31 Time Management and Productivity Tips for People Living With ADHD

People living with ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), traditionally have extra challenges at work including completing tasks on time, staying focused / feeling restless, planning in both the short- and long-term and noticing the passing of time (too fast and/or too slow). How much ADHD (also called ADD), affects a person’s work depends quite a bit on how severe their condition is and the impact of their environment. Thankfully, work-around solutions do exist that can help the approximate 4% of adults impacted (1.4 million in Canada and 12.0 million in the USA).

Should people living with ADHD be apologetic or feel embarrassed?
No. Absolutely not!

When one’s mind has a tendency to wander and/or get distracted, employees usually work late, take work home and work weekends to complete their important work. This can create even more challenges for people living with ADHD as they get less of the important down-time and rest they need.

Should people living with ADHD be apologetic or feel embarrassed? Absolutely not. People who are not morning people find work-arounds and employees who are not good with numbers find work-arounds. Why should it be different for people living with ADHD? Instead of being self-critical or judgmental, remember there are many operational and time management techniques for people living with ADHD that can help… techniques their Leaders should be aware of as well.

Here are 31 time management and workplace productivity skills people living with ADHD (and their support network) can consider:

  1. Always be fair to yourself and others.
  2. Be grateful for the 90% of your life that goes well. Don’t linger on the 10% that doesn’t.
  3. Stay positive. Think glass half full versus half empty. Self-talk like the following is helpful, “I had a great morning and even though I had to course correct twice I did finish my XYZ on time. Now, to pull that energy forward into this afternoon.”
  4. Practice Mindfulness or meditation to help yourself stay present and calm yourself if you feel triggered, frustrated or restless. Mindfulness or meditation at work can be as simple as sitting still, taking a short walk or taking a few deep breaths. It may also mean excusing yourself from a meeting to ‘go to the washroom’ if you are feeling overwhelmed and want to gather your thoughts and refocus your intention.
  5. Let a few coworkers close to you know you live with ADHD. They may be able to support your unique communication needs.
  6. Have someone who can help you be accountable – someone you can call, text or email to share your goals, successes and struggles.
  7. Keep photos of your support group close-by to remind you that you are not alone and that people are routing for you.
  8. You may need to stay away from open office concepts. In many new office structures small pods are available and these may help you as long as you don’t feel claustrophobic. Basically, you likely want to eliminate sensory distractions. When all else fails, you may have already discovered noise reduction headphones. Again, share what you need with your coworkers so they can understand and help.
  9. Try to keep meeting sizes small to reduce distractions.
  10. For large meetings that you have to attend, try to sit away from the key players and/or where other people’s attention will be focused.
  11. The Time Manager and Leader in me would love to think all meetings would end by someone creating and sharing simple minutes that summarizes important conversations and action items. This doesn’t need to be complicated, a short email written as the meeting recap happens often is all that is needed. This best practice helps manage everyone’s expectations – keep everyone working toward the same goal and timeline.
  12. Summarize conversations. Paraphrasing what a person says helps you confirm everyone clearly understood the conversation and key information, timelines and deliverables.
  13. Make a list of what you have to do today, this week and this month. Include short-term and long-term goals. Write everything down in a diary or log-book. Keep it up to date as new priorities come in so you no longer have to worry about forgetting something. Equally important, you’ll be able to see when you may be overloading your schedule… which is a BIG concern. NOTE: I like keeping a paper-based version of my to-do schedule. Find a system that works for you and stay with it.
  14. Always break work into smaller tasks spread over many days / weeks. Breaking tasks into smaller pieces can help you to feel less overwhelmed and helps you avoid procrastination.
  15. Schedule extra time you may need to complete a task
  16. Always schedule time in your day when nothing is planned. This way, when a crisis happens you don’t feel even more pressure because you have time to work on it.
  17. If you finish a task early or have to wait for an appointment, don’t fill that time by getting on social media. Try using that time for reflection and to calm yourself. Try a simple meditation technique of focusing on your breath. Use this time to recharge your batteries (and your brain).
  18. Avoid trying to multitask. Nobody can focus on two or more important things at a time so give yourself a break from trying.
  19. Use a Timer. One of the best techniques I’ve come across for anyone is to use the Pomodoro Time Manager. This timer-technique suggests 20 minute of work, 10 minutes of rest and then repeat.
  20. Another timer-technique is to set your cell phone to vibrate every 15 minutes. When the alarm goes off, use that as a cue to re-orient yourself. Ask yourself if you are working on your important work in this moment?
  21. Remove distractions – all the things that get in the way. Turn off unnecessary electronics – even background noise may be a challenge.
  22. Only you know what works best for you. Instead of absolute quiet and lack of action, background noise, white noise or music might work better for you. Take charge of what you need. Do you need to squeeze a stress-ball or hand-weight? Does sitting on an exercise ball or using a stand-up desk help? Even a gentle desk fan is known to help. Whatever you do, try not to disturb people around you – just like you don’t want them disturbing you. NOTE: Music, a metronome, tapping or a bouncing leg can be distracting to others even though it may help you. The trick is to find a balance within you and your coworkers.
  23. Have only what you are working on in your line of sight. Keep your workspace clear.
  24. Set up ‘HOMES’ for special things and make a habit of using those places… all the time:
    1. Important files
    2. Files you are going to need today
    3. File for today’s meetings
    4. Phones
    5. Keys and wallets
  25. Set a personal goal. Do something for yourself.
  26. Hire an executive coach. He or she can help you talk through any issues you face and may also be able to help you consider solutions.
  27. You know how much sleep you really need and how to get it… so be sure that happens. You have to feel rested.
  28. Work when you are at your best. For many, that means the first few hours after you wake you are at your strategic, creative best.
  29. Follow any medical plan you have that has been prescribed by a doctor who specializes in the treatment of adult ADHD.
  30. Eat sensibly. You don’t want sugar highs and low and carb crashes adding extra challenge to your day.
  31. Get regular exercise. This may mean daily for you. Again, you know yourself best.

