The first time I’ve read about Jason Womack was about 2007. At that time Jason was a David Allen Company employee. Over the following few years he started running a regular blog and then he decided to go solo opening The Jason Womack Company. The main focus of this consulting and speaking advise was and still is becoming better and improving workplace performance.
This year he published “Your Best Just Got Better” book. Since I’ve been learning a lot from Jason’s blog and other online appearances I quickly decided to read the book.
I wasn’t sure what to expect and to be honest I thought that the main focus will be on productivity. Book goes well beyond that. It goes into different aspects of personal performance and improvement. Rather than present a fixed system or methodology for improvement, Jason uses two prong approach. He asks very good questions about your work, tools, goals, aspirations etc. The reason I like this approach is that it actually allows you to find relevant answers to problems as opposed to looking for them externally. Aside of great question there are some very practical tips which you could implement into your daily life.
This is precisely what I wanted to share in this week’s post. Some of the best tips and ideas from “Your Best Just Got Better”:
1% = 15min
1% of your day roughly equals to 15min. This is quite a powerful realisation for two reasons. There is a lot you can accomplish making most of each 1% even though it appears that it’s so tiny amount of time. Secondly it makes you more aware of what’s the % of your time that goes towards TV, reading, work, sleep etc. See below how to make the most of each 1%.
Start meetings quarter past
Meeting always start late, some people are rushing from the other side of the building, others have been delayed in another that over run. This result in your meeting being delayed or put off completely. To avoid that set meeting 15min after the full hour so rather than schedule it at 10:00 put it for 10:15. This way you avoid your time being wasted and hopefully your meetings will always start on time.
Looking for answers externally is the easiest way to find solution to problems but very often it’s not the best one. In order to find solutions which are yours you must spend some time on self-reflection. Fortunately Jason provides some great prompts. Here is sample of questions to ponder on:
- what works?
- how I work?
- what systems tools I use?
Spend just 1% of your day to try find answers and see where that leads you. See here how it helped me to clarify few things with tools I was using.
It’s always good to see authors building on existing concepts. Understanding one’s situation is not easy if you can’t really see it and when all your thoughts are jumbled up in a big pile. Best way to handle them all is to put them down on paper. Lifting them of your brain will help finding structure, patterns and common denominators. Having you thoughts out in the open makes it really easy.
Writing stuff down is great GTD classic and it’s always worth being reminded of. My favourite capture tool is Moleskine notebook which I carry almost everywhere and Evernote application which is available on on my smartphone, laptop and web. It comes especially handy for quick capture of pictures or short ideas.
Interrupt people less
It takes around 12-15min for a person to return to the initial state of focus after someone had interrupted them. Also the more people you work with the more chance for you to be interrupted. There are also “internal” interruptions whereby your own thoughts and ideas about derail your attention from the item in front.
The easy way to solve this is to keep a single piece of paper or a sticky note per each person you interact with. Then 2-3 times a day ask that person of few minutes of their time and discuss the points you’ve written down.
To test this ides observe for a day or two how many time have you interrupted your co-workers then start keeping a small list and see what are the results.
Slow down to speed up
Possibilities are endless yet at the same time we can’t do it all. Taking more and more responsibilities seems like an obvious choice when you want to get better, raise in the ranks. Unfortunately there is a limit to what we can effectively manage at a given time. So rather than pile things on one after another, start focusing on 3 critical projects at a time. Make it clear to your boss/ manager that these are your priorities and seek them unless other things should be done first. Having a short list of key project really helps to make sure you are reminded about them. I’ve been using my wardrobe door for that purpose where I placed sticky notes with project names.
Always be Ready (ABR)
Do you remember that 1% of your day equals to 15min? To make the most out of each 1% you need to always be ready (ABR). Throughout each day and week there are always unexpected delays, cancellations etc. So rather than let this time to go wasted make sure you can seize the moment whenever or wherever it shows up. So how can you be always ready?
- make a list of super easy tasks that can be done anywhere
- bring small chunks of work with you like notes you need to send out, articles to catchup on, bookmarks to sort etc. Using electronic devices can be a great help.
- make those small time slots count – as soon as you know there will be extra time available pull up your list and pick the first item.
“Your Best Just Got Better” book contains a much more useful material if you interested in continuous development and finding way of improving your performance I recommend that you check it out. I think this is most highlighted book in my Kindle books collection.