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AUTHOR: Elle TITLE: What are you doing NOW? STATUS: Publish ALLOW COMMENTS: 1 CATEGORY: What not to do CATEGORY: Work, jobs, employment CATEGORY: Task Lists CATEGORY: To Do Lists DATE: 07/26/2006 01:55:14 AM ----- BODY:

Good Morning, a question I posed today to the readers of the daily dose of motivational medicine -

What are you not doing at the moment? I know you are currently reading this email, so my question for you this morning is - what should you be doing that you are not - because you are reading this and probably all your other emails?
 
We all put things off / delay starting things and generally waste time every day , the question is why. 

Do you know how much time you "waste" by delaying doing things, either starting, whilst undertaking projects or finishing those projects. We waste time on unnecessary phone calls, answering emails that are not urgent let alone important, talking to colleagues etc etc. Why? What is it about your current task that you dislike so much you are putting off doing it?
 
One of the best ways to discover how much time you actually spend each day on your daily activities is to keep a time log. A simple piece of paper next to your computer - every time you do something - write down what you are doing and how long it took you to complete the task. If you spend 10 minutes answering emails that is ok, but what happens when you open your email every time the little message pops onto your screen? How much time do you actually spend working on your projects? The answer is not very much - in real terms.
 
My advice - have a designated time to answer your emails - when you arrive at work, lunch time and about an hour before the end of your day. Deal immediately with what is there - Do it, delegate it or dump it.
 
And keep your time log going for a couple of days - no-one needs to know what you are doing, but if you are serious about getting more from your day, then you need to know how you currently spend your days. Remember you only have a single chance to get the most from today. Once it has gone you cannot get it back. Apart from Dr Who I don't know of anyone who has a time machine - so spend each day doing what is important to you and you will achieve great things.

----- -------- AUTHOR: Elle TITLE: To do or to don't STATUS: Publish ALLOW COMMENTS: 1 CATEGORY: What not to do CATEGORY: Task Lists CATEGORY: To Do Lists DATE: 08/14/2006 06:33:58 AM ----- BODY:

What not to do, that is the question.

Most people have "to do" lists. Those things we deem important enough to want to remember to do by the end of a certain point in our lives.  These things tend to be task lists - do this, do that, do the other. So how come we end up doing other things that we hadn't deemed important enough to be on the list? And how come we spend so much of our precious time on these "un-important" tasks that we don't have time to do what we said was important?

Is it any wonder then we have trouble finding time to do the work needed to complete the major tasks/goals we said we wanted to achieve.

You see it's not what you say you want to do that is important, but determining what you don't want to do.

And the biggest time waster of them all - other people's needs. Email, internet, telephone, conversations in the kitchen - and wherever else you come into contact (virtual or otherwise) with people. Now I am not saying that in order to get on with your own work and projects you need to become a hermit, but you can limit the impact others have on you - if you want to that is. If you are happy being interrupted every minute of the day then keep your email account open, and wait for the little messages to come flashing up on your screen. Or you can schedule a time to answer the questions, queries and read the jokes that are sent to you.

Work out what you don't want to do, or more importantly don't need to to, and then DON'T do it. You will get far more important things done as a result.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Sonmar EMAIL: sonmar100@gmail.ccom IP: 95.145.61.66 URL: http://sonmar.net/ DATE: 12/01/2009 05:47:03 PM I've never thought of that solution,
I'm really optimistic that, implementing this strategy: "trying to not do the unneeded tasks" will help increase the productivity.

that was short but useful article.
Many thanx :) ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Elle DATE: 12/02/2009 01:28:04 PM You are most welcome....good luck with the to-don't lists way of working

Kind Regards

Elle ----- -------- AUTHOR: Elle TITLE: Do you take your workplace for granted? STATUS: Publish ALLOW COMMENTS: 1 CATEGORY: Work, jobs, employment CATEGORY: Procrastination DATE: 10/31/2006 02:36:37 AM ----- BODY:

Do you remember what it was like on the first day of your new job? Were you excited or nervous? Did you get up especially early to make sure your shoes were polished, your outfit clean and pressed. Did you make sure you had everything you needed for the day, change for the bus/parking meter, lunch, bottle of water – just in case they didn’t tell you where the kitchen was and you were afraid to ask, note book and pen. Did you check the bus timetable a gazillion times to make sure that you got the right one, or should you get the slightly earlier one just in case there were snarl ups in the traffic and there was no way you were going to be late, not on your first day, not if you could help it.

How long did it take for the novelty to wear off? 2 days, 2 weeks, 2 months? 2 hours? Or do you still go to the same trouble today that you did when you first started? If I were to hazard a guess, I would have to say that few people take the same time and trouble to make sure they are properly prepared today as they did when things were just starting out. Of course it could be argued that you know where you are going, which bus gets you there, and where the best places are for lunch. But what happens if there is a delay caused by an accident, do you take the time to contact your employer and let them know you are going to be delayed, or do you just arrive and announce to no one in particular about the shocking state of traffic and you need caffeine. And what about the subtle clues – Do you take the same pride in your appearance that you did when you were first starting out, or did life and boredom get in the way?