Conclusion.

Perhaps you’ve already come to the conclusion there isn’t a single best practice listed here that isn’t good for everyone. All of these are great time management and workplace productivity skills for all people – it just so happens that they are especially important for anyone living with ADHD.

What we do every day of our lives is what matters.

We hope you enjoyed this post.

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Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Generational Differences, Business Writing, Email Etiquette, Time Management and Mindfulness.

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Time Management – get more done.

Everyone says get to bed early and wake up early. And for about 90% of us that is the right recommendation. And if you are part of the 10%-night owls I’m not going to try to get you to change. And frankly, as work requirements are more flexible, adaptable and virtual of late, there are fewer challenges for night owls to get into work by 8AM… for many professions.

But, here is one truth that is important for all of us to know – no matter when you like to get up.

We are all strategically at our best from about 1 hour after to about 5 or 6 hours after we wake up. Even if we feel tired because we cared for a newborn or an aging parent, you can’t argue that we are still most rested after we wake up.

Three other amazing best practices that help early birds and moderates get more done:

1. Get to work early.

When we get to work early, it is usually the quietest part of our day. Before other coworkers, customers or suppliers get organized and begin bugging us we can get lots done.

2. Don’t plan meetings until at least 10AM or 11AM.

Meetings are often some of our most unproductive time. So, try to get as much strategic time in as possible. Remember, you are at your best up to 5 or 6 hours after you wake up so use that as your guide. Create a policy that restricts early morning meetings for your team. Try not to let meetings happen before 10 or 11AM.

If you lead a team or department and can’t get the meeting moved, check to see how critical it is that you attend. Perhaps you can send someone else from your team and then have them give you a quick update early in the afternoon. This time management best practice has two additional benefits including:

  • It’s likely a career development opportunity for a junior team member
  • A quick update will take less time than sitting through a whole meeting.

3. Use your travel time strategically.

I don’t necessarily mean work work work. Sure, getting a bit more work done may be your decision for today, but good time management also could mean giving yourself time to do some inspirational reading, or to hand-write a note to a friend, family member or an employee who has done a great job living up to the corporate values.

What I mean by use your travel time strategically is do something that is planned – even if your plan is to rest or daydream. Mixing up your routine and turning off the radio, or turning on a podcast is often one of the healthiest things we can do and is often one of the things we don’t often allow ourselves to do.

Little things matter.

Happy communicating, leading, mentoring and getting more done.

We facilitate courses including email etiquette, time management training, leadership skills, generational differences training… and more.

Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at brucemayhewconsulting.com.

Call us at 416.617.0462.

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15 Ways To Be Sure Your Business Meeting Isn’t A Waste Of Time

How you manage a business meeting with colleagues, clients or a combination of both can be a good indication of your leadership abilities. And while I’ve outlined 15 ways to be sure your business meeting isn’t a waste of time, I’m sure you’re already doing some. So perhaps, add them up your ‘Do’ column and ‘Need To Do’ column and see which list is longer.

Why is it important to review your business meeting management best practices?

It takes far less time to organize a great meeting (and reinforce a great personal reputation), than it takes to sit through a poorly organized meeting that is a waste of time… for everyone.

Great business meetings are about choice. Do you choose to:

  1. Plan the meeting with no more than 3 key objectives to discuss or 3 key decisions to make?
  2. Invite only the people who need to be there?
  3. Build a reputation that your meetings start on time in order to respect everyone’s time?
  4. Build a reputation that your meetings finish on time in order to respect everyone’s time?
  5. Send your agenda out days in advance?
  6. Stay on topic, on agenda?
  7. As a participant, do you read the agenda in advance?
  8. As meeting organizer or participant, do you arrive prepared with the background and / or support documents you need to participate?
  9. Listen with purpose to learn? During the meeting, are you trying to understand (not necessarily agree with), other points of view? Please say yes.
  10. Participate? Stay relevant? Ask questions / provide your opinion only when you have meaningful contribution? Do you create value? If people have questions they will / should feel free to ask.
  11. Use a ‘Parking Lot’ for new topics… and new business meetings?
  12. Be respectful when you agree and when you disagree?
  13. Get to the point, not waste time, don’t ramble. Do you choose to be efficient and effective… especially if you have executives in the meeting.
  14. Review decisions and action items before you close to ensure everyone is on the same page.
  15. Document and distribute agreed-upon decisions and action items?

