Tuesday, November 25, 2008

How Important Are You?

Working with accountants and some of their email, time management, and communication and protocol habits ... the question about how important they are comes up a lot. I am told by a lot of people that they are so important that they must be continuously checking email all the time throughout the day. I am told by them that must continuously keep their "door open" so they can be accessible to others. There may be noble intentions between those policies, culture aspects, or self directed habits, but sometimes that mentality needs to be challenged. It REALLY needs to be challenged! It is these very practices that are also identified by these same accountants as a major source of distractions and unfocused days.

Some questions to ask yourself:

Am I important enough so I can NOT be readily available to colleagues and clients for a certain amount of hours per day?

Am I important enough to shut out all distractions for a certain amount of time each day, so I can singularly focus on the most important items I HAVE prioritized?

Am I important enough so getting the work I WANT to get done actually contributes to my ability to get work done that others tell me is important and to be available to them for questions; and to be fiercely engaged in answering those questions because I feel good about what I am getting done?!?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Thanksgiving Eating

Some ideas and reminders as you begin to jump into your "eating season" .....

"Mono" fats (mono saturated) are better for you than saturated fats. A great source of mono fats: nuts.

Consider going on a run 4 hours after your Thanksgiving "feast" instead of taking a nap. You might sleep better that night!

White meat is lower in fat than dark meat.

Whole grain carbs are generally regarded as better for you than traditional "white" carbs.

Feel good about stuffing your face WHEN you have also worked out that day!

Try to go for extra helpings on the fruits and vegetables versus the rolls and mashed potatoes.

Eat as slow as you can ... your "fullness" will catch up!

Your Success and ToDo Lists

I have blogged a lot about ToDo lists and that is because I spend a lot of time talking to accountants about them.
Here is one more ...

Do you believe that success perpetuates success? So if you have a "good day", does that inspire more "good days"? You might be saying Huh?

Here is where I bring the ToDo example to (try to) illustrate my point.

Many ToDo lists I see are ridiculously long. So maybe there is a reason for that. Maybe you are trying to be conscientious and capture everything you have "to do". That sounds commendable, but please do not get that mixed up with a way to gauge your daily success. A ToDo list is many times an action list and a "wish list" all combined into one. So you have your ToDo list but you never complete it, you never "succeed" in completing it.

Try creating a "WHAT SUCCESS LOOKS LIKE TO ME TODAY" list, where you grab the most important "today" items off of your ToDo list, and most importantly, under promise to yourself! Now you might get the same amount of items finished as you would have by using your ToDo list (although this act may help you to prioritize better) but now you can look back at the end of the day and measure your success based on a REASONABLE PLAN YOU CREATED! Now how might you feel? Now how might that feeling help you going home that night, or starting off tomorrow? Could there me a multiplier effect ... you made daily plans and promises and you held them, that probably feels good and will perpetuate!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Conflict Made Easier

Some people totally avoid conflict at all costs and others seem to seek it out. Most of us fall within those two extremes somewhere.

One of the biggest opportunities I see when working with accountants on "conflict issues"? The opportunity to depersonalize it.

People take conflict personally in most cases. Most people make it "me versus you". How does that happen? They identify their position with them self. So, if we have conflict and your position = you and my position = me, then yes, it is you against me. That means my pride and my ego are at stake and I am going to dig in and fight for that. That is REAL personal.

Next time you are in a situation of competing ideas or another type of conflict, try and bring some awareness to the trap of making it personal. De-personalize the conflict. How do you do that?

Focus on facts and actions and scenarios and ideas and solutions and benefits. Do not focus on "you said" or "you wanted" or "you" at all.

Force those involved to state the goal or benefit in coming to a resolution of the conflict. Why is there conflict in the first place? What are we trying to accomplish? That will depersonalize it (and in some cases challenge the need for conflict all together.)

Where ever there is conflict there is usually a big opportunity for growth, but your chances for a strong resolution (and growth) are going to be much better if it is not "you against me".

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Triple "A"s - Accountants' Acronyms and Abbreviations

So there are hundreds or maybe thousands of acronyms and abbreviations that accountants use, such as FASB, SAS, etc.

I wanted to list a few of the informal ones and hear some from you:

"SALY" - same as last year, classic one for auditors ... why should we plan, let's just do the same as last year.

"JIC" - just in case .... don't ever throw anything away or delete anything just in case we need it later.

"CYA" - cover your ____ .... make sure you keep things that prove you did what you should have done, so you have proof if anyone challenges you.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Got Feedback?

How often do you solicit feedback from those around you? Your family, your friends, your colleagues at work, clients? If you want to improve your relationships, your productivity, and the positive influence you have on others, you will have a lot more to work with, a lot more ideas on how to improve, if you can get others to help. It takes a little humility no doubt, but at the same time it shows a lot of strength. Who are you continuously getting feedback from?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Do you have Interruption Dependence Disorder?

Interruption Dependence Disorder or "IDD" for short - that is not a real identified disorder in the medical community as far as I can see, but in working with accountants and other knowledge workers, I see it is out there!

Ask yourself:

* Are you "easily" interrupted?

* Are there ever times where you are just not sure what to do next so you gain comfort in checking email or voicemail so you might find something?

* Have you ever been interrupted by someone or something, and then totally forgot about what you were doing first?

* Have you ever allowed your day to be one interruption after another, AND THAT IS IT?

Interruptions happen. It is difficult to be totally interruption free, but maybe if your goal is to minimize interruptions, especially the non-productive ones, first start with your attitude related to IDD.

Do you subconsciously want to be interrupted or do you feel strongly that you want to take charge of your day and minimize them? Make sure your actions and minute to minute attitude match your answer.