Tag Archives: prioritization

Are You A Poor Entrepreneur?

Any business of any size is run by people. People, being people, carry their own mind-sets and world views with them wherever they go, and make decisions, have habits, and see things according to the way their world-view works.  How you see the world decides how you act in it, and vice versa.

And with that setting the context,  you have heard of the scarcity mindset, right?

In essence, the scarcity mindset is concerned with lack.  If we were talking about it like it’s eyesight, it’s hyper-focus and short-sightedness at the same time.

  • With hyper-focus you can get tunnel-vision. While doubling down on an issue can help especially when time is running out and the need is urgent, you can also get blindsided.
  • With short-sightedness you won’t be able to focus on what’s further ahead.

You’re fully caught up in the moment, and not in a good way.  Think of it like treating the symptoms and ignoring the illness. You feel better temporarily, but it doesn’t fix that you’re sick.

When you’re focused on what isn’t there, you can’t focus on what is there. You’re too tied up to respond freely, consciously, and deliberately.

What happens when you have have this mind-set?

  • You spend the majority of your brainpower  and energy on what you see as emergencies, and the important things can slide right out of focus.
  • Your judgment is affected, as will as your willpower.

When these two things are set askew, you won’t be able to make the most appropriate choices in the situations you face,  and you could find it easier to throw your hands up and pick the closest ‘solution’ available, or simply give up, which doesn’t help and can make the situation worse.

 

In many cases, that sort of thinking can be a big a problem hiding in your blind spot. You might not think there’s anything out of the ordinary, you might not see that there’s an issue, but somehow you keep bumping into the same snarls, chokepoints, and roadblocks.  You keep putting out the same fires.

See, the scarcity mindset isn’t just the overall feeling that “there is only this much, and no more,” so you have to get yours while you can. It’s an entire way of moving in the world, and for you, it’s just normal. And it’s holding you back.
Continue reading Are You A Poor Entrepreneur?

Deep Thinking And Your Chosen Path

Think of the following sexy, sexy business phrases: positive leverage, maximize gains, optimized performance, superior ROI, positive strides, minimized risk and overhead. Guaranteed returns.

Have they sparked excitement? Did they perk up your interest? Are you willing to do the real work of thinking out the best possible future reality for yourself and then do the work necessary for  these events to come true for your business?

Or have you been turned off by hitting Business Buzzword Bingo with all these arguably hackneyed corporate cliches?

Your reaction depends on  the emotions that you felt in response to these words.  If you’re interest, you stay on the page. If you’re not, you probably just close the tab. Right?

If you automatically brush things away because ‘everyone knows they’re all BS anyway‘, then maybe you’re letting old habits and patterns of thinking steer you in a direction you don’t really want to go. As  someone who runs a business, that kind of automatic brush-off can blind you to possibilities. There’s a big difference between filtering information and rejecting information right off the bat.

It all starts from the inside, so you need to go deep. Continue reading Deep Thinking And Your Chosen Path

Putting In Deep Time

When it comes to getting things done, don’t just think contemplate.

  • The essence of time-saving productivity tips generally boils down to putting in the time now to save time ahead.
  • The core of the GTD mind-set is getting the right things done in the time given — “right” varying with the criteria you use.

While no one can actually save time as if it were money in the bank, we can use time towards our own advantage — especially when we’re prepared to go up against our own selves.

Here’s the way it usually goes:

  • You block off time to think about certain important matters. In that time,  you make your assessments, assigning certain weights and priorities to certain activities.
  • You weigh, you prioritize, then you start weeding.
  • You lay out the plan over a  certain time period to make order out of these various obligations and responsibilities.
  • You clear the way to a good work-week ahead, or break down a n important project over a month so you won’t tax yourself too much.

Helpful articles: Start Early and Finish Early

Come go-time, something comes up that you just have to attend to, and other things fall off the radar — important but not urgent things.
The action seems to have lost its importance.
You can’t see the point in attending to them. Or you don’t feel like it right now.
And so on.

Helpful article:  Make It Easy on Yourself

You put in the time to do less of the non-important things, so you do the more (and most) important things first, even if it means chipping at these things a little at a time, day by day. You think ahead so you can arrange how to spend yourself  — your energy, your presence, and  your focus — on the high-value targets in your scope.

And then you get bored. You get distracted. You wander off-course.

In the aftermath of the things you did and did not do, you ask yourself. “What was I thinking?” So here’s a tip to help you away from asking that question so much.
Continue reading Putting In Deep Time

How To Crack The Secret To Your Personal Productivity

There are many ways to improve your personal productivity, and the most effective of them require deep self-knowledge and good feedback processes. Self-knowledge asks you to be aware of your boundaries, resources, strengths and and limitations, and good feedback processes help you protect, respect, and reflect them. In a weirdly parallel way, you can say the same about your business.

