you…

October 3, 2012

By Terry Monaghan, 3 October 2012

 

If you aren’t careful, your work habits could easily be costing you dearly.

Costing you what? Time. Money. Energy. Satisfaction. Results.

What do I mean?

Take a look at how you started your day.

Did you roll out of bed and immediately grab your smart phone to check email? Or did you get out of bed and take your body out for a walk (insert your favorite exercise here)?

Did you eat breakfast? And I am not talking about the venti half caff soy no whip extra shot latte on the way to the office.

Did you give yourself some time to review your plans for the day, and set your intentions for the day? Or did you turn on the computer, go straight to email, and spend time dealing with everyone else’s agenda for you?

Do you have time carved out of your day to focus on the most important work you have to do? Or did you think you would fit it in/get around to it once you dealt with the email? How did that turn out?

Did you take a break for lunch, and actually get up from your desk and leave the office to have lunch? Or did you start to eat a sandwich at your desk only to throw the rest of it out at 6pm? Or even more likely – did you realize at 4pm that you still hadn’t eaten?

Do you actually get YOUR work done at work? Or are you staying late or taking it home to finish because you need quiet time and you can’t manage all the interruptions at the office?

I can hear some of you howling – “But, really, you don’t understand! It always goes that way! I have no control!”

Really? If you say so. I happen to know for a fact that it doesn’t have to go that way. I invite you to set up a call with me to find out how to take back control. There are slots available for a Breakthrough Productivity Session – and you can snag yours at TimeTriage.com.

 

© Terry Monaghan, 2012 ~ All Rights Reserved

Want to use this article in your ezine or website? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:

Consultant, coach, speaker, trainer and entrepreneur, Terry Monaghan, publishes Now What, an ezine for entrepreneurs and professionals who want to double their productivity, improve their performance, and have a life! If you’re ready to jump start your performance and your results, then get your free tips now at www.TimeTriage.com.

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100 day challenge

September 19, 2012

by Terry Monaghan, September 19, 2012

September 23 marks 100 days to the end of the year.  This can be good news or bad news – depending on your perspective.

You have 100 days to hit the goals you set for yourself in January. How are you doing with them?

  • Some of you are on target – good for you! Keep going.
  • Some of you are ahead – fantastic! Don’t stop now!
  • Some of you are behind – time to focus…

What do you think is possible for the last 100 days of the year? Are you interested in a possible breakthrough in productivity?

Here is a simple exercise you can do to review your goals and planning, ensure that you get things done, and build in some work-life balance. This is an exercise I worked through myself just this past weekend. Here goes!

I took some time over the weekend to look at my projections, my goals for the year, and my results so far. Guess what? I am behind the very ambitious target I set for myself. So – I looked at the gap between where I am and where I want to be, and explored various scenarios to close the gap. Then I set all that aside and just asked myself what do I really want to focus on for the next 100 days?

That gave me some other scenarios to play with. One of the ways I play is to go to my forecasting spreadsheet and start plugging in numbers representing the people I want to work with. I don’t look at the totals until I have all the numbers plugged in.

Honestly, I wasn’t very aggressive with the numbers of people I was putting in to the model. However, the total business blew me away! I can easily do twice as much again as I have already done this year.

Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while know that I then take those people targeted and break the result (over which I have no control) down into the actions (over which I have TOTAL control). Turns out that to do what I drew out will require me to have 50 conversations each month – 2 conversations a day, average. And I wasn’t even put off by the fact that it was already mid-September. After all I could reach the 50 conversation target by having just 5 conversations each day. That isn’t out of reach!

Now here’s my challenge to you. Take some time to think. Look at what you have already accomplished this year. Look at what you would like to get done that isn’t yet done. Create a game for yourself! How many conversations would you need to have to get there? And how many is that per day? Will you do that? When will you set aside time to make those calls?

I guarantee you will see some spectacular results if you take those very simple steps.

 

© Terry Monaghan, 2012 ~ All Rights Reserved

Want to use this article in your ezine or website? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:

Consultant, coach, speaker, trainer and entrepreneur, Terry Monaghan, publishes Now What, an ezine for entrepreneurs and professionals who want to double their productivity, improve their performance, and have a life! If you’re ready to jump start your performance and your results, then get your free tips now at www.TimeTriage.com.

 


Time management doesn’t work!

August 29, 2012

by Terry Monaghan, August 29, 2012

Have you ever wondered why time management doesn’t stick?  You know what I mean… You try this course, read that book, get this app, make lists, use the calendar (digital or paper), schedule, prioritize – and still feel frustrated, overwhelmed and have no time!

Why is that?

I have a theory. I think most books, courses and systems are working on the pieces of the puzzle. But they are only working on the 10% of that iceberg that is above the water line!

And the 90% of the issue that is below the surface is exactly why the pieces don’t seem to fit together, no matter what you do.

