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In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, it’s referred to as “Sharpening the Saw” (If you don’t know what that phrase means, perhaps you should attend the workshop). Essentially it means taking time to renew yourself, refill your engine, or regenerate your mind, body and spirit.
For me, this has been really hard. When I get to work I tend to be heads-down and not resurface for a long time. I would eat at my desk, or not eat at all. But what I’ve found, over time, is that the harder I work, the greater my stress becomes. It’s a vicious circle that you can’t escape.
But when I take five or ten minutes to read an interesting news story completely unrelated to work, run an errand at lunch, or call a family member or friend for a few minutes, my mind clears and I find that I have even more energy to get my projects done. Once I even went to a nearby Costco, grabbed a hot dog for lunch and walked the aisles for 20 minutes. It opened my mind and kept me fresh for the remainder of the day.
Regardless of what you do, find some time every day just for you. Whether alone or with others, find something other than work, to experience for a few moments.
Hopefully these five tips will keep your stress levels low, increase your productivity, and improve your life-no matter how crazy it becomes.
Author: Matt Murdoch, FranklinCovey
Do you have a mission statement? Have you taken the time to put your mission statement down on paper?
According to Dr. Stephen R. Covey a mission statement is like a constitution by which you make all decisions for your life. Highly effective people shape their own future instead of letting other people, their culture, or their circumstance determine it. A mission statement provides direction and clarity for your life, your family, your team and your organization.
Such clarity is critically important in today’s turbulent climate. You may work within an organization with fewer people, fewer resources, more confusion, and more noise-you may be expected to do as much or more with far fewer resources. In order to survive in such an environment, you need a compass to help stay focused and on course in order to make critical decisions and accomplish key priorities.
Like most people, you probably like to help people out if they’re in a bind, especially if it’s your boss or your bosses boss. So, telling people “no” is a really hard thing to do. We all suffer from it.
Tip #4: “No” is not a four-letter word
When times are tough, people will ask you to do more. In fact if you haven’t had someone come into your office today and ask for help with a project completely unrelated to your week’s priorities, you probably will. So here’s the rub. Unless you’re in a sole-proprietorship, you’re probably working with other people. And those other people will need your help, just like you will need theirs.
In most cases I believe it’s important to help people when they ask for it, especially if you have some expertise they could benefit from. It’s good karma and they’ll be more willing to help you in the future. However, there are times when you just can’t do it all. You’ll know when these times are. And if you can sense that the request isn’t “mission critical” just say no. The other person will survive and, if they have any sort of morals, they won’t be offended. Plus it will keep you from getting distracted on your week’s plan.
If you have to say no, you should provide the requestor with some ideas of how they could accomplish their task. Refer them to someone who might have more time and the skills needed. You may also try and schedule their task later in your week when you have more time to spend on it. But don’t make “no” a regular part of your vocabulary. It could damage relationships over time and damage your reputation in the organization.
Saying no is a very liberating feeling. Try it today and you’ll find out what I mean.
Next time we’ll cover the final tip: Find Time for Yourself Each Day
Author: Matt Murdoch, FranklinCovey
I just had an interesting interchange with one of my associates who was shocked that I was not offended by her expression of an opinion that was the polar opposite of mine. I was shocked that she did not realize that it was safe and healthy to respectfully express your true perspective without sugar coating it. A difference of opinion can be a great starting point for growing trust NOT the end of it. Respectful straight talk confronting a different perspective adds to trust while walking on eggshells and concealing your true feelings while purporting to have a candid discussion is a counterfeit behavior that actually destroys trust.
Hidden agendas undermine authentic communication. Listening to the opposing opinions with the intent to understand and empathize builds trust. Remember empathy is not sympathy or agreement-simply understanding their perspective. Test this from you own experience. You trust people that authentically express their true opinions more than those that hide them and tell you what they think you want to hear. › Continue reading
If you’re like most people, including me, your task might require its own Dewey Decimal system. Do you get a dozen new tasks every day, on top of the dozen you were handed the day before? Although it may seem impossible, there is a way to get the most important things done.