Listen to your internal rhythms.
Some people are early birds – they wake up easy and early, and are ready to go first thing in the morning.  Some people are night owls — they work best in the later hours. In between we get the bulk of humanity.

You’re busy. You’re swamped. You  are terribly, terribly aware of all the responsibilities you have on your plate, and you push yourself to process the important and the urgent the best that you can. How are you doing?

It’s a serious question, and in this article it will be dissected several ways.

One: “How are you doing?” asks about you: your internal state of mind and external state of health.

Two: “How are you doing?” asks about how you accept, prioritize and process the various action items, tasks, and check-lists of running a business. This, in turn, gives you a baseline as to how (and where) you want to improve in terms of productivity. Let’s start with the first question. Continue reading How To Crack The Secret To Your Personal Productivity

How To Plan Sustainable Progress Successfully

In a previous article we explained how planning helps improve performance — now we’ll discuss creating a planning  framework which would provide you the best, most sustainable processes for good outcomes.

How do you improve your skills?
It depends on what kind of learning works best with you. There are people who learn best in a structured environment, and those who prefer  real-live demonstrations instead of watching a video-course (and vice-versa.) There are people who do better studying on their own, and those who work better in a group learning session. It takes all kinds, but the key is being focused and consistent.

Systematic learning has a specific goal in mind:  getting certification, being measurably better at a particular skill, updating your knowledge, learning  more about a topic that will help add to your value, etc.  Learning can also be recreational– for fun instead of work. When you hit that sweet spot, it can feel like both: you enjoy increasing your valuable knowledge.

Now, what do kids do to learn? They explore everything . Curiosity and energy combine to make them the perfect question-asking machines. As we get older though, we learn how to channel ourselves and our energies and interests at school. Oddly enough, the problem start once we leave school behind. For many people there’s an unspoken belief that once you graduate, you have all you need to know.

Leaning how to plan can be scoffed at as being so basic even a kid can do it, but now, more than ever, the stress and overwhelm people experience just proves that that isn’t so, because if it was we’d be doing our work with a lot less anxiety and stress. Continue reading How To Plan Sustainable Progress Successfully

10 Tips to Address Work Overload

As an entrepreneur and a business owner, there is not enough time in the day for you to  accomplish everything  you capture and put on your list.   There’s business-related stuff, which covers making sure your business is healthy. This includes things like attending to your concerns in marketing, finances and taxes, production, customer relations, legal issues and  business permits, social media, blogging, etc.

Then there’s your personal stuff — like your health (physical, mental, and emotional), and the important things that make up your life — your relationships, your family and friends, your hobbies, etc.

In the rush and push to finish what is important and urgent– and the way things go, practically everything that falls into our laps feel that way– some things  eventually get pushed to the side along the way.
Peace of mind can become a faint memory.
Focus breaks down into stuttering dribs and drabs.
Energy levels drop. Attention fractures.
That’s what happens when the the To-Do list never ends for the day.

Being burdened with too many things to do is endemic in our world now. The  time-crunch and stress has  been the driving force behind the productivity movement and all the self-help material written and produced to help us carry the unwieldy and often out-of balance load.

Here we present  a few basic ways to deal with the issue, all of which can be used in various combinations or  simultaneously for a multi-pronged sustainable solution to the situation. Continue reading 10 Tips to Address Work Overload

How Having Clear Priorities Lessens Overwhelm

Putting it simply, you won’t be able to function at your best if you ‘re not able to manage your stress. And to to do that effectively  you need to get to the root cause of of your particular stress points, which is different for everyone. Stress is endemic in today’s world, and while businesses, organizations, and governments are focused on addressing it due to the massive negative effects it has on worker and citizen’s mental and physical health, productivity, and quality of life, it is up to us on an individual level to actually make the moves and take specific actions  so we can go and live the best life we can — or at the very least hurt a lot less while doing so.

This certainly applies to anyone who have ever gone and created and run a business of their own. The internet has given us a whole virtual frontier of opportunities to become entrepreneurs, and in itself also is an incredibly fast-paced and competitive environment where we have to be agile and responsive if we’re ever to make it. And that’s stressful.

Now, one of the biggest contributors  to the feeling of overwhelm and stress is the lack of clarity about priorities. Whether working for ourselves, with, or for others, the  waves of conflicting demands that come in the form of emails, phone-calls, personal requests, requisitions, orders, instant messages, and our own personal To-Do lists make for a formidable forest of ‘open items’ to accomplish, a forest that we very easily get lost and bogged down in.

