Lead Well: Get Back in Sync

I’m a little out of whack at the moment. I don’t seem to have a good rhythm or flow to my week and it is frustrating me.

There are legitimate reasons for this. I’m covering some extra responsibilities so my week is a little more full than usual. But this just demonstrates more reasons to make sure the flow is right. 

When I’m out of sync I am less productive. Don’t get me wrong, stuff still gets done but I flit from one thing to the next, trying to do multiples tasks at once and this is never the best way for me to approach my day.  Posts don’t get written. The book just seems to take ages to finish off. Each day seems to own me.

Being out of sync equals increased levels of agitation and frustration. 

When I’m in sync the opposite is true, productivity levels go up. My focus is better. I have a clean desk and clarity of thinking. The right things get the right focus at the right time.

Being in sync equals increased levels of enjoyment towards the work I am doing.

It doesn’t take much to get back on track, to re-align my working week. 4 things usually help me…

Plan ahead. This is not about having the mother of all to-do lists although that can help. It’s more to do with knowing what are the things which only I can do and which tasks can be delegated. This involves taking some time out to review projects and tasks I currently have ongoing and marking them in one of 4 ways – for me NOW, for me LATER, for someone else NOW, for someone else LATER.

6 by 6 idea. Every now and then I do this Pastor Bill Hybels idea. What are the 6 things which need my attention in the next 6 weeks? These are the projects, tasks or people who should be receiving the greatest of my time and investment.

Sort the diary. Block times in – for actually getting stuff done. Make sure meetings are needed and then don’t overrun. We may not all be systems people but the diary can help create and protect a good flow for the week.

Say NO to some stuff. This can be the hardest thing to do but often the most powerful. It may only be for a season but if it helps make the best use of your time and increases your effectiveness, then NO may have to become my best friend for a while.

This is just my thinking of where I am right now and how to get myself back on the front foot and feeling a little more focussed and productive in all the right areas. Starts tomorrow when I’m back in the office after a few days off. 

What do you do to get yourself back on track?

Leadership Admin ~ 5 Things Which Help Me [When I Remember]

We all have unique gifts and personalities. Some of us love a good ‘system’ more than another but if we desire to be people of influence in any avenue of life then there are probably a few ‘admin’ skills which we should give our attention to.

Keep the Big Picture in View – I have the vision up on the wall. It reminds me every day what we are doing.

Remove Distractions – maybe give your phone to someone else and stop checking emails all the time. Even a good old-fashioned ‘Do Not Disturb’ on the door can help in getting that one thing completed. 

Know What’s Going On – good leaders have an awareness of what’s going. Capture thoughts, comments, ideas all the time. Be ahead of the game. Know what’s happening and what needs to happen too. 

Know What To Work On – occasionally the mother of all ‘to do lists’ will be written out and then attacked. Do what only you can do and work at trying to delegate the rest. 

Take Notes, Answer Emails & Ask Questions – always amazed at people turning up to meetings with no method of capturing what’s being talked about. Don’t rely on others for this. Great leaders note stuff down. They input when requested either by email or in person and they can think of questions too. 

Be a better leader and get some administration into your world. Whatever works for you, just work that out and increase your leadership leverage. 

What do you already use to help ‘admin’ you as a leader?

5 Tips for Getting Things Done

One of the most common ways we are measured in life is by our ability to get things done. Are we succeeding or failing? Have we finished the project or are we lagging behind? There are literally thousands of books and articles out there all trying to give us some advice about how to improve our time management, our ability to prioritise, to make key decisions and achieve great success.

Leaders get things done. Don’t say you are naturally disorganised. A leaders ability to organise will be a determining factor in their levels of productivity.

Here are my 5 tips for helping you to get things done:

Focus. Know what is most urgent and important and do those things first. There is no right way to do this. Some people use a to-do list and then rank them, others use a grid distinguishing between urgent/non-urgent and important/non-important. Whatever model you choose, stick to it.

I have found it useful to learn when is your best time of day for getting things done and do the big tasks then. For me that’s normally first thing in the office. By 3pm I’m starting to drift and the bigger projects become too much. Then I move to the other activities, items on the list that don’t take quite so long.

Fresh air. It is suggested by experts that we work in cycles of about 90 minutes. After this our attention will begin to wander. Best thing to do – move away from the desk, go for a walk, get some fresh air. Times like these can also help you think about things without any other distractions.

Follow through. Complete the task. We can have a tendency to get to about 80% done and then shelf it until it screams at us to be completed. Just be determined to get it done, then you can fully focus on the next activity.

Fun. Don’t be so task orientated that you lose your sense of fun. Make sure you have a laugh with colleagues or reward yourself when the job is finished. I will use coffee & cake as a great incentive. When I have completed this task then and only then do I have permission to go grab a treat.

Flexibility. Be ready for interruptions. It can be annoying when you are trying to get stuff done that people keep calling on your time, however the opposite to being flexible is being rigid. In becoming rigid, we can become brittle, and then when the pressure increases because things are not getting done, we snap. Stay flexible. Stuff happens, people will ask for a moment.

In fact a better route is to actually plan for interruptions, allow for it in the schedule, make the appointments yourself. Be proactive in filling your time rather than reactive. I promise you, all the tasks will still get finished.

What do you do to make sure you get things done?