Of course you could argue that everyone does the same things, so you may feel justified in your actions and dress standards. My question to you is, if you are doing a little less than you should because you can, and because everyone else does exactly the same thing, why should someone else’s actions, behaviours and standards influence yours. Why not raise the standard and get noticed for the right reasons.

My challenge for you today is to do a little more than you should, remember:

Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.
Frank Outlaw

 

----- -------- AUTHOR: Elle TITLE: Experience beats grades in war for success STATUS: Publish ALLOW COMMENTS: 1 CATEGORY: Employment issues CATEGORY: Experience DATE: 02/06/2007 04:44:27 AM ----- BODY:

49% of Australians with a combined net worth of more than $26 billion immediately undertook an apprenticeship, traineeship or on-the-job training when they left high school. According to a survey of some of Australia's wealthiest individuals, the most important ingredients that  a young person needs to succeed in their working lives are:
Ambition: 84%
Training/Skills: 71%
Encouragement: 48%

Furthermore, those who  completed an apprenticeship, traineeship or on-the-job training said this developed job skills (59%), taught perseverance and dedication (56%), provided them with the training to start their careers (36%) and provided a great start to their working lives (32%)

Human Resources 23 Jan 2007 - Source: Australian Business Limited 

----- -------- AUTHOR: Elle TITLE: Time Management: Work in half hour blocks STATUS: Publish ALLOW COMMENTS: 1 CATEGORY: Time Management CATEGORY: What not to do CATEGORY: Work, jobs, employment CATEGORY: To Do Lists DATE: 03/03/2007 03:10:58 AM ----- BODY:

I read something with interest yesterday about a different kind of time management. Not the usual do this don't do that. But do whatever it is you are doing for a half hour without stopping or thinking about anything else. So if you are working on a particular project, then go all out for half an hour. No checking emails, no surfing the Internet. No fetching a glass of water or biscuit to aid concentration - but start and don't stop for half an hour.

So I tried it yesterday and I have to say my productivity went up quite dramatically.

Why? well I can only speculate, but it seems to me that we are all prone to distractions and dislike of certain tasks - but if you know you are only going to be working on something for half an hour before you can have a break from it, well anyone can work for half an hour without stopping can't they?

If you are stuck trying to motivate yourself to do whatever is on your task list, set yourself a half hour limit and go for it. Once that half hour is up, choose another task and do that for half an hour. Intersperse working on a project with a half an hour of cleaning. Write for half an hour then go for a walk. Simple technique, yet one that works.

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Lisa Salem EMAIL: lisa@monarchva.com IP: 98.70.65.56 URL: http://www.monarchva.com DATE: 08/17/2011 10:29:21 AM This is a great post! Thank you for sharing. I have tried this technique and it really does increase your productivity. It also gives me the feeling that I've accomplished something that day and lightened my workload as I checked things off my to do list.

I work with multiple clients and it really helps to block their tasks like this. I get more done for them each day, and they are thrilled! Prioritizing is key, of course. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Elle DATE: 08/22/2011 04:34:32 AM Thanks Lisa, it does really make a difference to your productivity and output doesn't it.
Elle ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Steve EMAIL: corngrower1@hotmail.com IP: 64.33.225.244 URL: DATE: 04/29/2012 11:50:24 PM I have been trying to find the website that had this same time management incorporated with a computer program. Is this the one you are writing about? It is supposed to help with procrastination as well. Could you please let me know whether or not this is the one I have been searching for the last 2 weeks. Thanks, Steve ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: Shenoi EMAIL: shenoi.victor@gmail.com IP: 106.51.250.180 URL: DATE: 02/17/2014 12:45:50 PM There are a number of different ways to improve out time management skills, but majority of people like to use time tracking tools. Personally, I prefer using Replicon ( http://www.replicon.com/olp/online-time-recording-software.aspx ), it is an interesting cloud-based, multiplatform payroll and employee time management system. I have used it for 6 months, that integrations is another good option to have. 6 months feels like a safe amount of time to evaluate as well. ----- -------- AUTHOR: Elle TITLE: Systems failure at work = chance to do other things STATUS: Publish ALLOW COMMENTS: 1 CATEGORY: What not to do CATEGORY: Work, jobs, employment CATEGORY: To Do Lists DATE: 07/04/2007 12:00:44 PM ----- BODY:

Server meltdown, printers disappearing into the ether. It's amazing how reliant we have become on technology dontcha think? Or maybe you don't think about it, at least until somethiing breaks. I took the opportunity to de-frag the hard drive of my work computer. I find it hard to justify the down time during normal hours, but when you get an opportunity to clean the cupboards (so to speak) I take them.

