Keep It Simply Simple
One of the biggest challenges successful professionals face is achieving simplicity. Entrepreneurs live so closely with their work that the complexities of life can, and often do, spill over into work life. Managers that nurture and grow the employees they manage get so bogged down in the needs of others, they forget to do the same for themselves. Use KISS to Keep It Simply Simple!
The worst time to add more to your plate is when it is already full. Trying to take on new ventures or pushing the limits of your productivity takes some preparation. No matter how you try, you cannot add more to an already full cup of tea without making a mess! You have to make room for it, but how?
You could drink the tea or eat the food on your plate, but if they were delicious, they wouldn’t be sitting there…
Here’s are 3 of my most common tips for helping owners and entrepreneurs find clarity during a maelstrom:
The 4 D’s: Do, Defer, Delegate, Delete
If you ever said, “I have so many emails in my Inbox, I don’t know where to start!” you will REALLY appreciate this one. I learned this trick from the Regional Director at the Dept of Revenue; I think she probably received 1,500 emails every day!
Every time you open an email, use one of the D's on it so that it is no longer in a pending status waiting for you to do something with it. Here are your choices:
1. Do – If it can be done right away ‘Do’ what the email has requested. Depending on how many emails you have to get through, consider putting a time limit, too. For example, “Do” the task if it can be done right away and takes less than 5 minutes. This preserves the time you’ve set aside to get your emails cleaned up.
2. Defer – Longer task? ‘Defer’ it until it can be accomplished. Be sure to calendar big projects (see ‘Calendaring’ below)
3. Delegate – Group emails can be clog up your inbox with FYIs that don’t require action and requests that we pass through to someone else. Don’t let these break your stride! Assign appropriately right away to prevent becoming a bottle neck.
4. Delete – This is my favorite! If it’s not serving you DELETE IT. Is it a newsletter you haven’t read in 6 months? Be sure you also unsubscribe to save you time in the future.
Stop Scheduling and Start Calendaring
What’s the difference? I think of scheduling as a repetition of events. Look at the American Sign Language sign for schedule for example. It looks like he’s drawing cage bars with his fingers!!! Why put myself in schedule jail by forcing myself to repeat meaningless tasks?
Calendaring is reserving time for a specific purpose, not just setting deadlines. When you have a big science project, you don’t finish it all in one setting. First, there’s research, then experimentation, observation, and finally a conclusion. If you schedule “science project due” on April 15th there’s a good chance the due date will arrive before you even begin working. Instead, you’d calendar 4 hours of research on April 4th, experimentation Apr 5-8, observation Apr 11th, etc. Once you start calendaring, respect the plan you’ve laid out for yourself and you’ll find it easier to conform with a schedule that makes sense for YOU!
If It Has To Be NOW It Has to Be "NO!"
Saying “No” is not an easy skill to learn. I meet people every day that have taken on so many responsibilities simply because they could not turn someone down. On the other hand, we accept no as an answer more readily when presented with a reason why not. While I do not promote this as a solution, an easy out is to give a reason why the answer is no. One decision making tool my father taught me was that if the answer has to be now, the answer has to be no. If someone is pressuring you for an answer and not giving you time to think, try it. Say it aloud and see how the person responds to your logical (and well-rehearsed) statement about needing time to think. Then go with your gut. Trust yourself and don’t let pressure get you off your thinking game!
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