Productivity

Do you ever get the feeling of being overwhelmed by the task(s) in front of you? Like there’s no way you can get through all your work?

I had one of those days recently where everything just seemed to be mounting up in front of me, and for a moment I panicked. Have you ever felt like this? Like there’s no end in sight?

I’m getting a little better everyday at recognising the reasons for why my mood changes, which means I can react quicker and get better at dealing with it. I thought to myself…

“Stop for a moment, breathe and think rationally about how to get these tasks complete”

Become an expert in your own life

I have my journal which I can go to and write down why I feel like I do, and try and work out how I can move forward. The journal is a great tool for studying your own life, I suggest you try it. You can begin to track your behaviour and how you react to situations. Here’s a great tip from a very wise man…

Become an expert in your own life & stop studying other people’s lives

– Jim Rohn.

6 Tips for getting rid of that overwhelming feeling

Here’s a few things you can do to make that overwhelming feeling a little more manageable: –

  1. Write down all the things you’ve got to do;
  2. Figure out what the most important task is, and do that first;
  3. If it will only take 2 minutes to do, do it right now;
  4. You could also just start working on anything. Just starting will make you feel a lot better;
  5. Delegate tasks to other people – recognise that you may not be able to do everything yourself;
  6. Out of all the stuff that’s not vital or important, decide whether you need to do it at all. Sometimes there are tasks that just don’t add value – trash these!

How do you get things done?

It would be great if you could share your own stories and tips for getting things done and making your life more manageable. What works for you? Why?

How many mentors do you have at the moment? Do you feel like there is just far too much information coming at you from every guru or mentor? If you feel like you don’t have time to put all the great ideas into practice, this might get you thinking about how you can be more productive with the information you are receiving. About a year ago I felt like I needed to take an ‘information diet’ and this is what I did.

After reading personal and business developing books for a number of years I was feeling a little unsatisfied. I didn’t have enough time to read everything I wanted to and thus felt I was continually missing out on key information. People still recommend books to me everyday; how can one possibly read every single book? In short, you can’t read everything!

The only way I was going to feel more satisfied was if I could stop worrying about trying to read everything and start taking the key messages and putting them into practice from the books I did choose to read. Using my time a little more effectively. It was back in February of 2012 that I decided to fire some of my mentors and only follow a few key people, which I now call my key mentors.

A major lesson…

What I have found is that, in one way or another, these successful people all have the same messages, i.e. they all say the same thing, the only difference is that they express it in their own individual way. This isn’t a bad thing, the fact that they are saying the same fundamental things signals to me that the concepts are solid and that they work. After realising that there was a lot of repetition I knew I could afford to cut down the amount of information to allow me to have time to put things into practice.

The reason I’m sharing this with you is because you might not realise that you’re having the exact same problem as I was.

Some tips for your information diet

  1. Pick out the key mentors that are the leaders in your field or industry of concern.
  2. Pick out the key mentors that you can connect with the most. The mentors you can connect with the most and who’s personality you can resonate with. Those you could never get tired of listening to or learning from.
  3. Pick out the key mentors that are going to stay fresh and current. These are the people you want to keep an eye on and learn from as you know they will keep you up to date.
  4. Pick out the key mentors that are willing to help you the most and share the most information with you.
  5. Keep your list short so you can get the most from each one – pick between 1 and 4, and follow them with the intent to learn and implement their lessons.

I have met a few people who like to go from one thing to the next without really learning, changing or internalising the concepts and ideas. These people are normally very busy, but don’t get much done. I believe the answer is to stick with key people and implement their lessons.

Some Examples

Nigel Botterill
Who – The UK king of Information Marketing, franchise development and small business development.
Why – I can totally relate to him and I get excited about watching his videos and can’t wait to see him again in 2013. He is going to be at least 1 step ahead of the game and I know that I can learn a lot from him.
What – Nigel is my resource for Marketing, productivity and business development

Darren Hardy
Who – I see him as a younger, and alive(!), version of Jim Rohn. Darren Hardy is the visionary force behind SUCCESS magazine as its Publisher and Founding Editor.
Why – He is a success story and every lesson I have learned from him has been completely worthwhile.
What – Darren is my resource for focus, discipline, productivity and living a better life

One thing to note

In both these examples, each of my mentors is alive and well. This means they have much more chance of producing up to date and current material than the people that aren’t around any more, which in turn keeps me relevant too. They have also both ‘walked the walk’ meaning that they their advice is evidence based, a very important consideration for your mentor selection process.