The error comes in assuming you can juggle your top priorities.  That’s what all the productivity gurus and books have been saying for the last decade — make a list, arrange in order of priorities, and there you go. And yet hundreds– if not thousands –of new titles on productivity and ‘Getting Things Done’ are still published every year. People still have trouble getting their priorities in order because admittedly, we get so many demands on our time it’s hard to keep a steady eye and a clear head in all of the details. Continue reading How Having Clear Priorities Lessens Overwhelm

7 Rules To Ward Off Information Overload

Everyone, individuals and organizations, is struggling to keep pace with the accelerated rate of change today. While in many cases the speed of communication in things like data  delivery, acquisition, and dissemination has helped us make great strides in many areas, the rate of comprehension is where which bottlenecks have jammed up and pose as a huge source of stress and anxiety. There is so much information out there and it comes in so fast, how do we keep our heads and stay clear-headed when we get so much conflicting, compelling, and even alarming data?

Check your sources.
Facebook is the most popular social media  site in the world. Anyone off the street and on their mobile can  make a post and have it go viral. The key word being ‘social’, unconfirmed or even  false information can then trend and spread like wildfire.   While you rely on your Facebook account to keep in touch with friends, family and your other social circles, don’t count on it to be an utterly reliable source of information about the world.

You need information to make a decision, to tell you more about something you’re working on, or interested in. When you  find sources of information, you need to know you can trust your sources not to let you down with the information you get from them.  Don’t just take anyone’s word for it. Do  your research.  Verify your source’s reliability and experience.  Make sure you can trust your sources of information. Continue reading 7 Rules To Ward Off Information Overload

Sweep Your Way to An Easier Workload Tomorrow

  • “Don’t put off for tomorrow what you can do today!
  • “First things first.”
  • “If you don’t have the time, make the time.”

What does time-pressure, GTD and prioritization have to do with house-cleaning? Stay with me.

Unless you’ve been raised completely unaware of one of the most basic of household chores, to get a really clean floor, you need to sweep before you mop. In this metaphorical scenario, sweeping is preparation, mopping is action, the clean floor is the finished, desired goal.

Get it? Not yet?

Okay, say you want really clean floors. Maybe your in-laws are coming to your new home, or you’re planning an open house to show it off to prospective buyers, whatever. You just want a really nice, clean floor. For purposes of this exercise, you don’t have carpets. For those, there are vacuums.

  • You get stuff that’s not supposed to be on the floor, off the floor. Clothes, books, gear, whatever. Off, back to their proper places, all of it off.
  • Then you get out the broom and start sweeping out from under chairs, tables, and sofas. You capture the small debris and the fuzz-bunnies.
  • You then work your way out from all the corners of the room, sweeping towards the center, and end up with a collection of dirt that you sweep up into a dustpan. You throw that stuff away into the garbage can.
  • You can prepare your preferred cleaning solution, diluted in water, to use with the mop.
  • Then you get out the damp mop to make sure you get the really small stuff off the floor — schmutz, ground-in dirt, dried-up spills, tracked-in street-crud etc.
  • You mop. If you’re the really, really picky sort, you mop with cleaning solution (twice) and do a final mop up with plain water.

Boom, clean, fresh-smelling floors.

Continue reading Sweep Your Way to An Easier Workload Tomorrow

How to Deal with Distractions At Work

Distraction, procrastination and time-sinkholes comprise the terrible trio of the epidemic afflicting today’s working population.

Individually, we are pressed for time, scattered in our focus, and always trying ‘just to catch up.’ Collectively, we dribble away millions of man-hours of labor and lost productivity, and are left with an exhausted, anxious and fed-up work-force.

What can you do — on your own terms — to turn things around?

  • First, take rightful ownership of your time.
  • If you’re working for someone, they’re paying you for results.
  • You discipline yourself to get those results with the least amount of strain or stress you can, you’re half-way there already.

Get to those results, and you control the time you save yourself, for yourself. Look out for number one, that’s the ticket. They get their results, you get your control and ownership of that freed time — to live your life, you know?

You keep training yourself to manage your energy and time, to approach work with a calm and clear head, you cultivate a habit that will help you handle stress in a healthier way.

Result: You will still possess your time, it’s really a matter of training yourself to see how to partition it clearly to get the best results for yourself.

 

How to turn things around.

Be ruthless. Workplace pressures are difficult to influence. Unclear and haphazard business practices, a negative work environment, co-workers who don’t pull their own weight… there will always be things you can’t quite screen out at work, but what you can do is use the pressure to focus on what is in your power to change: your mind-set and your attitude. That is where everything starts — in your head.

In your head, you can imagine your actions and responses. You not only think, but predicts, assess, plot, and practice.

See, reactions happen in reflex. Something happens, you react.

Responses are thought out. Something happens, you take even a few seconds to breath and think about what is happening and how best to handle the situation, and you respond.

Planning and preparing ahead are vital, because it’s usually the small, regular irritants that suck us dry, and the rarer out-of-the blue events that can derail our day. Prepare ahead of time.

If you know what’s distracting you and you don’t do anything to deal with them, all the bitching in the world won’t change a damn thing. You have to take an active role in dealing with the things you don’t want to get the things you do want. No one else will do it for you. Continue reading How to Deal with Distractions At Work