As we head into the last three months of the year—some of the busiest and most demanding—we know that evergreen subject of self management is on people’s minds more than usual. Colleagues are back (and hopefully energized) from vacations, budgets are being set, and year end goals are looming. Your clients (and prospective clients) are evaluating their successes and failures, and thinking about new ways to maximize efficiency and engagement. To help you establish some new self-management strategies during this busy season, we’ve curated three popular blog posts by Actionable founder Chris Taylor.
Inspired by Seth Godin (if you didn’t know, Chris is a huge fan of Seth Godin), Chris discusses the 70% Capacity strategy—i.e. only booking 70% of your time. This is a really powerful time management concept that can pay dividends if you’re only willing give it a shot. Chris walks through some sample calculations that will open your eyes to how your time is actually spent, and demonstrates the benefits of reserving 30% of your time for creativity and spontaneity.
It was Benjamin Franklin who said, “If you want something done, ask a busy person.” Why is it that a busy person can deliver faster and more consistently than a non-busy person? Chris explores popular theories of why this is so, and why he ultimately believes it comes down to too much downtime. Fortunately, momentum begets momentum, so just taking a few small steps when you are feeling stuck will get you on the right track fairly quickly. While small breaks can be a great tool for recharging and reevaluating (especially breaks for exercise, food, and mental clarity), it’s important to keep up your momentum to get more done in the long term.
When you take your eye off the ball, even just a little bit, it causes a domino effect across your work. As Chris writes, “real work is not about how many boxes you check. It’s about what you bring to each of those boxes.” If you’re not creating something exceptional everyday, you need to address it and find some way to fix it. Life often gets busy and overwhelming, so it can be tempting to lean back into a reactionary posture. As Chris says, that “grey zone of mechanical execution is depressing.” If you find yourself sliding into that mode, it’s much better to admit it and find ways to address it so that you can give your colleagues and clients your best.
Here at Actionable we are obsessed with making work better. As a virtual workforce, it’s crucial that each team member has strong self-management skills and can contribute at a high level. And because we work with a fantastic and motivated community of consultants who run their own businesses, it’s essential for us to practice what we preach and manage our work with passion and enthusiasm.
I will be thinking about these self-management tips as things ramp up this season. What are your top tips for self-management?