How To Put An End To Wasting Time

We think many of our listeners can relate to this scenario — you’ve got lots of things to do and want to get them done but after a few hours of activity, you just don’t feel any productivity. Rather than energised by a sense of achievement, you’re floundering in a swamp of frustration.

Sometimes it doesn’t matter how intelligent, driven or committed to the cause you are, there are days (or weeks) where you feel like you’re getting nowhere.

In this podcast, Paul and Chris take on resolving this challenge as posed to us by one of our listeners.

Time management is an ongoing quest for many people and yet it’s always the wrong quest. You can’t manage time, you can only manage yourself.

And specifically, you can manage your state, your focus, your energy and your clarity.

Paul and Chris provide great tips and practical actions to break out of any frustration and turn confusion into victory.

Let us know what you will do differently after listening to this podcast. Leave us a comment below or on our Facebook page.

Productivity and the Importance of Focus

Do you know what it takes for you to be really focused on what matters?

Do you know what makes the difference between your ‘good’ days and ‘scattered’ or ‘overwhelmed’ or ‘totally unproductive’ days?

If you don’t know this already, you are missing a massive trick to getting things done.

In this podcast, Chris and Paul discuss why focus is critical but increasingly difficult to maintain.

According to The Energy Project – an organisation that helps individuals, leaders and team to sustain high performance – the greatest drain on our energy in the modern workplace is our mental energy. This is our ability to remain focused on the task at hand while not giving in to instant gratification of switching tasks, checking emails or being drawn into an unnecessary conversation.

[Note: you can check how you do against the global average by taking The Energy Audit right now. It’s free and only takes a few minutes.]

By surrounding yourself with the right environment, tools and mindset to start the day, you can easily feel significant improvement in your focus, productivity and daily fulfillment.

Paul and Chris give practical tips and tools to help you do this more consistently.

Let us know what you do to get, and stay, focused. Leave us a comment below or post on our Facebook page. We’d love to hear from you.

Three Keys to Gaining Clarity (Instantly)

Over the past few weeks I’ve had the privilege and honour to deliver training workshops and coach individuals from over 18 countries. Some in person when I travelled to Australia, Russia and Germany; some over Skype to America and Spain.

While everyone has their own challenges and ambitions, what continues to strike me is the absolutely critical importance of CLARITY.

Clarity is at the heart of progress and achievement. When you have clarity, you (for the most part) can confidently march forward towards the result you’re after. It doesn’t mean it’s easy or effortless but it does mean that there is a certain force of energy, focus, conviction or commitment directing your every step.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, it can be painfully obvious when you lack clarity or feel like you have no clue on what you should do. You stop, get stuck and barely make any progress.

But the tougher, more challenging and more dangerous place is somewhere in the middle. You THINK you are clear, you ARE putting in the effort but the results are underwhelming-to-non-existent. It’s kind of like counterfeit money – it looks real, it feels real but using it too much can get you in serious trouble.

“Counterfeit” clarity applies equally to the small things – for example, prioritising your daily to-do list – as well as the big things such as the direction of your life, relationships and career.

You may start out ok but before long your momentum slows and more and more problems, hurdles, delays or distractions get in the way.

Can you relate to any of these?

  • Poor time management, easily distracted, continually chasing new ideas and ‘dabbling’ in a lot of different things
  • Not finishing what you’ve started
  • Waiting for the perfect moment to begin…or continue
  • Telling yourself “Tomorrow will be better to get started on that”
  • Getting caught in circular thinking, continually debating the pros and cons of certain actions
  • Repeatedly set goals and never achieve them
  • Overwhelmed at what needs to get done
  • Indecisive with little things and avoiding the ‘big’ things

A lack of clarity isn’t the result of these behaviours, it’s the CAUSE.

And as it happens to all of us at times, the cure isn’t to just make sure you get clear first, but rather to learn to spot the signals quickly and make a swift change of course.

What do you tend to do when you’re unclear?

For me, the signals I’ve come to know quite well are:

  • Checking emails (…or Facebook or the News or my phone…) way to frequently, especially when I’m not expecting anything of importance or urgency.
  • Starting my day by reviewing emails (…or Facebook or the News or my phone…) before I’ve even exercised or showered or had some food.
  • Telling myself I need to switch to more important things or resolve a bigger problem yet continue to carry on dabbling in minor things.

When I eventually snap out of that trance and back to the things that matter most to me, I am reminded of three keys to getting clear:

1. As soon as you recognise you’re off track and not making the right progress, stop.

2. Immediately ask yourself four questions:
What is my real outcome in this situation? (or in the next ____ minutes/hours/days?)
Therefore, what must I stop doing right now?
What is the first action I can take to build momentum towards my outcome?
How good will I feel when I start to make progress?

