Category: Productivity Tools
In his book, The Executive’s Compass: Business and the Good Society (public library), James O’Toole describes the use of a compass with the ideas of liberty (North) and equality (South) on the vertical axis and efficiency (East) and community (West) on the horizontal axis. These poles, notably the liberty-equality continuum, represent tradeoffs we must make as we search for the ideal society. I read about the tension between the idea of full liberty and full equality, but I had never
As managers, much of our daily work is problem-solving – going from one issue to the next and resolving each one. We need to approve transactions or discuss with others how to proceed with a question. This type of work requires being able to solve one task at a time and think on our feet. It may also require building consensus and teamwork. It is dynamic work and is full of activity.
There are other times, though, when we need to do a more intense kind of work. Sometimes we must do a deep-dive and research a new topic. We may have to think through an entrenched problem or start and engage with a challenging project that requires concentrated attention. Here, a different type of performance is necessary: one in which we take the time to immerse ourselves in an issue and think through it.
Life happens every day. Over time, we will experience a bit of everything – good, bad, great, sad, and sometimes, like the recent crisis we are living through, catastrophic. Our work life is no different. With the ups come the downs: in typical times, a great team player may leave the company, or perhaps a loan does not come through. It can be very frustrating and sometimes scary.
Growth is not linear; it is all over the place. To be able to work with the uncertainty, I’ve found that as leaders, we must develop resilience. If we are not feeling well ourselves, it will be much more difficult, if not impossible, to lead.
Your schedule is what determines what you will do daily. And your daily actions are the steps that will take you to achievement. Therefore, how well you set up your schedule will define how successful you are reaching all your goals, no matter what they are. What you seek to achieve may be professionally related, but it may also be about creating more time for yourself, your community, and your loved ones.
A well-designed schedule will establish where you will spend your time and will be the foundation for your results over time. Your schedule can be supportive if you design it to be so — otherwise, it can be part of the reason you are not where you strive to be.
Habits are powerful mechanisms in our routines. They are at the core of the actions we take and therefore the results we achieve. With time, they can help you incorporate more positive actions into your day.
According to Charles Duhigg in The Power of Habit, habits emerged because the brain tries to save as much effort as possible to conserve energy. They are so useful to us because the brain can automate our actions into a routine. As examples, exercising, eating healthy food, cleaning our inboxes, and keeping our desks clean can become a routine so that we don’t have to think about doing them each time.
Therefore, with habits, we have room in our minds that can be used to solve non-routine problems. We also have more energy to think creatively and grow.
The Only Handle It Once principle, otherwise known as OHIO, is a useful model that will help you improve your productivity. The idea behind it is that once you start working on a specific task, you work on it completely from beginning to end. That is, once you touch an activity, you do everything related to it until you finish.
This approach is especially useful for shorter tasks, like a quick email or phone call. Instead of letting it take up space in your inbox or to-do list, you take a few minutes to take care of it. The task doesn’t even ever have to make it to your to-do list. Of course, it is not always possible to do everything at the moment. If you cannot work on the incoming task immediately, set a reminder at that moment to work on it in the future.
Time is one of our most precious resources, and we often wish we had more. Often, it feels like it is slipping through our fingers like sand, and since we, unfortunately, cannot create more time, we instead must prioritize and focus on what matters most.
We each try to work as best as we can with the time we have. We all have our methods, which inevitably include schedules and building routines as well as hopefully, time off to rest and recharge. We may also try to be as productive as possible so that we do not waste any of it.
With everything that we balance regularly, it can often feel like time is moving too quickly. Like many other parents, I sometimes look at my daughters and cannot believe how fast they have grown. Time flew. All I can think about during those reflective moments is that I must make every minute count because time will not stop.
At the point when we are choosing how to spend our time, a million possibilities are available. The path is completely open because, at any given moment, we can choose anything. The catch is that once the choice is made, the moment is gone. The time has passed, and we can’t go back. The key is to choose wisely and to choose what matters the most.
We all have routines. They can include everything from what time we get up to how we end our days are work . Routines provide a structured guideline to how we spend our days.
Thankfully, routines develop naturally, but if you decide to use your routine as a tool, they can help you ensure you get the most out of your day. The idea is to set routines up so that you are taking care of the activities that are most important to you in an automatic way. Once a habit is embodied, tasks that might be more difficult to accomplish happen without having to think about doing them.