5 Tips to Help Manage Increased Workloads

Lucille Ball said, “If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it.” One of the side benefits” to getting organized and developing skills to get things done, people begin to see you as a go-to to get even more accomplished.

This extra work or activity can quickly take over your systems and threaten to overwhelm you. There are five things you can do that can keep you on top of the action.

  1. Have a plan. You have to know where you are going to be able to get there. Always make time to plan your day, your week or whatever interval you need to organize.
  2. Break it down. David Allen talks about next actions. Don’t look at the entire project, you may never get started. Break it down into component pieces and focus on the next step.
  3. Set priorities. When managing multiple projects or actions, you need to know which are the most important (not necessarily urgent) and work on them first.
  4. Set timelines. If you decide a project can be finished “whenever” that’s exactly when it will be done. Whether you plan by the calendar or work by context, you need to know when things need to be completed. Alway buffer your timelines to allow for the unexpected. It’s best to under-promise and over-deliver.
  5. Maintain your systems. The reason you created your systems was to help you gain control. Keep using them to maintain control.

When things begin to pile up, it’s easy to react to the urgent and let everything go somewhere in a hand cart. An investment of time in planning and using your systems will keep you from being overwhelmed.

How to Write a Farewell Speech

When you write a farewell speech, it is usually consists of thoughts and feelings about past associations and future possibilities. Like any other speech, there are a few basic steps you need to prepare.

Analyze The Audience
Before you decide what to say in a farewell speech, you need to know who your listeners will be. Is is an employment situation? Are you a manager or a co-worker? Is it a group the person has been serving, such as a civic group or other organization? The audience will determine how you express your appreciation.

Tone Of The Speech
The tone of the farewell speech depends on the personality of the individual leaving, your own personality and the atmosphere of the room. A casual luncheon light refreshments will call for a lighthearted and funny approach. If you are speaking at a retiree banquet or from a podium, a more formal tone is required. That’s not to say you can’t inject some humor into any speech-it will be appreciated by your listeners-but let the humor influence the tone rather than take it over.

Focus Of The Speech
A good farewell speech should include several elements:

  1. Address the person departing in friendly terms.
  2. Talk a about the past. Give a brief description of the person leaving. Mention their personal characteristics, achievements and contributions.
  3. Express gratitude for all the contributions, support and kindness they have rendered for the association or organization.
  4. The final thought of a farewell speech should be linked to best wishes for the future.

Win a GTD Productivity Package from Daze End Software

One of the most popular New Year’s resolutions is to “get organized,” and one of the most broken New Year’s resolutions is to “get organized.” Daze End Software can help people achieve their goal this year by giving both the process and tools necessary to become more productive.

Daze End Software is giving away productivity packages including: David Allen’s best-selling book “Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity“, and copies of Daze End Software’s popular iPhone and iPad apps, Action Lists and Action Lists for iPad, which implement the Getting Things Done system.

To enter write your own productivity story and share why you need to get organized in 2011. Alternately, tell how GTD has made them more productive. From the entries, three will be selected to win a $40 productivitypackage including an Apple iBook edition of David Allen’s “Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-FreeProductivity” and both the iPhone and iPad editions of Daze End Software’s Action Lists apps.

The contest is open for entries until January 1, 2011, and can be entered through the Daze End Software website.

The rules are at the end of this post: Get organized in the new year with GTD and Action Lists.

Action Lists for iPhone

Leaving a Lasting Impression

I attended the funeral of a friend yesterday afternoon. She died at the age of 74 after a battle with cancer.

The service was tinged with sadness at the loss of a family member and friend. However, it was also a celebration of a life well lived: a life that left a lasting impression on those who knew her.

In listening to the tributes to her life, and reflecting on the years I’ve known her, three traits signified the quality of her life.

  1. She had a strong spiritual faith. It’s a good place to start. This was the foundation of her life. Everything she did came from her spiritual beliefs. It wasn’t a cloistered faith, practiced for an hour on Sunday, but practiced and lived every moment.
  2. She loved her family. She was one of seven children and had six of her own. It was a big family and she was devoted to them all. When the final throes of of her illness came on, she was down in Ontario visiting with her sisters. One didn’t have to watch the family for too long to realize they were important to her.
  3. She gave to others. This lady had arthritis in her hands. It was the kind of arthritis that made her fingers look like a bird’s claws. Despite that, she spent considerable time knitting clothing that could be donated to others in need. One of the last things she did was go through her store of knitted items and indicate who was to get what.

