Productivity

New Habits

My newest habit is commuting every day to work, after 6 years of a self-designed mix of working from home, traveling, and office. It’s an adjustment. There are also sub-habits that have to take place as a result of this new “bigger” habit. So along the lines of this new habit, I have to incorporate a slew of additional supporting habits:

  • I need to figure out how to be an evening shower person now, as opposed to taking my time in the morning or late morning after the first rush of meetings.
  • I need to establish a fixed morning routine to get me out the door around 7 or 7:30.
  • I need to re-train my body to go to sleep at a specific time.
  • I need to finish eating dinner earlier.
  • I need to find another time to get my daily reading in.
  • I’m sure there are others I haven’t thought of.

As a result of this new bigger habit, you will always have supporting habits that you also need to evolve your entire ecosystem and ensure success. When you’re mentally creating your checklist for how to ingrain a new habit, make sure you include the supporting processes needed to get you to the finish line.

What are your new habits?

You’ve Got To Give In Order To Get

What happens if you need information, resources, or just plain help and don’t have the funding or time to go hire and train someone new?

Barter. 

Find someone at your company who has the skills to help progress your project, understand what their needs are, and see how you can help make their jobs easier. Everyone has a soft spot for helping an acquaintance in need who is willing to help them.

Do You Ever Ask Yourself Why?

Or your supervisor? Or your friends? Or your partner/husband/wife/bf/gf?

Don’t forget while you’re getting caught up in the glorious insanity that each day brings to ask why. Why are you doing this? Why are you prioritizing one project over another? Why is this so important to you?

If you don’t know why, then you can’t make decisions. Every “thing” you work on is time spent away from doing something else. Don’t be shy about knowing why you’re spending your time the way you are.

The Holidays Are Upon Us, Don’t Let the Insanity Ensue

So little time, so much to do. Frantically running around, making sure every detail is accounted for.

Wait, isn’t that like every day?

Don’t forget during these stressful holidays what you do every single day to retain the sanity (and if you don’t do anything, here’s a good tip for you):

  • Every morning, take a few minutes to breathe, focus, and be comfortable with how you are feeling today.
  • Review yesterday’s list or make a list by priority of the tasks you have to complete.
  • Read, watch, listen to the news. Spend at least 15 minutes being aware of what’s going on in the world.

Now, you’re ready to tackle the day. Don’t change your routine because there’s more “stuff” to do. If you aren’t mentally prepared to be extra focused, chances are you won’t ever really get there.

I love a good meeting, and this is why (or, 6 Musts For A Productive Meeting)

Do you love meetings? I love meetings. Let me tell you why.

  • I live in San Francisco. My teams are in Georgia, Texas, Kansas, Colorado, New Jersey, and all over Europe and Asia Pac. Virtual communication – email, chat, sms, web and audio meetings are my primary form of communication with my peers.
  • You can’t get stuff done alone, not in the wonderfully global and geographically dispersed organizations we work in today. We have become experts in collaborating, sharing ideas, listening and learning from each other.
  • 45 minutes of a well organized audio and/or web meeting returns exponentially what you will get out of a 4-day long email thread between 5 people.
  • Virtual collaboration today allows you to whiteboard with the same level of meaningfulness that you would have gotten out of being in the same room
  • I don’t have to fly 5 hours one way to go to work
  • Virtual meetings have gotten to a point technologically where you can leverage the medium to truly connect with your peers. This is a big one.

The caveat to loving meetings is that they need to have some semblance of structure. These are the main aspects of a meeting that I find necessary to bring everyone together into the same mindset. If the mindsets aren’t there, your meeting will not be successful.

  1. State the purpose of your meeting. Are you trying to answer a specific question? Are you planning for an event? Are you walking through a draft proposal? Are you presenting a new solution to a prospective sale? State explicitly why everyone is taking time out of their day to meet with you.
  2. Put an agenda in your meeting invite and add any attachments that should be reviewed in advance. Give your peers the tools they need to come prepared. Not doing means you will have 15 less minutes to move forward.
  3. Send a reminder the day before to review and come prepared. Make sure this is an informational reminder only so your peers don’t have to “accept” a second time.
  4. Get the right people involved. A meeting without the right stakeholder can end the call.
  5. Moderate, don’t overpower. The idea of a meeting is to bring people together to collaborate to move forward, so provide a medium for everyone to participate.
  6. Send follow-up action items in a email to the team. Make the team accountable for what they agreed to and follow-up.

Try it out on your next meeting. This, of course, requires you to be more organized as well. Are you up for the challenge?

Have a great weekend everyone!
Annie

Return to Your Basic Instincts – Breathe In and Out, and Put One Foot in Front of the Other

This morning I woke up in a nervous flurry of thoughts. Lists started scrolling through my brain – don’t forget to do this before you do that, but oh yeah, there’s all of this stuff too. It took about 15 minutes, but I finally gave in to the most basic instinct – I closed my eyes and focused on breathing.

Five minutes of that and I was good to go. The lists of “stuff” no longer seemed impossible. In the calm I could prioritize against most critical vs biggest bang for the buck vs will make someone else happy. I look forward to checking things off, one by one, and embracing that feeling that you get when you are focused instead of allowing oneself to be overwhelmed.

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