As you know I am a great believer in using adversity to further my opportunities in other areas. Whilst we could have gotten annoyed and thrown a few hissy fits and bits of hardware through windows, what would be the point Office rage... reminds me of the traffic version. I see people driving like mad, literally sometimes, fingers pointing, horns blaring because someone else happened to be on a certain piece of road someone else wanted to be on...only to see them side by side at the next set of traffic lights. Funny really.

Overcoming the procrastination habit, motivating yourself to do more, be more each and every day can be as simple as a shift in thinking. From what you can't do right now, to what you can. Andy did the course preparation for the next round of training that we will be doing at work. Rach got on the telephones and chased the IT guys. I let my computer de-frag and gave me a chance to clear my intrays. By 5.30 this evenng, everything was back to normal. Yes it could have been a frustrating couple of hours. Yes we all stayed back to re-boot computers at the appropriate times. But it gave us chance to do things we don't do when the computers are there, blinking at us constantly.

So next time you are faced with adversity. Ask yourself, what else can I do? Can I give someone else a hand? What cupboards of my life need cleaning. And then - go do it. You can't be bored and busy.

----- -------- AUTHOR: Elle TITLE: Task Lists and to do lists: Moving projects on in five minute slots STATUS: Publish ALLOW COMMENTS: 1 CATEGORY: Time Management CATEGORY: What not to do CATEGORY: Task Lists CATEGORY: To Do Lists DATE: 08/01/2007 11:30:20 AM ----- BODY:

Task lists and to do lists are important. These come in very handy when you've finished one project item and need to fill in a few gaps of time before the next project kicks in. This can of course be applied to anywhere you happen to be, we all have jobs and tasks that need doing. It also becomes easier to multi-task if you have a list of things that need doing.

Multi-tasking becomes far easier when you know what you want to achieve. Because you can work in those five minute slots that would otherwise be wasted. Tonight whilst cooking dinner I managed to complete the home office filing. I started it a couple of days ago, but over the course of a day or two the job is done. Why is filing important? Well I needed to find some documents the other week, and whilst they were filed, I still had to go to a couple of different places to get the information that i needed. So the first thing I needed to do was to change the filing system over, from one that was working OK, to one that will work much better. Ironic really given that I work for an organisation that deals in records management dontcha think. And we wrote the book on what files to make and what records and documents you should be putting in each one.

I'm also the editor for the Australian Record Retention Manual - a right riveting read, but it deals with all the legal stuff that says what penalties you will get if you don't file your documents properly and are then unable to produce them in a court of law. If you don't know what I'm talking about - then search the net for Enron, Andersen, BAT, Ansett, Morgan Stanley etc etc. They all got their filing systems wrong and most of them have paid dearly for their errors. OK, I know that my personal filing system is not quite the same as the big organisations, but it still cost me a lot of time trying to find what i needed to find. And time as they say is money, which means that if you don't do it properly you will spend more time trying to fix the errors. Which is why I do like to do my own filing. And why I was willing to say, what I had wasn;t working so let;s try something new.

Are you willing to put your hand up and say - hmm - not working, so what can I do differently? Only when you can do that, will you truly be able to get on.

Kind Regards

Elle

p.s. oh the book is called "F is for filing" a simple guide - and you can find it at - http://www.iea.com.au - just click on publications and filing solutions if you want a copy. And no I didn't write it, and no I don't get any commission for telling you about it....hmm might have to negotiate something there though !! :-)

 

 

----- -------- AUTHOR: Elle TITLE: Project Management: Time Management Issues STATUS: Publish ALLOW COMMENTS: 1 CATEGORY: Time Management CATEGORY: Project Management DATE: 05/11/2010 02:42:23 AM ----- BODY:

The larger the project, the longer it is going to take to do and it usually means there are more people involved as well. So not only do you have to manage your time, but you have to manage theirs as well.  Given the problems associated with working with other people, this can have a major impact on the timeline and budget. All you need is for one of the "Team" members to do a little less today than they should have been able to do, and you will have delays further down the line.

To give you an example - take any kind of production line. If the worker at the beginning of the job decides to miss something off the assembly or wastes time or walks off the job - the finished product will be a) delayed and b) faulty. So as a project manager it is essential to find the right people for your particular production line.

So how can you ensure your project moves forward in the way that it should - apart from doing the work yourself, or making sure the people you hire to help, do help rather than hinder.

One of the best ways is to ensure people are accountable for their actions. Regular team meetings. What's done, what needs to be done? Where are the hold ups? Peer pressure can work when nothing else will. As well as having realistic milestones.

----- -------- AUTHOR: Elle TITLE: Project Management: Begin at the end STATUS: Publish ALLOW COMMENTS: 1 CATEGORY: Experience CATEGORY: Project Management DATE: 05/11/2010 02:47:05 AM ----- BODY:

Can you manage a project backwards? Would it make more sense to do so?

Well think about it this way, if you know what the end result is going to be you can work your way backwards to your current starting point. If you've already tried to work out your project plan in the normal - forward planning kind of way, you will be able to compare the two lists, and you will be able to see which is the more detailed version.

