Focus at Work is the Exception, Not the Rule

“You don’t get results by focusing on results. You get results by focusing on the actions that produce results.” - Mike Hawkins

It was named in the top 5 most sought-after soft skills employers look for in LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends 2019 report. Tim Ferriss (author of the 4-Hour Workweek) describes it as the key to his success. Why is time management having a resurgence of sorts?

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Perfect Workdays Rarely Happen by Accident

“Quality is never an accident. It is always the result of intelligent effort.” - John Ruskin

What’s your definition when determining a perfect workday? Is it an easy day, an enjoyable day or something else? I think of perfect workdays occurring when my plan to make an impact is executed like clockwork. When I feel like I’m in control while I’m achieving or making progress on targeted outcomes. It’s rare that perfect workdays happen by accident.

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How to increase focus and reduce work deadline stress before Xmas

“The biggest challenge is to stay focused. It's to have the discipline when there are so many competing things.” – Alexa Hirschfeld

What projects, outcomes, targets or deadlines do you need to achieve before Xmas? Chances are there’s more on your To-Do List than the time available. Are you on track or do you need refocus in the lead up to Xmas?

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What You Need to Know Before Writing a To-Do List

“Sometimes our stop-doing list needs to be bigger than our To-Do List” - Patti Digh

How effective do you manage your To-Do List? Do items reside there only for a short time before they’re actioned or is it more so a never-ending list that’s constantly growing causing frustration and even overwhelm? Did you know there’s a simple technique you can implement that will transform how you manage your To-Do List?

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Wasting Time is the Proven Way to Fail

“I do not want to waste any time. And if you are not working on important things, you are wasting time.” - Dean Kamen

Managing energy is more important than managing time (See: Is it more important to manage time or energy?). However, this doesn’t diminish the importance of managing time because the reality is both time and energy are important to our success. What’s apparent though is ineffective workers consistently demonstrate that wasting time is the proven way to fail.

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How to get back on track at work

“If you don't like how things are, change it! You're not a tree.” - Jim Rohn

You’re slaving away at work so why do you feel as if you’re constantly taking 1 step forward yet 2 steps backwards? Intuitively you know you should be spending 80% of your time on the key aspects of your role, but you’re so busy you can only find time for 15 – 20%. Surely there’s got to be a better way?

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The most powerful way to breakthrough productivity

“Knowledge isn’t power, applied knowledge is power” — Eric Thomas

Nike’s Just Do It slogan coined in 1988 is the company’s most successful campaign. So successful it helped catapult Nike to the next level as market share soared from 18% to 43% between 1988 – 1998.  What critical aspects of our lives should we apply a Just do It mindset to?

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Is the way you work how you want to be known?

“I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.” ― Stephen Covey

In Stephen Covey’s classic productivity books (First Things First and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People), Covey expressed the virtues of focusing on the most important work before the lesser important work and to prioritise based on importance instead of just urgency. While that might be the intent and preference for many workers, it’s not necessarily what they do. Is there a disconnect between how you work and what you want to be known for?

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An empty inbox shouldn’t be aspirational for everyone!

“A rigid, one-size-fits-all approach usually ends up fitting no one” – Patrick Lencioni

Every time management course I ever attended expounded the virtues of an empty inbox. I must admit that’s how I operate my work email account. However, just because I manage my email that way doesn’t mean everyone who I consult to should do the same. In fact, maintaining an empty inbox should not be aspirational for everyone.

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Get rid of the irrelevant time wasters

“Wasting time is robbing oneself” – Estonian proverb

If you’re like me then you have so many opportunities with what you do with the available hours each day and week. When I reflect on how the days roll into weeks and the weeks into months, I find it’s important not to waste time because there is so much to do and so much I want to do. Well, I have a confession to make. I don’t have much patience for people who unnecessarily waste my time. What or who are wasting your time?

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Does the way you work enable your best work?

“When I perform, I'm just very much just being myself” – India Arie

We have our likes, dislikes, preferences, even obsessions. Well, I’m obsessed with helping people work effectively. My passion comes from experiencing what was essentially a breakdown in 2006 caused by working relentless long hours but ineffectively. My whole world changed when I learnt that by working smarter I could be more effective in less time. I’m in a position where every week I meet workers who limit their success and job satisfaction due to the way they work. Does the way you work enable you to consistently produce your best work?

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Are you resisting the opportunity to work smarter?

“What got you here won’t get you there” — Marshall Goldsmith

How we work is engrained. We default to what seems natural each day but especially so during busy periods or when pressure is at its highest. It sounds good in theory but it's not for the workers who have ineffective work methods. Are you resisting the opportunity to work smarter?

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How to stop wasting time at work

“You either waste, spend or invest time. Make your choice wisely” - Sunday Adelaja

How much time do you waste at work? Come on be honest, whether it’s on purpose or by accident, you’ll be wasting some time each week. If you’re not, then you’re in the minority because according to a Forbes study, 89% of people waste time at work. What can be done to limit the amount of time wasted?

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Do you invest or waste time?

“Invest time, don’t spend it” – Jeffrey Gitomer

In the early 2000’s “Invest Don’t Spend” was 1 of 10 guiding principles my employer (System Software Associates) embedded within the culture of the organisation. “Invest Don’t Spend” essentially meant that return on investment (ROI) applied to everything. It was framed as “would you spend the money if it was your business?” The same logic can be applied to what gets our attention. How much time do you invest towards driving targeted outcomes versus wasting throughout each day and week?

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Is it scalable and sustainable?

“A successful product may not be scalable, a successful process always is” - Faisal Khosa

As part of my job I get to see how people go about their work. Not surprisingly, the extremes range from very good through to very bad. While a number of factors come into play in determining whether an approach is good or bad, a good place to start is to ask: “Is it scalable and sustainable?”

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How to achieve the important outcomes

“Setting a goal is not the main thing. It is deciding how you will go about achieving it and staying with that plan.” - Tom Landry
 

In my line of work, I get to meet and support many workers who either have the right intent but struggle to make progress, who would like to do better or who are feeling overwhelmed. While 65% of executives say the overwhelmed employee is an urgent problem (Source: Deloitte Human Capital Trends report), a far greater percentage aren’t maximising their potential. How can you achieve more of the important outcomes?

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What slows you down?

“Time is money” – Benjamin Franklin

Unfortunately, becoming more productive is easier said than done. There are no magic tricks to success - it’s a matter of combining knowledge with action each day to form habits. It can be easy to get bogged down at work due to the constant stream of deadlines, challenging targets and urgent demands for our attention. However, many workers unknowingly impede their own progress.

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The simple decision to making progress everyday

“Failing to plan is planning to fail” - Alan Lakein

How’s the New Year kicked off? Are you making progress or are you falling behind already? Why is it that 10 workers can have the same intent but only 6 of them achieve what they set out to do? There’s a multitude of reasons but the answer frequently comes down to a simple decision of scheduling when to take action. It may seem too simple to be true, but the positive impact from working from a carefully thought out calendar is profound.

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