In This Episode…
Today I have been running one of my Power of Focus seminars with a group of influencers working in a large manufacturing organisation in the North West of England.
At the start of every one of these interactive sessions, I always gather a list of the productivity problems they face. I then use this list to help shape the content and discussions.
I aim to help them identify the answers to their own challenges. In this episode I share the problems gathered today and the solutions the delegates found for themselves as a result of the information I shared with them.
- Flitting from one activity to another (unable to stay focused on one task at a time).
- Trouble saying “no” when asked.
- Trouble delegating complex tasks to subordinates.
- Staying focused on whatever task they are working on.
- How to best structure the work they do.
- Getting to grips with doing work they just don’t like doing
Episode Show Notes…
00:08 – Background to this episode. In my Power of Focus Seminars I always gather the main productivity problems faced by the delegates. By the end of the session I aim to have them solve their own problems.
01:01 – A common experience I have when running these sessions is delegates often can’t pinpoint exactly what the problem is they are having. They know there are issues around their productivity, but often then don’t know exactly what the issue is.
01:15 – After pushing them a little bit they gave me a list of the problems. I captured these and referred to them throughout the session.
01:46 – The way the Power of Focus seminar works is this:
- I share my Productivity Improvement Operating System with them.
- I explain how the brain works (with productivity in mind)
- They then receive the 12 best productivity hacks based on my research and experience.
02:29 – By the end of the seminar, the participants usually come up with the answer to their own problems. Here’s what they shared with me.
Unable To Stay Focused On One Task At A Time
02:35 – The reason why this happens is because our reptilian brain is hardwired to detect anything new and novel. It is a survival mechanism design to alert us to potential danger. This is why we are so easily distracted.
03:18 – The answer is almost dull in its simplicity – minimise the distractions around you – especially the ones you control. For example switch of the e mail alerts and turn off your phone when you don’t want to be disturbed
03:38 – Two other important habits to develop to stay focused are:
- Get very clear on what your “Main Thing” is.
- Start your day by working on your “Main Thing” first (eat your frog!).
Trouble Saying “No” When Asked To Do Something
04:24 – When you work in a large organisation there is a lot of “busy-ness” going on with departments working together. Silos often form and there’s usually a heavy dose of politics going on. A big challenge is staying focused on what you are doing when so many other people demand a piece of your time.
04:50 – We looked at a number of options of how to say “No”. This is something that at least one of the participants (a self confessed people pleaser) in the seminar had a huge problem with.
05:18 – As an aside, a big challenge people have saying no is they often manage their activities by a simple to-do list. It is very hard to deny someone your time and energy if just have a to do list.
05:40 – By getting very clear on their short term, medium term and long term goals and blocking out time in their schedule to focus on them, it becomes easier to have a conversation with someone about why they can’t fit something in.
Trouble Delegating Complex Tasks To Subordinates
07:12 – This is more of a leadership issue than a productivity challenge. However, beyond the challenges of delegating, they came up with this recommendation:
- Set a clear outcome.
- Identify the milestones towards achieving that outcome.
- Agree deadlines for those milestones.
- Hold them accountable to those deadlines.
How To Stay Focused On The Task They Are Working On
08:01 – The suggestions they came up with here mirrored those mentioned for the first challenge (03:38).
Getting Motivated To Do Stuff You Don’t Like Doing
09:02 – This is always a tough one to answer. One approach is to consider the two primary drivers of human behaviour – to avoid pain and to gain pleasure. Using those two drivers will help.
09:33 – Gamification is another approach that I have successfully used.
10:08 – Today was a great day for me as I watched the participants in my Power Of Focus seminar come up with the solutions to their own problems.