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productivity

Mastering Time Management

distraction at work, time management

It’s powerful having email, chat and browsing at our finger tips. It’s also incredibly distracting. Technology is helping create an attention-deficit society where almost everyone complains about not having enough time and being too busy. Strengthening your time management skills is also a matter or strengthening your attention management skills. If you often hear yourself saying “I’m too busy”, it’s time to evaluate your situation and commit to some new time and attention management skills.

Evaluate Your Current Situation

Start by identifying your current time and attention management effectiveness. When you struggle to get things done, what do you think causes is? Are you experiencing constant interruptions? Are you lacking a prioritized to-do list? When you do successfully manage your time, what do you do differently? If you know what to work on, that’s half the battle.

  • For instance, you might have good time management in your home life, but lack the ability to get your tasks done at work. So what’s different at the office? Are phone calls, emails and other people taking your attention away from your tasks? Have you neglected to block time into your calendar to focus on your to-do’s? Are you working on your most important tasks when you’re most alert and productive or do these get left until last when you’re most tired?

Step back and examine, objectively, how you’re managing your time and attention and I’m sure you’ll discover what you can do differently. 

Use these techniques to strengthen your time management skills
  1. Confront procrastination. “Procrastination is the thief of time” Edward Young (1683–1765). Procrastination is a symptom of an underlying issue. Ask yourself why you’re putting things off. What’s the root cause of your procrastination? Resolve the root problem and the symptom will go away.
  • Perhaps you’re expecting too much out of yourself and feeling overwhelmed. It’s okay, and even more productive, to take breaks. Then, when it’s time to work, you’ll feel refreshed and motivated to get the job done.
  • The root cause is often a fear. Regarding the project you are putting off, what are you afraid of? Identify and face the fear and the procrastination will go away.
  1. Get organized. It’s easy to waste time if you can’t find things, or if you aren’t sure what task you’re supposed to be working on. Organize your workspace and eliminate clutter. Set goals, create action steps and schedule when you will work on each action step. You must know WHAT you’re working on, HOW you will complete it and WHEN you will work on it.
  2. Work when you are most productive. When in your day do you perform at your best? Schedule your most intensive thinking activities for when you feel fresh and best able to think. Turn off your phone and email and give yourself a set period of time to work. Once you complete the task, you’ll enjoy a sense of satisfaction and then you won’t be as bothered if the rest of the day falls apart because you have completed one of your important tasks.
  3. Learn to delegate. When it’s appropriate, delegate tasks in order to save yourself time for things only you can do. One of my clients used to say “I hold my people able”. Your team might not complete the task exactly the way you would, but with clear delegation on your part, you should only need to review the completed work while saving yourself the time of doing it yourself.
  4. Celebrate your wins. It’s easy to focus on what’s wrong, what’s outstanding and what the next problem is. Take a moment each day to acknowledge your wins. Look at what you have accomplished (no matter how small). Celebrating your wins will keep you in a positive frame of mind and will increase your productivity day after day.

We all have the same 24 hours in a day. Your productivity is a direct function of how well you manage your time, tasks and attention. Commit yourself to being focused and attentive. Take action in alignment with your commitment and you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish!

 

Laura Watson, ACC, MSW is President of Venture Coaching Inc. Laura was a 2018 Woman of Inspiration Finalist and a finalist for the 2010 Canadian Coach of the Year Award. Venture Coaching provides Business Coaching , and Life and Leadership coaching programs to entrepreneurs so they can love their life and business! Venture Coaching provides the tools, process and support to accelerate your business and personal growth.


Triple Your Productivity: 7 Secrets of Being Productive

When looking at a long to-do list, it’s easy to think that there’s not enough time to get everything done. Actually, there is. The problem is, you’re wasting too much time and spending your time on the wrong things. There are CEO’S who run multiple companies simultaneously and still have time for dinner with the family each night. They have learned and practice the secrets of productivity.

