3 Ways To Make Work Better Today

3 Ways Better Work

I have had a number of conversations with people after writing my blog on how to be productive while dealing with ADHD. It’s nice to know that you are not alone sometimes.

I was reading an article today from my good friend Jason Gianotti (you should follow this monster of a mind). It was entitled 12 Ways To Save Time At Work. My first thought about the article title was, “that’s simple… only give me 3 ways because I won’t have time to read 12.”

But I read all 12. And he has great ideas that I plan to either continue or start to implement into my regime.

So, to appease the ADHD in me, I thought I would share with you the “3” suggestions that Jason wrote that I plan on implementing into my work life starting today. Maybe you will want to do the same.

1- Stand Up When Interrupted: If you have any leadership responsibility, it is because there are others who are needing your input, decisions, or advice. But their decision to come see you shouldn’t determine your need to drop everything to accommodate it. Jason notes that if we make the simple decision to stand when they want to come in and talk, it is less likely that they will want to settle in and derail your schedule.

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2- Check email only twice a day: Constantly checking email, unless you are waiting for something specific, will inadvertently cause you to lose focus on your planned tasks. Before you know it, you will be so caught up in the ‘new’ stuff, you will forget the ‘old’ stuff you determined to deal with when you planned out your day that morning (if you don’t do that, I suggest you start… you will thank me later). He recommends you let staff know you will only check your email in the morning before creating your daily tasks.

3- Make a “Stop Doing” List: Many of us add to the “task plate” without removing something else. We need to remember that we will never get ahead that way… we simply will try expend mental real-estate trying to find room for it all. I plan on renaming this strategy my “To NOT Do List”. The tasks may end up being done some other time, but for now remove them from your list as they will only serve as reminders of what isn’t still done, not what you actually were productive and ended up accomplishing instead.

At least that’s how I see it… and I guess Jason as well,

C

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How Much Am I Worth?

Money Clip1

I am in the middle of a series right now at our church called “Shattered Things” where we are talking about living in the freedom we already have. You can check out the messages here.

But this week we talked about the problems we have when it comes to finances. When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, so many people want to “make more money” or “pay off more debt”. It is a gnawing problem that eats away at us year after year… and many times is left unfulfilled.

Let me tell you… those two resolutions are SO much different from each other! The idea of paying off debt comes from the desire to be more ‘disciplined’. The idea of making more money comes from the desire to be more ‘affluent’. One stems from greed and the desire to own MORE and the other comes from determination and the desire to owe LESS.

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I wanted to let you in on a little secret… something that I did a long time ago and have counselled many couples, individuals, and organizational teams to do and seen incredible results.

I have determined how much I am worth.

Not in value. Not based on an asset portfolio. But as it pertains to my work.

Let me explain…

Every week I get paid. I receive a set amount of money based on a said agreement with myself and my employ. I also, from time to time, receive funds for other things (birthdays, etc).

Well instead of putting ALL that money in some bank account to go who knows where and pay for things that bring no joy (mortgage, utilities, car payments, etc), I pre-determine how much I am worth and at the end of the week I take that money out (as cash) and then the rest gets used to ensure that all of other stuff gets paid off.

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If I want to buy something for myself, I have the money available to do it. If I want something more expensive, I now know that I need to save ‘my’ money to get it.

It makes me think twice before spending ‘my’ money because once it’s gone, it’s gone.

It also makes me not feel like a martyr for putting ALL of my money in the bank and NEVER benefitting from it.

Now let me be clear. It’s NOT a lot of money that I take out for myself every week. But that ‘little bit’ keeps me from feeling like I ‘deserve’ some big expense and justifying to whip out the debit card and buy it.

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Here’s the cool thing… As you get disciplined at choosing how to spend your money at a MICRO level (personal life), you will begin to carry that over into the MACRO level (family / organizational). When you pick and choose how you spend ‘your’ money, you will begin to do the same thing on how you spend the ‘family’ money (or joint account, etc). Instead of putting your family vacation on your credit card and worrying about it later, you will begin to forgo some instant gratifications and put aside the money needed for that trip.