Conclusion
Far too many meetings leave us with the feeling our time and/or our opinion aren’t appreciated. And while much responsibility sits with the organizer, I believe it’s each of our responsibility to know what we can do to make sure business meetings are not a waste of time.

Happy communicating, leading, mentoring, learning and hosting great meetings.

We facilitate courses including Email Etiquette, Time Management training, How To Run Effective MeetingsLeadership Skills, Generational Differences, Difficult Conversations training… and more.

Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at brucemayhewconsulting.com.

Call us at 416.617.0462.

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Employee Burnout May Point To Time Management Challenges.

Are your employees burning-out doing the same thing over and over for 10 or more hours a day? There are five main challenges with that:

  1. There are now more Millennials in the job market than Boomers.
  2. Millennials want work-life balance / work-life integration as well as autonomy and opportunities.
  3. Millennials want to keep growing – they don’t like the same thing over and over.
  4. Gen Z employees are beginning to enter the job market (and they also like balance, autonomy and opportunities).
  5. Most Boomers and Gen Xers want the same thing Millennials and Gen Zers want.

Most people don’t want to leave the company they have chosen to work for. People quit because they don’t feel:

  • They are respected as individuals
  • Their work and efforts are respected
  • They are given opportunities (and challenges) to grow
  • They have the flexibility / autonomy most workers want

Unfortunately for both individuals (and the companies they work for), sooner or later if leaders don’t take care of high-potential employees… their most dedicated employees, they usually quit. You know the saying, “People don’t quit their jobs; they quit their bosses.”

While most employees don’t want to quit their work or the company they work for, they do quit to survive. They quit because they know they can do better elsewhere – either working for someone else or starting their own business.

Is this a time management challenge?
At first glance no… but on a bigger scale, absolutely.


Studies show Millennial job loyalty / job retention increases when their responsibilities change… when their new responsibilities give them new opportunities to grow.

To keep your best people it’s important to pay attention to both the work that needs to get done and the needs of the people doing that work. Some of the best companies don’t keep the best people by slotting them into pre-existing jobs; they find (and keep) the best people by designing flexible work and workspaces that meet their employee and company needs… and therefore their customer needs. When employees see the companies they work for trying hard to create balanced, flexible workspaces, many of those same employees become even more loyal.

A great leader takes the time to learn about their employees. Great leaders also take the time to recognize the potential (and dreams), within those employees and then develop that potential and helps support those dreams.

Is employee burnout a time management challenge? At first glance no… but on a bigger scale, absolutely. If you are overworking your employees, not helping them grow and be proud of their work, be ready for high turnover and high recruitment and on-boarding costs that are unavoidable when you have an never-ending stream of new employees.

Little things matter.

Happy communicating, leading, mentoring and learning.

We facilitate courses including email etiquette, time management training, leadership skills, generational differences training… and more.

Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at brucemayhewconsulting.com.

Call us at 416.617.0462.

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How Busy Professionals Improve Work-life Balance: Time Management Tips for home and work

The sacrifice is worth it” says many professionals who take pride in being dedicated workaholics. They even take their smart phone on vacation with them. And then they suddenly realize they’ve put on 50lbs, haven’t seen their partner or best friends in a year, don’t know their children’s favourite colour, book, food or sports team and likely can’t even remember the last time they socialized in a meaningful way (weddings and funerals don’t count). In short, their work-life balance is out of balance.

I’m not knocking working hard. As an entrepreneur I love what I do and don’t expect to retire; I hope I’m still delivering keynote presentations and communication skills training when I’m 65. I also totally agree there are crunch times when sacrifices must be made. But, when sacrifices go on for most of a year or two or more, many people who study organizational behaviour and productivity believe long-running sacrifices rarely benefit us personally, financially or professionally – or from a healthy living perspective.

Really? Perhaps you think “If I work hard I’ll make more money and be more successful?” For a sort time, yes… that is often the case. But, if we work all the time and are chronically exhausted, we are likely:

  • Not going to make the best strategic decisions
  • Going to make some mistakes we would not otherwise have made
  • Short tempered – perhaps hurt important relationships
  • Building a work environment that Reacts not Responds to client needs or business opportunities
  • Putting our mental health at risk
  • Dramatically increasing our risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes & more
  • Growing apart from our family and/or friends
  • Creating an invisible barrier called unfamiliarity with the people who should be close to us
  • Causing resentment in our family and/or friends
  • Losing our family and friends trust that you care… and will be there for them when needed
  • Missing important dates / occasions causing resentment, disappointment and further emotional distance

Question 1:
“How does a busy professional find work-life balance that involves all aspects of their lives?”

Answer: We must all make time for each (not some), of the following:

  • Work responsibilities
  • Home / living responsibilities
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Physical and Mental Health
  • Personal interests

Question 2:
“Why should bosses care about work-life balance for their employees?”

