Tag: time management

3D Juggling 634: Time Making

Claire writes: “A colleague often used to say that people needed ‘a good listening to’.  There seems to be universal agreement that taking enough time to think is a useful and important skill.  When we run courses and do 1-1s, we notice that people think differently – silence may help some – but talking or writing is an important part of the thinking process for others.

A recent article in The Guardian about Sarah Teather’s decision to spend time on retreat in order to decide about her future as an MP raises a different question.  “This politician just needed to shut up and stop talking in order to make a decision”, she says of her month long listening experience.

Making time to think and listen is important.  What is enough time this time?”

© 2014 3D Coaching Ltd
May be distributed freely.  Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com
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3D Juggling 628: Bicycles and Gutters

Claire writes: “I had a great chat with a cyclist this week who was telling me that the safest place to cycle is to be a third of the way from the kerb.  That way, he said, people treat you like a vehicle and know how to overtake safely and respectfully (mostly!).  They instinctively know how to put in good boundaries with you.  When you cycle close to the edge, you’re more likely to fall into the gutter, and they are less likely to honour safe space around the bike and to drive too close.

We were wondering whether that’s replicated in other kinds of boundaries.  When you set your own well enough, other people know how to navigate and respect them (on the whole).  It’s food for thought.”

© 2013 3D Coaching Ltd
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3D Juggling 620: Defragging

There are still a few spaces on the next 4 day coaching skills programme starting in London on 17th September – call the office on 01462 483798 to find out more.

Claire writes: “Defragging the computer always seems to speed it up – and it’s always satisfying to see the amount of white space that reaapears on the graphic.  I have to say that after several weeks away from work, I feel defragged!

Poet David Whyte says that withdrawal “is underestimated in this time of action and engagement. So much of what we are involved with, in even the highest cause, becomes involvement at the busy periphery, where the central conversation has been lost to the outer elaborations of what was to begin with, a very simple invitation. Withdrawal is often not what it looks like – a disappearance – no, to withdraw from entanglement can be to begin the process of renewing the primary, essential invitation again.”  Certainly food for thought as many of us reengage at work into a post-summer pace, whether we have had time off or not.”

© 2013 3D Coaching Ltd
May be distributed freely.  Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com
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3D Juggling 582: Pace and the Paralympics

Claire writes: ‘My new love – this month – is sport.  Like many others, I have been grabbed by the passion and enthusisam and skill of the Olympians and Paralympians.  Fully re-engaging with work this morning after a few weeks of a slower blend of work and life I am reminded of the visually impaired 100m yesterday. The runner and the guide had to accelerate at huge speed to have any chance of winning.  They accelerated in perfect harmony.  I seem to have an implicit assumption that’s how I should reengage at the office.

They only had to run for less than 30 seconds. If I do that all the time, I will die! And my goal for this year is to pace myself.  Maybe my pace needs to be more like the tandem team pursuit in the velodrome.  They began really slowly and surveyed their environment, only sprinting where necessary.  And then repeated that strategy in each round. The sprinting and the cycling are diverse examples of how we might chose to set the pace at work.  Most of us work in situations which have variety. For 3D, there are natural lulls in the year where people are not asking for coaching or training.  You may be in an organisation that has less ebb and flow. Nevertheless, if you’re going to finish the race, a great question to ask is: what’s the right pace today?

© 2012 3D Coaching Ltd
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3D Juggling 572: Finding Time

Jane writes: ‘How often do you say, or hear others say, that there just isn’t enough time to do everything that needs to be done?  Recent research suggests that time wasted at meetings could equate to 13 million hours a week.  Just think about how that time could be used more effectively?  Maybe more effective meetings, and less of them, would help.

We encourage clients to think about these questions:

  • What is the meeting for?  What are the required outcomes? Does everyone know this?
  • Who really needs to be there? Why?
  • What needs to be clear as the meeting starts?
  • How is unhelpful behaviour managed?
  • What is important as a meeting closes?

And there are more.  We run effective meetings (and train others to run them) using the CLEAR model.  Ask us how we do it.’

© 2012 3D Coaching LtdMay be distributed freely.  Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com

Recent research from Epson and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) found that one in five senior managers and directors spend over 10 hours a week in meetings.  Our experience is that this is an underestimate.  We agree with Daniel Solomon of CBR who says “It is vital that UK businesses address their policies on meetings and consider ways that these could be more effective”.

3D Juggling 556: Who’s Fault?

‘How did it get so late so soon? Its night before its afternoon. December is here before its June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?’ Dr. Seuss

“Lynn writes: “I have just had a meeting with a client who was 50 minutes late for her appointment.  This was 20 minutes late for what she believed was her appointment time and 30 minutes after the actual time we had arranged. Resisting the urge to be annoyed, or to say ‘It’s OK’ – which it wasn’t, I reflected on where the accountability should lie in what had happened.  What should I be doing, firstly to hold myself accountable, and secondly to hold him accountable?

So I started our discussion not with ignoring or blame or minimising the impact, but with learning.  ‘The learning for me is that a reminder text or e-mail yesterday would have been useful and appropriate. What have you learned?’

What followed was a deep and far reaching discussion in which he was able to honestly and openly see his tendency to cram too many activities into the day and his recognition that he is often chasing his tail, feeling guilty, disorganised and fraught.

By being honest and paying attention to keeping the responsibility between us, he now knows why he was late and what he needs to do if he chooses to change this behaviour and potential consequences if he doesn’t.

