Category

Stress Management

Masterminds Are Not Networking

By | Accountability, Follow-through, Leadership, Motivation, Strategic Planning, Stress Management | No Comments

I seem to be getting popular these days. Last week, Jim Nemley interviewed me about how a business mastermind SHOULD work. We talked about accountability, openness, confidentiality and that a mastermind is not a networking group or a social outlet.

Check it out below:

 

Check Out Business Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Jim Nemley on BlogTalkRadio

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focus on one task and eliminate distractions

Personal Efficiency

By | Stress Management, Systems, Time Management | No Comments

focus on one task and eliminate distractionsI once read of an efficiency study done for an airplane repair company. They couldn’t understand what took so long to complete the repair on airplanes. When they dug into where the bottle neck was, they discovered that the hold-up was with the engineers. The problem wasn’t because there were not enough engineers; the problem was that the engineers were constantly being interrupted for issues that needed immediate attention. As they dug into why this was a problem, they discovered that on average an engineer would lose 15 minutes of productivity every time he switched tasks.

To better draw out the scenario, an engineer would be engrossed in his project at hand. The lead on a job would enter the office with a question or an obstacle from the floor. The engineer would have to mentally change gears from the task he was on, re-orient himself to the problem at hand, resolve the problem, dis-engage from the problem he just fixed, again re-orient himself to what he was working on before, and again begin work. That whole process of disengage, orient, engage, disengage, re-orient, and re-engage actually lost 30 minutes of productivity because he changed tasks twice. 15 minutes per task change.

To eliminate the interruptions, they defined what items were appropriate for interruption. It was a very small list. Everything else was placed into one bin and the engineer cleared out the items in batches two or three times a day instead of at random times.

Multitasking is a myth. Numerous studies have shown that the human mind cannot focus on more than one thing at a time well. In reality, what we call “multitasking” is to constantly move our attention from one activity to the other. This is easier when some activities only require muscle memory (like driving and talking with a passenger), but decisions that need to be made often get overlooked. Ever been heavily engaged in a conversation and miss your turn or run a red light? It’s a great example of our inability to multitask. You can keep the car on the road (muscle memory) and carry on the conversation. But depending on the intensity of the conversation, we might end up arriving late or getting a ticket (or worse).

A surgeon in the operating room must focus on the task at hand. He does not have time to run throughout the operating room monitoring blood pressure, pulse, and all the other details required to keep the patient alive. He gets and requests occasional updates from the systems and people in place to make sure the patient continue leading the procedure.

Throughout your day, find the times to check into the system (email, phone, etc). Put your own personal system together to allow you to focus on the task at hand. Turn off your email notice. Close the Facebook in the background. Let the voicemail get the phone.

If you’re looking at taking on multiple projects, become a plate spinner. Determine your project and focus on it until it is ready to be set on auto-pilot, delegated , or performed on muscle memory. Once the project is set to auto-pilot, it only takes a glance to verify that the system is still operating. Now take on the next one.

is a business coach and consultant that works with business owners and managers to create momentum in their business with strategies and tactics that they can implement today. These strategies are based on the five foundations of business: Marketing, Leadership, Operations, Finance and Systems.

Getting It Done

By | Hiring, Leadership, Leverage, life style, Operations, Stress Management, Systems | No Comments

If you were to watch my 10-year-old son eat, you would think we only fed him a few times a week. He often acts like he is starving to death. He will sometimes shove so much food in his mouth, he can’t completely close it. He is in such a hurry to eat he makes a mess of his clothes and the table, chokes, and actually takes longer to eat.

As entrepreneurs, we tend to do the same thing with our to-do lists and the commitments that we make to customers, suppliers, our families and to ourselves. We take on so much, we end up making a huge mess, burn ourselves out and take longer to get the list done.

However, much of this “over-stuffed to-do list” is born out of necessity. In order to stay competitive and fulfill expectations, we commit to early mornings, late nights, skipped meals and then neglect our personal well-being and relationships.

Eventually we have to get it done, and getting it done requires time. I see many of my clients suffer from the over-commitment dilemma. There is one solution, however, that is the most over-looked: Delegation.

The problem that most entrepreneurs have with delegation is that they wait too long before they begin thinking about it – and when they do, they do not have the right people or systems in place to ensure that the job is done as well or better than the leader herself would have done. The result is that it just seems easier for you to do it yourself – creating the vicious cycle of overwhelm to start again.

Break the cycle:

The first step is to create a list of everything you are currently doing yourself. Next, sort this list into three categories: outsource, hire, and keep.

The question now becomes what can you afford, both emotionally and financially, to remove from your list and forever place them on the “outsource” and “hire” lists?

Ask yourself this question: What will allow you to increase your cash flow the most?

Is it someone to do the technical work that will allow you to do more bids? Is it sales that will allow you to do more of the technical work that can only be done with a license or specialized training? Or is it the office work like bookkeeping, data entry or answering the phone that will allow you to generate more sales?

Get off the overwhelm cycle here:

 

Manage your stress with personal systems

Stress

By | Motivation, Stress Management, Systems, Time Management | No Comments

I am just as guilty of letting stress get to me as anyone else. Which is why I am really looking forward to tomorrow. Leslie has some great insights into being a more effective leader by being a more whole person.

 

We all have ways that our stress affects us. I know that stress sabotages me with:

  • Staying up late to Manage your stress with personal systemswind-down. I then am too tired to exercise the next day and overeat in search of more energy
  • Losing my temper with my family – particularly with my kids
  • Distracting me from giving my full attention to the most important things – causing my wife to shutdown after the third empty “uh-huh” because I am not really listening

And

  • Looking for an escape in entertainment instead of taking care of my home.

Many times we create our own storm of stress. I teach my clients when they complain of this to develop personal systems to minimize their self-imposed stress.

 

In case it helps you, here are my biggest sources of stress and how I minimize them.

 

Problem: Setting unrealistic deadlines for myself.

Solution: I try to add about a fourth more time than what I really think.

 

Problem: Allowing the easy jobs to take all my time without touching the most important.

Solution: Plan the day before I start and schedule a time for the most important tasks

 

Problem: Failure to delegate.

Solution: This is part of “planning my day”. The things that need to get done, but don’t need me directly are determined while I am planning.

 

Problem: Not living in the moment

Solution: I have to eventually unplug and engage when it is time for my family, volunteering, or personal time. A deep breath and an intentional re-focus brings me back.

 

So what stresses you out and how do you handle it? Please share with us below!