Answer: When we feel valued, respected and supported in our work life and our family life we feel more loyalty to our boss and to the company. When we feel our contribution and our time are respected we also care more about the quality of work we do (and we make fewer mistakes because we are not chronically exhausted).

When our personal and professional lives are in balance we are happier, more positive, more creative, more collaborative (I can go on), in both our work and family lives. This balance also enables us to pursue our professional goals which is again, benefits the company and our family.

Question 3:
“How do we make time?”

Answer: We also have to take more responsibility for our schedule than most of us currently do. We also need to recognize we all do better when we follow routines. Not only do routines help us manage our expectations and the expectations of others, they help us build memorable experiences with important people. Routines also help us save time by letting us prepare in advance and put hardware, software and support systems in place to help us with our routines. So:

  • Have a morning routine
  • Have a predictable routine at work
  • Have a routine in the evening
  • Have a routine for Saturday
  • Have a routine for Sunday

One ‘event’ many professionals feel helps balance work and family promises is committing to family dinners. Breakfasts might be out of the questions if you leave early for work, but a 6:30PM family dinner should be manageable for most professionals most of the time; especially if you get to work early in the morning.

Dinners with your partner and/or family are amazing for many different time management and relationship building reasons. One significant time benefit from a pre-scheduled meal routine is it makes grocery shopping efficient. It can also save you money because you know what to stock up on when they are on sale. Other benefits include:

  • You are not wasting time dashing out for last-minute items or making bad ‘fast food’ choices.
  • You may be able to make extra and freeze left-overs saving you time and effort in the future
  • You can bring left-overs for lunch giving you a healthy and cost saving alternative to food courts

Family dinners enable you to involve your children in all aspects of meal planning including meal choice, shopping, cooking and cleaning up. Not only does this teach children how to cook, involving your children teaches them responsibility, social skills and how to confidently care for themselves. Involving children in meal preparation also can develop a sense of pride… and can exercise their creativity if they start experimenting with recipes – adding ingredients they love or finding alternatives for ingredients they dislike… like Brussel Sprouts).

For example, a family end-of-day meal schedule children can participate in is:

  • Slow Cooker Stew Mondays
  • Homemade Veggie Pizza Tuesdays
  • Burger Wednesdays
  • Mexican Chicken Veggie Stir-fry Thursdays
  • Spaghetti Fridays
  • Surprise Saturdays (you might even go out)
  • Roast Sundays

Three More Things:
Three more things busy professionals with a family can do to improve time management both at home and at work:

  • Prioritize your to do list – plan your week not your day. Possible solution, spend 5 minutes planning at night and then 5 more minutes first thing in the morning.
  • Have discussions at work and at home about expectations, values and responsibilities.
  • Embrace delegation – share responsibility – and accept responsibility with your coworkers and family. When you delegate, use it as a mentoring, learning experience.

Conclusion:
One of the best ways to start your day is to get a good night sleep – that means get to bed at a decent hour. This helps you wake up refreshed in the morning.

Some of the most successful professionals believe it’s critical to have a good morning routine that includes some exercise and a healthy breakfast. For example, Sir Richard Branson says, “I seriously doubt that I would have been as successful in my career (and happy in my personal life) if I hadn’t always placed importance on my health and fitness,” says Branson to FourHourBodyPress. Branson continues,“I definitely can achieve twice as much by keeping fit”. Mark Zuckerberg (who usually exercises first thing when he wakes up) says, “It keeps the brain functioning well”.

Every morning might be slightly different but routine helps you, your children and your co-workers manage expectations, increase productivity and experience work-life balance. The following is a sample morning schedule.

Time Management Morning Schedule for Professionals

Routine is critical as well as calendar management. Let either of these out of your control and you can kiss productivity away.

Final Note:
Have a weekend schedule: For example, on Sunday:

  • Sleep in
  • Family pitches in together to streamline:
    • Everybody helps clean the Kitchen, Family room, Bedroom & Bathroom
    • 50% of you do Laundry
    • 50% of you go Grocery Shopping
    • Everybody helps on Pre-Meal Preparation
    • Reward Brunch in a restaurant with the kids and friends
    • Sunday night – no plans
    • Schedule some downtime
    • Schedule 30 minutes to get acquainted with the next week.

Happy communicating and training… and taking responsibility for your schedule and work-life balance.

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Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Leadership, Motivating Employees, Business Writing, Email Etiquette, Time Management and Having Difficult Conversations.

Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at brucemayhewconsulting.com.

Call us at 416.617.0462.

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Work-Life Balance & Results Only Work Environments (ROWE): Myth or Reality?

I feel there is a resurgence to strive for work-life balance… with work as the evil twin in the relationship. But to find something you have to first know what you’re looking for… so…. ‘What is work-life balance?

Work-life balance is very personal. It’s different among co-workers doing the same or similar work; it’s different for each partner in a relationship; it’s different for each of your friends. Even your definition of work life balance will change over time… especially if you:

  • Have / adopt a child
  • Get a promotion / change jobs
  • Move
  • Inherit money
  • etc. etc.

