Archive for Working Better

Mar
10

Do The Next And Only Thing

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“When you end a day with the feeling that you would have lived it the same if you had the chance to repeat it, you gain a sense of gratitude that helps you focus on what’s really important to you. When you end the day with a feeling of regret or loss, you gain the awareness to try a different approach the next day.”
Steve Pavlina

Yesterday I spent coworking, which means I was pretty much sitting at a desk all day. By the time I left for home I was feeling frustrated with myself as I’d not produced much. My focus had been all over the place and I’d forgotten my own 45/15 rule for productive work. I’d dipped in and out of emails, written a blog post, checked stats, looked around some forums, messed around with a keyword tool, chatted on messenger, chatted to colleagues etc. etc.

By early afternoon my energy levels were dropping and I was feeling bored but I ignored my feelings and continued “messing” around.

So, as in the quote above, today I get to try a different approach. Here’s my intention for how it will go:

1.  List what I want to get done today. (Completed)
2.  Work with my 45/15 rule.
3.  Focus on the next thing and the next thing only.

So, that’s me. I’m off . . .

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Feb
23

45 Minutes for Hours of Productive Work

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Many of you will have heard of the Pareto Principle or 80/20 rule which basically says that approximately 80% of the effects of many events, come from 20% of the causes of those events. The original idea came from looking at Italy’s income and wealth where Pareto noticed that 80% of the wealth was owned by 20% of the people but it has been observed in many other situations since. For example, 20% of the world’s population control 82.7% of global income, we dress in 20% of our favourite clothes about 80% of the time, and we spend 80% of the time with just 20% of our friends and acquaintances, etc.

I use a similar principle when I’m trying to get things done but rather than 80/20 it’s 45/15. It’s simple. I work/take action for 45 minutes and then take 15 minutes “off”.

I started doing this when I was at college and came across some research (the source of which I’ve long forgotten) that said that the maximum time we are able to work at top efficiency, is 45 minutes. I experimented with this when I was writing essays or revising for exams and discovered that I could study for longer overall and accomplish more when I applied this rule.

Nowadays, I apply the idea in many of areas of my life, especially if there’s something I’m finding it hard to motivate myself to do. But I find it particularly invaluable for when I’m working on the computer. When I’m at home, I will set an alarm for 45 minutes and then start working. When the alarm goes off I’ll get up from the desk and do something completely different such as putting on a load of washing, changing a bed or posting a letter. Then it’s back to the computer and another 45 minutes of work. The great thing about this approach is that I not only work more effectively but I’m also able to get through a load of chores without noticing I’m doing them.

If I’m working away from home I still set the alarm and use the 15 minute breaks to get a drink, walk around the office or chat with a colleague.

Strangely, I find the biggest challenge with the 45/15 approach is being disciplined enough to stop when the alarm goes off. It’s very tempting when things are going well, to keep working. However, experience has shown that working on past 45 minutes brings diminishing returns so I’ve developed the habit of standing up immediately the alarm goes off. Then it’s easier to move away and do something different. If it’s absolutely essential to finish off something I’m doing I’ll do it standing up!

If you spend a lot of time at the computer this has the added benefits of resting your eyes and moving your body so you’re putting less strain on your spine and muscles.

Also, you’ll find you come up with some great ideas in your 15 minutes “breaks” and you may even find solutions to problems you’ve been stuck on and unable to think your way out of.

I’d love to hear your experiences with the 45/15 rule so please give it a go and then leave a comment on the blog.

Categories : Working Better
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I’ve been thoroughly enjoying Michael Neill’s Creating the Impossible in 30 Days’ although I haven’t had much time to do many of the exercises as I’ve been busy with “work” from the Coaching School. So, appropriately, I’m going to spend the day experimenting with his Ultimate Time Management System.

The idea behind it is that time is not something you have or don’t have. You are the source of it. You make as much of it as you want.

And the system works like this:

1. Take 2 pieces of paper
2. On the first page write “The only thing I have to do today is . . .”
3. On the second page make a comprehensive list of everything you want to get done in the next week or so. Include, all you regular “to dos”, everything you’ve got to do for work and at home,  as well as the things you think you’d like to do if you had more time.
4. When it’s time to do the things on your list just choose ONE item. Choose the one that appeals to you most and write it on the first page. Do it as though it’s the only thing you have to do today.
5. When you complete it cross it off both lists.
6. Choose the next thing that appeals from the second list and transfer it to the first page.

