Avoid the Trap of the Busy Fool

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Whether you are employed, self employed, running a small business or juggling a portfolio career its important to stop falling into this trap. Everyone we meet now is very busy, it is rare that you meet someone who isn’t, some people are always frantically running from one thing to another or burning the candle at both ends working on various things or meeting the demands of others.

Periodically it is good to take time out and evaluate whether you are spending time on the right things, especially if you are starting to feel frazzled and unhealthy on a regular basis.

So, what are the right things? Anything or anyone that is important to you is the ideal answer. If the activity you are currently working on is an important part of your job, if it is aligned to a key goal you have set yourself or if it involves spending time with someone who inspires, encourages you and makes you feel good then that is probably time well spent. Obviously in all our lives we have necessary tasks to do that aren’t that exciting e.g. Paying bills, sorting out household chores, general life admin etc. and with these types of things it is best to set aside blocks of time and rattle through as quick as possible with minimum interruption. In a funny way if I take this approach there is a sense of satisfaction when I can tick these mundane things off my list and move into more enjoyable activities.

The dangerous trap you need to avoid is the busy fool one…. This is where we are busy however we are spending time on non-value added, unnecessary and unenjoyable experiences. If you look back in how you spent your day, week or weekend and you are thinking that the time spent ticked any of these boxes then maybe changes need to be made. For any activity where you feel that way you can decide to either a) not do it again b) find a way of doing it more effectively so spending less time it or c) get someone else to do it.

The other way you find yourself in the busy fool territory is when you are spending too long on something that doesn’t warrant it either because you are a perfectionist and the task doesn’t need that level of perfectionism or you are spending too long on one task as an avoidance strategy or procrastinating to prevent the more important task you should be doing but don’t want to do.

So, look back at last week’s diary did you spend time on the right things and with the right people? If not, what changes can you make to your schedule next week and in the future to prevent this happening again. Oh, and leave some space for downtime and recharge… scheduling time for this is important for your wellbeing so that you don’t become a burnt-out fool.

 

Sandra Webber works as a coach for businesses and private clients and is the author of Own It – regain control and live life in your terms available from Amazon http://amzn.to/2m3l8Vl

 

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Do we ever get used to change?

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Building on the theme of the last Kudos blog everyone I meet at the moment seems to be facing some type of change e.g a new IT system, a new job, a new leader or someone key in the organisation hands in their resignation, you discover a health condition you need to manage, something you planned to do is now cancelled…. the list is endless.

How quickly we adapt to changes like these are vital for both our own well being and the organisations or teams we belong too. Change can cause worry and stress but equally it can be the cause of excitement and new challenge.

Some people thrive on change and get bored if things stay the same too long while others love it when everything is predictable, structured and routine. When we talk to people about what motivates them the discussion can go into these two types of reaction and it helps if you recognise which group you belong too.

High performers and those interdependent people, we all strive to be and love to work alongside always have the ability to adapt quickly to changes and embrace new situations.

So if you ever find yourself thinking or saying any of the phrases in the photo above think again. Could you look at the situation differently and maybe the change wont be as difficult as you originally thought. Try it the next time a change comes your way, and it will do very soon !

Form Your Future

your futureOver the past few weeks in a variety of our workshops a common theme has emerged. When trying to secure a job or trying to progress within a company ,people are coming across barriers. We hear phrases like “ I have applied for lots of jobs but heard nothing” or “ the agencies said they would ring back and they haven’t” or “there is nowhere for me to progress in this company” or “that department never has any vacancies or “none of the managers are ever going to leave so I will never get promotion”.

There is a common theme with all of these statements… the individuals are not taking the action upon themselves; they are waiting for others to take action on their behalf.

At a presentation last week one senior manager asked a great question “so what do you plan to do about it then?” This is exactly the thought provoking question that needs to be asked so that we as individuals realise if we want something badly enough then we need to take ownership ourselves. Everyone is extremely busy and they do intend to get back to you, they do intend to look out for career opportunities for you but unfortunately its not their top priority and other things on the to do list take over.

