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June

2014
 

 
    A Little Optimization, Anyone?

The Integram: 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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A Little Optimization, Anyone?
(click for podcast)
So What's Your Problem?
Remember word 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.


Redefining SOP
The 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.

Systemizing
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
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
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?
 Come visit the web site, 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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Resource Links:


Conscious Communication - the podcast series

Melissa Risdon's Raving Fan Radio Show:
Ian Blei on the
Integram (TM) -understanding ourselves, each other, and our relationships

KG Stiles: "Conversations that Enlighten and Heal"
Ian Blei on Kind Ambition and the
Integram (TM)

Kind Ambition - 2nd Edition

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Character Driven - Ever want to create characters that were so believable, that people forgot they were characters?
 


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The Optimizer
Ian Blei,
Director of the
Institute for Integral Enneagram Studies and
President of
Optimized Results
415.826.0478

 

 

Kind Ambition

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Kind Ambition:
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to Achieve Success
 Without Losing Your Soul
 

 

 

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Kind Ambition is about you having the tools to slide over to the driver’s seat of your own life.  Circumstances will always be changing, seemingly thwarting our plans, but we don’t have to be  thrown around by them. You can be in charge of your choices and actions more than you might imagine - yet.

 

Kind Ambition is written for you, as a practical guide you can use right now.  It is a collection of  insights and actions designed to help you move forward and get more out of your life at home and at work.  The chapters hold to a formula of first giving you a new way to look at things, then offering you tangible Action Steps to try them out, and finally some things to notice when you do.

 

 

 

 

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