Work-Life Balance Is More Achievable Than Ever

While we’ve been striving for balance for decades, I think it’s more achievable than ever for a few reasons:

  • Awareness / Desire
  • Technology (Assists collaboration, information sharing and much more)
  • More work is thought based
  • Millennial expectations and influence
  • Organizations are realizing it’s cost effective

I do a fair amount of Productivity & Time Management Training and I hear over and over how many of us do a few hours of quality work after dinner before we hit the sack. Is that wrong – or is that the new way of working? I’m certain that work-life balance is showing us flexibility is possible and integration is the new norm.

Older Productivity & Time Management Training Studies Are Right… But…

There are tons of studies that demonstrate we are at our strategic – creative best in the morning. That’s why traditional best practices suggest avoiding mundane, low-strategy work until the afternoon and to protect evenings as valuable family time (and give your brain a rest).

But what about parents who don’t go to bed at 10PM and wake refreshed at 6AM… or the typical Millennial who is used to integrating all parts of their life (which now means work), throughout their day and evening? More and more people follow a nontraditional schedule where free time might be ‘when they can schedule a spare hour’.

I’m not saying this older model is wrong, I just think it needs to become more flexible. I believe that after a good rest everyone is more creative and more strategic… and as we become tired it makes sense that we become less creative and strategic (throughout an 8 or 10 hour marathon work day).

So, what if we changed the rules? What if we began taking mental breaks throughout the day? We all experience feeling refreshed and bright again after a break (even if our ‘break’ was going to the gym).Results Only Work Environment

Enter ROWE (Results Only Work Environment).

With a ROWE, it doesn’t matter when an employee does their work or where they do it, as long as they meet agreed-upon project goals on time and on budget. Employees get to decide where and when they work – and what they work on.

If employees are required to get to an office they are punching a time clock – even if there isn’t a time clock in sight.

ROWE’s are a BIG opportunity for organizations to reduce costs while increasing productivity, creativity, employee morale and employee loyalty… especially in cities like Toronto, Vancouver, New York or LA where the average commute is at least an hour.”

How You Can Build a ROWE Performance-Driven Work Culture

Critical to your success is to have measurable results and hold employees accountable for their work. It’s also important to cut the connection between salary and goals because $$ can actually demotivate your employees (see previous blog: Link).

Make sure your employees work stands for something. I believe some of the key responsibilities of leaders is to help employees take pride in their work, reflect on what they have learned, and to see how their efforts make a difference for the company and/or their customers. That’s the kind of leader I want to be.

Take companies like Influitive in Toronto that develop Marketing solutions for Corporate clients – or Fireman & Company an international management consulting firm that specializes in the legal industry. Both of these organizations operate with a ROWE and benefit from having employees in different time zones and / or countries.

The added beauty of a ROWE is that organizations are able to hire the best talent from anywhere in the world – not being limited to geography… like within an hours drive.

Do Flexible Work Hours Count?

Flexible work hours count but are not a ROWE. A flexible schedule that allows an employee to come in at 6AM and leave at 3PM is still all about organizational control and making sure people put their bum in a seat; flexible work hours just provide a few more options. So it’s important to ask – do you want to make sure people show up… or are you more concerned about what they accomplish and the quality of their work?

If you are interested in what your employees accomplish (not where or when they do it), you have already making the mental transition to a Results Only Work Environment.

Autonomy at work is one of the greatest motivators emerging in today’s workforce. Autonomy is about setting your own work schedule with your teammates to ensure the people responsible do the work on time, on budget, and exceed expectations. This approach of ‘anonymity’, ‘team work’ and ‘self improvement’ is high – and I mean really high for Millennials.

ROWE Will Attract Loyal Millennials… And Other Generations

Millennials are known to have a more entrepreneurial spirit, wanting more anonymity along with mentoring. ROWE and anonymity helps employees feel like they are their own boss – even when working for a large organization. It helps employees design their own work-life balance. This can be a perfect solution for the organization trying to integrate Millennials into their work environments but having challenges with loyalty.

ROWE allows all employees (Millennials and other generations), to choose… to be in control of how, when, where and often what they are working on. For ROWE to exist it has to be supported by reliable metrics goals, objectives. It also means that reward has to reach beyond extrinsic motivators like $$… and must be supported by intrinsic motivators like C.A.P.S. (see previous blog: Link).

As time goes on I believe it will be an employees job-market… and employee flexibility will be key. With this new generation coming in, conversations are going to change between employers and labor unions about employees wants / needs and their productivity.

  1. Many Millennials don’t separate work and life or work and family / community.
  2. Millennials see work-life balance is whatever they are doing (volunteer, work, cooking, relaxation etc). I recently spoke with a Millennial and they said, “Work is in my life – my life doesn’t act outside of paid time – it happens all the time and this way I don’t have to miss out on any part of my life.”

It’s Critical To Measure Deliverables

When you measure deliverables and quality you can measure an employees real performance… and, over time a pattern always forms. As leaders, we all know the employee we can count on and the employee we can not count on… even though they both spend valuable time each day commuting to your office… IE: punching a time clock.