I have found that when you determine how much money you are worth (percentage or set amount) and take only ‘that’ portion out on a regular basis, you begin to make better buying choices. And what is WAY BETTER is that when you have the urge to bless someone else, you may just will have the money to do it.

When money controls you… you will be void of joy. But when YOU control your money… that’s when you know that you can really start to make a difference.

At least that’s how I see it,

 

C

 

The Power of The Selah

Power of the Selah pic

I’m on vacation.

A different vacation than most. Actually, a different vacation in that I can’t think of having done this for at least four years. A vacation where I wake up in the morning and wonder what I want to do that day. A vacation where I haven’t set lofty renovation schedules, massive travel plans, or extensive social schedules.

A vacation… to vacate.

And to be honest, going into this week I thought I would go stir crazy (and maybe my writing a blog is evidence that it may still be the case). You see, my daughter got married on Friday and Kerry and I took the week off to get ready for the wedding. A number of people took time to get things ready for the special day and I am truly indebted to them for their love and sacrifice.

I digress.

So when it came time for the dust to settle, the rental stuff to be returned, and the house to get a whole lot quieter, I wondered what I would do with all of this… time.

Well, it’s only day two so I cannot say I have a plethora of nuggets to reveal… but one thing struck me as interesting today.

I brought a book today to my local java hangout to sit and read… and it seemed that a number of people had the same idea, and unfortunately an earlier start time. So I thought I would go down by the river where there was this really calm, peaceful place to sit and think.

The time spent thinking, and not thinking. Reflecting, and dreaming. Reading, and pondering… was like droplets of water falling on a parched, desert land. It was like I was able to think without timelines, dream without deadlines, reflect without repercussions.

In Jewish poetry often times they would have music interludes interspersed within the prose in order to allow people to reflect on what they had heard – in the Bible it can be often found in the book of Psalms. This musical break was called “Selah”, meaning ‘pause’, ‘silence’, or ‘end’.

Any way you wish to interpret it, it was meant to take time to meditate on what you were taking in, and apply it to your context.

We don’t “selah” enough. We don’t stop, reflect, dream, contemplate, examine, or meditate on life, faith, family… you name it. We recognize without observing. We react without consideration. We respond without first taking interest.

We need to selah more. We desperately need to stop hearing things rattle in the trees and first hear the wind blow. We need to stop listening for traffic and first hear the kids laughing in the schoolyard. We need to stop responding to all of the “what to do’s” in our lives and first start asking the “why are we doing it’s” instead.

When we selah, the incessant noise quiets down and the Voice can finally be heard.

At least that’s how I see it,

Selah.

New Levels Need A New You

new-levels

I grabbed the flip chart during one of our staff meetings recently and started writing on the fresh canvas while the staff looked on.

Every next level of your life will demand a different you.

“Agree or disagree?” I asked.

One of the things I love about our staff is that we are not afraid to colour outside the lines and take things at face value.

Eventually we moved from “agreed” to “we need to modify it”.

We scribbled and moved arrows around and eventually came up with…

Every next level of your life will demand a different version of yourself.

We recognized that what got us here will not necessarily get us there. We agreed that in order to get to where we felt we needed to go we needed to change how we acted, interacted, led, and served in order to accomplish it.

Though we seemed to agree with the statement, we also noted that many people / organizations, though they would also agree, choose not to make the shift. So… we talked about why people (including ourselves) do not change. We came up with two main reasons:

Costs (tangibles)
◊ independence
◊ relationships
◊ time
◊ resources

Resistors (intangibles)
◊ fear
◊ pride
◊ vulnerability
◊ stubbornness
◊ sin
◊ self-deprication
◊ doubt

We concluded that “you don’t need to be a different you… for you already are you.” I am who I am; though it is therefore also true that I am responsible for the version of myself I choose to be.

So what version of yourself are you being today? Are you excited about what today’s version of you will accomplish or do you need to release a different version of yourself? Know today that tomorrow’s version of yourself will depend heavily on the version you choose to be today.

