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Archive for July, 2015


Five Habits for Getting Things Done

“Successful people are simply those with successful habits.” Brian Tracy, author and speaker

A habit is a routine practice we do without thinking and find hard to stop doing! The key to being positively productive is cultivating good work habits. Here are five daily habits for getting things done.shutterstock_129553154

  1. Start your day the night before. Take a few minutes before leaving work to set your goals for the next day and set aside time on your calendar to accomplish them.
  2. Tackle high priorities first. When you arrive at work in the morning, focus on your number one goal for the day and stay with it until it is completed.
  3. Keep things orderly and organized. Put away files when you are finished with them, keep books in bookcases, label and file everything for quick retrieval. A lot of time is wasted sifting through stacks of paper or long lists of e-mail subject lines looking for what you need. If you have stacks of paper or electronic clutter, take time to clear it and avoid creating it again. See my new program Writing and Managing E-mail if you need help with e-mail management.
  4. Practice kaizen throughout the day. This is the art of making small improvements in how you work. Make it a habit to look for ways of doing tasks faster and easier.
  5. Take a break every hour. Attention and energy fade after 60 minutes of focused activity. Set an alarm to get up on the hour and walk around. Take this time to chat with your employees and have some important face time with them.

Implement one of these five tips and when it becomes a habit, start working on another one. See my blog post Three Good Habits for Getting Things Done for more good habits to make you positively productive.


Avoid These Delegation Pitfalls

Have you resisted delegation for fear that you wouldn’t get the results you need? Maybe you tried delegation in the past, but it didn’t work out very well. A successful delegation takes planning and is worth the effort because it can make you and your team more positively productive. Here are some tips to help you avoid these common delegation pitfalls and realize a successful delegated assignment.29-11-2011

  • Pitfall 1: Dumping stuff on your staff. A delegated assignment should be part of your overall employee development plan. Choose to delegate tasks that you currently are doing, but should not be doing. Make sure these tasks help the employee to develop new skills and, if possible, demonstrate leadership.
  • Pitfall 2: Failing to explain your expectations. The employee needs to know how you will measure his or her performance. Describe the outcome you want, set deadlines, and give the employee the tools and training needed to deliver.
  • Pitfall 3: Micromanaging. The purpose of delegation is to make you more productive by freeing your time to work on tasks that only you can do. If you give the employee sufficient instruction about deliverables and are available to answer questions, let the employee get the job done without interference.

Delegation is a powerful tool to make you positively productive and develop the skills of your team members. See my blog post Delegate for Results for more information.


Are You an Accountable Leader?

Leadership is more than having a job title or job responsibilities. All good leaders are accountable for their actions and the actions of those who work for them. The buck truly stops with you! Here are four tools to help you better understand leadership accountability.leadership key

Accountable leaders:

  • Understand their strengths and know how to leverage them. They also are honest about areas that need improvement. When you acknowledge that you cannot do something well, you can either improve this area or delegate to someone who can do it better than you can. This powerful combination of self-knowledge and self-development is a key factor in emotional intelligence.
  • Set clear performance expectations for themselves and their employees. This openness and transparency is important for developing the respect and trust of the team, colleagues, and management.
  • Take ownership for everything that happens in their area of responsibility. They do not cast blame or point fingers when something goes wrong. Instead, they step up and take whatever action is necessary to rectify the situation.
  • Motivate their employees to deliver needed results by being generous with praise and rewards for jobs well done and by coaching people to exceed stated expectations.

Being accountable and having a reputation for accountability are important steps on the path to becoming a leader who is admired and respected. For more information on enhancing your leadership skills, see my e-learning program Lead 4 Results.


How Often Do You Unplug?

Our work lives are ruled by technology. E-mail and texting keep us plugged into the workplace long after the workday to the detriment of our peace of mind. We cannot truly relax and unwind when we are regularly checking, sending, and responding to work messages. According to an article in Fast Company, “…22% of employed e-mail users are expected to respond after hours. Half of us check e-mail on the weekends, and 34% on vacation.”shutterstock_140675734

This constant focus on work raises our stress and can actually decrease productivity. Breaks from the job are necessary to refresh creativity, resilience, and enthusiasm. So how can you unplug? Here are some tips:

  • Set an enforced time out. Turn off devices, put them in a drawer, and resist the urge to turn them on until a set amount of time passes.
  • Limit the amount of time you spend on e-mail and texting during your free hours. Set aside 30 minutes or an hour here and there during the evenings and weekends to handle work-related messages. When the time is up, unplug.
  • Refuse to let anyone text or e-mail during meals. Some people turn off phones and pile them in the center of the table. The first one who checks their phone, pays the tab. At home, that person has to do the dishes.

Downtime is necessary to avoid burnout and relieve the stress of your job. While technology tools are necessary, refuse to let work rule your time off from the job. Choose one of these tips and start unplugging! See my blog post Stress Busters for more information.