The anonymity employees want becomes their responsibility. They are ultimately responsible for their deliverables and therefore, their impact on everything else including their personal and professional reputation.

Involve your employees in all aspects of a project. Get their ideas on how to track the work – not the hours. ROWE has to be a corporate culture – and you have to hire the right people. You have to hire people based on values, ambition AND talent. Far too often we hire people on talent or who we like…. Therefore… people most like ourselves. EEEK.

This Blog is getting far too long, so in my next Blog I will further explore questions like:

  • Won’t employees abuse their freedom?
  • How to integrate ROWE into my work structure?

Happy communicating, mentoring, motivating… and training.

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Best Time Management Books

Sure this is subjective. But as a corporate trainer and coach I’ve read a lot and do a lot of Time Management training.

I’ve customized my Time Management training course based on my experience and what I’ve read / studied. Because of my experience I see first-hand what time management techniques make sense to professionals,  what tips people are able to adopt quickly… and what time management tips don’t work well.

I often get asked what I feel are the best time management books. Even though not everything in every book will help every person, I offer you this list.

Please note – they are not in a specify order. All images and names are Copyright.

Getting Things Done

 

In Getting Things Done, David Allen shares his methods increased performance. David’s approach is one that suggests that when we are calm and organized our productivity and creativity goes up.

I agree; being mindful of our goals lets us prioritize what we do and when we do it.

 

 

 

The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People

 

In The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People, the late Stephen R. Covey shares his 7 steps. Without doubt it’s my most highlighted, underlined and used time management book.

Stephen goes beyond Time Management and indirectly gets into how to be a good people manager and leader.

 

 

The Now Habit

 

In The Now Habit, Dr. Neil Fiore looks at the impact of procrastination. It’s one of the biggest challenges I see / hear of when I deliver time management training.

Dr. Fiore shares the good and bad impact of procrastination – and how when we are aware we can all make the right choice.

 

 

 

The One Minute Manager

 

In The One Minute Manager, Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson have great theories that work well with a multigenerational audience; One Minute Goals, One Minute Praisings, and One Minute Reprimands.

Even though it’s been around for over 20 years this book is still relevant.

 

 

 

 

rework

 

In Rework Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson give us the updated approach to work, work/life balance, innovation and reward.

It’s not really a time management book – but one that looks at all aspects of business and innovation and explores how to do it differently / better in our current environment.

 

 

 

I hope you enjoy my perspective of the best time management books.  Please note I am not (unfortunately), being paid to support / review any of these books.  Also, all proprietary images and names are copyright and owned by someone – not me.

I would be remiss if I also didn’t mention Do More Great Work by Michael Bungay Stanier and The 4-hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss.

Happy communicating and Time Management.

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Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Business Writing, Email Etiquette, Time Management and Mindfulness.

Bruce Mayhew on Canada AM

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Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at brucemayhewconsulting.com.

Call us at 416.617.0462.

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Time Management Quiz

This Time Management Quiz may be just what you need to help you focus on your priorities.

At 15 questions, this time management quiz will only take you a minute or two to complete. It’s a snapshot of the time management questions I’ve designed when I customize time management training and quiz’s for clients.

Time management is about what you do with the time you have – and how you feel. Do you feel good about what you accomplish – or stressed? Are you inspired, engaged and enjoying your time at work and with family/ friends – or are you not quite there?

This time management quiz will help you evaluate your priorities and best of all, it will help you immediately identify any areas of your time management where you need assistance.

Before you do one more thing, take this short time management quiz and see how you are doing.

Time Management Quiz by Time Management Training Facilitator, Bruce Mayhew Consulting.

Time Management Quiz by Time Management Facilitator, Bruce Mayhew Consulting.

Thank you for taking our time Management Quiz.

Do you feel there is no way for you to be both productive at work and fulfilled in your personal life? Especially now since you took this time management quiz, do you want to make sure things change for the better?

You may be ready for time management training. Time management is less about bad behaviour as it is about habits we learn from others. So in time management training we learn how and why we can form new habits – better habits. For example: Do your coworkers expect you to drop everything to help them with their work when they ask? Time management training shows you how and why you can stay focused on your important work and still be helpful.

Our goal at Bruce Mayhew Consulting is to provide you support to improve your time management and by extension your productivity, success and happiness. We have many blog posts on this topic as well as other business etiquette topics like Managing Difficult Conversations, Working With 4 Generations, Email Etiquette and Leadership Development.

Happy Time Management and business etiquette.

Click here to join our priority list to receive our latest Business Communication blog posts.

If you enjoyed this post we think you’ll like:

Bruce Mayhew Consulting coaches leaders and facilitates business etiquette courses including Business Writing, Email Etiquette, Time Management and Mindfulness.

Bruce Mayhew on Canada AM

Click on the image to watch us on Canada AM.

Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at brucemayhewconsulting.com.

Call us at 416.617.0462.

View Bruce Mayhew's profile on LinkedIn

Bruce Mayhew Consulting

I’d enjoy reading your comments on this post.

