As you age the challenges of managing your time seem to grow more every day. I guess this should not be a big surprise because the older you get…the more you realize that your “time” is limited. So maybe it’s appropriate for this reason and maybe more for all of us to give TIME MANAGEMENT some special attention this week!
First think about where time management challenges come from. Are most of them generated by employment…family…personal finance…or unforeseen life issues? Second try and determine if certain circumstances drive more time management issues to you or does your life/work style build the incidence of endless challenges and thereby rob you of quality time.
I believe everyone…EVERYONE should seriously assess and personally redesign their own TIME MANAGEMENT strategy…monthly! Creatively addressing the issue of TIME MANAGEMENT on a “keep it fresh” and pre-planned basis is a professionally strong activity. We talked about it before…the speed of change…advances in technology…and a global economy…all demand a persistent TIME MANAGEMENT effectiveness review.
Ok, ok…I can hear the question: What specific TIME MANAGEMENT considerations do I employ? Well, consider these:
- Prioritize completing tasks that enable co-workers to advance their work.
- Perfection doesn’t exist…so do a good job and move on.
- Take on a leader mindset…and don’t allow for time wasting distractions/discussions.
- If you are unsure of what tasks are most important…ask management.
- Minimize multi-tasking…it often reduces product/service quality.
One last thought: My grandpa used to remind me to not waste or give away your time…”cause it comes to you in a limited amount”.
One of the more challenging professional development areas I frequently become involved in is having discussions about the critical need for everyone to: “Finish The Starts”. What am I talking about? Specifically, the topic of “Finish The Starts” deals with those in the world of work that really enjoy taking on a new project or different area of responsibility…but never seem to totally finish tasks they start. Instead, they work real hard and get an assignment to a solid level of completion…and it is looking good…but then they jump to another new or unfinished work area!
This “Finish The Starts” workplace phenomenon seems to affect all occupational areas. Administration, construction workers, techno-builders, maintenance/custodial people, educators, elected public officials, farmers and the list goes on. And remember individually they are all well intentioned, quality workers…they just need to be encouraged and reminded that they need to “Finish The Starts”!
Therefore, the goal of this week’s TRIPLE III TIME “Finish The Starts” message is to simply offer a special TOP 10 list of thoughts on how to improve addressing this issue:
- Always remember completion of one start allows another new start to better begin.
- Prioritizing finishes sets a good workplace example.
- Too many starts…equals too few finishes.
- It is OK for co-workers and supervisors to promote “Finish The Starts” as a priority to employees.
- Share your Finish versus Starts strategies to ensure everyone understands.
- If appropriate delegate Finish or Start actions to improve progress in both sectors.
- Don’t assume co-workers/supervisors can read your mind and understand/support your Finish/Start work diversity style…JUST SAY IT!
- Asking for “Finish The Starts” advice from colleagues shows leadership.
- Multiple starts with limited finishes may reflect poor time management.
- Remember: HALF DONE is just that…HALF DONE!
Bottomline: I believe everyone gets caught-up in the “Finish The Starts” challenge from time to time. So keep these TOP 10 handy just in case.
Transition and new age expectations are part of all aspects of our work/life activities. And although our August Inspiring Innovations LEARNING MOMENTS podcast topic about communication options sounds simple: “On Paper or Online?” … in practice it is often confusing on which option would be best.
This month we take a practical common-sense approach to discussing the use of traditional paper communication practices versus the ever improving online, social media options. Shelf-life, age and shareability are all part of this Inspiring Innovations LEARNING MOMENTS message.
Listen closely… I know it will help!
We have all heard the expression: “YOU Make Your Own GOOD LUCK!” And you have also heard the statements:
*”I have the worst luck…things never go my way!”
*”I tried everything but I am someone where good luck just doesn’t come my way!”
And what if you do a quick self-assessment…which statement best exemplifies your style/position?