And keep repeating.

When I first heard this my mind went straight to the place of “this won’t work because I’ll  never do the things that I don’t want to do but have to be done”. But the other possibility of course, is that when it really needs to be done it will the one that most appeals because I will want to relieve the stress of the consequences I would face if I didn’t do it.

We’ll see. I’m off to play now.

Leave a comment and let us know how this system works out for you . . .

 

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Phew. What a day. And it’s not over yet!

Yesterday evening I sent in my “homework” for the coaching school which seems to have triggered another couple of breakthroughs. By the time I woke up this morning I needed to add an addendum because I’d already moved on from where I was last night and then, during the course of a conversation with a client, I had another breakthrough and realised that something I’d been puzzling over wasn’t an “either or” but an “and and”.

I felt a split between creating my coaching pratice “my way” and doing the usual marketing things like asking for referrals etc. But I was a bit suspicious about my confusion since feeling confused is always a cover up for being scared. So I asked myself “if creating my coaching practice the traditional way was the right thing to do, what would I do next”? And I realised that the thing I would do next, in this case putting up a web page describing the services I was offering, felt pretty terrifying to me. Now I knew I was on to something. So I decided then and there that, by the end of today, I would have just such a webpage up on my new site.

I’d brought a fear into consciousness and I wanted to see if I could blast through it. To help me I tapped into my spirit of adventure and came from a place of curiosity and not knowing rather than from a place of thinking this is the right thing to do. I allowed myself space to see what happens next (an approach that inspires me) and to sit in the not-knowing.

After much resistance which took the form of wandering around shops, returning library books and feeling way too tired to start writing anything I finally sat myself down, in a cafe and just put pen to paper. Once I’d written 4 paragraphs, that I wasn’t at all happy with, the words began to flow. And now I have a page written and ready to go live on the web.

It’s rough and unlikely to stay in it’s present form but it’s a start. The goal was to take action and thereby neutralise a fear, which is what I’ve done. And now I’m really curious to see what happens next.

If you’re confused about something can you get to the fear that is underneath? Can you choose to neutralise that fear by applying curiosity and creativity?

Please leave a comment and let me know how it goes.

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Jun
29

Create A Fearless Plan For Your Day

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It is easy to live a distracted life of chaos, where I feel swamped and I’m suffering in so many small distracting ways, and soon I’m a victim.  That is the easiest way to live.  That is the easiest way for humans in our society to live:  to be swamped, to be overwhelmed, to be overworked, to feel like a victim. And suffer.

Especially those of us who have our own businesses, because when we have our own business, we really could work 24 hours a day.  Or so we always think. We would have plenty to do.  If we could find a way to stay alert and awake for 24 hours, we would work 24 hours.  We wouldn’t run out of things to do.  But that’s the problem. It is being indiscriminate, it’s being unwilling to have a ruthless, focused powerful plan. Like a magnifying glass in the meadow in the summer focusing a sunbeam on a dry leaf. THAT would be my most successful day.

But we get distracted. Our fears tug at our hearts. Small fears. Like “I might upset him if I don’t call him right back.” Soon I am lost. Distraction. It’s the biggest problem anybody-especially anybody having their own business-the biggest problem anybody has.  Because if you work for someone else, there will be some structure there and there will be some other people monitoring your every move, so that they make sure you’re on course.  But if you work for yourself every moment presents a whole new choice.  You can do anything at any given moment. And very few people are committed enough to success (or awake enough to how it happens) to create a fearless plan for the day. But that’s the real answer right there: create a fearless plan for your day. Then work it with great heart and wisdom and love.

Author: Steve Chandler from Club Fearless

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Life Moves Archives

Gillian Pearce – Life Moves

life-coach-gillian-pearce-photo

About Life Moves

Life Moves is an unfolding story of my journey to discover and create what I truly want from life. I hope you will find my writings helpful, inspirational, encouraging, amusing or, at the very least, usually worth reading. Please feel free to comment on any posts about which you have an opinion. Or make one up. I do it all the time and it can be very dull, alone in cyberspace.

Bon Voyage!

Gillian