The 7 Secrets of Being Productive:

1) Learn how you waste time. We can’t change what we’re unaware of. Determine how you waste time at work and home. Keep a time journal for 1 week. Document what you do all day. Notice when you’re letting meetings or phone calls run overtime. Notice when you’re sick of work, tired, bored, or stressed.

  • For your own education, keep a timer at your desk. Keep track of how much valuable work you do each day. This doesn’t include time spent checking your email, looking out the window, chatting with a coworker, or drinking coffee.

2) Eliminate distractions. While some people can concentrate with chaos all around them, most of us do our best work with as few distractions as possible. Control what you can in your environment. Turn off your phone! Open email at designated times you determine! The fewer distractions you have, the more you will accomplish.

3) Prioritize your priorities. If you have 10 priorities, you don’t have any priorities at all. Develop a list each evening of your three top priorities for the next day. Do everything you can to accomplish those three things. Avoid wasting time each morning trying to determine how you’ll spend your day. You should already know when you wake up.

  • Priorities are often mini projects with a number of action steps needed to accomplish them. Break your priorities down into those action steps. Then, book your action steps into your calendar like an appointment. It’s not enough to know WHAT you’re going to do, you also need to know WHEN you’re going to do it.

4) Spend time on the most effective actions. There’s a difference between being busy and being effective. Imagine you’re having a dinner party and your house is a mess. You could be busy cleaning out your bedroom closet, but that’s not accomplishing much in this instance.

  • All activities aren’t equal. Spend your time doing the most important things, even if they’re the least enjoyable. If your activity is not enjoyable, do it first thing in the morning when you’re most fresh.

5) Take regular breaks. You might be able to work hard from 8am to noon, but you’ll have nothing left in the afternoon. Studies have shown that taking a 10-minute break each hour greatly increases productivity over a full day.

  • Give yourself an even longer break every few hours. You’ll stay fresh and find your ability to focus is less-compromised later in the day (to learn more, check out the Pomodomo Technique)

6) Develop a morning routine. Productive people follow a morning routine. Get out of bed early and get your day started productively. Have a good breakfast, exercise, meditate, or do whatever else will get you primed for the day.

  • Apply the same concept to work. Have a work routine that addresses those tasks you do each day. Plan them, book them in your calendar and get them done. This way, you have control over your day instead of your day controlling you.

7) Choose the best time for each activity in your life. Do you go shopping at the most convenient time, or do you go when everyone else is at the store? You could save a lot of time by going after 7pm in the middle of the week or early on Sunday morning.

  • Consider how and when you do things. Could they be done in a better way or at a better time?

 

We all have the same 24 hours in a day. How will you use yours?

I’ve helped many of my clients to get more done with the time they have. Together we evaluate how you’re using your time, both productively and unproductively. We find your weak spots and I provide tools and resources to help you get more done in less time, while also delegating more effectively. If you’re ready to take on your time management, contact me and I’ll be happy to help!

 


The Science of Goal Setting

goal setting for business

Goal setting seems simple on the surface. You define what you’d like to accomplish and take the necessary steps to make those accomplishments a reality.

Setting and achieving a goal is more than simply deciding and wishing. Each year, millions of people set New Year’s resolutions. Few of those people are still on track after just 10 days.

 

If setting and achieving goals were easy, there would be more happy, successful people running around. How many people do you know who are happy and pleased with their lives? Not very many. If you’re looking to take your life and business to the “next level” you need to master setting and achieving goals.

