Football season is finally in full-swing, and for some of you that may not be important. (I don’t fully understand that, but I can accept it…) But whether you cheer for a favorite player or school, or just couldn’t care less about tailgating, fight songs, defensive coverages or mascots, you certainly still understand the value of working as a team.
For a football team, the leadership falls on the shoulder of the coach. And if the team is to be successful, the coach must coordinate his other coaches, support staff and players so they can work together. He does this by setting goals, scheduling preparation time, consistently practicing necessary skills, and building character.
These attributes aren’t just for athletic teams though. The same is true in your business life as well. Have you evaluated your skills lately to see how you perform as a coach or team member? Leaders aren’t just in the “head coach” role. We all have the potential to be leaders if we are willing to offer our motivation, talent, resources and commitment to the task at hand. It is equally important to be a key player on your team.
Good players inspire themselves. Great players inspire others.
Consider the teams you’ve been a part of…not necessarily on the field, but even in the office or in your community. Did you make a winning play or remain on the sidelines? If you truly want to move forward – as a leader or as a productive team player – it’s time to get into the game.
Your team needs you.
Ever wonder how some people seem to accomplish everything they set out to do yet you feel like you never get ANYTHING done!? I feel that way more often than I’d like to admit. But when I DO finish a goal, I remind myself how it was possible, and that’s actually quite simple…
That old saying that the best way to eat an elephant is just one bite at a time? Yea, easier said than done, isn’t it? But I’ve found the best way to finish a project, is first to start it by writing down incremental goals (with timelines), and then using shorts blocks time (scheduled on my calendar) to do the work.
Lately I’ve been using the timer on my phone to work in 20 minute increments on various projects. When the timer ends (and the alarm sounds), I move on to another project – whether it’s answering emails, washing dishes, walking the dog, paying bills, or even writing a blog. The hardest part of this is moving on to another project if I haven’t yet finished the last one, but I force myself to do it in an effort to increase productivity and vary my routine. I can always dedicate another 20 minutes to that project later in the day or week. Admittedly, it’s also hard not to get distracted during the 20-minute time frame. It means ignoring new text messages, phone calls or emails (just until the timer goes off) and turning off the television.
This is an improvised version of the Pomodoro Technique, which encourages breaking down workloads into intervals using a timer. That technique employs short breaks after each interval, but I prefer to save breaks for when I’ve completed at least four intervals. This makes me feel like I’ve accomplished more, and provides a little “reward” once an hour.
Using “Tiffany’s Timer Technique” (I just made that up!), I have found myself to be more focused and more productive. It takes a little planning upfront to decide on the most important tasks for each day, but it has definitely paid great dividends in helping me cross some tasks off my daily agenda.
What is your favorite time management tip? Have you tried the Pomodoro Technique or something similar? Let me know what other methods you use to be productive!
Some days I am proud because I am a strong, independent woman who works hard and accomplishes amazing things. Some days I am depressed because I am a strong, independent woman who works too hard and refuses to ask for help.
Strength is a funny thing, isn’t it? The characteristics of being strong include power, courage and potency. Yet it’s the exact opposite we feel sometimes when we are considered to be a strong person. (It can’t just be me that feels that way, right?) Too often being strong simply means we hide our weaknesses and exist in solitude or fear.
We should remember strength comes in many forms and fashions, and can be tested daily (or more often). How we respond to challenges is a true reflection of our strength whether we realize it or not. Asking for help, starting over or even walking away from a situation may actually be a sign of strength, depending on the situation.
The true test of strength is how you respond. After all, you never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.
This week I asked for help. It wasn’t a sign of weakness, but an admission that I can’t do it all, and more importantly, I don’t have to. Don’t beat yourself up for asking for help. All around you are friends, family members, business associates, community leaders, non-profits and even complete strangers who are here to help. Be strong and ask!
I used to think it was a “dirty word” but turns out, it’s really not. In fact, it’s perfectly acceptable and even encouraged. What word, you ask?
I’ve told you before I’m not a major donor or big-time financial supporter of the organizations I volunteer for, but I am a valuable resource because I give (often) of my time and talents. Those who know me personally might say this is an understatement.
If you’re like me, and known at work or in your community as the go-to “yes man” (or woman!) because you always agree to step up and help with a project, maybe it’s time to step back and re-evaluate your priorities. Are you the one who gets called when others disappoint or fail to produce? Are you the one who bails folks out when they are desperate? Are you the one who feels it necessary to not only attend every one of your children’s events, but also coordinate them? Maybe you’re the one who will ALWAYS go the extra mile because you have the “volunteer” gene or just because you can’t stand the guilt that comes from saying “no.”
I already know what some of you are thinking… “Hello Ms. Kettle – let me introduce you to Mr. Pot!”
But seriously, I’m working on this one. I have at least learned to say…
“Let me think about that and get back to you.”
By using this phrase – instead of immediately saying yes OR no – you demonstrate reliability and credibility. You can honestly evaluate the time you have available to commit to a new project and whether or not it fits into your plan of work, not to mention your schedule.
Sometimes we say yes to people (I know who I owe the biggest favors to) and sometimes we say yes to causes (I’m a sucker for anything Rotary-related). But sometimes we need to say “let me think about it and get back to you” before we commit or walk away.
We all have the same 168 hours every week (but that’s for another post…) so guard them carefully, and use them the best way you can. It’s important that you learn to manage your time rather than let it manage you. It simply isn’t acceptable to feel guilty for saying “no” every once in a while. More importantly, you shouldn’t feel pressured to make a decision either way immediately.
Let’s try it all together now… “Let me think about that and get back to you.”