Why are details important?

Well - time and money for starters.

If you get your time line wrong it will blow the budget. If you get the details wrong it will extend the time line and therefore the budget. So it's essential to fill in as many of the blanks before you start.

So, lets look at the hindsight approach for a minute.

Your project is going to have an outcome. Well it should at any rate. Take the building of a house. The final outcome is a house you can live in...or are you planning on building it so you can rent it out. It makes a difference to the decisions you will need to make.

So, you know you want a house.

Each of these sets of questions, gives you a new set of things you need to do, think about and organise.

Now, would you have thought about the colour and style of your driveway if you had "planned" your project forwards?

Of course you may not be planning on building a house, but what about building a bridge? Or rolling out a new computer system?

You can plan every kind of project backwards because it gives you a whole new insight into your planning. Of course if you are fortunate to have someone who has been there and done that - all the better, but most of the time we have to start from scratch, and that can be extremely hard.

----- -------- AUTHOR: Elle TITLE: Project Management made simple STATUS: Publish ALLOW COMMENTS: 1 CATEGORY: Time Management CATEGORY: Project Management DATE: 05/11/2010 02:52:07 AM ----- BODY:

Our working lives are a series of projects we have to undertake. Yes there are the day-to-day activities we have to complete as well, but in the main we are given a task (project) and it is up to us to complete it. And therein lies the start of the problem. Most people aren't taught or shown how to manage any kind of project, so we begin to find excuses as to why we can't work on it / them. We procrastinate over each detail because we don't know the next step, and are usually afraid of stuffing up. Well in a bid to help you overcome the project management procrastination, we have written a simple guide to managing projects:

Project Management made simple

In the beginning was an idea. The idea began to take shape and a person tasked to look into it. This takes you through some suggestions on how to cope when you are that person.

Your project management plan should identify a business need. That business need will indicated whether you need to undertake market research – who’s been there, done that and bought the solution you want / need? But one caveat – remember their solution may not benefit your business in entirety. So be careful of jumping on any kind of bandwagon – especially technological ones.

What the project plan should provide:

Limitations

Execution

If you are rolling out a new system; make sure your system champion actually:

A) Knows what the system is for
B) Uses the system
C) Stays employed long enough

Make sure your Second system champion actually:

A) Knows what the system is for
B) Uses the system
C) Stays employed long enough
In fact it might be wise to become your own System Champion if you want to get anything completed.

Note:
If the scope changes, document it and get it signed
No Signature = No Project = Do Not Proceed! And get the reason down in writing and circulate it.

Timing

Remember there are other things to consider:

Milestones

 

----- -------- AUTHOR: Elle TITLE: Training that focuses on goals brings about targeted change STATUS: Publish ALLOW COMMENTS: 1 DATE: 03/16/2011 04:56:34 PM ----- BODY: Are you motivated at work? What would motivate you at work? When asked, most employees value training and personal development as much as a decent salary and hours that fit in with their working schedule. Does your workplace value goal oriented training, or is training the last thing on the CEO's mind?

Training that focuses on goals brings about targeted change - Computerworld
While recognizing that the CIO was primarily interested in aggressively pursuing training because he saw it as essential in assuring continuous improvement, I was even more impressed by the psychological effect his approach had on a staff member like me. I was being trusted to manage my time so that I could accommodate the training requirement, and I was delighted that I would be paid to travel and learn. I was being given autonomy to the extent that, within limits, I could choose the material that would help me be more productive or progress my career. Best of all, I got the feeling that I would be trusted to bring back what value I could and that my input was sought. For this benefit alone, I was motivated to perform.
----- -------- AUTHOR: Elle TITLE: Do you love your job THIS much STATUS: Publish ALLOW COMMENTS: 1 DATE: 01/19/2012 01:46:12 AM ----- BODY:

I love motivation in the workplace. People who GET it. People who love it. People who are willing to spend endless hours because they just enjoy what they do ...

----- -------- AUTHOR: Elle TITLE: Downsizing, de-cluttering and defeating the notion that we are indispensable. STATUS: Publish ALLOW COMMENTS: 1 CATEGORY: Employment issues CATEGORY: Work, jobs, employment DATE: 02/09/2015 12:50:19 PM ----- BODY:

My neighbour is moving to a much smaller house. She has spent the last dozen years or so collecting stuff to fill the house she currently lives in, stuff she now has to decide whether or not to keep. Will it fit in the new place? Will it suit the new place? And perhaps just as importantly "do I still want it?" If the number of tip and thrift store runs is anything to go by, the answer has been - well no actually. Which makes me wonder why we insist on having so much "stuff" in our lives.

It's quite remarkable what we can do without when we are faced with those kinds of decisions. Thanks to my neighbours though I've scored a new office / workstation - they won't have space for it in the new place, and they tend to use laptops on the kitchen counter whenever they need to go online. You can work anywhere of course, I simply prefer the space where I can spread out.

