It’s painful for me, but if you have to listen, click on the play button

In This Episode…

Today is the first day of my first Sprint of my project to put together my next seminar series.  Unfortunately I have hit a glitch that left me 2 hours behind schedule in the middle of the afternoon AND without completing anything I’d planned for the morning.  

In this episode I share my experiences and explore what I’m going to do about it.

Edited Transcript

Hi, this is Michael Tipper and welcome to today’s episode of the Profit Productivity Podcast.

Now, as per my episode yesterday, I have started working on the project to put together my seminar series for the autumn. I’m adopting the scrum approach and today has been the start of my first sprint.

What I want to do today is to update you on something I’ve spotted in my behaviour. In fact I’ve spotted an alarming trend. It occurred today and I spotted it on Friday too.

I’ve noticed I’ve allowed myself to get side tracked very, very easily. This throws me off course for the day so the end result is I’m not doing what I intended to do when I plan my day the night before. I’m not achieving the day’s goals nor am I following the plan.

For example, Friday was my Power Day. It was a day for doing all the miscellaneous tasks left undone, catching up on things missed and sorting out the loose ends of the week. But during Friday morning, I got sucked into a big project. A Power Day isn’t designed for working on a big project.

As a result, I lost control of the day and I let it run away from me.

Now today I started well. I didn’t check my emails or my social media accounts for any messages before I started working. I launched into my plan for the day with a clear and fresh mind.

But then, I allowed an unexpected phone call, but a phone call I needed to have, put me off track. The call ended up being 90 minutes long. It was an important conversation I needed to have. But having it not only put me back 90 minutes on my plan for the day, but it also disturbed my flow.

I can debate whether I should have taken the call in the first place. I was torn when my phone rang because it was a call I had to have. I saw who it was from. I knew I needed to talk to them. I’ve been struggling to get hold of them, which is why I took the call.

At the time I did ponder “Do I take this call?” because I’ve not been able to get hold of them recently. Or do I continue with what I’d intended to do which was an important task otherwise it wouldn’t have been scheduled so early in the day. My values weren’t clear enough in order to work out what I needed to do in that moment in time.

So my flow has been disturbed and that has set the tone for the rest of day.

If I look at my original plan, I’d allocated time slots to doing certain tasks today.

0830-0930 – I was going to work on creating the outline for a strong opening for my seminar – the first things I say to the audience when I step on stage.

0930-1200 – I was going to research a particular aspect of the approach I’m taking in the seminar that was going to inform some of the content of the introduction.

But I was working on the outline of the introduction until 1030 (an hour longer than planned) cents when the call came in. The call then lasted until 1200.

I then found myself doing a task I had not anticipated in my daily plan. I realised I needed to start putting the presentation slides together but had to choose and buy a professional presentation theme to use. That took me another 30 minutes.

I could debate whether I really needed to do that today. It has to be done and so I did it. However it has been at the cost of further delays in my current plan for the day.

I then wandered off track completely and ended up pottering around doing trivial stuff. I wasted a complete hour and even missed out something else I’d planned.

At the time of recording this (1600), I am two hours behind my schedule and I’ve not completed the three tasks that I’d set myself to achieve in the time before.

So I need to ask myself a question.

The question isn’t “Why do I keep letting these things distract me?”, because that could send me down into a victim mentality.

The question I feel I need to ask is this:

“What do I need to change so I don’t get side tracked?”

I’m not quite sure what the answer to that question is yet. My awareness has allowed me to spot that what I intended to do versus what I’m actually doing is not the same.

I have a number of options open to me:

  • Option 1 – sticking to working on the tasks as planned and only use the time I’ve allocated for them. I had an hour allocated for my first task of the day and then a two and a half hours allocated to the next. If I just did an hour on that task and then two and a half hours on the next what could I produce? Should I aim for a minimum viable product (MPV) in the time available (which itself is a scrum principle)?
  • Option 2 – Instead of saying I’m going to do XYZ between this time and this time, I just set myself the list of things that have to be done that day and use the day to get those done however long it takes.

At the moment I think I’m leaning a little bit towards that as my preferred option.

  • Option 3 – A third option is to consider my priorities. Already I’m behind schedule but I am still considering going out tonight regardless of whether I complete my tasks or not. I’m questioning how important is this product to me compared to the need to go out and socialise. My feelings are telling me one thing but my mind is telling me another.
  • Option 4 – Do I just need to be more disciplined? Having said I’m going to do something, do I just knuckle down and do it UNTIL it is done without letting myself drift off.

So it’s been a really interesting day for me so far. However it is positive that I’ve had the awareness to spot that what’s happened and realise I don’t like what’s happened.

It’s not serving me and I need to change this now.

This would have come up in my regular evening review of the day, but I thought it was interesting just to express what I’ve experienced for two reasons.

First of all, to show you that developing your productivity is not going to be plain sailing.

I have to experiment. And sometimes things don’t go according to plan. That is not going to stop me from evolving my skills and knowledge in this area. Nor should it stop you.

The other reason to podcast about it is for me air my ideas on what has happened so I can reflect on my thought processes when I review the recording. It might help me make better decisions.

That’s today’s episode.

It’s not going as planned. What am I going to do about it? Well, I’ll find out over the next couple of days!

Until tomorrow.

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