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March 2010

The Productivity Paradox: Slow Down to Speed Up

There is a paradox to productivity in that slowing down helps us to speed up. Do you find yourself constantly playing "catch up" or trying to stay on top of a constant swirl of activity? Are you so busy working on the day-to-day that you don't stop to look at the bigger picture?
If you answered yes to either of the above, you are not alone. Most of us don't take time to slow down to celebrate our accomplishments, evaluate the past and plan for the future. Consequently, we cheat ourselves out of our best work.
Picture yourself as a sprinter. Sprinters run full speed ahead - arms pumping, feet pounding, lungs gasping - with no thought of anything but making it to the finish line. Sprinters run on the verge of being out of control. They can't run that way forever.
Neither. Can. We.
When we sprint through life, we cheat ourselves of our best because we focus so much on the "race" that we miss opportunities, stifle creativity, and eventually crash and burn. We need to regularly get off the track to get back on track.
Here's how you can step off the track and get back to your best:
 1) Stop. Stop doing and schedule an hour each week to reflect, review and refocus your priorities.
 2) Look. List the things you've learned in the past week and reflect on them. Take one action step or make one change based on what you've learned.
 3) Listen. Look at your life from a 30,000 foot view. In this quiet place above the clutter of life, consider steps #1 and #2, all of your "to do's" and "want to's", and ask yourself "What will I do with what I know?"  Listen to your heart and your intuition for the answer.
Slowing down helps us chart a proper course so we can run in the right direction. Knowing where to run eliminates the confusion that slows us down. Stop, look, and listen today. Then, hang on for the ride!

How do you slow down? Share your thoughts, tips and tricks in a comment below!

Need help with being more productive? I love helping people with their personal productivity! Call me for a complimentary consultation today at 913-219-7844! You'll be glad you did!

Meetings: Energizing or Excruciating?

Meetings are a necessary part of organizational culture and can either be energizing or excruciating, depending on the strength of the meeting's organizer. What comes to your mind when you think of the word "meeting"?

Coming to my mind as I type this are flashbacks of the most boring and unproductive times of my career. Yikes! Most of the time when I think of my past experiences with meetings, I think of some of the things Mike Rogers wrote in his post last week entitled "8 Important tips to help you waste time in meetings". I highly recommend reading through his list.

Leaders who know how to effectively run meetings set themselves apart from the rest. They are few and far between. In addition to doing the opposite of what you might find in Mike's list, here are some tips to make the most use of your time and your attendees' time during your meetings:

  1. Clearly identify your desired outcome. Why are you having this meeting?
  2. Choose your meeting length and structure based upon your desired outcome. (e.g tactical  meetings differ from strategic planning)
  3. Create a parking lot to capture ideas that require a separate meeting so you can keep focused.
  4. Coordinate and collaborate during your meeting time. Avoid reading committee or departmental "reports" that can be communicated via written format.

What do you need to change about your current meeting structure? Changing the way you run meetings might just be the most productive thing you do this year! If you've got a story about how changing your meeting structure impacted your organization, we'd love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below.

Need help with your meetings? I love helping people make these changes! Call me for a complimentary consultation today at 913-219-7844! You'll be glad you did!