Issue No. 117 of Your Weekly Staff Meeting features a book on “how to get things done.” The author quotes Kerry Gleeson, “This constant, unproductive preoccupation with all the things we have to do is the single largest consumer of time and energy.” And this reminder, visit my Management Buckets website with dozens of resources and downloadable worksheets for your staff meetings.
News flash! Everyone is overwhelmed at work and home. Too much to do. Not enough time. Emails flood the inbox. Interruptions are interrupted by interruptions. Constant pressure. The office has become the ER. Do you need a time management workshop—or a sabbatical? Neither says David Allen.
Warning—this week’s book has a radical answer, but it’s not for the timid. The author writes, “No software, seminar, cool personal planner, or personal mission statement will simplify your workday or make your choices for you as you move through your day, week, and life. What’s more, just when you learn how to enhance your productivity and decision-making at one level, you’ll graduate to the next accepted batch of responsibilities and creative goals, whose new challenges will defy the ability of any simple formula or buzzword-du-jour to get you what you want, the way you want to get it.”
Author David Allen adds, “I can attest that there is no single, once-and-for-all-solution” to the goal of stress-free productivity. But…he does have an antidote “for the imbalance many people bring onto themselves.” The book, he promises, is “a vaccination against day-to-day fire-fighting (the so-called urgent and crisis demands of any given workday).”
Part of his solution is getting it off your mind (so you can live stress-free) and into a system. Next it’s understanding that it’s not about time management. “The real issue is how we manage action.” Example: Will a task take less than two minutes? Do it. If more than two minutes: delegate it or defer it. (Allen has a helpful yes/no flowchart for handling “stuff.”) He uses “buckets” terminology (I like this guy) and says you must master the five functions of collection, processing, organizing, reviewing and doing.
To order this week’s book from Amazon, click on this title: Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, by David Allen. It’s a national bestseller. You’ll get the most value out of it when you link up with two or three others on your team and hold yourselves accountable to implement the very practical principles. If you’ve tried everything else, but are still hopelessly overwhelmed with work—what have you got to lose? This book might help you reduce the stress sooner than you think.
Your Weekly Staff Meeting Questions:
1) On a scale of one to 10 (10 is excellent), how effective are you at “getting things done?” What is working for you?
2) Who would be willing to read this book—team up with two or three other accountability partners—and possibly learn a whole new way to experience stress-free productivity?
Practice, Practice, Practice - Insights from Mastering the Management Buckets: 20 Critical Competencies for Leading Your Business or Nonprofit
One of the big ideas in the Drucker Bucket, Chapter 4, in Mastering the Management Buckets, is to “practice, practice, practice the art of management.”
Peter Drucker preached that management is like any other discipline. World-class musicians hone their gifts up to eight hours a day. Athletes practice, practice and practice. Professional golfers finish 18 holes and head to the driving range. Tiger Woods has a coach.
What do hassled managers do? After the nine-to-five battle (more often 7:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M.), they overeat, drink or distract their joyless days with mind-numbing entertainment. On the other hand, great managers stay at it—always digging for fresh insights and solutions. Drucker writes, “We now accept the fact that learning is a lifelong process of keeping abreast of change. And the most pressing task is to teach people how to learn.”
As you mentor your direct reports, help them with a professional development plan for the next 12 months—and ensure that they have opportunities to practice the art of management. Step one: demonstrate how they can exercise their management muscles with a daily dose of Drucker. Read The Daily Drucker: 366 Days of Insight and Motivation for Getting the Right Things Done. To buy this book and to download a list of Drucker’s books, visit the Drucker Bucket on our website.
CEO/Board Dialogue – Jan. 20-21, 2009. CEOs and Board Chairs: Join your colleagues for this first-ever dialogue for the CEO and the board chair, a 24-hour retreat in sunny Phoenix in January with Bob Andringa, Fred Laughlin and Dale Lefever. It’s limited to 12 teams of two (24 people). For more information, visit www.CEODialogues.org.