Monday, December 28, 2009

Easy things first, right?

Why, when scheduling multiple tasks, do we generally choose the "easiest" one first?

It is because "easy" represents the least amount of change. It is not ambiguous. You probably have experience in doing it. It will not take as much critical thinking to do it. You can just, well, DO IT! You are wanting to be productive and you know you can be productive with the easy task, so you go for it. Maybe you are looking for a little confidence and doing what you already know may give that to you versus the harder tasks.

There is a big problem with starting with the "easy"and ending with the "difficult" --

When we still have that difficult thing to go, it's in our head, and it's negative. Whether we think this way or not, we have also told our self - I fear the most difficult things, so I will simply procrastinate.

When we have completed that difficult thing, it may still be in our head but we are done, the thought is positive! Then all of a sudden, something happens in our day - MOMENTUM! We are running downhill, not uphill. We are telling the world (and maybe most importantly yourself) to bring it on. Less fear. Less uphill running (procrastinating.)

So what do you do about this?!


You have 3 chores to get done Saturday morning. Start with the most difficult. End with the easiest.

You have 3 things you must get done at work tomorrow morning. Start with the most difficult. End with the easiest.

PRACTICE wherever you can! See where it can take you. See how you can build your own momentum.

Monday, December 21, 2009

I told you so!

Have you ever reflected on a decision and felt the need to tell somebody else - I told you so! (Meaning they should have listened to you.) Has anyone else ever said that to you?

It's pretty common and sometimes it is in jest. But sometimes it is real serious and makes the other person feel defensive.

It is also in most cases, completely counterproductive. Think about it. If a decision was made, there is not much value in telling another person that basically they were wrong and you were right. (unless it is designed to set up a learning opportunity but the words "I told you so" are probably not the best way to start that conversation.)

This saying can make others feel:

1.) Defensive
2.) Less confident
3.) Less fired up about "team-work"

Ponder # 3.) for a second. If you are part of a team and have to make a decision, even if you disagree at first, once the decision is made, you need to do whatever you must to support the decision. If you have the attitude that tells others you disagreed you are (1) not really into this, and (2) looking for the opportunity to tell others they were wrong and you were right.... you will definitely accomplish some things - you will promote factions, individualism, and lack of a team!

Last thought - Don't be a "I told you so" (because you were wrong) person. Instead look for opportunities to be a "I told you so" (because you were right and I believed in you) person!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Email "processing" on your phone vs. your computer

Whether you have a blackberry, droid, or iPhone .... chances are one of the most common things you do with your phone is check email.

I have not met one accountant in my entire life (yet) that has been able to replicate the way they process emails on their phone with the way they do it on their computer. Using their phone, they might not be able to do some or all of the following:
- Save sent emails into the appropriate folders
- Have an (electronic) task or calendar (or both) open at the same time as an email to check on a project. That is right to date there are no "dual-monitor" phones yet!
- Accept appointment requests (although some phones are now allowing you to do this.)

So why does this matter? Most if not all of us are checking email on our phones and laptops. But, we must understand the limitations when using our phone. You will be more efficient using your laptop because you are not limited in the same ways. So when you want to "ferociously focus" on your email processing and only touching things once, just realize your laptop provides the best medium to do that. Sure, use your phone when you need to and want to, but if the email is not urgent ..... consider ..... GULP (I know this is a tough one for some of us) ..... letting it go until you can fully process it later.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Interrupt "yourself" lately?

In looking at your own personal time management many people will focus on interruptions, and rightly so. We live in an increasingly fast past world. We may feel like we are getting "pinged" from many different sources, and we are!

But before you focus on trying to limit external interruptions from others, think about yourself first. Internal interruptions are when you decide to take something else on right in the middle of doing something. The "source" is you.

So you decide to surf the web instead of finishing that memo.

Or maybe you are at home and you decide to go grab something out of the refrigerator before you are done finishing some paperwork. Then once you are into the refrigerator you realize your forgot to mail a letter and you start to think about that, and then you see that your cell phone has a voicemail on it you haven't checked and you do that! Now you have forgotten what you were originally doing!

All of these are self created interruptions and they can kill your focus and productivity (and your momentum). They can be as common (or more common) than outside interruptions. We'll talk about some ideas/strategies in another post but the first thing you can do is to become more aware of it by catching yourself when you INTERRUPT YOURSELF!