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The Ten Tips of Christmas

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by on April 23, 2018 at 12:00 pm

TIP ONE – How to Increase Your Analytical or Strategic Thinking

The faster you go, the less control you will feel. Here are ten steps you can take to become a more analytic or strategic thinker:

1. At the end of the day, review your list. Have a good reason for everything you got done and everything you didn’t.
2. Use today’s results to make a better tomorrow. Look at your list, what affected your day and how could you use that to improve your results tomorrow.
3. Plan at the end of each day so when you open email first thing the next day, you can prioritize your responses based on what you already have on your list. (Discipline)
4. Before you start typing an email identify: Why are writing it? What do I want the other person to do? How can I get him or her to answer mine first? When do I really need an answer by and why?
5. Before you schedule a meeting or accept a meeting invite be sure you know the purpose of the meeting and why you’re inviting each person or why you’ve been invited.
6. When you get now tasks or projects always ask, “When do you really need it by (and why?”) This will help you prioritize each request more accurately.
7. Think before you act. Pause, consider, question, then decide. (This will prevent “shooting from the hip.”
8. Have single list, (paper or electronic), so you can see everything you need to complete in one place. That will make your prioritizing more accurate.
9. Use your energy cycles in your decisions. When you are best choose more difficult, high payoff tasks. Look on your list for easier tasks when your energy is low.
10. At the end of every week, make your list for next week. If you have to transfer tasks to next week ask, why? What are I going to do different next week to get it done? Is it really a priority?

TIP TWO – Ten Simple Ways to Increase Your Emotional Intelligence

1. Slow down and stay in the moment. This will help you notice when people, places, or things bother you. That awareness is the starting point. In today’s fast-paced environment we often aren’t aware of our emotions or more especially their root causes. Take the time to notice an emotion and then try to discover its root cause. The more you understand your emotional responses the easier it will be to control or manage them.
2. Keep a Diary. A great way to get an accurate gauge of yourself is to keep a diary. Start by writing down what happened to you during the day, how it made you feel, and how you dealt with it.
3. Analyze Your Decisions Before You Make Them. Before you make a decision, seek clarity. Determine the difference between your emotional responses and well thought out decisions with sound reasoning. By putting emotional and strategic thinking side by side you will slow down and devise a less emotional response to a situation.
4. Improve Your Listening Skills. Practice by listening to what someone says then ask a question to confirm you understood what they said.
5. Greet People by His or Her First Name. Greeting someone by name is one of the most basic and effective social awareness strategies you can adopt. You are on a more personal basis. Learn a new person’s name each week and practice it until it’s in your memory.
6. Resist the temptation to say or do the first thing that pops into your head. Pause when agitated. Self-management is all about managing your emotional reaction to people and events.
7. Get rid of negative talk. Talk positively about yourself.
8. Improve your empathy be becoming more aware of the needs and feelings of others. Use questions to find out more about other people and what they are feeling, and feedback to clarify that you have correctly understood their feelings.
9. Work on building a relationship with different types of people (even those you don’t particularly like.) The stronger the bond or connection, the easier it is to influence that person or convey your key points.
10. Do an Honest Self-Evaluation. What are your weaknesses? What areas could you work on to make yourself a better person?

TIP THREE – Ten Suggestions for Producing a More Effective Morning:

1. Turn off your email notification and check your email every 30 to 60 minutes. Batching your responses will save you time and reduce jumping from task to task.
2. Identify two “veggies” and schedule time to get them done in the morning. (The idea is to match the “best of you” (highest energy) against your most difficult tasks.
3. Block off time on your calendar to get them done.
4. Ask better questions when you get interrupted. Validate each on it’s own merit. Ask, “when do you really need it? Then, find out why.
5. Try to defer less time sensitive and lower priority requests to the afternoon.
6. Move “status”, “FYI”, and staff meetings to the afternoon.
7. Batch responding to email, returning calls, and similar work so they take less time.
8. Be more critical of your meetings. When you get a meeting invite, make sure you get an agenda, know why you were invited, and compare it to what you already have on your list.
9. Suggest a “group power hour”, one hour each morning and make sure everyone agrees not to interrupt each other during that hour.
10. Set up time every other hour to batch interruptions so they take less time.

