23 May 2011

Time management building blocks

A friend and business associate recently asked my advice on giving her new assistant deadlines because the young assistant “doesn’t know about time management yet.” Once we established that the outcomes were clear, we went on to define some basic time management tips that can be helpful.

My first reaction to asking whether to give the assistant deadlines was “not unless she needs the deadlines to get things done.” Knowing how people are motivated gives us clues about how to support them into getting tasks done. I’m sure you recognize that some people are pressure prompted and use deadlines to create the pressure while others are early starters who don’t need the pressure from external sources to get going.

It’s a funny thing, if you give a pressure prompted person longer deadlines they become “fluid” and fill the available time until the pressure hits their internal level that triggers them into action — so giving longer deadlines can actually slow down pressure prompted folks! If you give people unreasonably short deadlines, however, you run the risk of discouragement at “missing” those deadlines.

Since my friend was more interested in individual tasks rather than larger projects, we came around to these three basic, yet powerful, guides: time blocking, time estimating, and reviewing often.

The steps in the process look like this:

  1. Establish a clear outcome
  2. Estimate how long the task will take
  3. Block out 30-90 minutes to concentrate on the one task
  4. Review the block and how long you actually worked
  5. If the task is not complete, reestimate and reblock
  6. Track your estimates and the time actually spent on tasks over time

This is similar to the PDRC cycle I’ve seen elsewhere, but who really knows what “plan, do, review, check” means until they’ve done the processes.

For most people I’ve talked to, the hardest step is staying on track during the time blocks themselves. There are a bunch of internal tricks we can use, which I’ll talk about soon.

There is also a great external tool for time blocking called The Action Machine that helps us short attention span folks. By knowing the timer is running and will ding at the end of the blocked off time, we are able to “schedule distractions” for after the time block. I’ve also found, when starting out, that setting several shorter blocks back-to-back that add up to the “real” block give the chance to break state long enough to ask “was I distracted or am I staying on task — NOW!”

If you haven’t been using time blocking, estimating, and tracking, now is the time to order your copy of The Action Machine here and get started minutes from now.

Posted by Wayne Buckhanan at 9:23 AM   No Comments Yet »
06 Dec 2010

Allowing — the greatest of these …

As we are full in the swing of the holi-daze, it’s good to remember what the season is all about. It isn’t shopping, spending, buying — it *is* about giving and love.

I was coming here to share that a book by T. Conte is launching tomorrow and changed my mind after seeing the “trippy” gifts being submitted for that launch. (And here’s that link if that’s your sort of thing.)

Instead, I’m going to recommend the book Allowing by Holly Riley. I have heard nothing but good things about Holly and her book from our mutual friend Don McKinnon (make sure you grab a copy of his gift by registering your book purchase at http://hollyriley.com/allowing/).

Either way, today is a good day to check out a new book or two on Love. And, as a bonus, if you check out Holly’s book, there is a (non-holiday related) pile of gifts waiting for you to order your copy on Tuesday Dec 7th.

In the meantime, remember ”the greatest of these is Love”!

Posted by Wayne Buckhanan at 7:06 PM   No Comments Yet »
16 Oct 2010

Age of Conversation – Where’s Your Water Cooler?

We often take water for granted. It’s there from the tap, in the water cooler, at the drinking fountain. But most of the water in the world is not safe to just drink. And nasties like candida and giardia don’t care about age, race, class, income, or geography.

The funny thing is, conversation can ward off the sicknesses and diseases from unclean water in developing regions. I can hear you now “What can conversation do about dirty water?”

First off, no problems of this scale are solved by one person so conversation is needed to raise awareness.

Secondly, a bunch of us got together and wrote a book on conversation and it’s impact in our 21st century world. You may have heard of it: The Age of Conversation 3: It’s Time to Get Busy. All the profits from AoC3 are going to fund clean water in developing regions.

Here’s the scoop straight from the Age of Conversation blog:

The Age of Conversation Official Charity – charity: water

The first piece of news is to confirm that the charity that benefits from each and every sale of each and every book, is charity: water. charity: water is a non-profit organization bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations. 100% of public donations directly fund water projects.

Amazingly, just $20 can give one person clean water for 20 years. An average water project costs $5,000 and can serve 250 people with clean, safe water – so purchasing a copy of the Age of Conversation 3 really can make a difference to someone’s life!

So, here’s where you get to join the conversation, get busy, and clean up some water across the globe.

  1. Buy a copy of Age of Conversation 3 for each of your customers – they’ll love it and they’ll love you:
  2. Make an additional donation at our charity: water page
  3. Insert the Blog Action Day widget on your blog
  4. Tweet and retweet about the #aoc3 project.
  5. Share a link on your Facebook wall.