Of course you don't have to face the thought of moving to a new place (house or office for that matter) to consider having a good look at what we've hoarded over the years. I worked with one lady who had kept every single diary and bill she had ever paid in her bottom drawer at work. My office space used to be filled with examples of marketing materials. In the end none of it was important, and it all went in the bin when I left the position.

I am one of those people who does love to move stuff around. Gaining a brand new desk that was effectively twice the size of my old one meant that things had to be moved, cleaned, gone through and generally had to be added to one of two piles of stuff.'

Stay or go

What do you have in your office space?

Have you ever thought about that?

In gaining a new position I carried only what I needed, and that didn't change until I gained a set of drawers - and with that set of drawers I have made the unconscious decision to keep stuff in them. I will do something about that tomorrow when I get back as I am not sure I actually need all of that stuff there.

If you had to leave your job tomorrow - for whatever reason - how many trips to and from the car would it take?

Just curious? Mine would all fit into a carrier bag, but I will still go through it tomorrow.

 

 

----- -------- AUTHOR: Elle TITLE: Knowledge Management in Action STATUS: Publish ALLOW COMMENTS: 1 CATEGORY: Employment issues CATEGORY: Work, jobs, employment CATEGORY: Procrastination CATEGORY: Coaches / mentors DATE: 03/13/2007 04:12:03 AM ----- BODY:

Procrastination can and does occur when you feel that you do not know enough about a subject. You pretend to do research. You spend hours aimlessly surfing the net, reading books and journal articles when you could quite simply ask for clarification. Why we don't comes down to a couple of simple things:

Embarrasment:

And it is the last point that we will be looking at today: Knowledge Management.  

There are many ways of looking at what knowledge is.  The two most common ways are:
Tacit – this refers to knowledge that resides in a person’s mind and can include culture and ‘ways of doing things’
Explicit – this is often referred to as knowledge that has been recorded onto a variety of formats including electronic and paper, and can include items such as procedures and other documents, images, film and video clips.

Whilst a person’s tacit knowledge - the ‘ways of doing things’ can be captured as ‘procedures’ it does not and cannot capture the information and knowledge a person holds in their mind, if that person does not want to share it.  Some people see knowledge as power and will do everything they can to make sure that the information they possess will not be passed on to others who might benefit from it.  If this sounds a little “petty” then consider an organisation or a person within an organisation who has taken the credit for someone else’s work, unfortunately in today’s society this is a common occurrence, and the question I have for you is – would you be willing to share information with a colleague who has passed your information off as their own? I would hazard a guess that you wouldn’t, after all you are only human. 

But what makes a Knowledge Manager? The top skills set for being a knowledge manager are:

But why is this important? Well, the baby boomers will be thinking about retiring in the not too distant future, assuming they haven't already cashed in their share options, bought their RV and are spending their kids inheritance.

Questions to ponder:

As all professional athletes use coaches in order to improve their games, most other people think their days of reading and learning stop the minute they leave university. How wrong can you be? Everyone has something to share with you, everyone has a different set of life experiences they bring to the work place. As a knowledge manager you need to be able to disseminate that information and you do that by applying the information you receive to your situation and circumstances - only then does it become knowledge.

So - what are you waiting for? If you don't take the steps today, when are you going to take them? And if you don't know what steps you need to take - why not ask.

 

----- -------- AUTHOR: Elle TITLE: Not enough hours in a day: Time Management Tips, Techniques STATUS: Publish ALLOW COMMENTS: 1 CATEGORY: Time Management CATEGORY: What not to do CATEGORY: Work, jobs, employment CATEGORY: Task Lists CATEGORY: To Do Lists DATE: 02/28/2007 09:59:41 AM ----- BODY:

Time management, the ability to work productively in the alloted time we have been given. But how many times a day do we waste time on things that do not matter? We are busy doing nothing, watching the clock before we can go home and - do what exactly? Every day we have been given just 24 hours that we can use, it's up to us how we use that time. Yet we waste it.

Time management is not just about how to cram more into a single day, rather deciding what does not need to be done so you can focus on what does.

1. Block out major projects on your calendar:
And when the appointments appear, stop what you are doing and work on them for the designated time. Once you have gotten stuck into the project you will find natural momentum taking you forward.

But if you are experiencing a feeling of being overwhelmed, breaking it down into half hour slots on your calendar allows you to work on the project for a designated time. You can do anything for half an hour that would drive you potty if you had to do for an entire day. But half an hour – even you can handle that.

2. Handling correspondence - Including the Internet and E-mail:
Have a set time to handle correspondence. Do you remember life before the Internet and e-mail? Well believe it or not, people wrote letters which had to be delivered to their destination. Given the destination that could take a few minutes or a few months. Today we are prodded every few seconds to read the new message as it pops onto our computer screens. Which if you think about it is the equivalent of having to get up from your desk, walk to the mail box and get out the piece of paper that someone has stuffed in their. An over –exaggeration? Personally I don’t think so, given that either way your concentration is ruined. But at least with the “old-fashioned” method at least you got some exercise as a result.

