Category: Managing Tasks

3D Ideas 818: Declutter

Claire writes: “August’s overwhelming task happened to be domestic. And it was good practical, and observable learning about managing big stuff.

After decluttering our house, which is always a task for August, I’d been looking forward to an unplanned and spacious week to myself, when my parents decided to downsize and move to an apartment. The week turned into a decluttering trip. Given that they downsized into this house 8 years ago, they’ve decluttered before and don’t have that much stuff… yet when I arrived there was a huge array of tasks that I could have done to be useful. The clear head from a summer off meant that instead of asking where they wanted me to start, I asked what they wanted to be different – in their dream world – by the time I drove home. So the glory hole was cleared and the garage sorted and on the way to being clear. A practical example of why Covey’s idea to ‘begin with the end in mind’ can be so powerful.

I’m trying to hold onto that learning as I re-engage with the business. And I have learned a different purpose for the coaching question ‘is this useful?’. In fact we have put a few bits in the garage with labels on that say ‘recycle in 2019 if I haven’t been used’. We think they may be useful and if they’re not they are going. Because the other ‘end in mind’ is that if we store things just in case, we are also storing up stuff that someone else may need to deal with!”

© 2018 3D Coaching Ltd
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3D Juggling 633: Life- Life Balance

Our guest blogger this week is Adrian Nolloth.  Adrian writes: “I’ve always had a problem with the term ‘Work Life Balance’. We all know what it means, but it’s what it implies that bothers me. It says that there are two separate compartments: life and work, and that work is somehow different from life.

Surely if work is a valid part of the whole of life, then why the segregation?  Work, let’s face it, has the potential to be both boring and exhilarating, but then again so does life. They can both be rewarding –  perhaps in different ways. Life can be tough and difficult – but so can work. Work is something that we can absorb ourselves into and that can engage us totally – but then there are certain things we choose to do in life that can do that too.

Hang on… choose?  Choices?  Is that the key to this? Maybe the work/ life is about choices – and where there are choices there is a balance to be struck. Where possible, which parts of our whole life do we choose to allow priority over other areas for a given time? There are always balancing acts to perform in our lives, mainly due to what it throws up into our path (it has been said that life is what happens to us when we were busy making other plans).

The message in the Work Life Balance statement is that the choices we make in order to bring some kind of balance into our lives are important. So, whether it’s work, family, finances, friends, leisure, church… the list goes on, it’s all LIFE as we know it.

To quote the immortal words from the 1996 film Trainspotting – CHOOSE LIFE!”

© 2014 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
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3D Juggling 618: Juggling Again

Claire writes: “In this weather in England, pace is quite important.  How do you get through the day with enough energy in spite of the heat?  If you’re outside at all, it seems to require a different pace from other times of the year.

Most of us are juggling activities, work and home life, or family and pace is equally important there.  The Centre for Creative Leadership has done some interesting work into this.

They talk about how people do or don’t separate roles and tasks, and where they put boundaries, with some interesting reflections on how that impacts others.  Having just seen my youngest daughter leave school this term, it makes me reflect on how seasons influence our choices – and when we need to remember that we can choose to blend things differently – whether for a few weeks or a longer season. So are you an

  • Integrator who mixes work and personal tasks through the day?
  • Separator who has clear boundaries of space and time between home and work
  • Work Firster who allows work to interrupt home life but not the other way around
  • Family Firster who protects family time but allow work time to be interrupted
  • Cycler who switches between cycles of integration and separation

Which is a reminder for us to say that 3D will move into a lighter cycle now until the beginning of September. There are still spaces for people looking for 1-1 coaching and someone will be responding to phone calls and emails but we will be doing shorter hours.”

© 2013 3D Coaching Ltd
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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
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3D Juggling 550: Change your Mind

Lynn writes: ‘I have recently been dieting …again. I think I have tried every diet in the book and some. This time I am using Einstein’s thinking: We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.

I am not trying to lose weight by doing the same things that led to me putting it on. I know that I spend many hours of each day (and more when on a diet) thinking about and planning food and as a result I fantasise about it too. So what am I doing differently? I am learning a different way to know when I am ready to eat – learning what hunger feels like and recognising it, as well as recognising when I am full. I have also learnt to recognise when I want food emotionally. I am making meals so much easier: we have a 4 week meal plan – low fat of course. And I am not denying myself any foods but only eating them when and if I am hungry and only until I am full.

It made me think about the work we do in organisations and how often the solution that is looked for is just like what led to the issue in the first place. How often is chaos dealt with by bringing in many concurrent solutions; conflict dealt with by distancing the people involved; and poor leadership by the leader’s line manager not dealing with the leader?

We need to be able to be creative in coming up with a totally different solution. Think about it…’

© 2011 3D Coaching Ltd
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3D Juggling 542: Capacity to Defrag

Claire writes “In the post exam summer clear-out with the girls, my job was to speed up the computers by clearing out old files and defragging. Not a fast job when there was as much music and as many photos as I found. One machine took 12 hours ut the outcome was a beautiful line of blue and white. And a much faster experience. The other one was simply too full.

Windows gave up and we were still left with a disheartening solid block of red. And no improvement on speed, of course. To be able to clear themselves, the machines needed enough white space or unused disc space to be able to manoeuvre files.

We had left it too late.

Reorganising stuff, ideas or career change needs to happen while there is still enough time and space to think. Waiting until it’s absolutely essential may be too late. We replaced it. We can’t replace ourselves. Think about it…”

© 2011 3D Coaching Ltd
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3D Juggling 539: Art Class

Peronel writes:  “My art class is 2 hours on Saturday morning, 5 times per term, 3 terms a year. 30 hours in total.

 

“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” Jim Rohn

The time allocated to practising my art at Sunningwell is consistent, and in the great scheme of life not huge. But without it, I wander off into thinking I can achieve something and not doing it.

The doing is the reality, the learning the action where thoughts and facts combine. It’s precious time, it’s protected time where 100% of our focus goes to practising the art of our craft.

What do you need to protect so your expertise continues to grow?

And what do you need to put in place for that to happen? Think about it…”

© 2011 3D Coaching Ltd
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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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