Set goals and achieve them more reliably:

  1. Set goals that are meaningful. Many people waste time with goals that don’t mean very much to them. Life is short, so create goals that fill you with excitement when you think about achieving them. Reaching any goal requires change, and humans are innately resistant to change. Big changes require a lot of motivation. Set goals that mean a lot to you.
  2. Use small, incremental behavioral changes. Change can be done easily if the changes are small. This requires patience.
  • Imagine someone attempting to make an overnight change from a diet of fast food, soda, potato chips, and ice cream to one of beans, vegetables, and fruit. His mind and body would revolt. It’s far easier to make small changes each week until the transformation is complete.
  1. Be accountable. Rewards are pleasant and effective if the reward continues. Behavioral changes tend to extinguish when rewards are no longer provided. It can be more effective to make yourself accountable for your poor behavior. For example, each time you skip going to the gym, you give $10 to a charity you don’t like or you wash a friend’s car.
  • Negative consequences are more motivating for many people. Use this fact to your advantage. How could you punish yourself for non-compliance? Make a list of at least 10 ways.
  1. Keep goals believable. Is it possible to increase your earnings from $50k this year to $1 million? It’s possible, but it’s not likely. And if you believe it’s unlikely, you’re unlikely to even try. The perfect goal is challenging, but not so challenging that you feel overwhelmed.
  2. Track your progress. Measuring your progress is extremely important. It provides information on how well you’re doing. You can’t know if you’re making progress toward your goal if you don’t measure it. You can shift your strategy if you realize that you’re not doing well.
  • It can also provide a boost of enthusiasm and positivity. When you’re making progress, you feel excited.
  1. Be prepared for setbacks. Achieving any goal is rarely a smooth process. There will be bad days with poor results. Rather than reject your goal when the going gets tough, be prepared for failures.
  • Have a plan in place to deal with failure and frustration. You might call a friend or remind yourself of the purpose of achieving the goal. Reviewing your success so far can also help.
  • It also pays to take preventative action. For example, if you know you’re likely to cheat on your diet later in the evening, have some healthy snacks available that you enjoy. Or head to bed earlier and enjoy some extra free time in the morning.

Goals are necessary if you want to consciously change your life. Everything else is a matter of luck and circumstance. Most people struggle to set and achieve goals. I frequently help business owners set and take action on goals so they can move forward, faster!

If you’re struggling to set goals or to follow through with your goals, consider taking advantage of my FREE coaching session. I’d love to help you get yourself back on track!

 

Laura Watson, ACC, MSW is President of Venture Coaching Inc. Laura is currently nominated for the 2018 Woman of Inspiration Award and she was a finalist for the 2010 Canadian Coach of the Year Award. Venture Coaching provides Business Coaching , and Life and Leadership coaching programs to entrepreneurs so they can love their life and business! Venture Coaching provides the tools, process and support to accelerate your business and personal growth.

 


Procrastination: 8 Unique Cures

procrastination

Most everyone procrastinates. However, some of us are better at dealing with procrastination than others. You’re not alone if you procrastinate. The people who get things done are more effective at minimizing procrastination. You don’t have to remain a master of procrastination. You can choose to be a master of productivity!

 