 

Time Management and Healthy Eating: Avoiding The Dreaded Afternoon Slump

The dreaded afternoon slump is not the best way to impress – in fact it falling asleep at your desk can be downright embarrassing.

Even if you don’t fall asleep, for most of us 2PM to 4PM is a period of low energy (depending on many variables like when you eat, what you eat and how many young children you have), and this translates to low productivity, creativity and strategic thinking.

Coffee and sweets are at the top of the popularity scale to avoid afternoon slumps; perhaps you can remember a long running TV commercial that promoted eating a chocolate bar mid-afternoon? I personally find a chocolate bar is the perfect recipe for my eyes to begin closing and head to start nodding. But I’m not going to get into food, I’ll let my collaborator James R. Elliot of Complete Health and Fitness (our nutrition expert in this blog series), discusses the things we should and should not eat at lunch / afternoon to maintain our energy and productivity.

How To Plan Your Day And Avoid An Afternoon Slump

My contribution to this last post in this 3-part blog series comes from the Time Management training I offer. Specifically, how you and your team can plan your day to help avoid an afternoon slump and to be productive.

In part 1 of this series I talked about doing your Important Work in the morning. To improve your afternoon energy levels and avoid the dreaded afternoon slump I’ll encourage you to follow 3 other time management and productivity tips I advise my clients to use… which are:

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of pakorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

  • Book Afternoon Meetings – especially good are brainstorming meetings
  • Read/Write Routine Email (you answered your important email in the morning).
  • Help a Co-worker

1. Book Afternoon Meetings

Meetings are great at keeping you engaged – especially brainstorming meetings. Meetings allow you to stay active by doing things like discussing ideas with others, taking notes, getting a glass of water, perhaps even walking about. As long as you’re not in a stuffy, warm room with the lights down, afternoon meetings are a great way to keep you (and your team), productive and awake.

2. Answer Routine Email

Unless your job requires you to be on email all the time, answer only important email / urgent email in the morning. Allocate specific time in the afternoon for routine, non-urgent email. If you have lots of email, break up your time into smaller (perhaps 30-minute), intervals. Do some email, help a coworker, then do more email.

Bonus Tip. The incoming email notice has become a huge productivity thief and concentration robber. So… turn your email notification off (except for your boss and most important client).

3. Help a Co-worker

Every afternoon set aside 30 minutes to help a co-worker. This way, if someone asks you for a favour in the morning you can say, “I’m happy to help Rob. I have to finish what I’m working on first though. I have 30 minutes this afternoon at 3PM so let’s connect then; I’ll be able to give you 100% of my attention because I won’t be distracted.” If nobody asks you for a favour or help, you now have 30 unscheduled minutes to work on something important… or to get ahead on something else.

James’s Nutrition Tips

The most common reason you might experience an afternoon slump is because of what you have eaten (or not eaten) for lunch. There is another cause, adrenal gland fatigue, but that is a longer topic for another post.

Either starving yourself at lunch, or having a large, carbohydrate/starch-laden meal will make you fatigued 1.5-2 hours later due to the blood sugar spike and subsequent crash that happens. Your body sees the blood sugar spike as danger, and over-corrects. Unfortunately, this correction sends your blood sugar, mood, energy level, ability to think, reason and complete work effectively crashing down.

James’s Tips For Avoiding Afternoon Slump After Lunch:

  • Eat at your desk if you have to, but at least have something to eat! (Something healthy)
  • Bring a lunch bag with lunch and healthy snacks like fruit, veggies, hummus, nuts – it doesn’t take THAT much time – plan ahead the night before for success
  • Try to avoid or minimize starchy/sugary foods like pasta, bread, noodles, pastries or junk which will just make you tired and crave more sweets later on – perpetuating the crash cycle all over again
  • Eat a complete meal (that has a protein, carbohydrate and a fat) with proper portion sizes at every main meal, including lunch, as follows:
    • A portion of protein is the size of your palm, not including fingers (fish, meat, eggs, protein shakes)
    • A portion of healthy fat is about the size of your thumb – give or take (nuts/seeds, avocado, coconut/oil, olives/oil)
    • A portion of vegetables is the size of a closed fist
  • The occasional fruit or starchy carbohydrates like grains, potatoes, rice, pasta, etc., are what you can fit in a cupped hand – to keep your energy levels consistent try to avoid starchy carbs
  • Men can multiply these by 50%, or even double them if you find yourself really hungry or you exercise regularly

Minimizing starchy carbohydrates, as well as sweets or junk food, properly proportioning your complete meals and eating frequently, will help keep your blood sugar consistent. This will help you maintain your mood, energy levels, have less fatigue, less brain fog, will not crash during the day, and will feel better overall with more energy! It will also help you get work done faster!!!

Conclusion

Falling asleep at work is never a good thing; it might result in:

  • A bad reputation with your co-workers / boss
  • The loss of an important client

Good time management habits and eating well are easy, low-cost and very efficient ways to be a productive, helpful and healthy team player.

Happy Time Management and Healthy Eating. 

