I spent a couple of days last week up in Campbell River, working with a group at their very isolated location there, going through tips on personal productivity. Whenever I run that program, I am reminded of tips that I had forgotten myself, and get a bit of a boost myself.
Generally, based on working with a wide range of different people over the years, I’ve done a lot of things in the past decade to get a better handle on how I manage my time. Even at 50-75 e-mails a day I don’t fall behind, and I’ve got a decent filing system (the ‘goodness’ criteria isn’t how easily you can file things, it’s how easily you can find things) – both electronically and physically. But there’s always room for improvement.
This time around, as always, I work with people that have figured some of this stuff out, and some that are absolutely swamped. There is a strong correlation to being swamped and being stressed. Duh – no surprise there.
For me, the big reminder was to block out time on my schedule for me – the things that I see as strategic, not just the things that others want me to do. An hour here, an hour there, and suddenly you have a couple of hours to focus on your needs, compared to the big fat zero that you had if you don’t take build that time into your schedule. Identify what you will actually do in that time, and it won’t be frittered away with idleness. I’ve done this in the past (you won’t get a book done if you don’t), but allowed the practice to lapse.
I was lucky in this engagement. All the information I had indicated that we had an 8:30 start. When I arrived, I found that the actual start time was 10:00. For many people this would have been devastating: I could have slept in so much longer! Given that I had a pretty well organized and prioritized list of things to do, this gave me 90 minutes to knock a couple of key things off my list.
The program is structured with one-on-one’s following the training, and we managed to schedule them with breaks between them, and again, I managed to squeeze things into that time, as I didn’t have to flounder about to figure out what to do next. All in all, an extremely productive time for me, over and above the delivery of a program that I flew up there for. – JB