As I sat listening to the tributes, I wondered what kind of impression I am making with my life. Are my core beliefs and practices important and are they making an impression on those around me?

How will I be remembered, after I am gone?

How about you?

5 steps for getting back on track after an unplanned absence

I spent the better part of last week on my death sick bed. Flying back from a extended-weekend visit to Vancouver, I felt the onset of a sore throat. We arrived home and I began to mega-dose on vitamin C, hoping that would contain the situation. It didn’t. I ended up with some flu/cold combination that affected my temperature, my stomach, my head, my chest and most other parts of my body.

So, now I’m back in the office after a long unplanned break: the message light on the phone is blinking; both my virtual and real in-boxes are overflowing; last week’s next actions are now overdue; my staff and my manager all want a piece of me; and I just want to go home a crawl back into bed. How do I get things back on track?

It’s time to get back to basics:

  1. Collect: Grab everything that needs your attention. Whether you use David Allen’s mind sweep or you prefer a list format, go through your messages, e-mail, missed actions, etc. and capture all the items that require some action.
  2. Meet: Sit down with co-workers. This is the people version of collecting. Find out what was managed was you were away, what new issues have arisen and add these to your mind-sweep list. This is also a good time to thank them for covering your unexpected absence.
  3. Process: Once you’ve collected all the open loops, figure out what you need to do to close them. Whether it’s as simple as throwing a brochure in the garbage or as complex as planning a management retreat, you need to identify the steps needed to move the item forward.
  4. Prioritize: Next, you can organize the action steps into lists of what you’re going to do.
  5. Get it done: Now that you know what you need to do, get started. It may take time and effort to get things reorganized to move forward, but don’t stop at the end of step four. Here’s where you can pull things back on track. (Ten tips for giving effective instructions)

One other observation: the better you’re maintaining your system day-to-day, the smaller the impact of unexpected absences. If you are already behind when an illness strikes, it will be that much harder to bring things into line.

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Five Keys to Developing the Heart of a Champion

There are two major league sports teams in Edmonton: the Eskimos of the Canadian Football League and the Oilers of the National Hockey League. In 2005, both teams achieved considerable success in their respective sports. The Eskimos won the Grey Cup and the Oilers took the Stanley Cup series to seven games, before dropping to the Carolina Hurricanes.

Stanley Cup, on display at the Hockey Hall of ...
Image via Wikipedia

The following year, neither team achieved anything of which they could be proud. The Eskimos missed gaining a playoff spot for the first time in 35 years and the Oilers finished tenth overall in their conference.

How is it teams can be so successful one year and go nowhere the next? How is it in life that some people regularly meet and exceed goals, while others have trouble just showing up?

As I look at sports clubs, at all levels, that are consistent winners, or examine highly successful organizations and individuals, I see five traits that are the hallmarks of a champion.

  1. Character

    Champions have character. That is, they have defined values, ethics, ethos or standards. Whatever you want to call it, all they do, and how they do all, is driven by the quality of their character.

  2. Conviction

    Champions have a drive to win. They know what they want to achieve and how to create goals to get them there. Even when they don’t win all of the small victories, their focus on the big win carries them forward.

  3. Control

    Champions take charge of circumstances. They constantly prepare and hone their skills so they can meet whatever challenges come their way. They also know the importance of developing new skills to be able to handle change.

  4. Composure

    Champions are even-tempered. In game five of this year’s Detroit – Calgary series, Calgary players showed their frustration by slashing and cross-checking in the final minutes of the game. Goalie Jamie McLennan ended up with a five game suspension for his slash. Needless to say, the Detroit Red Wings moved on to the next round, while the Flames packed and went home. Champions know that the only way to maintain or regain control in a difficult situation is to remain calm and focussed.

  5. Consistency

    Champions do the right things over and over again. A winning football team brings its A-game to the field week after week. The best-selling writer sets time aside each day to write. A successful fundraiser works her prospect list regularly. Champions know achieving success involves consistent execution of their best moves.

We’re all “competing” for different kinds of prizes; the rewards that make our lives meaningful. If you want to have success in reaching your goals, you need to develop the heart of a champion.

Learn more, do more, become more