TIP FOUR – How to Take Control of Your Day

1. Slow down so you can do tasks just once and complete them (stop jumping from task to task.)

2. Always evaluate your interruptions. Ask yourself, “Is this truly something I must handle right away?”

3. Only answer “veggie” emails first thing, not every email in your inbox.

4. Turn off your email notification and check email periodically throughout the day.

5. Become a “traffic cop” and only work on one task, project, or activity at a time. Turn off all he other devices including your cell phone.

6. Don’t assume a request is urgent just because he or she says it is. Ask, “When do you really need it by?”

7. Try to defer immediate requests. When you do something the moment it’s requested, aren’t you setting up a future expectation?

8. Close your door or work somewhere else.

9. Block out time on your computer (one hour each day) to get something important done.

10. Don’t relationship build first thing or until you get something important accomplished

TIP FIVE – Ten Ways to Get Things Done Without Authority Using Influence

1. Demonstrate Your Knowledge and Expertise Every Chance You Get
2. Identify What Matters Most to the Person You Want to Influence
3. Assume Everyone is a Potential Ally
4. Treat Others the Way You Want to Be Treated
5. Be Transparent
6. Stay in the Moment
7. Make Your Conversations More Positive
8. Develop Expertise
9. Become Flexible and Willing to Adapt
10. Communicate Clearly

TIP SIX – How to Take Less Time to Write and Get Faster Answers to Your Email

The PADD Writing Model

PURPOSE– Put your reason for sending your email in the subject line using four to eight words. Pretend it’s a headline from a newspaper to grab their attention. (ADD – Action Required)

ACTION – Put what you want the reader to do in the first paragraph by itself, so the action you want stands out to the reader. Make sure you keep your first paragraph short, no more than two to three lines long. If you need more than one thing, tell the reader in the first paragraph.

DETAIL – Use bullets or numbers instead of long paragraphs. Tell your reader to put his or her answers after each of your bullets. Order your bullets by importance.

DEADLINE – Finish your email with a specific deadline and a logical reason for the deadline. (This will involve the reader in your deadline.) Don’t use ASAP or “Thank you in advance.”

TIP SEVEN – Take These Steps to Reduce or Eliminate that Overwhelmed Feeling:

1. Get a pad of paper (or you can use the free form on my website) and for the next 5-10 minutes write down any thoughts, ideas, don’t forget, or to-do tasks that pop into your head in no particular order (pure brainstorming.) Don’t forget your personal life to-dos. Be sure you skip a line in-between each item. You can take out your smartphone and transfer emails, phone calls, notes, etc. to your list.

2. Skip a line between everything you write

3. Now add items from the other lists, post-its, etc. (You can only have one list.)

4. Write down ANY thought that pops into your head. The process is; thought, print on paper, delete from head.

5. Be sure you add your personal life items. (The key to getting a personal life.)

6. This process should be completely random. Don’t try to organize your thought or write them in any order. (Don’t try to write them down according to priority.)

7. Writing things down in random order is pure brainstorming and it the fastest way to empty your mind.

8. Once you look at what you wrote, determine it you want to put them into categories (i.e. clients, projects, personal, etc.)

9. Begin to look for tasks that are similar. These will present “batching” opportunities. The fastest way to catch up is to “batch” like tasks (like answer 5 emails, return 5 calls, similar tasks on 5 different projects, etc.)

10. Every night, before you leave work, repeat this process. The goal is to create mental separation between work and home. The mind doesn’t care that you didn’t finish everything today, it just wants to know you have a plan for tomorrow. Come back under control before you leave work (and you won’t think about it all night!)

