In my training at The Coaches Training Institute, they introduced a concept called “Chunking It Down”. It is a very effective way of managing, organizing and dealing with overwhelm. Chunking it down is simple – you take a task that has multiple parts and break it down into small, actionable steps.
Anything you are working on now that could benefit from chunking it down? Give it a try. It keeps you moving and is great for reducing stress.
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Do you know the phrase “light a fire under it”? It refers to getting something going fast. Lighting a fire can be called for when something you are doing is in crisis or there is great urgency. However, you can light a fire without a crisis or great urgency and doing so, can serve you well.
If there is something you want to get done, but haven’t gotten to or something you can do that will advance your goals in a major way, why not light a fire under it? You could set your own deadline, start moving on it now or otherwise get in action.
Is there something you’ve been wanting to do or complete? Try lighting a fire under it. You’ll be glad that you did.
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How do you keep track of all that you have to do? You have meetings, projects, phone calls, e mails and much more to get done in the course of a day.
How do you assure that everything gets done efficiently and well? That is a question only you can answer. You have your style, needs and ways of working that all factor in to how you get things done. Take some time to examine and observe how you keep track of all you have to do. What works for you and what doesn’t? It will be time well spent to make sure you don’t forget!
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A bridge is a structure that goes across something or connects things. Figuratively speaking, you are creating bridges every day – among people, projects and ideas.
What is involved in creating bridges? To do this successfully you need insight, people skills, emotional intelligence, clear intent and goals, strategy and the ability to overcome obstacles. In my coaching, I often create bridges by getting to know clients and asking questions or offering insights that help them change their perspective in positive ways.
What bridges have you built this week? What would you say are your best bridge-building skills? What skills have you yet to develop? Creating bridges keeps you and your projects moving. Put some focus on your role as a bridge-builder and see what happens.
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How do you find the shortest path without sacrificing quality (or yourself)? Time is such a valuable commodity these days it behooves you to use it well. The shortest path involves preparation, efficiency, focus, course correction when needed and team alignment.
When you start a project, ask yourself and your team what the shortest path to completion and success is. Just by asking the question, you will better your chances of finding the shortest path.
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There’s a difference between movement and activity. You can keep your day active, but how do you make sure you are moving forward? One way is to identify your goals for the week, with a deadline for each one. This is a simple and well-known approach, but goals are not always front and center during a busy day. Use your deadlines as markers of your progress during the week. Another way is to set daily priorities and order them according to their importance. At the end of each day, review how you did and set your priorities accordingly for the next day.
A day’s distractions and interruptions, as well as frustrations and energy drains, take your focus away from your goals and priorities. Identify “911” signs that you are losing focus, so that you don’t stray too far. If your day becomes unfocused, develop a ritual to refuel and regain your focus.
Keeping things going requires that you maintain your focus and attention on your priorities. Not always an easy thing to do, but a sure-fire way to keep things moving.
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It happens – projects can slow down, stall or come to a halt and it is up to you to get them going again. The first step in dealing with the inevitability of projects going at varying speeds is to have a system in place to recognize (quickly) that a project is slowing down. A basic project management or tracking system will do this for you. Sometimes, you or a team member can be slow to recognize a project slow-down or be reluctant to reveal it, because of perceived repercussions. Better to get it out in the open, so you can deal with the cause in a timely and forthright manner.
To get a project back on track involves identifying issues and root causes, bringing in the right people to get it going again and solving problems. Avoidance compounds your problems and serves no purpose. You may need time to find solutions. Best to face a project slow-down directly and do what you need to get things moving again.
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You know that your work involves managing both people and projects. Do you ever find that people managing gets second play to project managing? People make your projects go and sometimes, the needs and drivers of individual team members get lost in assuring a project is managed well. People are complex and the prospect of knowing, much less meeting, individual needs can be too much. However, each person’s individuality must be taken into account if you want to motivate and assure high performance.
Here are some simple ways to put focus on people managing while keeping your eye on project goals and accountability.
• Encourage feedback from your team on a regular basis. You can have “open door” times for people to provide feedback, ask questions or discuss their work
• Schedule debriefings after completion of major projects that provide opportunities for people to identify what went well for them and what didn’t on the project. Ask for their recommendations for improving performance on your next project
• Ed Koch, the late Mayor of New York City was known for frequently asking people in the city, “How Am I Doing?” You can ask that periodically, as well as asking “How Are You Doing?”
If you give these simple ways a try, you will gain a better sense of the needs and drivers of your individual team members, without needing 48 hours in your day.