We have all had the experience of committing to something – scheduling the time to take care of it – and then completely ignoring our plan. We forget. We get busy with something else. Some emergency is way more pressing in the moment. Our alarm didn’t go off. We got distracted online. Our errands ran long. The phone rang. The kids got sick. We got sick. It rained. The dog ate a sock. Blah, blah, blah.

And then we feel bad. We wonder what is wrong with us that we can’t get a simple task done. We can’t follow a simple plan. We can’t stick to a schedule.

So we stop trying. We decide that ‘it just doesn’t work for us.’

What if it isn’t us? What if it isn’t even the system or structure we are using?

Clearly, there is something else at play here. Some other unexamined commitment is in control of our time and our actions. And until we distinguish what that competing commitment is, whatever we try will have limited impact.

Something to think about: You can’t manage time anyway. If you can, go ahead, manage the next minute and tell me how it goes.

So, if you can’t manage time – what can you manage?

You can manage your energy, and you can manage your actions. And that’s where the next post will start!

 

©  Terry Monaghan, 2012, All Rights Reserved

Want to use this article in your ezine or website? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:

Consultant, coach, speaker, trainer and entrepreneur, Terry Monaghan, publishes Now What, an ezine for entrepreneurs and professionals who want to double their productivity, improve their performance, and have a life! If you’re ready to jump start your performance and your results, then get your free tips now at http://www.TimeTriage.com.


When is a task not a task?

August 9, 2012

by Terry Monaghan, August 9, 2012

Do you under-estimate the time something will take when planning your work?

A client said she was discovering that many things were taking longer than she originally thought and had originally planned for. (We were discussing the progress she was making in taking control of her schedule and her results.)

This is not an unusual situation, but I was curious, so I started asking questions. For example, she had blocked 90 minutes to write a blog post, but was finding that wasn’t enough time. I wanted to know why was it taking over 90 minutes to write the post.

It turns out she was:

(1) researching the post,
(2) writing the post,
(3) editing the post,
(4) loading the post up to the blog,
(5) finding just the right image for the post, and finally
(6) publishing the post.

But she was calling that block of time “writing blog post.”

OK, now I see the problem. Like many people, she had collapsed TASK and PROJECT. So, when I asked her to schedule her tasks, she thought she was doing what I said, but in fact she was trying to cram a project into a time slot for a task.

Have you ever done that? And why do you need to keep them distinct?

Well, if she just devoted that 90 minutes to writing, she would have written enough material for 2 or even 3 separate blog posts. She would have kept herself in the flow of writing.

When you break your projects into the separate tasks, you can make huge progress even when you only have little bits of time available. But when you collapse the two – you might not even start because the whole project seems so overwhelming and you just don’t have the time!

How do you know what is a task, and what is a project? Well, the simplest definition: A task is a single action. Anything that requires more than one single step is a project.

Plan a party is a project. Set the date for the party is one task in that project.

Productivity tip: Go back over your “task list” – make a note of where you are collapsing tasks with projects. See if you can batch the tasks that are similar.

I promise, you will get MORE done that way.

 

©  Terry Monaghan, 2012, All Rights Reserved

Want to use this article in your ezine or website? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:

Consultant, coach, speaker, trainer and entrepreneur, Terry Monaghan, publishes Now What, an ezine for entrepreneurs and professionals who want to double their productivity, improve their performance, and have a life! If you’re ready to jump start your performance and your results, then get your free tips now at http://www.TimeTriage.com.


3 things you can do to get (back) on track…

June 13, 2012

Have you ever set a goal, developed your plan, worked towards the goal and still found yourself way off course?

Yes, me too.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could just stay on plan, stay on course, and follow a very straight line from point A to point B?

There is a poster on my wall as I write this that has five different routes we each take to get where we are going:

  • two steps forward, one step back
  • stop, start, go, wait – now what?
  • the long (complicated, confusing) and winding road
  • the tornado with a life all its own
  • smooth sailing

We all hope for smooth sailing, but how often does that happen, really?

Isn’t it more like a dance with each of the steps playing their part?

So, what can we do when we are off course?

Step 1: Remember there is nothing wrong with being off course. Staying off course is another matter, but being off course is part of the journey. Since I have done a bit of flying recently, I was reminded that the plane is off course for much of the trip, but the autopilot is continually correcting and adjusting so that we land where we were supposed to. So, give yourself a break when you find yourself off course. Stop for a moment, get your bearings, and proceed.

Step 2: Keep your eyes on the goal! You always go in the direction you are focusing on. Are you focusing on your goal? Or, are you focusing on the obstacles? Your choice, of course, but which one will get you where you want to go?

Step 3: Don’t give up. Can you imagine where we would be if we gave up at the first sign (or the second or third) of adversity? We would have never learned to walk, and would be creeping around on our bellies. Heaven knows where we would be living – explorers would have not gone out exploring. We have all heard tales of those who gave up inches away from ultimate success – and I don’t know about you, but that isn’t the way I am going to be playing.