I am a total believer in the phrase: YOU Make Your Own Good Luck! Why? Because as you take on certain work/life projects…your attitude/approach will very much dictate the LUCK you feel. Your positive approach/statements will be infectious and will cause others to contribute quality positiveness to your cause.
Also, the progressive energy you generate will cause you to look and research other good opportunities that may be related to your initiative and that too will convey a GOOD LUCK message. Additionally people are naturally attracted to positive people. As a result, the potential for them to bring with them GOOD LUCK opportunities and cool experiences goes way up.
Building and having a “YOU Make Your Own GOOD LUCK! attitude/approach costs you nothing. However, having a “YOU Make Your Own GOOD LUCK!” attitude/approach can result in priceless unseen/unexpected benefits.
This week I had a pretty good plan surrounding the TRIPLE III TIME message I would share. Then I received information regarding a wonderful work colleague who was making a very important life change. My first thought was to send her a fun, thoughtful, supportive email that she could re-read if she wanted to. I could “word-smith” the message so I captured as many important issues that were significant to both of us during the many years we worked together. Then I realized that is NOT what I really wanted to do. And for many, many reasons I decided to…and did Make The Call!
Unfortunately in this age of over-communication via social media…I believe the simple act of making phone calls to hold a real conversation has become “old fashioned”. People believe that texts and emails save valuable time in your work/life day. I understand that they may…but can anyone defend the conversation quality of those types of communications. And yes there are many other forms of social media communication that are high tech, fast and continuous…but do they contain the best elements of sincerity and friendship?
My life/work action recommendation is that when in doubt…Make The Call. Sentences become more than words on paper, smiles develop from hearing the details, memories become legacy building blocks, and the value of a promise of staying in touch becomes real. Making calls does not have to be a “monopolizer” of your time…rather a reinforcement mechanism for maintaining your life/work career-long network of true colleagues.
Thanks to JB and SB for helping create this message and thanks to TR for reminding me what’s important.
Isn’t it always a challenge to try and maximize attendance at training sessions, staff meetings, recruitment events and/or other assemblies that you often spend a whole lot of time, energy and money planning? Then even as the activity is underway, isn’t it natural to spend extra time reviewing Who’s In The Room? And guess what…isn’t it also likely that after the session is over and the presenter was absolutely excellent…that more time is utilized discussing the fact that the room was only half full instead of feeling good about the quality of the event!!
Well let me first admit that I have fallen into the Who’s In The Room? evaluation mode too many times. My assessment of an event has been driven more by attendance expectations…rather than the excellent learning that was achieved by those participating. Simply put I focused more on those NOT in the room…rather than those who were!
The goal of this TRIPLE III TIME message is to encourage EVERYONE to always dedicate the majority of your leadership/management attention to who IS in the room for critical trainings, meetings and events. Think about this issue in terms of time management. Consider:
- Time wasted while trying to understand/rationalize poor attendance
- Understanding that you CAN NOT positively impact people who didn’t attend.
- Realizing the extra special product/service quality improvement impacts that were shared with those that DID attend.
- The importance of measuring more than attendance.
- The opportunity to have more personal/individual time with attendees that may turn out to be “priceless!”.
In closing let me say that I no longer allow myself to over-focus on event attendance. Instead I emphasize appreciation to those who honor their commitments and responsibilities…and make sure they receive the best opportunities and support I can offer.
Now that the major “working from home” phenomenon has eased and face-to-face customer service has been prioritized…has anyone given much thought about the pandemic effect on tomorrow’s “dress code”? Do you think that our recent health scare and distancing from people would/should be a reason or rationale for softening what should be professionally worn to work…no matter your occupation?
Strangely I have received interesting comments from both sides of this issue. Some say that the pandemic and work-from-home experience will lessen the importance of appropriate work attire…and heightens the focus on one’s work capabilities. On the flip side I have heard several individuals indicate that they believe workers will make efforts to improve their workplace image with “a better look” than they had maintained in the past!