I’m not saying that my mentors won’t change over time, in fact I’m sure that they will. As I grow and look for different information for the different problems I encounter I’m sure I will seek out different people for advice and mentorship, and I’m sure you will too.

Now that I have decided to concentrate on what these people are saying, I no longer feel guilty about missing out on all the other information. The great thing is that the information that I’m missing will still be there when I need it. I have learned to let go of worrying about missing out so I can spend more time implementing the practices and lessons I’m learning.

Who are your mentors? Are you getting the best from them? Which of your mentors could you fire and give yourself more time to implement ideas from only just a few?

Chris.

Comments & Feedback

 

I recently stumbled across a great list of things to do if you want to become an expert at something. The list could be extended by adding other tasks, and it would be great to hear your thoughts on what you think could, or should, be added.

This really got me thinking, and I noted the list in my journal for future reference and reflection. This also reminded me about Malcolm Gladwell and his theory of it taking 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert at any one thing, which is a great metric…but it requires planned action during those 10,000 hours to achieve expert status.

Creating a Vision

If you work hard towards an end goal of becoming an expert in something, which might take 10-15 years, and you are constantly refining your craft and developing yourself personally, then you are probably doing most of the right things.

I think one of the main points is about having a long term vision of where you want to end up, what you want to be, what you want to have, what experiences you want to have, etc. With that long term vision firm in your mind and dreams you can then begin to make a plan, create a path to that goal, work out what you need to do and who you need to become in order to achieve what you want. This is where the list below comes in to play; the list helps to underst and what it might take to get you to expert status.

If you want to have more, you have to become more
– Jim Rohn

Improve Yourself

Don’t you think it would be great to be an expert in something…something you love to do?

Most people go from day to day, week to week, month to month, year to year, decade to decade, just plodding along. Why not climb the ladder? Why not become more valuable? Why not become better, stronger, wiser?

Building Your Path to Becoming an Expert

I came across this list on the Glazer Kennedy Inside Circle Facebook Page, credit to them for posting this.

  1. Legitimate personal experience
  2. Read the top 10 books in the field
  3. Read the two years back issues of the industry journals
  4. Join the trade associations
  5. Attend the major trade show, convention or conference
  6. Attend the industry leaders’ seminar
  7. Keep a note book of unanswered questions, and get them answered
  8. Seek out several leaders in the industry & consult with them personally (informally or formally)

What do you think? What would you add? Where would you start?

I think it’s a great place to start. It may seem like a lot of work, but it makes sense. If you are going to do something, you should get really interested and immerse yourself in your topic or industry.

Work harder on yourself than you do in your job
– Jim Rohn

Comments

I look forward to discussing this with you and perhaps discussing what you might add or remove from the list.

There are 2 main ways to comment. Either using the Facebook application below or scroll down further to comment directly on the website.

All the best,

Chris.

Jim Rohn says that “Everything affects everything” and what he means by this is that if you slack on one of your goals, the likelihood is that you will slack on other things too. His advice is to start with the easy stuff and build it into your life over time. Mr Rohn is a very wise and intelligent man and I recommend The Art of Exceptional Living as a starting point.

Over the past 3 months I have been concentrating on building new habits into my life. My main reasons for this are to be: –

  • Healthier
  • More Productive
  • More Positive
  • More Intelligent
  • More Successful

I figured out what I want my life to look like, then I disaggregated that vision into what kind of person I need to be in order to achieve that lifestyle, and then topped that off by working towards becoming that person by introducing new habits and disciplines.

Building in a New Habit

What I have realised is that you cannot do everything at once. You can take a few approaches to make sure you are achieving your goals: –

  1. Either build many habits up slowly over time, increasing the exposure incrementally, OR
  2. Take one new habit and build it into your life, then once you have it nailed, move on to the next.