Because, really, don’t you want to get to those goals?

(c) Terry Monaghan, 2012, All Rights Reserved

Want to use this article in your ezine or website? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:
Consultant, coach, speaker, trainer and entrepreneur, Terry Monaghan, publishes Now What, an ezine for entrepreneurs and professionals who want to double their productivity, improve their performance, and have a life! If you’re ready to jump start your performance and your results, then get your free tips now at http://www.TimeTriage.com.


Back to the basics

July 14, 2010

Have you ever noticed that there are certain times of year that fly by? And other times just drag on forever? Summertime seems to be one of those times – alternately flying and dragging. Mostly flying though.

Have you already gotten summer brain? You know what I mean: it’s hot, it’s mid-July, everyone is on vacation (even those still at work), and it seems like there is no point doing anything because nothing is really going to get done until September.

I was thinking about some work I was doing with a client last year on planning. We were meeting in early June, and school was almost out for her kids. She wanted to create a great plan for the summer – one that allowed her to have a vacation as well as get all the work and other stuff done without being a stressed out maniac.

As we were talking, I started asking about what had to be done to get the kids ready for school in the Fall. At first, she was confused and didn’t even want to talk about that.

After all, school wasn’t even out for the summer yet, and I was asking her about the next school year!

But as we looked in more detail, it became clear that if she didn’t think and plan now for the end of the summer and the start of the school year, she would be that stressed out maniac sooner than she wanted to be.

In early June it can look like September is months away. And it is. But remember, summer flies by and September comes far sooner than we’d like.

By taking a little time right then, she was able to arrange the back to school medical checkups quickly. She also pulled together the rest of the paperwork the school always wants, and which always can’t be found in August.

So, when school let out the next week, she was able to take her summer long vacation with absolutely no concern about what had to be done when she returned. It was already planned, scheduled and would be waiting for her when the time came.

Planning. A schedule that works for you. These are two of the fundamentals I keep coming back to. They establish a foundation on which you can build your business, and your life. Without that foundation, you are building sandcastles. Beautiful to look at, and they can be quite elaborate and impressive. But not stable. Not lasting.

You can get a jump on everyone by taking a little time to refine your plans, to re-define your schedule, to look at how things are getting done.

When was the last time you inspected your foundation?

Shameless plug: I am re-running my Productivity Basics teleclasses in late July and early August. There will be two session on developing a schedule that works, one session on planning, and one session on taking control of your email. Details are available at EVENTS.

In the meantime, have a great summer – but remember – time flies!

(c) 2010, Terry Monaghan

Want to use this article in your ezine or website?
You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:
Consultant, coach, speaker, trainer and entrepreneur, Terry Monaghan, publishes Now What, a free weekly ezine for entrepreneurs and professionals who want to double their productivity, improve their performance, and have a life! If you’re ready to jump start your performance and your results, then get your free tips now at http://www.TimeTriage.com.


Do you take shortcuts?

May 5, 2010

I recently had a column published in the Washington Business Journal. The topic was Seven simple steps help you to plan projects. (Yes, I am very excited about being a guest columnist this year.)

Since planning is an essential element of most people’s work – and it is one element that can dramatically impact both results and the pervasive sense of overwhelm, it is a major piece of the foundation work I do with my clients.

A recent conversation with a couple of friends was quite telling. They are in the midst of planning a new focus and direction for their business, while at the same time being responsible for the business they have in process.

Have you ever done that? Have one project moving forward, and had to plan for a new project at the same time? Almost everyone has had that happen. Rarely do we have the luxury of working totally focused on just one thing, with everything else waiting patiently for that one project to get complete. (Oh, but don’t we wish that would happen?)

What was quite interesting was discovering that they had done some of the steps in the planning process, but not all of them. And, as a result they were driving each other crazy! She kept investigating additional potential avenues they could pursue to get where they wanted to go, while he kept worrying about what could go wrong both with what they were considering and with everything that was already in process.

The step they had skipped was the ‘provide for control’ aspect of the plan. This part involves brainstorming all the potential pitfalls and breakdowns in the project, as well as determining the milestones and timelines.

In most cases the potential pitfalls and breakdowns are easily identified and can just as easily be averted with a little thought. Think of it as disaster planning for your goals.

As my friends discovered, skipping this step just led to more anxiety. What was absolutely great about it was that one of them was automatically worrying about all the potential problems, while the other was actively investigating all the possible ways they could achieve their goals. All they had to do was sit down and talk – recognizing that each perspective was essential to the planning. Once they saw that they were able to have a conversation – letting his concern illuminate all the potential problems, and her focus add to the planning. They were just at different stages in the thinking process.And the different stages required different thinking.

It sure beats making each other wrong and driving each other nuts!

Where are you taking shortcuts? Where are you finding yourselves at odds with a partner or colleague? Is it possible you are having the same conversation, just from different perspectives?


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