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.

3 Ways Better Work Quote1

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

Advertisements

Being Productive with ADHD

ADHD Dog

I have ADHD. Ok… it’s out there.

If you know me, you are not shocked. It explains a lot of things that I do. It explains some of my patterns (or lack thereof actually). It explains why I do the things I do… and why I sometimes don’t do the things I should do.

If you have ADHD you will understand what I am about to say: being productive and effective when you have ADHD has very little to do with your lack of skill and a lot to do with your lack of structure.

ADHD Dog Quote1

Structure is the foundation to effectively managing ADHD… but it is also the bane of our existence. We want structure… just so we know where we can colour outside the lines.

Anyway, I digress (ADHD shocker).

Last week I knew I needed to get away and think. Without the interruptions. Without the calls and the “squirrels” that would cause me to become ineffective (I have just spent the last minute thinking of Dug the dog in the movie Up just because I wrote “squirrels”).

So I got away for the day. My office knew they could contact me if they needed to but for most of the day, I was alone with my headphones listening to the Deep Focus playlist on Spotify).

If you struggle with ADHD, or have a hard time setting up a structure to get things done, I thought I would let you know what I did for the day. This may help you if you are needing some time alone to think, plan, and prepare for your upcoming week, month, projects, etc.

Here’s what I did:

1 – Got up early! I had my computer on and ready to go before most people hit the snooze button for the first time. Most days I am working by 5am and I plough through a lot of my tasks before the first person asks me a question and starts my cycle of pseudo-multitasking (I don’t believe men can multitask… and don’t even get me started on a man with ADHD!!!!).

2 – Reviewed Last Month’s Calendar (30 minutes). I looked at my Google Calendar (everything I do is on there) and went over the last month. I asked myself where I wasted time. I looked at where I may have started something but didn’t finish it and I made myself a note to make it a task in Asana later.  When it was all said and done, I probably had 15-20 new tasks to add to my list simply by looking at what I had done, and not done last month.

3 – Set “Personal” Goals (60 minutes). After reading it 25 years ago, I still use the “Sharpen the Saw” technique of  Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People to help me make sure that I am making “me” a priority first to work on. I wrote down four categories in my journal with three lines under each: physical, spiritual, mental, and social. I gave myself goals that were attainable to reach by the end of the month. I continued on with writing my different “roles” down (7 Habits model) and gave myself a few things that I wanted to accomplish in each role over the next month.

4 – Populated my To Do list (30 minutes). I took all of the “to do” things and asked myself three questions:
What must I do?
What should I do?
What could I do?
Once I was done that process I took the “must do” list and broke it quickly down into three categories:
critical,
imperative, and
important.
After finishing that process, I prioritized only the critical list. I knew that once I was done the critical list, I could move onto prioritizing the imperative list. If I took the time to prioritize anything else I knew I would start to “squirrel” off. Deal with only the critical… the imperative and important would eventually be dealt with.

ADHD Dog Quote2

So now, after starting the morning feeling overwhelmed with all that I needed to do, I was ready to work on my tasks simply by spending two hours basically planning my whole month’s worth of focus.

So I got to work. And I only focused on the list… nothing else. No emails. No Facebook feeds. No Insta-stories.. Just… the list. And I was amazed as to how much I got accomplished. Yes, for many people you may be reading this and saying, “Welcome to my every day.” But to someone with ADHD it’s like hitting the “Productivity Lottery”… you know it is possible to win, but your chances are like 1:1,000,000,000,000. So… there’s that.

It’s now the beginning of the next week and I know that I have a LOT to do over the next few days, few weeks… even few months. But having taken the time to think, plan, and prepare my upcoming schedule, I know that I have set up my life so that by the end of the month, when I need to do this all over again, I will have accomplished and forged ahead much further than had I simply chased after the closest “squirrel”… (and… now I’m back to thinking about the movie Up again).

At least that’s how I see it,

 

C

Declutter Your Schedule

declutter1

If you are anything like me your daily to do list looks a lot like the first draft of the Declaration of Independence: scratch marks, circles, and arrows pointing in every direction; a work of Picasso proportion

The goal of scheduling your day, week, month, and life is to make the most sense of the moments you have; which you always wish you had more of but spend too many on things you wish you hadn’t.

The people over at www.developgoodhabits.com came up with 6 great strategies to make the most of your schedule. I’ve listed them below as well as how they relate to what I presently do. Here they are:

1 – Prioritize your daily priorities. Every morning I write down what I “Need” to do, what I “Should” do, and what I “Could” do. That way I focus on the first list before moving onto the other two.

2 – Purge your commitments. Look at what you plan on doing that week and ask yourself how many of those things can be dropped without affecting much. Look hard for the ‘time wasters’. Those are usually the commitments that benefit others with no real benefit to yourself.

3 – Focus on 3 important daily goals. Ask yourself every day what the three things are that MUST be done. Focus on those first to ensure that what matters most is mattering most.

4 – Build in sacred time. I cannot stress this enough. We need to not talk so much about ‘balance’ in life as much as the ‘rhythm’ of life (I need to write more about this in the future). No one knows your rhythm more than you do. Some cars can go 1000km (625 miles). Others can only go 500km (313 miles). Know when you need to ‘pit stop’, pull over for a few minutes, recharge however you do that best, and then get back at it. You will find that it’s a lot easier to keep going with a full tank of gas than on fumes.

5 – Leave work on time. Technology is making this harder and harder to do (and the stress-related work issues show for it). All I will say is that when you’re working, work. When you are not working, don’t. Sounds simple but we all know that it’s easier said than done. Your mind and focus needs to detach in order to be more intentional and productive when it’s expected. Someone once told me, “Divert Daily. Withdraw Weekly. Abandon Annually.” I still use that model to this day.

6 – Take a digital sabbatical. This is good advice (though you are reading this because you are presently ‘not’ doing it). The key is that the world is now always in your pocket, purse, or hand. Once a week, or whatever rhythm works for you, shut off your devices and breathe. I know one couple that turns off their phones and computers when they get together to watch TV after a long day. Sounds strange and foreign nowadays. Just take the phone off the hook — for all you Boomers and Busters.

If you take the time to make your time matter, you will feel more productive, more fulfilled, and more alive.

Now go make the most of today.

 

C

4 Reasons People Don’t Understand You

4-reason-no-understand

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

Toxic Relationships.png

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!