Click here to join our priority list of people who receive our latest Business Communication blog posts. If you enjoyed this post we think you’ll like:

Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Email Etiquette, Managing Difficult Conversations, Multigenerational Training, Time Management and Mindfulness.

Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at brucemayhewconsulting.com.

Give us a call at 416 617 0462. We’ll listen.

Bruce Mayhew on Canada AM

Click on the image to watch us on Canada AM.

I’d enjoy reading your comments on this post.

Mindfulness At Work. How Productivity Will Be Improved!

Can Mindfulness at work help us get our work done?

Do you ever feel you’ve been busy all day and didn’t get much done? You may not have realized it at the time but you were likely multitasking all day; helping co-workers and clients, switching from task to task, responding to email, phone calls, knocks on your office door, being pulled into meetings… Oh, and then there’s your job writing proposals, strategic plans and managing your team.

The challenge is that every time we switch away from what we’re doing we lose focus – we lose concentration… we may even lose the fantastic creative idea we were thinking. Has that ever happened to you? Poof! Your creative idea is gone.Mindful Creative Ideas

Seriously, Mindfulness at work will improve your productivity.

People who have even entry-level mindfulness training begin to experience many benefits – including:

  • Getting more done in less time
  • Improved memory
  • Less stress / frustration
  • Greater employee satisfaction
  • Greater work / life balance

How / Why Does Mindfulness At Work… Work?

In its simplest form, my definition of Mindfulness is about being aware and taking time to respond with thoughtful intention. You do not react… you respond. To respond with thoughtful intention means you:

  • Know and consider your objective
  • Make thoughtful choices
  • Are present – even if you may choose to not participate
  • Listen when being spoken to
  • Practice empathy
  • Don’t assume / Do ask questions

Why Is ‘Knowing And Considering Your Objective’ Important?

Knowing and considering your objective is critical to being mindful and making thoughtful choices. Without this focus, it’s easy to lose sight of your objective as you are bombarded with… email, phone calls, knocks on door etc.

Knowing and considering your objective allows you to notice when distractions are coming along. Being Mindful at work lets you choose whether you will shift your attention away from… or to stay focused on your Important Work.

Bruce Speaking On Global TV about Millennials

Bruce Speaking On Global TV about Millennials

Example of Mindfulness At Work:

An example of a distraction and then applying Mindfulness at work is as follows. Note, all responses are thoughtful and respectful, but only some are mindful of your objective.

Your Objective: You have a training proposal to write.

Time Management Plan: You allocate the next 30 minutes to concentrate on developing your first draft.

What Happens: 10 minutes into mind-mapping the solution someone asks if you want to go for a coffee.

You can:

  1. Go
  2. Get into a conversation with them about what’s on your plate and why you can’t go
  3. Say, “I appreciate the invitation – perhaps next time.”
  4. Ask them to get you one.

The best solution may have been to go to a conference room for those 30 minutes so you would not be bothered, but that didn’t happen. So, if your Objective is to focus on the proposal, what is the best response?

I like ‘C’. Why? While ‘D’ is a close runner-up, ‘D’ may result in further delays searching for money… and then being interrupted again when they return with your coffee, your change… and a story about how cute the barista was.

The added benefit of’ ’C’ is that when you’re done, you can reward yourself with a 5 minute walk to clear your mind – reset your energy and pick up a decaf green tea.

Conclusion

All too often we make unconscious choices to multitask – or at least to try to multitask. The result is we feel rushed and overloaded. Mindfulness helps us choose when we will be distracted by deciding if it is Important Work or Busy Work.

I’m not saying that we can’t work on two or more projects or cases at a time. We can! What we can’t do is work on two or more important things at exactly the same time. You can listen to an old TV comedy rerun and edit a proposal perhaps – but there is no way to do two important things at the same time.

Try It #I: Find two people who will give you some flexibility for an experiment and will participate in a conversation. Stand them beside each other. For 1 minute… at exactly the same time:

  • Have one talk to you about the plans for the upcoming weekend to their cottage including who is coming, who is coming with them, what they are bringing and when they are arriving.
  • Have your other friend talk about an important project they are working on including details about timing, budget, key initiatives / milestones and key players and their responsibilities.

What can you remember about each conversation?

Try It #2: Listen to a favourite radio talk show.  If you are like me, they will say something that engages you – makes you think.  That’s great!

Perhaps you will remember a situation – perhaps you will have a thought about the possible answer.  In short, your mind will wander.  When you realize you’ve been lost in thought, ask yourself… can I recount the details of what they said while I was lost in thought? I’m betting lots that you can not.  Proof we can not do two important things at the same time.

Happy communication and mindfulness at work. 

Click here to join our priority list of people who receive our latest Business Communication blog posts. If you enjoyed this post we think you’ll like:

Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Email Etiquette, Managing Difficult Conversations, Multigenerational Training, Time Management and Mindfulness.

Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at brucemayhewconsulting.com.

Give us a call at 416 617 0462. We’ll listen.

Bruce Mayhew on Canada AM

Click on the image to watch us on Canada AM.

I’d enjoy reading your comments on this post.

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