And remember to “like” The Age of Conversation on Facebook.

Petitions by Change.org|Start a Petition »

Posted by Wayne Buckhanan at 12:23 AM   No Comments Yet »
20 Apr 2010

Call for stories of NLP

Time for some annecdotal research.

We’re interested in sharing in your joy/sorrow/confusion. Please share your good/bad/ugly experiences in applying NLP in your business, personal relationships, or anywhere else you have used something you’ve read/heard/watched. (Please refrain from telling other people’s stories unless you were directly involved on the receiving end or observed it first hand.)

All stories welcome from oneliners to the novellas. As you feel lead to share more you can include your background in NLP (voracious reader, client, courses taken, influential trainers, etc), and more context of the situation. A quick way to share context is to set up what the situation was leading into your use of your particular ”magic NLP dust”, your immediate observations upon your ”sprinkling”, and observations on that situation in later interactions. Or before, after & after-the-after as @RayEdwards so eloquently puts it.

Please share stories in the comments below, @WayneBuckhanan on twitter , WayneBuckhanan on facebook , or WayneBuckhanan @ gmail. Please note whether you’d prefer to stay anonymous or be quoted.

Thanks in advance for sharing your expertise — everyone is an expert at being themselves!

Posted by Wayne Buckhanan at 10:13 AM   No Comments Yet »
04 Apr 2010

Weekend Thought Food: Talent & Insecurity, Inspiration & Experiments

This week has been an odd confluence of disparate ideas from my Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube friends all leading in the same direction. Here is summary and pointers. The full story and a cool bonus (think MnM) is going out to my email subscribers tomorrow night.

Talent

Had a great exchange with my friend Matt Harris sparked by his comment “talent so often gets in the way of success.” The whole scoop is in the email. Until then check out Matt’s blog post about it and follow @MeridianMogul on Twitter.

Insecurity

Thanks to my friend Nicola Cairncross, author of The Money Gym, for this post “Insecurity Doesn’t Pay the Bills” by Dave Navarro as shared via her new @NicolaCairnX Twitter account.

Inspiration

My new friend Gail Lynne Goodwin added to the theme with a tweet “Do you hold back your dreams wondering “what will people think”? Who cares! It’s your dream, it’s your life- go live it#IMT
Check out the inspirational quotes she has been collecting first hand and follow @InspireMeToday on Twitter.

Experiments

My 5 minutes x 30 days post started the public accountability on my 30 day experiment around my kettlebell throwing. Scott Young calls them “30 day trials” but I much prefer the kinesthetics of “30 day experiment” — much more mad scientist!
The last 3 days I’ve hit my momentum goal with a few (1-3) clean and presses. Not what most would consider spectacular, but they are exactly fulfilling the habit forming part of this MnM goal.

So, that’s pretty much been my week online (taken in quick breaks between all of the usual PhD and family stuff). Check out some links, do something with them, and share your results below.

P.S. If you want the extra stuff in the future sign up to receive updates and announcements via email over there ->.

http://lifeloveandlearning.com/go/MoneyGym
Posted by Wayne Buckhanan at 3:08 AM   No Comments Yet »
01 Apr 2010

Well Formed Destinations and Well Formed Routes

Quickly, what is your goal for April?

For many that is an odd question. ”What do you mean? Goals for April? I don’t have any goals for today, let alone this month.” If that’s you I’ll be a tough mentor: either go use a goal setting guide or wallow somewhere else because this post/blog/universe isn’t going to help you until you’ve got some goal in mind.

For those who are still reading, is that goal talking about where you’re going or what you’re doing along the way? This is the difference between an outcome and a process goal.

Either one will be much more likely to occur if it follows the NLP criteria for a well formed outcome: positively stated, individually driven, sensory based, and ecological.

Is your goal focused on what you do want or what you don’t want? What you want to have or what you want to no longer have?

Does your goal depend upon the actions that you take or is it in the hands of other people or circumstances?

Do you know what it will look like when you reach your goal? What will you hear? What sensations do you feel? Smells? Tastes? Or will you ”just know”?

What unintended consequences will reaching your goal have? Who else will be impacted? What things will or won’t happen because of you reaching your goal?

All of these ”criteria for well formed outcomes” also apply to process goals. Are you focused on what you will be doing as you move forward? Did you change an outcome to a process goal so you could focus on what is in your control? Do you know what maintaining your process goals will look/sound/feel/taste/smell like? Are the unintended consequences of the way you’re doing things acceptable for everyone?