There is various advice out there on how long it takes to build up a daily habit. Darren Hardy in The Compound Effect says that it takes 21 days to build the foundations of a habit, but a further 300 positive reinforcements to secure it into your life.

What is working for me is nailing one habit and then moving on to build in another. You then repeat this cycle until you have built in all the habits you need, in order to be the person you need to become. If you take the 21 days principle, by the end of one year you will have changed your life completely and built in approximately 17 habits! That’s pretty amazing for just making one change per day for a year.

I’ve had a few challenges along the way. For example, I tried to do too many things at once and ended up feeling a little disappointed with my progress. I then realised that if I just concentrate on only one or two at a time it was far easier to achieve my goals, which made me feel a little better about my progress.

Monitoring your Habits

One of the main things for me was having the ability to record my daily routine. I wanted to have a note of my habits, the targets to meet every week and the ability to record my progress on a daily basis. I’m quite anal this way…I like to have lists and spreadsheets! If you are anything like me then here are three methods that I use to record my progress, that you will probably like too: –

  1. Using the Achievement Management System in Darren Hardy’s Living Your Best Year Ever – This works very well and I use this everyday, week and month to review my targets. I have been using this method for approximately 3 months and it is by far the most complete personal goal setting programme I have ever used.
  2. Commit application for the iPhone (£1.99) – This is a great way to keep on top of your commitments. It allows you to track your daily progress and adds up how many days in a row you have done something. If you miss a day, then the counter will resent to zero, which gives you the motivation to make sure you complete the task and tick the box.
  3. Lift application for the iPhone (£FREE) – This is a fantastic application that allows you to enter in your daily disciplines and then monitor your activity each day. The advantage that this app has over the other two methods is that you can leave a comment on each activity everyday, allowing you take further notes regarding your activity and progress.

Commit

Commit

Lift

Lift

Goals

Living Your Best Year Ever


The iPhone applications are great because you can do things on the move, and the book I have mentioned above is very much worth looking into if you would like a complete programme to follow.

Action

If you feel strongly enough about changing your life, your habits or routines then please look at the books and audio I have recommended in this blog. You will find them very informative and helpful.

Also, please feel free to contact me if you want to chat about things. Email me me or use the multitude of social media platforms to get in touch.

Comments

As normal, comments and feedback are very much welcomed.

There are 2 main ways to comment. Either using the Facebook application below or scroll down further to comment directly on the website.

All the best,

Chris.

At the time of writing this I have been working on my own for over a year. In this time I have learned a lot about myself and I quickly discovered the areas I need to develop. Working for yourself can be a lonely place, especially when most other people don’t think like you, or underst and what it is you are working toward.

When you work for yourself you don’t really have anyone to be accountable to. When you work for someone else you typically have a boss, and your boss will check your work, make sure you turn up on time, ensure that you are meeting the company objectives, that you are adding value, etc. When you work for yourself the only person you are accountable to is yourself, and for some reason it is a lot easier to let yourself down than it is other people.

For example, most people go to the gym with someone else because they find that they are more likely to go, and they do not want to let the other person down. The same can be said for working for yourself. This is also true if you are studying or researching; you typically work to your own schedule and agenda. You set the rules.

I want to share something with you today that will help your focus, discipline and productivity. This technique will show you a way that will help you get things done and help you to be more productive.

Peak Performance Partnership

Having someone to be accountable to, someone you can trust and rely upon, is what is needed here. In the book ‘ The Compound Effect’ Darren Hardy calls this relationship a Peak Performance Partnership. This person must be someone that needs you just as much as you need them. Someone that will benefit just as much as you will. Your Peak Performance Partner: –

  • must be Trustworthy
  • must have High integrity
  • must be on the Same wavelength
  • must Support what you do
  • will Accept no excuses

These characteristics should also be true of you and you have to treat this relationship with respect.

Meetings

Once you have found the right person you will need to agree a time to meet for 30 minutes every week and discuss the following: –

  • Wins – Goals that have been achieved
  • Losses – Goals that have not been achieved
  • Fixes – What needs to be done to improve
  • Discuss any learnings from personal development books or audio
  • Daily Disciplines – report on your daily disciplines and routines (e.g. getting up at 7am, drinking 2ltrs of water per day, etc)

You can also swap any books or audio that you think would be useful.

