an Integral Enneagram of Consciousness; a model of consciousness, including
all aspects, for designing practical
paths of personal development and evolution.
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in the background while you file, exercise, ride to work, etc.
So What's Your
problems from when you were in school? A train leaves Boston headed west
at 100 mph, while a train leaves California headed east at 120 mph, and
so on? Apparently most people weren’t crazy about them, but I’m in a
minority of geeks who really loved them. To me they brought math into
the real world. Eminently applicable.
Whenever someone presents me with a problem they’re working on, I start
setting up the equation. Word problems give us a framework for all the
pieces of information, what their relationships are, and what changes
need to happen to solve for “x,” whatever “x’ might be.
The most common problem or challenge by far is “not enough time.” We all
have so many things to do and only 24 hours in a day. We can’t change
time, so we have to look at the work output side of the equation. The
only way to increase the work output side is to change how we do
the work. Our first instinct is to work faster, but that isn’t
necessarily possible or even desirable. What we can do is
increase the efficiency and effectiveness of our work processes; how we
do the work.
We can look
at this shift like shifting gears on a bicycle. If you’re in first gear,
you can pedal like mad and not move all that quickly. When you upshift,
the same movement on your part translates to much more travel distance
with each pedal stroke. This is how we can get much more done in a day:
we need to shift to a higher gear.
term Standard Operating Procedure (or SOP) may not be as commonly used
as it once was, but it hasn’t disappeared entirely. It’s merely another
way to say “the way we always do things;” a far more familiar phrase.
There are places where this kind of standardization is imperative, as in
quality control testing, but more often than not we need a more organic
approach to continuous improvement. Let’s look at a Standard Operating
Procedure that includes concrete ways to optimize our work output. We’ll
take on three areas that coincidentally keep our SOP acronym:
Systemizing, Organizing, and Prioritizing.
Anything that we do on a regular basis screams for systems. One of the
biggest time wasters I see in my practice is people almost re-inventing
an activity from scratch over and over. For example, a letter or email
that you send to prospects or clients, inviting them to events each
month. The majority of that letter or email will likely contain the same
information, with only certain pieces changing. We don’t have to sink to
“form letters,” but we can certainly create templates to work from that
will save us time.
We use systems all the time without even thinking about it. You’d never
wash a dish, rinse it, dry it, then wash the next dish. You wash them
all, rinse them all, dry them all. There are hundreds of things a day
that require repetitive actions, where we can streamline through
systems, and save huge amounts of time. We just need to think a little
like we’re running a factory
Organizing is an enormous time saver. When we’re disorganized, we use
far more time to do everything. Every minute spent looking for something
is a minute not spent getting something done (read: making money.) I’ve
had clients do an old-fashioned “efficiency expert” exercise where they
literally time how long it takes to do everything all day (only for a
couple days; obviously that slows things way down.)
If it takes 2 minutes to locate a file, and you need to locate files 30
times in a day, that’s an hour of your day spent looking for files. That
says you need to re-organize your filing system to find things faster.
Yes, that’s why we touched on systems before organizing. Another great
organizing system would be where half an hour before you leave work, you
stop and put everything away in its place, then look at your project
load and organize the following day’s to-do list.
Prioritizing supports and reinforces your systems and your organizing
efforts. We all have multiple “projects” going simultaneously that need
our attention daily. (refer to last month’s episode:
Project Managing Your Life) We need to be able to look at each of
these projects as headed toward a singular endpoint where they converge.
Visualize them as something like starting gates. Now, when we look at
each one in turn, we can apply whatever criteria serves reaching that
endpoint. Is there a deadline or a dependency? Where’s the most revenue?
How long do you have to accomplish each project?
Prioritizing like this gives you a plan of action. Not having a plan of
action creates procrastination. We tend to waste a lot of time staring
at all the projects we have to do, rather than jumping in and getting
started. Choosing what to do next becomes systemized. You have
everything you need to accomplish it because you’re organized. You don’t
waste time on the wrong things, and you get more done on the right
things because you prioritized.
Getting more done in less time is the Holy Grail for most people. It
speaks to both increased revenue and more freedom. Learning how to
systemize, organize, and prioritize is much easier than you might think,
and the benefits are amazing.
Want to learn more about how to become the best you possible?
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or better yet,
contact me and see how we can design a program to fit your needs and desired outcomes.
- Ian J. Blei
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