To unleashing greatness in yourself,

 

C

4 Reasons People Don’t Understand You

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I was recently having a conversation with a man I meet with regularly about a situation I was facing. He’s a mentor of mine and a seasoned retired business man who often brings great insight to my world of dealing with people.

I was venting to him that I was so shocked that someone I was dealing with couldn’t seem to see what I was saying. He quickly pointed out that the person was a “Quadrant 4” person. I had no idea what he was talking about.

I’m not sure where this teaching came from but over the next few minutes he opened my mind in understanding how different people respond differently to correction and instruction based on the “quadrants of what they know”.

4-quadrants

1- “I know I know” – These people know that they are in the wrong and therefore choose to either correct their actions or else rebel against the expectations. Here you will get the greatest result of either compliance or confrontation.

2 – “I know I don’t know” – These people are aware that they are missing something in your attempt to correct the situation and are most likely to engage in wanting to understand you better. This is a great opportunity to mentor and guide them.

3 – “I don’t know I know” – These people are in the dark for some reason. Maybe they forgot the email laying out your expectations or the meeting where everything was discussed. Find the right way to smoothly remind them of what they forgot or misplaced and you can get them back on track.

4 – “I don’t know I don’t know” – These people are the most likely to become contentious and combative as their resistance is based on either their pride to concede or their incapablility of allowing themselves to be open to correction. Either way, you are probably going to hit a wall here. Either evaluate if you need to remove the ‘problem’ (let it go), the ‘process’ (find a different way to explain where they are not getting it), or the ‘person’ (wrong person for the reponsibility) in order to move forward.

Ask these four questions when hitting the wall.

1 – Are they the type of person to be resistent? Is this pride or is it lack of understanding?

2 – Where is this breaking down? Can it easily able to be put back on track?

3 – Am I communicating my expectations in a way that perhaps they are unable to understand? How does my message need to change?

4 – Is this person the right person for the expectation? Are they incapable of understanding what is desired?

If you don’t figure out quickly which quadrant they are in, you will expend unnecessary energy trying to get results from people who aren’t on the same page (quadrant) as you.

Onward… to knowing better.

Smothering Toxic Relationships

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There are three ways to put out a fire. Remove the fuel. Remove the heat. Or remove the oxygen. Simple as that.

Toxic relationships continue when you choose to keep the fire going. Sometimes you are not able to remove yourself from the actual person (fuel). They may be a family member or a co-worker. You may not be able to remove the ‘heat’ either due to proximity. Whenever you are around each other, your feelings ‘fire’ up without any ability to exert self-control.

Canadian Living defined toxic relationships as any relationship “that makes you feel consistently bad about yourself.” It goes on to write that these relationships leave “you feeling anxious, unrewarded and unaccepted.

Know anyone that fits that definition? Have any of those people in your life?

I like how Kris Carr (@Kris_Carr) said it when she tweeted that “we get to decide who we allow into our inner sanctum. Not everyone deserves an all-access pass.” For some reason we can feel obligated to keep people around us who are depleting us, not completing us.

So I would suggest to you that if you can’t get rid of the fuel or the heat, get rid of the ‘oxygen’.

You alone decide whether you are going to allow this person [these people] to ‘breathe’ into your life. Believe it or not, much of the toxicity of the relationship is based on the proximity of that person to ‘your’ sense of security, well-being, and happiness. They affect you because they affect ‘you’.

If it were people that didn’t matter to you (or never mattered to you) then their place in your life wouldn’t be an issue; you wouldn’t give them any ‘breath’. Where things go south is when you continue to let them matter to you. It is in those times that they end up taking your ‘breath away’.

So smother them (not literally… though sometimes you may have to squelch those thoughts). Don’t allow them to breathe into or over your life ending up taking away the joy and happiness that you long for.

Toxic relationships damage you. You don’t have the time, the desire, or the purpose to be damaged. Surround yourself with those who will better you. You will quickly discover how great it is to ‘breathe’ again.

Bring on the fresh air!