Well first I have to admit that I don’t recall ever Talking “Dress Code” in any of my nearly eight (8) years of TRIPLE III TIME blogging! Second with my position on this issue I may show my age…and emphasize the value of tradition. Regardless I do feel it is prime time to give yourself a cool fresh start.
I believe “looking like you mean business”…means a lot. Looking your best displays pride in what you do and who you represent. This does not mean looking better just on Monday’s or boss visitation days. Looking like you mean business should be an every work day priority. This Talking “Dress Code” work ethic came from my Ma and Dad. Despite their farming world-of-work, they understood the value of looking professional EVERYTIME the opportunity or responsibility required it.
Bottomline: Look like you mean business in your world of work. The quiet respect and attentiveness you will receive will be worth the effort.
Have you ever heard or thought about the priceless value of spreading Creativity “Fertilizer” in your home…workplace…community? This notion may sound odd and a little bit “out-there”…but consider the progressive impacts this type of activity can produce.
First think about the fact that most people really like becoming engaged with creative people. Whether it’s the positive energy, thinking beyond the norm, and/or just the “dream-ability” that results from an open, blended discussion.
But what do I mean by spreading Creativity “Fertilizer”? Here are a few examples:
- Writing down a fun single word on the breakroom board and asking for cool thoughts from co-workers.
- Setting 15 minutes aside every other day to just visit with a co-worker about “what-else” your group could initiate.
- Having an IDEA DROP-BOX in your workplace…for everyone.
- Including a Creativity & Innovation time on every meeting agenda.
- Sending out a monthly message to friends and colleagues asking for them “sprinkle” a little Creativity “Fertilizer” in their workplaces.
- Occasionally bringing in a professional person…not connected to your workplace and asking them to share thoughts about creativity in their world.
I believe it is critical for everyone to spread a little Creativity “Fertilizer” from time-to-time. It is a solid professional development habit and it makes innovative thoughts and actions contagious!
Every once in a while, I find myself going back to my job training administer career roots. However even though with this podcast title it feels like I am just talking history… the importance of understanding and teaching work ethic skills will forever be a true leadership responsibility.
This month’s Inspiring Innovations LEARNING MOMENTS Podcast: 21st Century Work Ethic Skills is all about minimum new age employee workplace expectations. My observational research has helped me identify five (5) that I felt were high value. I hope my podcast work ethic skill discussion offers a little insight for their application in your workplace.
Think about leaders you have worked for, collaborated with, admired, disliked or just plainly didn’t understand. More specifically consider the different strategies they used to make important decisions, create partnerships, turn down an opportunity or motivate employees to move forward to a greater service level. Can you recall any leader using Inaction As A Strategy?
Inaction As A Strategy is a very simple course of action. If there is a problem, conflict issue or progressive decision that needs to be made…and the leader is not ready to address it, inaction is often an accepted strategy. But is Inaction As A Strategy a good one? How about if we toss out a TOP 10 list of evaluation questions that measure it?
- Is choosing to do nothing sending a progressive message?
- As a leader will people understand your position if inaction is your plan?
- Are you automatically falling behind as an organization if you stand still and be inactive?
- What about customers…do they benefit from inaction?
- If the New York Times was doing an article on your use of Inaction As A Strategy would the article be a positive one?
- If now is not a good action time…what would make a later time better?
- Can you give examples of using Inaction As A Strategy that were beneficial?
- If your Board used Inaction As A Strategy for any issue…would you be happy?
- Do all the changes in technology make Inaction As A Strategy more or less appropriate?
- Finally, would the leaders you admire most be proud or sad if you used an inactive strategy on a critical issue?
Yes…yes I can hear all the voices reminding me that no two issues are the same and maybe waiting to make a decision/take an action would be most appropriate.
Regardless, my TRIPLE III TIME advice: Re-read the TOP 10!