TIP EIGHT – Build these ten new habits for a happier and more successful 2019:

1. Start your day 15 minutes earlier. You’ll be surprised what a difference 15 minutes makes.

2. After you make your list (before you leave work) identify two tasks and make a true commitment to complete them. If your list is too overwhelming, you may struggle to get anything done.

3. Add Closure to your day by doing a “brain-dump” and planning for tomorrow before you leave work each day and week. Don’t leave work “out of control” and think about it all night long. Leave work at work mentally and you’ll sleep like a baby all night long.4. Focus on getting more done before noon.

4. 90% of all productivity gains occur in the morning. Move your FYI or Status meetings to the afternoon. Get more done before noon so the afternoon is easier.

5. At the end of your day review it before you go home. Do you have a good reason for everything you checked off and everything you didn’t? Consider what you could do better tomorrow or next week.

6. Build trust and credibility every chance you can to increase your Influence. The more expertise you have and can demonstrate, the greater your credibility. Do the right things for the right reasons. Never make a promise or commitment that you can’t keep.

7. Slow Down! Your strategic thinking will improve, your communication will be more specific, you’ll complete more tasks, make fewer mistakes, “multi-task” less, and have better focus.

8. Stop “assuming” what people mean. Clarify when you receive a task or project the expectation and deadline.

9. Identify and use your energy cycles to your advantage. Every person has three energy cycles in a day. When you are at the peak of a cycle work on difficult and high payoff tasks. When you have low energy tackle easier tasks that don’t take a lot of focus and concentration.

10. Try to negotiate new requests so they fit better into your day. Try to finish what you’re currently working on before you take on another task. People don’t get promoted for started a lot of tasks they get promoted for being a great finisher.

TIP NINE – How to Recognize and Overcome Procrastination

• The key is to recognize when you’re doing it and why.
• Identify, what is your favorite “replacement” activity? Something you do instead of what you know you should be doing. (I think email can often seem like a good choice.)
• Then overcome your procrastination using one of the strategies below.

Here are some reasons for procrastination:

• The task is difficult.
• The task is unpleasant.
• Overwhelmed (I have too many tasks to pick from.)
• Too many interruptions back to back.
• I don’t find the task interesting.
• I can’t see why this task is so important.
• I don’t know how to do it or I’m missing information.
• I don’t have time now.
• This isn’t due for a while.

Here are some ways to manage and move through procrastination:

1. Break Down the Job into Smaller Parts. (Often times if you can’t start it’s because the task seems too overwhelming or time consuming.
2. Schedule 30 minutes not two hours to work on something. Just get started and see if you can get into a “groove.) If you block off too much time you might never start!
3. Work on the task you like the least first thing each day (or when you have the most energy.) It’s an adrenaline rush when you get it off your list first thing.
4. Match up the best of you against your most difficult work. Don’t start a “veggie” when you are at the low part of your energy cycle. (It will take forever to complete.)
5. Set specific deadlines (even when you don’t get one.) Be sure to ask, “When do you need it by?”
6. Cut down on interruptions. Set up a “power hour” each day when you’re not available. One good hour is like four interrupted hours.
7. Do it once. Improve your “completion ratio.” Whatever your start, try to finish or at least get to a good stopping point.
8. If you are already working on something important, try to defer interruptions until you finish what you’re working on. You don’t want to come back and start all over again!
9. If you’re missing information get out of your chair and go get it. Stop waiting for others.
10. Set-up a reward for getting the difficult task or project done. It’s also okay to give yourself mini-rewards. Put the “carrot in front of the horse.”

TIP TEN – The Secret to a Better Work and Personal Life in 2019

For my tenth and final tip I ask you to identify three ways at work you could increase your performance and three ways at home you could improve the quality of your personal life.

The best way to start is to download the Timekeeping Journal I developed and keep track of your work and personal life for a week. Just click here Email Me and I’ll send you the journal (no cost/no obligation.) The Timekeeping Journal is a good place to see where your time is going and what or where you want to improve.

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