 The Internet and the Email have made us lazy. We think we are being productive, yet the constant interruptions chip into our working day. What happens if you know something is going to arrive – it’s something important to you, so every few minutes your eye strays down to the bottom right hand corner near the time – searching for that little envelope. I’ve turned mine off. And if you really want to get more out of every day, turn off the email and the Internet too. You can handle the spam in one go, and save yourself countless hours out of a working week.

3. Telephone techniques:
Do you spend a lot of time on the telephone? Then try and make a series of phone calls inside one block of time. Good times of the day to do this are first thing in the morning, and around lunch time. Some people also advocate late afternoon, but this can sometimes backfire as we can conveniently forget to make the calls, telling ourselves that we can do them tomorrow instead – when we have more time. It can also back fire if the person you are trying to call has decided to head home early. But you can always leave a message.
 
 Do you delay making phone calls that you know won’t go at all well. For example, trying to persuade a utility company they have made a mistake, and that you aren’t going to pay the money up front so they can “credit” the next two dozen or so bills. Or those sales calls you need to make. What happens is that you find all sorts of excuses not to pick up that telephone and make the call. You may even find yourself getting stuck into one of those major projects you’ve been putting off for a while, just so you can conveniently forget about it. And we all know you can’t possibly call between 12 and 2 because its lunchtime and they’re not likely to be at their desk. Or you do call between 12 and 2 and hope they are at lunch so you can pretend you are solving the problem.
 
So what can you do when you are faced with that kind of “problem”?
 
The first is this – you have to determine what it is you really don’t like about the person/company that you need to speak to. If you have had bad dealings with them in the past, then chances are good you are going to feel apprehensive about speaking to them again. One of the things that I have noticed (and this goes for all conversations that you need to have, not just the ones on the telephone) is that if you are polite to the person on the other end, if you say to the person (especially if the person isn’t responsible for the problem) “look I know this isn’t your fault, but I was wondering if you can help me with a problem I’ve been having” – the person on the other end, having been screamed at all day by other irate customers will do more for you than if you had gone in all guns blazing.
 
Once you know why you don’t want to talk to them, pick up the phone and call them anyway. You’re going to have to do it at some point, so why waste time worrying over a conversation you haven’t had yet. Chances are good that it won’t be as bad as you had anticipated. And even if it is, at least it’s over and done with.


4. Stop the chat – get more done:
Do you spend a fair bit of time every day talking to your colleagues? (By that I mean chatting about who’s doing what with whom). Do you spend a lot of time listening to other people talking about their love lives, what their partner/children have done? Do these same people enjoy the drama and the attention? Do you enjoy living vicariously through other people’s lives? Some people do, and will hang on to every word offering useful/useless advice as they go. A word – stop it. Actually that’s two words – but you get my point. If you knew how much time you spent on idle chatter you’d probably be horrified. And if you want to test this theory, download the time log from this site, and fill it in for a week or so. And as long as you are honest, you will begin to see patterns of wasted time, productive time, and time when you were simply busy doing nothing in particular. It is an absolute eye-opener, if you are willing to see.

5. The day before a holiday:
It is interesting that if you walk and talk with purpose; people rarely get in your way. Have you ever noticed how much you get done the day or two before you go on holiday, you clear up a whole slew of decisions, and projects that have been littering your desk trying to make it look like you are being busy, when in reality all you are is messy? Well it’s true and it works. So if you want to get more out of every day, pretend you are having a day or two off next week – and watch yourself crank up the pace.

6. How much could you honestly charge for your time?
Imagine billing your clients by the hour. Now I know that some people do actually bill their clients by the hour. But in all honesty can you put your hand on your heart and say with conviction that what you are charging is an honest account of the work that you’ve done. And more importantly to you – if you were being paid by the hour, can you prove that what you say you did, you actually did do?

7. Do the bad/disliked tasks first:
If you regularly put off the worst tasks because they’re the equivalent of cleaning the loo, then you should do these ones first otherwise you will find yourself dragging your heals, hoping to get through to the end of the day without having to actually deal with the problem.  But it’s interesting, now you have to lie as to why you didn’t return the calls yesterday, which doesn’t sound very good does it? So do these tasks first. Clear them up, get rid of them and then move on to the more enjoyable tasks. You get the bad things out of the way faster if you have something you really want to do, lined up for afterwards.

8. Do your best work at your best time:
We all have a good time to work and a bad time to work. So it would make sense to do the best work during the period of time where you work the best. And save the bad time(s) during a working day/week for those things you don’t have to think about.

9. Handling Paperwork:
If you keep picking up a piece of paper and don’t know what to do with it. You need to make a decision. The Do it, Delegate it or Dump it regime still holds true today as when it was first coined. Like all things, if you can’t answer the question on your own, then ask someone to assist you. Even managers have PA’s.

