Posts Tagged ‘task management’

80/20 Focus

The 80/20 rule (Pareto’s Principle) is one of the most useful concepts for business and life in general. 80/20 focus is a way of applying it. Read the rest of this entry »

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Speed Up by Slowing Down to Think

The phrase speed up by slowing down to think may initially seem absurd. If you’re like me you periodically seem so busy that slowing down to think appears unlikely at best. Read the rest of this entry »

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Determine What Really Matters

Are you so wrapped up in busywork that it’s hard to determine what really matters? There are of course several things you can do to help minimize the distraction of busywork as well as things like interruptions. Perhaps the most powerful one I have used personally is Read the rest of this entry »

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When Is It Time to Give Up?

The question of when is it time to give up is one that we are all faced with at some point. Perhaps the real question is what do we mean by giving up? In my last post How Do You Define Failure? I discussed the importance of persevering and not letting our failures stop us too soon. Each apparent failure can really be a learning experience and a vital step on the way to success. But, what do you do when it seems as if success is going to permanently elude you?

Take a Time Out

Sometimes the best thing to do is to take a time out from what we are attempting. We need to be willing to allow ourselves the luxury of diverting our attention temporarily to something else that may even be unrelated. This is a little like the idea of sleeping on something for a few nights and just letting our mind subconsciously work on a problem. It is fairly common to suddenly have an answer pop into our head when we were not deliberately thinking about finding a solution. A temporary diversion is often one of the most productive things we can do. However, that diversion does not necessarily need to be play time or what seems like wasted time. We could move on to working on some other seemingly unrelated issues. Occasionally one of the other issues will prompt an answer to our original problem. So, while it may look like we have given up, what we are really doing is allowing our mind to work on its own.

Reframe the Problem

Perhaps we are so caught up in what we thought we were trying to accomplish that we miss the obvious. Consider the development of post-it notes at 3M. The scientist who developed the adhesive used on them was actually trying to develop a super strong adhesive. He continue to promote his adhesive for other possible uses, but it went unused for nearly six years until another individual had the idea to use the low-strength adhesive in the manner we now see with post-it notes. So, “when is it time to give up?” Well in this case it was not as soon as something did not work as hoped. Sometimes people just need to think and reframe the problem. With the development of this adhesive the solution came before the problem. All it took was someone to use their imagination to consider possibilities.

dreamer

Put It in the Idea Bank

How often do you have an idea and then just let it go without ever acting on it? If you don’t already do this, consider keeping a file where you record random ideas. Keep it handy and periodically review it. If you are working on an idea for which there seems to be no solution then the question of “when is it time to give up?” can become rhetorical if you put this issue aside by recording it in your idea file. Later something else you are working on may well jog your memory of the original idea filed away, while at the same time providing you with a solution.

Artists sometimes have several pictures they are working on. They may be struggling with one picture and divert their attention to it (kind of like taking a time out). Then when they return to it later they then see how to proceed and get the results they want. It is not unusual to occasionally let an idea for a painting sit for an extended time, almost like the idea bank concept. Later, after their mind has subconsciously worked on the idea they suddenly find they are ready to paint it. An author can do the same thing when writing a book. They may get stuck on where to go with a story line and take a diversion to another task. When they resume writing the story line has now developed in their mind.

So before you give up reframe the idea of what it means to give up. Yes, sometimes it may be that you never finalize something, but other times you will find that a temporary diversion helps or that an idea you put aside in your idea bank is now one that makes complete sense.

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Benefits of Taking a Break

How often are you doing a work-related task or project and seem to be stuck? It’s likely more often than you realize. Here’s way to get unstuck.

A Personal Example

While I’ve known that there were benefits of taking a break for quite some time, recently this was driven home by Read the rest of this entry »

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Let Your Employees Work

Have you ever been trying to accomplish a task that required extreme focus, only to be interrupted repeatedly? Recently while reading the book The One Thing by Gary Keller with Jay Papasan I was reminded of how frustrating this can be.

Are You Guilty?

I ask the question above not to make anyone feel guilty, but rather to get each of us to evaluate our actions and the impact they may have on others’ effectiveness. Even though this can apply to anyone, it is primarily directed at those of us who are in a position where we manage others. So what do I mean by Read the rest of this entry »

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QuickBooks Non-Inventory Items

If you are a user of QuickBooks you are most likely familiar with the importance of items to use the software correctly. You probably also know that there are several types of items, such as Inventory Item, Fixed Asset Item, Sales Tax Item, Sales Tax Group Item, Sub-total item and others. Let’s take a look at one in particular; QuickBooks Non-Inventory Items.

How are Non-Inventory Items Used?

QuickBooks non-inventory items (non-inventory parts) are used to Read the rest of this entry »

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Too Many Options

When choosing a flavor at an ice cream store you may have struggled because so many were appealing. Business decisions have a similar issue. Only in business the stakes can be much higher than whether you end up with something that taste good.

The Impact of Too Many Options

Whether we refer to it as too many options or too many choices the real issues is not what we call it but Read the rest of this entry »

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Managing Your Day

Time; it’s one of those things we all wish we had more of. But is time really the issue, or is it something else?

Insight from Another

“Either you run the day or the day runs you.” – Jim Rohn. I think Rohn has identified the real issue, that being how we make use of the time we have. Time is something we cannot control. It passes whether we like it or not.

“You may delay, but time will not.” – Benjamin Franklin.

Both John Rohn and Benjamin Franklin are really talking about the same thing.

Task Management

Here I am not talking about task management is the sense we normally think of a task. Dictionary.com offers the following definition of task:

Task :a definite piece of work assigned to, falling to, or expected of a person; a duty, or any piece of work, or a matter of considerable labor or difficulty. It also offers some other definitions, but in general they all are similar to the ones above.

This is pretty much how most of us think when we hear Read the rest of this entry »

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Healthcare Law Impact

As you certainly know by now, the results of the November 2012 election made it a certainly that the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) will be implemented over the next couple of years. Just what does that mean to you?

A Nightmare

This law will have major effects on nearly all businesses, particularly those with over 50 employees. The requirement for employers with over 50 employees to provide health care or pay a fine creates a dilemma for many. Some will decide that the increases in premiums that are expected present Read the rest of this entry »

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