You don’t have to meet in person, this can be done over the phone, Skype or FaceTime. So think broadly about who this person could be…they could be in a different country!

The meetings you have will develop their own routine over time, so don’t worry if there is no structure to begin with…just get started!

You will find that just preparing for your weekly meeting will be extremely useful. Even if you don’t have time to prepare, just having the conversation will be very useful and motivating.

Resources

You will find some great free resources over at the compoundeffect.com. I suggest you download them, print them and use them. While you are there you may as well buy the book!

Who will your Peak Performance Partner be?


As normal, please feel free to share your thoughts and comments below.

Have a great week!

Chris.

Comments

There are 2 main ways to comment. Either using the Facebook application below of scroll further to comment directly on the website.

“If you don’t know what your time is worth, you can’t expect the world to know either.”

Every time I go through this exercise with people it completely changes their perspective on what they do with their time. Underst anding the true VALUE of your time will literally change your life!

Dan Kennedy’s Time Management for Entrepreneurs is a must read for any business owner! I’m sure you have read time management books before, but this one is a little different! What I go on to describe below is one of the BIG NUGGETS I took away from this book. It changed my perspective and I’m certain it will change yours too!

In the book Dan describes how he manages his time when doing his thing, it’s not theory…it is practice. He describes how he applies time management to his life and how he gets the best out of his time. The great thing is that he doesn’t prescribe action, he just tells you what he does and you can take away what you want from his advice.

Underst anding the value of your time

This is a simple exercise but the value it adds is incredible. This is the value it will add to your life: –

  • You will know and underst and the value of your time and therefore every time you work on a project you will put that amount of value into it, regardless of what it is;
  • You will choose carefully the projects you take on to ensure that it is worthy of your time;
  • Underst anding the value of your time will develop your underst anding and respect for the value of other peoples time;
  • You won’t waste time and you will choose your actions more carefully, e.g. I try to have no more 40 minute telephone conversations – I answer the phone when I have time; I remove myself from distraction and I don’t spend time doing things that are not worth my time;
  • Other people will start to underst and and respect the value of your time.

A great example in the book is where Dan kennedy goes off on one of his rants about $5 per hour jobs. It might come across as quite strong, but I think it is needed to get the point across!

“It used to make me crazy to drive around and see somebody in my sales organisation out shovelling, mowing, or raking. I’d say: if your time isn’t worth more than the $5 an hour that you could give to some neighbourhood kid, then you should be shot. Plus you are robbing some kid out of the money.”

Think about all the things you could stop doing so you can spend time on the things that are much more valuable to you!

Calculating the value of your time

“This little number may just change your life”

Step 1
Work out what your base earnings target is for the next year – how much do you want to earn in a year?

Step 2
Divide this by the amount of work hours in a year

– There are 45 working weeks allowing for 7 weeks holiday, multiply by 5 working days = 225 working days
– Multiply by 8 hours to get the total work hours in year
– 1800 working hours per year

Step 3
Times productivity vs. non productivity multiple (x3) (The productivity multiple used by Dan Kennedy is one-third productive, two-thirds other, which is very generous)

Step 4
The calculation result is what your time is worth per hour.

Worked example:

Base Earnings target = £100,000 per year
Base Hourly Target = £100,000 per year / 1800 working hours per year = £55.50
Account for non-productivity = £55.50 x 3 = £166.60

In this example your time is worth £166 per hour.

Why you need to do it

“If you do not have a base income target, then you cannot calculate how much your time is worth, which means you cannot make good decisions about the investment of your time, which means you are not exercising any real control over your business or life at all.”

What you should do now

A lot of your decision making gets easier with this number staring you in the face!

Write the number down on large post-it notes and stick them up in your office or anywhere you will see them often. I have mine displayed on my computer monitors, my white boards, etc.