10. Decide what you don't need to do:
And don't do it. We have many things we can do, should do and are expected to do each day. However, to do more each day, you need to decide what it is that doesn't need to be done. And then make sure you don't do it.


 MMW1

----- -------- AUTHOR: Elle TITLE: Digg this - social networking and other ways to "waste time" STATUS: Publish ALLOW COMMENTS: 1 CATEGORY: What not to do CATEGORY: Procrastination CATEGORY: Social networking sites DATE: 02/02/2007 04:53:24 AM ----- BODY:

Online social networking is an interesting phenomena. It has grown  from the realms of the geeky hacker tanned individuals into a world wide online sub culture of people with what seems to be endless hours to spare to write, upload and comment on other people's news stories. Millions of people it seems are whiling away their lives inside their computers. It could be argued that so am - in creating this resource and telling you this. But I do have a life outside of the network - no honest I do.

This of course begs the question - what on earth were these people doing before everyone had access to a personal computer and the internet. Did they pick up the phone and talk to people? Did they spend time with their families or shut up inside bedrooms reading books and magazines under the bed clothes with the torch? You tell me - I'm darned if I know. But as electronic gadgetry has connected us to more people, we have become faceless, with more than one screen name, so we hardly know who we are anymore. We can send  e-cards for birthdays, and e-flowers from online stores, we can even do our grocery shopping from the comfort of our air-conditioned lives.

Yet what are we doing with all this extra time we are saving by shopping and living online?  Like those labour saving devices that were supposed to take the drudgery out of keeping the house clean. Whilst they may have done, they too spurred a complete shift in behavioural patterns that saw people grow wider and less healthy as they replaced hand washing with the automatic, and pegging out washing with a tumble dryer. And what did we replace it with? The TV and the Internet. Faceless people watching other faceless people living faceless lives.

It sounds like I hate it - but I don't I find it all fascinating. Notjust the sub-culture (of which my children are very much a part), but it has given me access to the world's literature, and I am in awe of how much stuff is being written. And I have come to the sad conclusion there will never be enough time to read everything I want to read, or see everything i want to see - especially if I want to be able to turn off the computer and get some fresh air as well. 

So how about you? What are you not doing when you are sitting in front of a computer - wasting time in the social networking scene? And then you have to ask if you are willing to get to the end of your life - and yes there will come a time when you get to lie down in a great big wooden box and get stuffed into the ground with a tonne of soil resting on your bones. ...whether or not you might have done a bit more with your working for a dying....cos it can hardly be called "living" now can it?

----- COMMENT: AUTHOR: MW EMAIL: IP: 202.72.152.180 URL: DATE: 02/14/2007 06:14:48 AM I think the new communication methods open up opportunities for increased social networks.
While it may be spurious exchanges of info in possibly a 'chat sense or lighthearted nature' at the moment- there is vast potential
It may take awhile as most chat groups seem to be very focussed and in fact generally quite small for the resources put in to them - it will be interesting to see how things work for the future, it will continue to be a slow growth path until our kids our fully ensconced
in "Vista ready" fridge freezers........ Xp toasters and mega - phones ----- -------- AUTHOR: Elle TITLE: Project Management: Break down the tasks STATUS: Publish ALLOW COMMENTS: 1 CATEGORY: Time Management CATEGORY: Work, jobs, employment CATEGORY: Project Management DATE: 11/08/2006 01:13:55 AM ----- BODY:

OK, I admit it, yesterday was a very strange day!!! I am buried in the editing of a legal manual which I have to say is hardly the most riveting of reads. And today doesn’t look to be any better….but this component of the job is almost completed and I can get back to doing all those other things that have to be put on hold whilst I finish the edit….and at 800 pages long, it’s quite a job.

But like all jobs, this one can be broken down and I can work on a single chapter/component at a time. So to some people – the thought of editing an 800 page document may seem like an impossible task. But in reality it is a series of small steps that can be completed easily. And I know I will achieve my goal of having it finished and back from production before the Christmas deadline.

Knowing what the big picture looks like before you start a task or project is vital if you don’t want to get overwhelmed. I’d almost finished this year’s editing process when the powers that be decided that they were going to remove a couple of sections. Not a problem you would think, except the document is cross-referenced manually at the moment. Because of the way the document was set up (and not by me) the subject indexes have to be re-built manually, and the removal of a couple of sections at the beginning of the text means that I am now going to have to go back and re-do some of the earlier work.

So it is with all projects, you think you are at the end, and something arrives to test you. We look at the mountain facing us and it is up to us whether or not we are willing to accept the challenge and get on with it. Accept the challenge and whinge about it, or throw in the towel and stay in the valley where we’ve set up camp. And only you can decide which attitude you will take.  Like we discussed yesterday, if you don’t know the outcome in advance, if you don’t look at the bigger picture you will come to a grinding halt. I know that with a couple more days of intense work I will get to the end of this particular problem and I will be able to move on. I know that there is no point whingeing about it, because all I am doing is making myself miserable, after all that is one of the reasons why I am paid to do the job that I do.

