Some thoughts on priorities

Instead of a link post today I’m sharing some random thoughts about priorities after listening to Enough Podcast.

Recently I was listening to episode 192 of Enough Podcast where Myke and Patrick Rhone discussed the nature of work and guarding your time. Myke mentioned that he makes sure that he leaves everyday at 5pm even though his colleagues are still at work. For him this is crucial he knows his priorities and that means he need to leave office on time to make sure he can record all the shows.

What I like about this approach is that it shows confidence on two levels. Firstly you’re clear and confident what you want from your life. For Myke it’s growing his podcasting empire, for you it might be family time, working out, writing or other hobbies.

On the second level it’s show the confidence of his own work i.e. the result will speak for themselves. Staying longer because his colleagues are does not make sense especially if you do this to show that you’re still in. Sure you can always claim that more hours at a desk means more work done but there is a point of diminishing returns where the more effort put does not equal to more output. French have been working 38h work weeks for a good number of years and somehow they manage alright. I would think that many are quite envious about their cafés, croissants, and other elements of their lifestyle. There is also a strong evidence suggesting that shorter hours contribute to better productivity as there is less time available. See Parkinson’s law

Perhaps there is no silver bullet on how to approach working hours whether to leave at 5pm or stay with other. Each of us will have to decide on their own yet one thing will help. If you know why you need to leave then it’s much easier, it’s much easier to see beyond the row of work colleagues staying late, beyond the awkward feeling that you’re the first to call it a day.

So what’s your priority in life, recording shows is something dear to Myke’s heart, writing this site is dear to me and you? What’s your priority?

Be BOLD to be productive

Nicholas Bate has a great little book on how to be bold called “Bold 101“. It contains 101 ideas on being bold, on taking the responsibility and make a change, on doing something that’s against status quo, on going the extra mile.
This little book got me to think about being bold in the context of staying productive and getting things done. And I think there is a very close correlation between the two. There is almost infinite amount of things that demand our attention so it’s up to us to fend of the unimportant and focus on what really matters.

There are couple ways you could practice being bold and increase your productivity:

Say “No”

Say “No” to your co-worker, to your boss, to your friends, to annoying sales guy. Say no to things that are not important.

Before taking on anything new qualify the priorities, think whether you can take another project and politely say “no, this isn’t the right moment”.

Some will be surprised, perhaps angry or hurt but it’s your time and attention that you need to manage and protect.

Delegate

Many of us love to be important, to be asked for advise and help, to be needed. It gives our ego this warm and fuzzy feeling. We also like to show off how productive, effective and organised we are, how we can handle dozen of projects and goals all at the same time. But all this is short lived, after a very short time we will get tired and burned out. There is only so much we can handle.

Rather than trying to do everything on your own, find other people that can do the same job better, cheaper and smarter. Perhaps they know a particular system better then you or they are more familiar with complexities of the process. Don’t take everything on your self.

Be BOLD and ask for HELP and pass work to others. I’m sure they will be more than happy to assist.

Remember different people have different talents, let them hone and practice them so they can grow too.

Delete

Each day there is a dozen, perhaps two or even a hundred of messeges land in everyone’s inboxes. How many of those messages are important?

Do you need to read everysingle message even if you’re only cc’d on it?

First of all it’s impossible to review every single one and second of all looking at email all day long is probobliy not on your job spec.

Be BOLD and start deleting stuff you don’t want to see, if it’s not important that don’t bother don’t waste your time.

Seize the project

Are you a member of project team that seems to stall and lost it’s impetus? For weeks noting has been going on with this project you’ve worked for months or even worse the person supposedly driving it is running around in circles and can’t decide what to do next.

It’s perfect opportunity to be BOLD and take the leadership.

Use the GTD’s 5 stages of planning a project to define the successful outcome, outline the plan and necessary actions. Then either present to project sponsor or simply start implementing.

Conclusion

Being BOLD sometimes  have negative association for being rude, obnoxious and totally out of line. You can see it that way but there are better ways too look at it too. Being BOLD is making a statement taking responsibility and doing what’s right and not what’s the easiest.

If you want to lear more about how to be bold definitely routinely visit Nicholas Bate blog. Highly recommended.