Reference

This blog post is based on Dan Kennedy’s Time Management for Entrepreneurs, Chapter 1, Pages 3 – 10

Buy The Book

Comments & Feedback

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SMART Objectives

I mentioned in my previous post, my bucket
list
, that I think it is important to think SMART when setting objectives.
Constructing SMART objectives will allow you to have very clear objectives and
goals. It also allows you to take time to think about what you want. You may
work through this and at the end decide that what you want to do is not relevant,
or you cannot manage it and decide to take another course of action.

The SMART tool also allows you to take big ideas and break them down to bite-sized
and more manageable goals. A SMART objective will be very clear and provide
you and your team with a good underst anding of what, where, when, why and how
this goal is to be achieved. The result is an individual or team who can start
off with the correct intentions and have a really good underst anding of what
is expected. It also minimises confusion and questions, allowing your empowered
team members to get on with achieving.

I have used this tool for various types of things: –

  1. Setting basic business objectives
  2. Setting KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators)
  3. Delegating tasks and projects to subordinates
  4. Setting personal goals (for example, new year resolutions)

SMART objectives can be defined as: –

S – Specific
A specific but brief description of the objective – i.e. what is the desired outcome?
M – Measurable
What are you going to use to measure performance? How will you know you
have achieved anything?
A – Agreeable
Do all parties agree to the objective and underst and why this is to be achieved?
R – Relevant
Is this goal relevant to higher level organisational objectives? Does this
fit in with our business?
T – Time-bound
At this point you can agree a deadline, or milestones depending on the size
of the project/goal/objective.

There are other versions of this out there including the ‘SMART +
tool which can be defined as: –

S – Specific

M
Measurable – The Parent Ego State – "How can I measure this, how will
I know I have achieved the desired outcome?"

Manageable – The Adult Ego State – "How will I be able to manage this,
can I manage this?"

Motivation – The Child Ego State – "Do I want to do this, does it interest
me, am I motivated to achieve this goal?"

A – Agreeable

R – Relevant

T – Time-bound

As you can see this tool exp ands on the ‘M’ and includes three criteria allowing
you to satisfy three ego states.

A Worked Example of the SMART + tool: –

Specific –
To respond effectively and listen to my customers.
Measurable
To respond to ALL customer responses.
Manageable
I will have to schedule time in my diary to concentrate on this, but it
is manageable because it is a vital part of our business.
Motivational
To build a better relationship with my customers, to encourage more customer
feedback, to learn from my customers.
Agreeable
Agreeable based upon the above – a vital part of business survival and growth.
Relevant
We are a customer service organisation, so completely relevant to what we
do, and fits in directly with all organisational objectives.
Time-bound
The customer should receive a response from me within 5 working days of
receiving the response.

Now you have something very clear – this basically details that you are going
set time aside to respond to ALL customer responses within
5 days because you agree that it is vital for your business to be successful,
and that you want to. Most people start and finish with the first point.

As you work though the SMART + tool you will probably start thinking of all
the possibilities and have lots of relevant ideas, make sure you write them
all down.

What’s next?

You can then go on to break down each statement above, for example: –

  • You will have to think about where you customer responses come from, i.e.
    Email, letter, verbal, etc.
  • You will than have to decide how you are going to respond, i.e. by Email,
    letter, telephone, in person. This will depend upon the feedback you get,
    if it is severe you may want to personalise and have direct contact with the
    customer, you may decide that you want to do this for all responses. Also,
    you need to make sure that the language you use in response to your customer
    is delivering the message set out by your organisation.
  • Based on how much feedback you receive, you will have to decide how much time
    it is going to take you to respond.
  • You may think about using Trip Advisor, Facebook or Twitter (or other social
    media tools) to keep in touch with your customers.
  • A 5 day response may be unrealistic and you may have to delegate
    the task to someone else or work as a team.
  • You may also have some blue sky thinking about how you can encourage more
    feedback from your customers, which may kick start more mini-projects (just go
    back to the start of the SMART + tool and start with your fresh objective)
  • You may now decide that you want to design an effective customer response
    (ECR) for your department or organisation.

I am happy for you to get in touch with me either by email or by commenting on this post. Let me know if you use the tool or if you need help delivering an objective, I am happy to help!

Feel free to download and use my SMART
+ Delegation Tool
which I use to delegate tasks to those in my team.

I hope that you find this useful!

Thanks for reading,

Chris.