3. Take that next step no matter how small or seemingly insignificant. Don’t waste time debating whether it’s the right or wrong step. You just need to take action and move forward. You might learn it wasn’t the ‘right’ step but at least now you know and can adjust your approach even further.

Time and time again those three prove to be uber helpful and quickly shift focus, energy and momentum towards getting clear, and ultimately getting what you want.

And if you’re really stuck on HOW to get clear, you owe it to yourself to make ‘getting clear(er)’ your top priority. Ask a coach or mentor, search for a relevant blog or article online, speak to a friend or family member or ask us at ActionPodcast.

So start to recognise your signals more quickly and follow those exact steps.

You’ll be glad you did.

Let us know what your tricks for getting clear are and what you need to get clear on now by leaving a comment below or on our Facebook page.

Can you have freedom and structure in your day?

For many of us, the words ‘freedom’ and ‘structure’ are at opposite ends of the spectrum – two opposing concepts that can never co-exist.

But as Chris and Gina have discovered in their own lives, having a balance of both freedom and structure is essential if we want to live creative and productive lives.

Which do you prefer?

More structure, rules and boundaries in your daily live to keep you productive and progressing?

Or, does that feel like you’re caged in, restricted and wanting to break out to absolute freedom?

The key is to get clear on what you really want to achieve or have completed by the end of the day, then deciding how boundaries might help you, or where free-thinking approach will get you there faster.

In this podcast, Chris and Gina share their secrets and provide great real-world examples that can help you make the right decision to find the right balance between freedom and structure.

Leave us a comment to let us know how you manage around freedom and structure to get more done and take more action that matters.

How To Improve Your Self-Discipline

As someone who mostly works from home, with infinite freedom to do as I choose, I often find my thoughts going to things I must do, could do, should do to be more disciplined.

Being self-disciplined is a life skill for everyone, critical for ambitious people and it’s a life-line for the self-employed.

With substandard self-discipline you let time and productivity leak like a bullet-riddled water pipe, you get pulled in a dozen directions before you realise it’s too late in the day to really get started on something, and you never fully experience your full potential.

If your to-do list or calendar is the structure to your day, self-discipline is the structure to your mind and decision making.

Continue reading

Have You Ever Tried a NOT To Do List?

Sometimes getting more done needs a good ol’ fashioned To Do List. A clear list of priorities to give us focus, purpose and clarity on where our attention and energy should go.

What’s more rare – yet equally as powerful – is getting clear, acknowledging and facing up to the things you know you shouldn’t do.

We all do it: defaulting to checking and continuously refreshing our emails, going to Facebook, or putting our energy in smaller, easier tasks than the more important items that will really give us the results we want.

In this podcast, Sam and Chris discuss the simple power of creating a daily “NOT To Do” list to accompany your regular action items. A clear reminder to yourself of the things you shouldn’t do since they take away your success, happiness or productivity.

Have you tried using a Not To Do List before? If so, let us know how it’s worked for you. If not, join Sam and Chris in this week’s ActionChallenge and share on our Facebook page what you’re NOT going to do each day this week.

Time Management Tips – Where does all the time go?

Over the years I’ve taken many courses and tried many approaches to ‘time management’. (Of course, that’s a misnomer of a topic title since you don’t manage time whatsoever. You manage yourself as time passes.)

Planning my day. Planning my week. Scheduling tasks and appointments – even for time just to think and work in silence. Recording actual vs. planned. Monitoring interruptions. Re-planning by Wednesday since the original plan from Monday has all gone up in flames.

I’m not sure I can accurately describe why I have a mild obsession about improving in this area, but I admit I do.

And one thing that is clear to me is trying to solve the wrong problem won’t give you the right answer.

The first step to improving your time management is to accurately diagnosis where the problem lies. Here are a few tips on where to look and where to begin.Continue reading

Get More From Your Time

Time
Time flies when you’re having fun, but time also flies by when you’re being really unproductive!

In this podcast Paul and Chris discuss their simple strategies for maximising the use of their time, with emphasis on the process of planning. If you are looking to improve your effectiveness, get more done or simply live less stressful days, one of these tips might just be the breakthrough you are seeking.

Let us know which tip you’d like to try and any questions you’d like us to answer by leaving a comment below.

 

How Are You Inviting Distractions Into Your Life?

Do you find yourself getting constantly distracted?

Unable to complete tasks due to outside forces?

Chris and Gina discuss ways in which we invite distractions (often without realising it) into our lives and the impact this has personally and professionally.

Find out how you can acknowledge your distractions and take practical steps to minimise their impact.

Deadlines

We all have deadlines to meet. Even the most organised of us can find we are cutting it fine and doing things just in time!

Sam and Gina discuss their own challenges with getting things done and explore breaking things down into chucks and having “medium milestones” to help keep things on track