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Archive for the category “meetings”

11 tactics fighting too much work and too little time


11 tactics fighting too much work and too little time 

Are you feeling stressed out because you are overcommitted? Does your manager not pick up on the clues that you are at the brink of a work burn out? This can happen when you are totally over committed with work and you think you just do not have any time to cram any more into your schedule. You may even feel powerless because you have no other options. This feels very uncomfortable and your work and health may eventually suffer. Here are some ways helping fight this phenomenon.

  • Prioritize: What is really important? Make sure that you only do the tasks you really need to do. Be rigorous about the stuff that you decide to pay attention to. Resist accepting tasks that are not really yours even if they appear to be easy to do. See the next point.
  • Delegation: How much of the work you do should really be done by others who are perhaps even more qualified, or have more time to do this?
  • Vigilance: Be vigilant about having a clear task scope, having a clear time line, and also a firm commitment between the person who issues the task and you.
  • Candor: How candid have you been with yourself? How candid have you been with your boss? Only when you share how you feel and what would happen if nothing happens will you pave the way for lasting change.
  • Advocate for yourself: Make certain that you go back to your boss and share how overcommitted you are. Ponder ways how to mitigate the situation and have those solutions handy for your conversation with your boss. You get what you tolerate.
  • Identification: What is really behind the definition of “I do not have time”? Do you not have the time, or you are just not making the time?
  • Planning ahead: Interestingly enough, half of your issues may just be due to not planning ahead enough. Make the important things a priority and they will happen as long as you allowed the time for it.
  • Preparation: Prepare your fiercest issues well before you take them to the key stake holders. The better prepared you are, the greater the chance that you will be able to do what you want to do and thus get more wiggle room for doing the things that you really want to do. Those are the ones that give you energy rather than help draining it.
  • Do not wait for a miracle: Do something about your situation. Think about how you would like for things to work out for you and start delivering results. You will get noticed.
  • Subscribe to the 5 minute rule: First thing every morning start tasks that you have procrastinated for a while. Promise yourself that you will spend 5 minutes working on it. Most projects will take less than 3 minutes – promised.

When you really think about it, there are many ways of dealing with over-commitment on your part. Try giving one of the 11 tactics a try and provide me/ us with some feedback below in the comment section. If I can do this, so can you. All you have to do is making the decision to start and then actually deliver on this promise.

Ralf

Death by meeting part IV (and how you and the meeting can be resuscitated)


Death by meeting part IV (and how you and the meeting can be resuscitated) 

Meetings. Sometimes I think I the conference room is my office. How often do you feel that way, or have you been in more meetings than the workweek has hours?

Seriously, many meetings just keep on running on and on with little to nothing show for at the end of it in terms of getting tangible results. When folks get an even fuzzier picture at the end of the meeting than what they went in with, you will have some very unhappy campers to deal with sooner or later.

It does not need to be this way. Preparation is the key word in making a difference. Have you ever painted anything like a room or piece of furniture? If so, you may appreciate when I say that +75% of the total work going into this is the prep work leading up to it. The actual painting job takes a fraction of time. This is no different with meeting prep work. Properly executed this can save you many a nerves and of course time, money and frustration. Please also see the meeting planner free for you to use in the download area.