Make your future your priority, decide what you want to achieve, identify those people that can help you but make it easy for them… you drive the action, keep it a priority, don’t give up, keep communicating, consider alternatives. Take ownership for your own future , you may be surprised how quick things happen when you do?

Smashing The Jar?

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What will the 2013 jar reveal?

A year ago tonight, after a few too many wines over a dinner table in Bristol  we started to talk about new years resolutions for 2013. I volunteered to co-ordinate everyones commitments and keep them in this pink jar until tonight a year later!

It will be interesting to see later on this evening whether all us can remember

1) What did we all  intend to do in 2013?

2) How well have we individually done in achieving what we set out to achieve?

3) Did any original intentions change due to circumstance or did we make a conscious effort to make a change to our goals?

4) Do we want to repeat the exercise this year?

If I reflect personally on these questions and 2013 it would be the following

Yes I can remember what my two goals were clearly. I have exceeded my intention with one of them and adapted the second but feel good progress on that one as well; so overall a massive sense of achievement. Yes I would like to repeat the exercise again as publically committing too and being accountable for your goals to someone else is a powerful process to adopt.

I also met some very inspiring new people throughout 2013  and I am thankful for this. I love it when you learn new skills and meet new people who add different perspectives.  This to me is the key to a good year “never stop learning or expanding your circle of influencers”. Professionally and personally this enables you to continually grow and share this knowledge onto others.

I wonder what the jar will hold for 2014?

Are You Making Enough Space?

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Make space to enjoy your surroundings

Someone asked me this question earlier in the year regarding my diary management, however as the months have gone on I have used this question for both my own time management but also in some of the coaching conversations that I am having with our clients.

How often do we look at how we are using our time and assess are we spending the time on the right things. In our Time Management Programmes we state that one resource that we all have equally unlike money, talent, skills etc is time. We all have 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week and 12 months in a year. How we use it, however is our choice.

  • When it comes to Job Hunting , are you making enough space in the diary for networking, putting your face in front of the agencies? So that people see your personality rather than just a curriculum vitae on their desk.
  • When it comes to Leading People are you making time for quality 1-1’s with your direct reports? To understand their individual personality and motivation.
  • When you are Running a Business are you making time to put together a solid strategic plan? Schedule some time away from the office to simply think where do you want to take the business.

No matter what role you have, and why this question was originally asked of me was, are you making enough space in your diary for “unstructured time” so that you are not running from one meeting or appointment to another?

Enjoy the space.

Choose your attitude

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I met one young guy this week who made an impression. He was a new hire in one of my regular clients and he had been in position only a few months. This was our first meeting and he left such a positive impression it led me to ponder how he had managed to do this?

He was upbeat, enthusiastic and saying how much he was enjoying the job; much better than his previous role. I know for a fact when he was interviewed for the job it was his energy and attitude that led to him being offered the job over other candidates with a lot more experience.  He displayed the energy I mentioned in last weeks blog and according to the MD was a breath of fresh air!

Another person who had an amazing attitude was James Cracknell in the programme shown on Tuesday night last week . http://www.itv.com/presscentre/ep1week43/james-cracknell-sports-life-stories

  • Whether is getting a job www.myjobcoach.co.uk
  • Learning a new job
  • Performing in your current role
  • Or coping with major change

Attitude is everything and attitude is our choice.

Energy, Focus, Action

I have met a lot of different people this week… Working with corporate clients, holding events and being a guest at 3 different hotels, plus attending a careers event last night at the University West of England. 

When I think of the people who have impressed me the most this week they have all displayed the 3 qualities in the title of this blog:

  1.  Energy – going about their job in a positive way and demonstrating they enjoy what they do.
  2.  Focus – on what they are doing; be that customer service, being part of a management team, or students focused on activities that support their career options.
  3.  Action – taken to meet customer needs, to meet team goals, or to proactively own their career.

If I also reflect on the people I enjoy working with – the people I want to be part of my team and the people I choose to recruit – these are the qualities I look for in an individual.

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I often talk about Energy Givers and Energy Takers. 

Which are you?