Read The Economist. I first came across The Economist on a trip to London. I find it an a-political commentary on what’s happening in the world. In particular, I like the Schumpeter column.
Watch I’m Not Your Guru featuring Tony Robbins. Robbins is someone that folks either love or hate. This insight into his seminars and what happens behind the scenes, I’ve found interesting.
Start asking your employees what to stop doing. As part of our strategic planning, we have employees meet for a “Town Hall.” In the Town Hall, management is not present; employee’s facilitated feedback is anonymous and aggregated. One of the common questions is what is something the firm should “start doing,” “stop doing,” and “continue doing. ” For the item we should stop doing; it helps eliminate processes, tasks, or other things bogging down the company.
In The Art of Stopping Time, Pedram Shojai, the author, shares something we all know; our most treasured resource is time. So how do we leverage it? Stop it!
What we get out of time depends on mindfulness, energy, and how we focus and spend our time. For all of us, time is the great equalizer—we all have the same amount of hours in a day.
The first step is to determine how we are spending our time to begin an assessment to maximize time. Is time spent on something meaningful or pleasurable? Next, consider energy to invest in worthwhile endeavors versus low-energy tasks like doom scrolling social media. Last, Are we mindful? Are we living in the moment?
The author reminds us to cut bait on goals or activities that are no longer relevant and deserve our time. Then, use this newfound time in rewarding areas and produce results.
What’s your ROI on time? In investing, there’s a return strategy. What’s your time investment strategy? When time pops up, say an appointment cancels, or a commute is faster than planned, there’s a decision on how to use this extra time. Like investing, knowing how to “invest” this spare time is essential.
We have more power over our time than we may initially think. While some obligations are required—say, paying taxes or feeding our pets—others are at our discretion. These discretionary activities could include letting go of relationships or no longer relevant or essential activities.
For time, the “how” is as important as the “what.” Are there ways to get two things done at once? Say you want to exercise and spend time with your kid. Could you have your kiddo join you for your run or bike ride? Or, if you have a conference call and need to drop off your child for a playdate, could you drop your kid off while having your conference call? Small decisions compounded make for big-time impacts.
Our mobile phones are a double-edged sword. While they can be productive, it’s a quick way to be distracted or entertained. The next time there’s a fleeting moment, resist the temptation to grab the phone and use it to think through a current problem or reconnect with a past friend.
Be mindful. Be present. Be thankful. On vacation or at work, wherever you are, think “this is the last time I’m ever here.” If this was the case, how would you be present? Being mindful lets us live in the moment and stop time.
While no one can stop time, we can prioritize, organize and be mindful.
I recently finished Do Nothing by Celeste Headlee. In it, she shares:
A strive for efficiency can make us unhappy if we believe we need to keep up with others who portray success
While current-day productivity hacks are popular, medieval peasants worked less and had more vacation than today’s average worker
The cult of efficiency makes us feel guilty about enjoying leisure time. As shared in my post, Think Like a Rocket Scientist, downtime opens our minds to new ideas
Email and text are simple and efficient. Yet, they lack the connection that happens in a live conversation. In Do Nothing, the author shares a research study where a storyteller talks live with a listener. The listener’s brain waves end up emulating those of the reader
Comparison to others or using social media to determine the bar for happiness is a bad idea
In summary, take time for downtime and create your own definition of success and happiness.
In The 100, I dedicate a section to life planning. Similar to using this time of year to plan next year’s business goals, this is a good time to plan next year’s personal goals.
Goals transform vision into reality. Practical goals are SMART: Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. While many of us make long-term goals; specific short-term goals drive us to achieve our long-term goals.
Writing goals down is essential. A study by Dominican University professor Gail Matthews found writing down goals, making an action plan, and communicating to others results in being twice as likely to accomplish the goal.
Here are some goal setting tips:
Write down your goals. Then, wait a few weeks to test your conviction.
Break your long-term goals into short-term goals backed up by a plan
Look at your goals every day
Include dates. A goal without a deadline is just a dream.
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill and The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz are a couple of great books on goals.
The exponential rate of change and response to the virus, or lack thereof on some fronts, has created an environment of fear, uncertainty, and doubt. Over the past few weeks, I’ve had many socially-distanced discussions on measures to keep business moving forward and employees informed. Here’s a re-cap.
If you don’t have a plan that addresses all aspects of the organization, from classifying top customers by risk level to cash flow projections to potential opportunities in the current environment (think acquisitions of competitors, hiring from distressed industries like travel, or targeting industries going up in the current environment like mortgage brokers), do so.
When you have a plan, communicate it with the organization. We’re all overwhelmed with the 24/7 news cycle. People are craving answers and direction.
If there are actions you’re considering down the road when some triggering event happens, do it now. From employees on the bubble who need to be humanely let go or the customer whose account is overdue and needs a call, act. Don’t wait.
There are tons of articles on how to effectively work-from-home along with how to live well, find some and share with your crew.
With teams working remotely and social distancing, remember we are social creatures. Encourage teams to be connected throughout the day with Microsoft Team, Skype, or other platforms.
Encourage employees to work through this together. For example, in our company weekly newsletter, we have a new section. In this section, everyone is free to contribute thoughts around dealing with the current situation. Ideas range from tips on staying healthy to Audible’s free offering for kids under 18 to using Target curbside pickup and Amazon Fresh to get household essentials without human interaction.
Stay safe and if I can help you, please let me know.