Where do you need to be keeping the responsibility in the middle? Think about it…”

[So by analysing the accountability we were able to see that as his coach it is appropriate for me to be managing his progress and accountability (and part of his progress is ensuring he knows when his appointments are) but it is not holding him accountable for his actions – it is about enabling him to hold himself accountable. ]

© 2012 3D Coaching Ltd
May be distributed freely.  Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com

3D Juggling 527: So much to do and so little time

Peronel writes: “‘So much to do and so little time said the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland’.

What do you really want to do today?  Get out into the sunshine,  have enough time to talk to your friend or take the dog for a walk? Home or work, desk or shopping, getting to the end of the to do list is rarely achieved unless you control the list as well.

For a couple of years, my sore damaged back prevented me from sitting easily for more 20 minutes at a stretch and a maximum of 2 hours a day.  I developed a knack of choosing how to and what to do really carefully, guided by a suggestion made in Brian Traceys’ program “The miracle of self discipline”.  Tracey poses a fantastic question: If you could only do one thing today, what one thing would you do that will make the greatest impact on tomorrow?

Imagine you are going away for a long weekend, and have to clear your desk, what would you do today that cannot wait until your return?

Or put another way, What is the most valuable use of my time right now? (work on that one thing for 40 minutes set on the alarm clock: it keeps you focussed, and under pressure to achieve the activity and complete before the alarm rings)

As a maker of lists, I have a special note book, lovely paper, spiral bound, suitable size, that I use for making my list every day: after five items I draw a line, and then carry on, after another five, draw a line.  Priority tasks should be at the top of the list. Focus and complete those five items first, then move onto the next five without deviating  from the five tasks you are concentrating on.

These  can be arranged into the must do, should do, nice to do, delegate and eliminate (or the ruthless quick version, do:delegate:dump). Always eat your frog first, (do the one thing that you have been putting off that will make the biggest impact), The frog has got out of shape through fear, growing into an ugly green slimy thing rather than a task to be done.  The sense of achievement is like an adrenaline rush and will set you up for the rest of your working time.

Think about it…”

© 2011 3D Coaching Ltd
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3D Juggling 513: Mini Jobs

After last week’s Juggling on Trust, someone helpfully pointed us to this Reith Lecture called Trust and Transparency

Jane writes: At my Pilates class last night I was having a conversation with someone about their job.  One of the things she said really struck me – that in previous jobs she had always been able to clear her desk at the end of the day, but that now she finds this to be impossible.  She has resigned herself to never being able to get through everything.  It was great to hear that she could cope with this, but it set me thinking about the difference that could be achieved if it was practical to organise some jobs differently so that resource was available for short amounts of time that might help others to ‘catch-up’.  From my experience I’d guess that even an extra 2-3 hours a week could be used effectively to make a real difference.

Then I remembered what I had read about out-of-work benefits and in-work support. How could you benefit from thinking about different work patterns that offer jobs on reduced hours?  What issues would this approach present?  How could you resolve them?

© 2011 3D Coaching Ltd
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3D Juggling 505: David’s Trees

David has been a loyal reader of 3D Juggling for many years.  He writes: “Fourteen years ago we moved into a house with a dozen attractive small bushes outside the front door. Each year they were pruned, but each year they grew to the extent that for the last 3 years we have said what an eyesore they are; but we did nothing about them.

This morning the sun shone and we took a saw to the worst of them, drastically pruned the rest and so opened up the vista so that we could again see the horses in the adjacent field and the cones on the cedar tree.

As I laboured I reflected on how many things there might be in my life which had grown to a point where they were taken for granted without me having the courage to do anything about them. With courage to act, time can be created for new visions and new activities that could enrich our lives.

Are there any bushes in your life which could be pruned or cut down to make your life better?”

© 2010 3D Coaching Ltd
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3D Juggling 503: Sawdust

Claire writes: “I spoke at a lunch for retired businessmen recently.  We were exploring what needs to happen to make sure that retirement contains some purposeful things as well as simply being busy.  I told them Stephen Covey’s story about filling a jar:

A man was talking to a group of busy and powerful people and used a one-gallon, wide-necked jar to make a point. First he took about a dozen fist-sized rocks and placed them, one at a time, into the jar.

When the jar was full, he asked, “Is this jar full?” Everyone said, “Yes.” Then he said, “Really?” He reached under the table, pulled out a bucket of gravel, poured it in and shook the jar so that the gravel worked itself into the spaces between the big rocks.

Then he smiled and asked the group once more, “Is the jar full?” “Probably not,” one of them answered. “Good!” he replied. And he reached under the table and brought out a bucket of sand. Again he poured it it, shook it and asked: “Is this jar full?”

Finally he grabbed a jug of water and began to pour it in until the jar was filled to the brim. Then he looked up at the class and asked, “What is the point of this illustration?”

One person raised his hand and said, “The point is, no matter how full your schedule is, if you try really hard, you can always fit some more things into it!”

“No,” the speaker replied, “that’s not the point. The truth this illustration teaches us is: If you don’t put the big rocks in first, you’ll never get them in at all.”

At one level, the learning is what are the big rocks which you need to put in first?

All this about what you put into your life.  But you’re not always in control and it may be that someone else decides to put some sawdust in – and that absorbs your time.  Because…at the end of my lunch, a man came up to me and said: If you use sawdust and not sand, other people can put in twice as much water as they did in the Covey story.

So the question is: Whose responsibility is it to make sure that we’re not including things like sawdust in our schedule? AND if we are, what do we need to take out?
Because saturated sawdust becomes very heavy to lift.”

Discuss this week’s juggling at http://www.3dcoaching.blogspot.com/

© 2010 3D Coaching Ltd
May be distributed freely.  Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com