Facts about procrastination (according to Psychology Today)
  1. 20% of people identify themselves as procrastinators
  2. procrastination is a form of self-sabotage
  3. procrastination can become a profound problem with self-regulation
  4. procrastination is not a time management problem, it’s a self-image problem
  5. procrastinators are made, not born. Procrastination is often learned from our family of origin, it’s often a response to an authoritarian parent and it can be a form of rebellion.
There are 3 types of procrastinators
  1. Arousal Types: thrill-seekers who leave things to the last minute and get a rush from cramming
  2. Avoiders: those who avoid fear of failure (or success), they worry about what others think of them and prefer to be seen as someone who lacks effort vs someone who lacks ability
  3. Decisional: those who can’t make a decision. By not making a decision, we absolve ourselves of responsibility for the outcome
Costs of Procrastination
  1. Health: procrastination compromises our immune system and generates gastrointestinal problems
  2. Insomnia: as we lay awake and worry about what we’re not doing
  3. Stress: as we worry and beat ourselves up for procrastinating
  4. Relationships: procrastination shifts the burden of responsibility onto others (ie. co-workers), which creates resentment, destroys teamwork and ruins morale
8 Unique Cures For Procrastination
  1. Put your procrastination to good use. Consider what you do when you procrastinate. You perform one activity in lieu of performing another activity that you should be doing. Create a list that includes a couple of reasonable, but awful, tasks that you can add to your to-do list. You’ll then procrastinate on those tasks and perform the tasks you need to accomplish.
  2. Get to a new location. Head to the library, park, or coffee shop. You could even move to a different area of the house or find a vacant office at your workplace. A change of scenery can often minimize the tendency to procrastinate. Part of your brain associates procrastination with your usual hangouts, like your desk.
  3. Use a timer and a very short time frame. Getting started is often the most challenging part. It’s surprising how easy it is to complete a task versus taking the first step. Set a timer for two minutes and see how much you can get done. Two minutes is too much? Try one minute.  Have a list of steps and begin on the first one. When you have a list, you won’t waste any mental energy trying to figure out what to do first.
  4. Try working at an unusual time. Get out of bed at 5 AM and see how much you can get done before your normal wake-up time. Try staying up late and see what happens. Shake up your routine and you’ll be less likely to engage in your old habits.
  5. Focus on enhancing your mood. You procrastinate when you feel bad, and the thought of performing the task makes you feel even worse. You’ll do just about anything that you think will make you feel better. Work on enhancing your mood and you’ll be less likely to procrastinate.
  6. Give your friend money. You may have enlisted the assistance of a friend in the past, but did you do it in the most effective way? Instead of telling your friend that you’ll give her $50 if you don’t complete your to-do list by Friday, give her the money upfront. You only get your money back if you’re successful. It changes the dynamic significantly.
  7. Give yourself a big reward. Make completing the task as positive as possible. Instead of viewing a task as painful, you’ll begin to view it as desirable. Promise yourself a day off, a meal at your favorite restaurant, or a massage.
  8. Take on the bigger task of shifting your self-image. If telling yourself, “I’m a procrastinator” sounds familiar, it means this is how you identify yourself. If this is the case, the cures above will help you temporarily but will not likely create long-lasting, permanent change. Instead, you need to shift your self-image by adopting a new image of yourself and acting in alignment with this new image.
  • Ask yourself: “who do I have to BE to live the life I want?” and “who I have to BE to produce the results I want?”
  • Create a new way of being for yourself. Instead of telling yourself “I’m a procrastinator”, re-invent yourself as, “I’m productive (or committed, or dedicated, or disciplined).

Don’t let procrastination continue to be the thief of time! Take on new behaviors in the short term and for the long term, work to shift your identity. Shifting your identity will address the core issue at hand, it will make you a master of productivity and will give you long-lasting change that will impact every area of your life and business!

 

If you’re ready to stop procrastinating, call Laura Watson at: 877-669-8684 for a free coaching consult. You can also email her: Laura@VentureCoaching.ca

Laura Watson, ACC, MSW is President of Venture Coaching Inc., and was a finalist for the 2010 Canadian Coach of the Year Award. Venture Coaching provides Business Coaching , and Life and Leadership coaching programs to entrepreneurs so they create success without sacrifice! Venture Coaching provides the tools, process and support to accelerate your business and personal growth.


Is Your Technology Distracting You? Here’s What to Do

technology is distracting usClients often tell me they can’t get anything done because their email, phone calls and texting is pulling them away from their work. They feel constantly distracted, unproductive and at the mercy of their technology. What they forget is that they are in charge of technology, not the other way around!

Failing to notice this and failing to take corrective action against these tendencies and behaviors, is interfering with your ability to perform.

Recognizing you have a problem with overusing or chronically getting distracted by technology is the first step to solving the problem. It’s a dilemma most entrepreneurs face to some degree.

If you think technology is taking charge of you instead of you being in charge of it, there are ways to successfully manage this. Click through to our linked article for 4 strategies for taking back control!

Read more…

 


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