Tip #3: Plan or Perish
If you’re like me, you have multiple projects. Each with dozens of sub-tasks that need to be done “right now.” Right? To get through this jumble of projects you must do one simple thing: plan. It’s as easy as that. It’s no secret. It’s pure and simple common sense. Try out this process and you’ll see for yourself.
- 1. This coming Sunday night, before your work week begins, review your list of tasks. › Continue reading
“We only get one chance to prepare our students for the future. What are we going to do with that one chance?” – Dr. Stephen R. Covey, The Leader in Me
At FranklinCovey we are passionate and serious about preparing future leaders. For the last 18 months FranklinCovey has been working on an exciting new offering for elementary schools. It is called The Leader in Me, and it is designed to prepare children to be leaders in our changing society.
The process is based upon the experience of educators and students at A.B. Combs Elementary School in Raleigh, North Carolina. In 1999, this school was struggling with low academic performance and lack of engagement among faculty and parents. After searching for a solution, the administrators and teachers began learning principle-based leadership skills, including The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People®, and then began teaching them to their students. In a short amount of time, end-of-grade tests improved dramatically. At the same time, the school saw significant and sustained increases in students’ self-confidence, dramatic drops in discipline problems, and impressive increases in teacher and administrator job satisfaction. › Continue reading
Have some of your colleagues been laid off recently? Are you being asked to pull up the slack and do more with less?
You’re not alone.
I mean, there are still other people in your organization, right?
Tip#2: Embrace Others
Odds are, when you’re working fast and furious, there is probably someone, somewhere in your organization that may have some downtime, or they’re worried about not being aligned with strategic projects. Find them. Grab them. Capitalize on their skills. And have them chip in. People are generally happier when they’re engaged and contributing. Sure, quality might slip a bit and it might take longer for you to get that project done. But there is a huge feeling of relief when you delegate a task to someone and you go back to your office and are able to tackle something else. And there is an even better feeling when they come back to you and the project is finished and better than if you did it yourself. › Continue reading
Why is it that when layoffs occur, and the workforce retracts, the work seems to expand? The remaining employees are, quite often, left with additional responsibilities and fewer resources. Sound familiar? I’m going to share with you my five keys to remaining sane when your job requirements try to drive you mad.
Tip #1: Eliminate Chaos
When everything around you is moving fast it’s hard to get organized. Does this sound like your typical day? You return from one meeting only to go to another and yet another throughout the day; you don’t have time to focus strategically on one project because your time is spread so thin over a dozen; you have three people at your door waiting for a decisions on three different projects. › Continue reading
My name is Sam Bracken. I am the global director of product management marketing for FranklinCovey. In addition to my marketing responsibilities I am passionate around the topic of transformational change. I would like to dedicate this blog to transformational change and all those who would like to make a positive change. I am excited to start this blog and I have decided to do a video post in a addition to my regular post. To watch my video post click here.
A very wise and wonderful woman once told me that we become a reflection of our life experience. There are about 6.8 billion people in this world and they all have very different experiences. They all think though things differently, do things differently, and get the results that their behavior produces. Today more than ever we live in a very complex environment, technology breakthroughs, massive noise, complexities with factors and forces that interact, it’s chaos out there, the speed of information is overwhelming. The pressure to perform at work is harder today more than ever. What worked in the past may not work in the future because of the changing climate that we have. › Continue reading
I was introduced to The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People 25 years ago as a freshman in college. The book wasn’t even written yet. I found the lecture series on tape in my campus bookstore, and bought them hoping for some solid advice as I embarked upon my college career.
I liked everything I heard, but some habits and ideas resonated with me more than others. Habit 2, Begin With the End in Mind was a habit that made theoretical sense to me, but it’s application (writing a personal mission statement) just seemed a little too ‘touchy-feely’ to me. It wasn’t that I was against the idea. I mean, ‘if you’re the kind of person that is in to that self-exploratory stuff, that’s great, but that kind of thing just isn’t my style.’ I will be honest, I kind of glossed over Habit 2.
Big mistake. › Continue reading