Accepting that things take time isn’t always easy. I am for instance someone who just loves to get things done right here right now. I cannot stand emails building up in my inbox. Yet, I am learning. I am learning that no one will read my emails on a Friday night, so why not email on a Monday. Yet, I am also still getting emails on a Saturday morning from people thinking to clear their inbox at the weekend for Monday. Never mind.
There are David Allen’s 6 Horizons of Focus:
Begin with the bigger picture. Have a vision to live for, a goal to achieve. David Allen suggests his six horizons of focus. Starting at 50,000 feet with the overview and vision down to the ‘runway’, the daily action points what needs doing. This ground level then equates to action lists. The 10,000 ft level, the projects, are an overview of projects that need finishing, implementing or organising. The Area of Focus, 20,000 feet, is about the areas of responsibility at work like relationships, quality control, customer service etc. The goals and objectives are the 12-18 months goals, like discussions to have with the team or the family. Goal setting for a period of time. I also do a quarterly forecast/review which I would put down there, additionally to a yearly one. Vision, however, being almost on top, refers to long term goals and things you would like to achieve in life.
It is more a strategic direction. The purpose on top is about your value in life. It is similar to Anthony Robbins ‘need for purpose’ – what do you want to achieve in life? David Allen also adds the principles in that category, like which behaviours are crucial for success and which standards need maintaining.
Too quick of a summary? Let’s look at an example. I built companies. Every year I sat down with my boss to discuss what we needed to achieve: financial, sales, marketing, positioning, bigger picture. Then we broke it down to quarters, mainly based on revenue. I then took it away to make my own quarterly plan, which resources I use for it etc. Then the monthly targets and goals, broken down to weekly accomplishments in order to achieve the bigger picture. Did it work? Very much so!
In 2012 I wrote a blog post about Life Life Balance:
Triggered by an article in the New York Times, I thought I pick up on some thoughts re life life balance. I have written about work life balance before. Both when discussing the move towards the South coast and regarding jobs and personal development.
I prefer the term life life balance as we do not balance work and life, we essentially balance our life.
Actually, there is a reason why I am so interested, and to my mind very good, in productivity. I get a lot more things done than others in less time and know when and where I can get things done. What do I mean by that?
On a normal day I get up at 5 am. (even back in 2012) Check any important emails, check for podcasts or video on demand services, and go on the treadmill for 30 minutes to catch up on those. Following that I have a small healthy breakfast whilst catching up on the news, shower and be out of the door for my half seven train.
My 50 minute train journey is different every day. Depending on my workload I might nap in the morning, catch up on emails, RSS reader, read a book, write a blog post or listen to a podcast. I normally do not nap in the evening but still catch up on the day’s events, doing similar things to what I do in the morning.
Since moving to the South coast I try to leave the office on time on Mondays and Fridays, and normally not later than six or half six during the week. I know anything outside those hours can be dealt with on the journey or when home. I do not need to be physically present in the office.
Latter is what has changed since the 1950ies when people had rules: clock in clock out, time stamps, or wife is a stay at home mum whilst the husband is the breadwinner. I would try to be home for dinner but currently the kids eat around 5 pm and are in bed by 7pm. That means unless I leave the office extremely early I cannot see them during the week. But some days I see them in the morning.
I am lucky that I can work from home regularly and try to do so too. It makes a huge difference to spend some time with the family during the week.
Another key to a good life balance is to be able to switch off. Not only your mind but also your phone. Evenings and weekends are key. Before I had two separate phones I got calls and emails late at night or at the weekend. I would not do that again. If you spend most of your week working, then you need to be fully present at the weekend, to spend as much time with your family as you can. Full on!
Note in 2015 this has changed, I now only have one phone but separate my work emails through an app. That essentially means I still have one number but the work emails can be turned off anytime. That helps me to unwind from work but not having to carry two phones.
It seems like I am always full on. Relaxation happens in the evening, weekends or whilst running. Or on the way home travelling. Having a GTD (Getting Things Done) like system that allows for optimal task management plus my productivity suite on my iPad makes me super efficient on the go.
Or at least I like to think so. There are still some improvements I can make, and I guess I am lucky because my company understands I have family and does not judge me on time in the office but results. Latter is how we should manage performance in the 21st century.
How do you manage?
Just to summarise the reason I brought in the Work Life Balance post. It hopefully shows that you can prioritise, and put your priorities in order. Note that the word priority used to be singular until early 19th century, so one could only ever have one priority. Which makes sense.
What is your overarching goal and what is your daily routine to get the ground work done?
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