Today’s mission is to double check your 30 day experiment goals against these four criteria. If you need to change an outcome to a process goal then make those adjustments. Now share your outcome or process goal for the month below for feedback, support, and public accountability. (Yes, that means you too Sarah!)

FYI: I maintained my momentum with two aborted Turkish get-ups (only ‘bell on hand was too big!), 10 swings with good form, and a solid snatch for good measure.

Now go do your something and report back!

Posted by Wayne Buckhanan at 9:50 AM   No Comments Yet »
31 Mar 2010

5 minutes x 30 days

Today is day two in a personal 30+ day experiment. I was recently reminded of 30 day experiments by Scott Young‘s prompting.

Basically I have set a short term goal of finite duration with well formed outcomes and well formed process goals. This particular experiment is to (re)develop my exercise routine. I’m dedicating myself to throwing kettlebells every day for 30 days as my momentum goal.

Oh, wait. I don’t think I’ve publicly talked about MnM goal setting (nothing to do with the candy!). Hmmm, I think I’ll save that for a later post. Today is about 30 day experiments.

For this experiment my nada goal is a daily 3 minute warm up, 100 swings in 5 minutes with a 16 kg ‘bell, and 8 brocades as my ”cool down” afterwards. The monster for this experiment is 100 snatches with 24 kg in 15 minutes.

Yesterday I did 100 swings @ 16 kg in about 5 min with a Tabata style cadence: 10 swings in (approximately) the 20 seconds maximally active then 10 seconds rest. Grip it, rip it, and repeat. I did about 3 minutes of stretching/loosening before diving into the swings and just walked it off while catching my breath afterwards.

Today I was still feeling the little aches that tell me my swing form wasn’t ideal so I decided to do cleans instead (to at least distribute the aches across a few new locations!). Similar deal as the swings: 10 cleans as fast as I could (approx 20 seconds), 10 seconds rest, 10 cleans w/other arm, 10 seconds rest. I doubt I’ll be doing that exact sequence again because my hands were getting torn up by the poorly designed handle on the adjustable ‘bell I was using. (I either need to round out the handle or wait for my Kiwi friend to come back to the states so I can test one of my other adjustable kb handles I loaned out.)

What does all this girevik geekery mean for the non-RKCs? It means public accountability. I wouldn’t bother making up this level of detail if I hadn’t done it. It also gives you a chance to see how small the commitment can be (less than 10 minutes a day so far) and still have significance.

Your mission for today is to choose an area of your life where you’re willing to run a 30 day experiment — health, relationships, money, learning, etc and share it in the comments below. Tomorrow we’ll talk about well formed outcomes and process goals so you can run a 30 day experiment through April.

Posted by Wayne Buckhanan at 3:11 AM   No Comments Yet »
28 Mar 2010

What are you testing?

If you aren’t testing anything you should start…NOW.

Whether you are simply testing a new driving route or a different brand of soap your brain (and by extension your body) need new stimuli. Desensitization or over-sensitization happens when you always have the same thing for dinner. This applies to your thoughts too.

I have seen unattributed statistics that at least 90% of the thoughts we have today are the same as we had yesterday. (This may be where people come up with 21, 30, or 45 days to change habits, but that’s a post for another day.)

Where might you be desensitized in your thought process?
Where might you have developed an overly sensitive pattern in your thoughts?
What new thing are you going to do (and think!) today?

FYI: I’m testing a new tool for posting to this blog. It allows me to write posts on my phone which removes a ton-and-a-half of excuses. Watch for more posts!

Posted by Wayne Buckhanan at 3:23 PM   No Comments Yet »
21 Mar 2010

Meet my co-authors in the newest Conversation

age3coverIt’s been rather quiet around Life, Love, & Learning lately. Mostly because I’m head down writing on my PhD proposal.

So this will be a quick note to let you know that soon and very soon we’ll be releasing another volume of Age of Conversation. Once again I submitted a chapter and all the profits will be going to charity.

And without further ado my co-authors:

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by Wayne Buckhanan at 11:47 PM   No Comments Yet »
31 Dec 2009

Don’t resolve, re-theme

This time of year naturally lends itself to reflection and refocus.
My 2009 was … scattered. Looking back an unspoken theme might have been ”Stalled” or ”Distractable” — neither of which was highly desirable.

My chosen theme for 2010 is ”Finish w/Intensity”!

And my 5 minute timer just went off, so I’m calling this finished (with intensity) and headed back to work.

You can still take a moment to reflect and share your theme for 2010.
See you next year!

Posted by Wayne Buckhanan at 7:26 PM   No Comments Yet »