  1. Sit on a mental rock and ponder why you need to have a meeting in the first place. If you can avoid it, do not have it. Have personal conversations instead and make good use of your capability walking the four corners of your business.
    1. A good reason to have a meeting is when you get more than 3 people e-mailing each other discussing a point and consensus does not emerge.
    2. Have a meeting immediately if this banter goes on more than two business days.
    3. Have it immediately if there is more than just 1 department or stake holder involved.
  2. Clarify what kind of a communication you want to have. Is it a communication for interpretation? Communication for clarity? Communication for action? Communication for exploration?
  3. Identify the goal of the meeting. What is the desired outcome?
  4. Define location, attendees, time scheduled to start and stop. Make sure to book your rooms well in advance and all the props that you need.
  5. Who should attend? Err on the minimalistic side. More than five people at a time make for really slow meetings. Pay attention who of your people are visual, auditory, or kinesthetic. Make sure everyone is being considered.
  6. When you start the meeting make sure to start on time and end on time. Neat trick starting on time is to make the last person to arrive at the meeting the scribe. You will have some hilarious antics going on when you do this, but it has proven extremely effective.
  7. Define the roles of facilitator, scribe, and time keeper. Time keeper, no time to tread lightly on this; make certain that the time limits are kept.
  8. Plan out the topics that will be discussed. Upon starting the meetings give every team member a chance adding topics, or of course eliminating any.
  9. Sometimes it may be necessary having side bar meetings leading up the meeting that you are planning. When the topic is too vague, scope creep set in, or there are too many people in the main meeting, prevent major headaches this way.
  10. Scribe: Keep copious notes. For the technical savvy folks amongst you, use a version of the Meeting Planner on the Download page in your MS One Note folder and share it with the team members.
  11. At the end of the meeting go over the captured action items. Make absolutely, positively certain to doing this. Identify the responsible person to deliver results and by when.
  12. End on time. If you have a pattern of going over all the time, have a few meetings standing up. Trust me it helps keeping a fast pace and not to start rambling through the meeting agenda. If you must go over one hour time then plan on a 90 max meeting time before walking around, and get a bit of fresh air.

Nothing is worse than having a meeting for the sake of having a meeting. If need be, speak with you supervisor and take a break at no more than 90 minutes max meeting time.

Ralf

Avoid one cardinal mistake in life – Do not abdicate your voice and power to others


Avoid one cardinal mistake in life – Do not abdicate your voice and power to others 

There appear to be an ever-growing number of people who think that their opinions and actions do not count. They leave it to others to vote, challenging leaders, managers, politicians, friends, co-workers etc. to do the right thing. “Who am I to say or do something? Nobody ever listens anyway” is something that I hear frequently. This is just plain wrong. Who are you not to live to your full potential? Who are you to willingly admit to yourself and announce it to others that your are almost giving up being a fully empowered human being. This sets you up for living a life set adrift – stuff just happens to you instead of you determining your future.

This topic is not foreign to me. I once thought that way as well. It took me a while to believe in myself enough to feel comfortable challenging others and myself making better choices. Especially during the last year I have faced many a challenges that I thought I could not overcome. I did it anyway and it is this experience that finally allowed me to experience what it means to let my inner light shine and not to be scared of it.

So, here is to you! Believe in yourself and push your boundaries to new limits.

Ralf

 

Here is my favorite writing by Marianne Williamson:

Our Greatest Fear

It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,

talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world.

There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other

people won’t feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory of

God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine,

we unconsciously give other people

permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear,

Our presence automatically liberates others.

— Marianne Williamson

Busy is bad


Busy is bad 

Photo credit: Ralf Weiser, Brett Blair’s book “From Autopilot to Authentic”. It proves the point that slowing down is what we need rather than just doing more stuff

Multi-tasking is multi-wasting (click to tweet this). Perhaps it’s no myth to you, but it so pervasive in our culture that the vast majority of people probably do not even know that they overdo it. Multi-tasking is when you attempt carrying out all sorts of tasks and thoughts at the same time, or at least in close progression of each other. It has a few terrible side effects.

When your mind is racing because you want to get as much as possible of your stuff done, you no longer think about how much sense there is in doing them in the first place. When we are in motion we are just not making high quality decisions. Just think about the ruckus about texting while driving, and also being on the phone while driving. We are distracted when we do any of these things. Don’t just take my word on it. Here is Coach Brett Blair’s blog post on the same topic.

Here we are multi-wasting instead of multi-tasking and the time we saved may have been a total waste of time. It’s best to make a weekly and even better daily list the day before we actually have to do anything. Make sure to have some quiet time to really contemplate how important the tasks are. Assign a priority to them. Think about if you actually have to do them. Can you perhaps delegate it? Sometimes you may find that you don’t have all the information you needed in order to do the task. Some of the tasks will not end up on the list. You will end up erasing them because they no longer make sense now that you had time to think about them. Finally, some of the tasks take so little time that you get them done after your planning session (beware of scope creep though).

Don’t waste away precious time. Sometimes it is better slowing down instead of speeding up. Your friends and family will enjoy a happier you and at work you will be recognized for being extremely effective. Effectiveness beats busyness any day no matter how hard you think you work (click to tweet this).

Ralf

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