Archive for December, 2011



This is the time of year when people look back and see things that they haven’t accomplished and know that there’s no time left in the year to get it done.  You might be looking back and doing that very thing.  You may have unfinished things on your plate because you didn’t follow your plan, or maybe because you didn’t have a plan at all.  No matter the reason, it’s time to let it go, stop beating yourself up and move forward.  As you look back and see things you didn’t do, determine what you can do right now, if anything, and then what can be done during the month of January to get that ball rolling again and get it done.  Create your plan then work it.

If you’ve had the kind of year where things didn’t get done or you struggled to get things done and you’re serious about your business, it’s time to get things in gear.  2012 is coming in fast and it packs a punch.  It’s time out for all of the mediocrity and playing small.  There is absolutely no place for that any longer and you’ve got to be ready to take things on.   One mistake I see people make every year is making resolutions.  Don’t get me wrong, making resolutions is not a bad thing, but what happens is that they don’t last, simply because they don’t have staying power.

Resolutions serve their purpose, but they are weak.  Resolutions are declarations, something that you might do; your desires, hopes and intentions. They are in raw form and really are catalysts for what you want to see happen.  It’s great to have them, but they need to be morphed into goals.
Goals, when created properly, are rock solid.  They have the staying power needed to make what you desire come to life.  Goals are specific things that you actually commit yourself to; they are based upon your values.  They are S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound), have the utmost clarity and involve accountability, mindset, motivation, self discipline as well as a detailed plan to carry them out.

As you look forward to this new year, take those resolutions and give them the shot in the arm that they need to come to life.  Make the time to turn them into goals and create your detailed plan to see them come to fruition.  Your resolutions aren’t going to be a match for 2012.  You need goals and a plan if you really want your business to do well this coming year.  Don’t take your resolutions into this next year.  Stop playing small and step up to the plate and play the game for real by turning your resolutions into goals.  2012 is here and it’s game time.  What are your goals?  Where’s your plan?  Your playing small does not serve the world.


We all are interrupted throughout the course of our workday, by people and by things that may not necessarily always be in our control.  No matter what the interruption is or how many of them we encounter during our day, if you want to have a very productive day, you have to get a handle on managing those interruptions.   Get ahead of the game and start by preventing interruptions before they occur.

When you control interruptions and eliminate distractions in your day, you have more time to work on the things that matter.  Look at the things that keep interrupting your day or keep you from working on what matters most.  What are the things that interrupt you the most and why? What’s interrupting you right now?  What can you do to put a stop to that distraction?

If you can’t answer this question right away, keep track over the period of one week of what is interrupting you and the reason for each interruption.  Also make a note of how much time you spend on each distraction.  At the end of the week, add up the accumulated time spent on the distractions. As you review your list, ask yourself what you can do to stop the various distractions.

One common interruption is the telephone.  It may not always be possible to not take phone calls or answer the phone, but there are times that it’s possible to have someone take messages, let the calls go to voice mail or place the phone on do not disturb and return calls later in the day.  This is especially helpful when you’re working on one of your top priority items.  You can keep working and know that you can still address the needs of those on the other end of the phone, just not right at that time.

Coworkers present another common interruption.  It might be that they come to your workspace or office because they need something from you.  To cut down on those interruptions, change your habits.  When someone enters your space, ask them what they need and let them know that if it’s something that will only take a few minutes, you can stop and help them right then; if it’s going to take longer, find out what it is that they need and set a time to talk to them or to get them what they need a little later in the day.  This helps keep you on track with your top priorities and keeps your day flowing.

Others may stop by because they want to chat about their weekend or something that happened.  It’s easy to get caught up in it, but it costs you precious time and brings your productivity level down.  If you have an extra chair in your office and you don’t want to remove it, try placing a personal item such as your briefcase or coat in it to stop people from coming in and sitting down.  If they have to stand, they may be inclined to spend less time in your office, but once they sit down, they are likely to spend more time visiting.  People are less likely to move personal items to sit down.

If you have an office, close the door occasionally to help curb interruptions.  For example, I used to do payroll at a job that I had some time ago, which is something where there was no room for error.  The problem was that I had multiple interruptions.  My remedy was to close my office door from the time I started the payroll process until I finished and then deal with the requests that people had after that.  That became my habit.  My coworkers got into the habit of not disturbing me on Monday mornings.  If they forgot and came to my office, they remembered that the closed door on a Monday meant that I was busy with payroll, and they could come back in a couple of hours.  They also came to know that if the door was closed at any other time that I couldn’t help them right then, but would be available later on.

These may seem like simple actions to take, but they are quite effective.  You develop new habits around interruptions and begin to learn how to handle them effectively and others begin to respect your time.  You will be surprised at how much these simple things can help increase your productivity level.

 


As a society, we waste a lot of things including time. Most of the things we waste we have in excess, but not time.  We each get the same amount of time each day and once it’s gone it’s gone for good.

How much of your time are you wasting?  Do you honestly know where your time is going?  Are you wasting the estimated 2 hours of time that most people waste every day?  That 2 hours every day can add up pretty fast.  The truth of the matter is that most people don’t really know where their time is actually going every day.   So, how do you know you’re wasting a significant amount of your precious time?  Here are a few indicators:

  • Messy desk, cluttered work space, things not filed
  • Not being able to find things
  • Missing, being late for or often rescheduling appointments
  • Arriving to meetings unprepared
  • Tired and/or unable to concentrate

If these indicators are present, it’s time to get the clutter off of your desk, file things in an orderly manner and start planning ahead of time.  It’s also time to get a hold on your time.  Start by logging your time each day.  From the beginning of your work day to the end, log how you’re spending your time including the time that you spend on the phone, time online, and everything else that you do during the course of your day.

Do this for about a week then look back at your time log.  What do you see?  You might see that you spent 4 hours on a major project, but you know that 30 minutes of that time was spent looking for something related to it before you could even get started.  Maybe phone calls lasted longer than necessary and instead of it taking 15 minutes to make a couple of quick phone calls, you spent 30 or 45.  Perhaps you jumped into your inbox first thing in the morning (not a good habit by the way) and when you looked up you had spent over an hour and hadn’t gotten anything done.

Look at the things that are sucking up your time and create solutions for them.  That might mean organizing your office space and or files so that you can locate things when you need them or setting a couple of designated times to check your email each day instead of diving in first thing and going back whenever your email notification goes off.  As you look at how you’re spending your time, look to see if things are balanced.  You might see that you’re spending more time on administrative things and not so much time on your marketing.  Once you know where your time is going you know where to start to gain control of it and manage it well.

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