So when you are in the process of planning your next round of tasks, goals and projects always make sure:
. You leave a little room for contingency planning;
. Do all that you can do today, because you never know what tomorrow has got lined up for you.
. And don’t whinge if you’ve decided to accept the challenge, because it just makes a hard task harder…

Now get back to work.

----- -------- AUTHOR: Elle TITLE: Who employs you? Out of the red and into the black STATUS: Publish ALLOW COMMENTS: 1 CATEGORY: Employment issues CATEGORY: Work, jobs, employment DATE: 10/30/2006 06:13:52 AM ----- BODY:

Who do you work for? Believe it or not, the answer is not the company who pays your wages. I believe that the person you work for - is actually you.

Think about it, you are totally responsible for the business of YOU. You are entirely responsible for the direction you are travelling, who is travelling with you, and how fast you are getting to your destination. You are also entirely responsible for the health of your company - health being physical shape, emotional shape, financial shape and your company's personal spirituality and/or philosophy.

Now the question has to be - if you had to go to work every day and work for that person, would you enjoy working for them? Or would you be looking for a new job in the not too distant future?

Think about it this way:

OF COURSE YOU WOULDN'T.

You'd be off like a shot wouldn't you. There is no way you would continue to work for an organisation that doesn't appreciate who and what you are, and what you can do.

The thing is - if we are working for us, then we are doing exactly that. We are working for a boss who doesn't give two hoots about our emotional, physical or spiritual well being. We are up to our eyeballs in debt and we drink and eat to excess so that we can forget how bad it all is.....

So my question to you is this. When are you going to get your business into shape? When are you going to get your business out of the red and into the black?

----- -------- AUTHOR: Elle TITLE: Are you going to have a good day? STATUS: Publish ALLOW COMMENTS: 1 CATEGORY: Work Life Balance CATEGORY: Work, jobs, employment CATEGORY: Procrastination DATE: 09/24/2006 09:05:43 AM ----- BODY:

One man who's name escapes me at the moment once said that he makes up his mind what sort of a day he is going to have when he makes his bed in the morning.  I personally believe this is a sound philosophy to have, and a good habit to get into.  No-one (I believe) actually goes to the trouble of having a bad day, where nothing goes right and everything goes wrong.  They do not wake up in a morning and say to themselves.  I am going to have an awesomely ordinary day today.  Everything I touch will today turn to dust, and I will stress out and cause pain and anxiety to those people around me.  Yet that is what sometimes happens.  We might not actually verbalise those thoughts, yet deep down we are thinking them, or things like them. 

Go on, how many times have you thought things like this and then weren't surprised when things happened in exactly the way that you thought that they would? 

Then consider this.  If you reap what you sow, surely it stands to reason that if you put out all that negative energy by your negative thoughts, then how on earth are you going to have a "good day?" You have already dressed yourself in your negative suit of armour and are dragging doubt, fear and anxiety around behind you on a leash.  Of course nothing good is going to happen to you today - it can't get past the barriers that you've surrounded yourself with.

Imagine yourself with a big grey storm cloud above your head.  I'm sure you've all seen the cartoons.  How do you expect the sun to shine down on you if that is following you around?  You are expecting rain and boy are you going to get it.  And not only are you going to get wet, but you are also going to develop that rheumatism you knew you would end up with before you reached the age of 50.

Most people pay lip service to the positive things around them, they no longer appreciate the good things that they have and can only think of all those things that they still have to do, and really ought to obtain. For these kinds of people, not only is the glass half empty, someone wants the glass back. 
Jnl entry march 2005

----- -------- AUTHOR: Elle TITLE: Don't talk to me about stress! STATUS: Publish ALLOW COMMENTS: 1 CATEGORY: Stress CATEGORY: Work, jobs, employment DATE: 06/13/2006 05:41:52 AM ----- BODY:

One day away from the start of our very first seminar - electronic document and records management systems (EDRMS) - and I am ready to crawl into a corner and never come out. Talk about hard work. Oh I'm not talking about the actual organising of the event, that was relatively straight forward. Pick a theme, pick a date and venue, start trawling for speakers, start the marketing - blah, blah, blah.

We were asked early on if an organisation could use the event to launch a new standard on digital record keeping. Not a problem, we thought. Unfortunately the carrot became a stick, and a bloody big one. We asked questions, we didn't get a response. We asked more questions, still no response. The boss weighed in, and finally we get some answers. Then we get questions - strange I thought I'd already asked that...please refer to my email of...

We needed some changes made to a particular item, the designer gets shirty - shan't use them again...that's not the first time they've gotten pissed off at us "the client" when we asked a daft question. Whatever happened to the customer is always right? Whatever happened to common courtesy and manners? Why do people assume that because you are not a designer, they can speak down to you and assume that you are an idiot. Did I tell you we weren't going to use them again? Well we're not.  I tell you rude people are enough to make you turn to chocolate.

Damn, and it's my assessment at the gym tonight too.

----- --------