Christians, Lions and Wives of New Jersey

During the run-up to the fall of Rome, entertainment in that civilization became more violent and what many people these days would probably call immoral.

If you look back to Rome, you might not see the parallel to today but I’m sure you’re familiar with the words “Those who forget / ignore history are doomed to repeat it.

As Roman civilization flourished, they valued education, representative government as they knew it, the works of scholars of the time and times before theirs, infrastructure, design, innovation and more. Sound familiar?

But something changed. At some point, the Romans became complacent. Over-confident. In today’s lingo, we might look at their later years and characterize them as “fat and happy”.

When you read back over what Romans wasted their energy on as their civilization crumbled, you might describe it with words like class warfare, cultural differences and entertainment.

In Roman times, you became the entertainment by being different from the mainstream Roman populace. It didn’t matter whether it was religion, social standing, financial standing or whatever. If you qualified, you were a normal day’s entertainment.

By entertainment, I mean the target of the carnage that took place in the Coliseum and elsewhere.

Something turned them from improving themselves and their society to consuming the equivalent of today’s reality TV. The relationships and trust they built as a society and used to build Rome were consumed with drama, suspicion and conspiracy.

Fast forward 600 to 800 years (or more, depending on your view of history). What’s different today aside from the delivery mechanism? Today’s entertainment is a flat panel TV playing the “Real Housewives of New Jersey”.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, “the (Real Housewives) reunion was up 33 percent in 18-49 and 28 percent in total viewers compared with the prior year’s season ender. The ratings performance boosted the season 9 percent in viewership and 3 percent in the key demo compared to the second season. Bravo also touts that the New Jersey subsite lured 3.7 million page views and roughly 430,000 streams, 14 percent and 23 percent jumps respectively the day following the previous week’s episode.

That’s 3.4 million Americans sitting in the equivalent of the Coliseum, watching allegedly adult women in cocktail dresses take on the roles of Christian and lion.

3.4 million Americans and (as noted above) millions of internet users rewarding Bravo for creating this sputum.

How are you spending work time?

That Hollywood Report quote about viewership numbers was from FIVE years ago. What’s changed since then? Perhaps the names of the shows or the cast, but not the gist of what they deliver.

What are you spending your time on? What are you doing to help you, just you, stay on task and on target? If you look back at last week and are completely honest with yourself about what got done and what didn’t get done, what was the cause for things that didn’t get done?

What have you done to prevent that from happening again this week? Perhaps nothing, but now I hope you’re thinking about it, so I’ll ask in a different tense: What can do you to prevent that from happening again this week?

What can keep you on task? What can protect you and your time from inane distractions? What can be delegated, deferred or ignored, even for a day?

It isn’t solely you who has this challenge. What are you doing to help your team stay on task and on target? What can protect their time? What can they delegate, defer or ignore for a day? Assuming you are their direct manager, what are you doing to protect their time and allow them to focus on the one thing you really need them to get done this week?

How are you setting an example for your team in these areas? How are you reporting your findings on what makes you more effective, less frustrated, less distracted, more focused? What are you placing in front of them, ready for them take a swing at?

How are you spending your downtime? You may not have any influence over your team’s downtime, but you can still set an example.

Jim Rohn said (paraphrased) “You become the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Who are your five people? Are the “Real Housewives of New Jersey” on the list?

 

Twelve Days of You

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Creative Commons License photo credit: gagilas

Think about your day.

What did you do yesterday?

Were you productive? When I ask that, what I mean is this: Can you reel off a list of high-priority things that you accomplished?

Did you waste any time?

How much of each hour did you spend on real, focused, dedicated work that actually produces a profit (either directly or indirectly)?

Let’s go on the assumption that you are one of the most productive people around and spent 50 minutes of each hour doing work of a nature that I just described.

That leaves 10 minutes to stretch, hit the restroom, and do whatever.

The Price

What’s that cost?

At a billable rate of $50 per hour, that ten minutes is only worth $5.00.

Or so it seems.

If you only work 40 hours a week, that 10 minutes consumes 400 minutes (about six hours) a week, worth $200.00.

In terms of time, that seems like a lot. In terms of money, maybe not so much.

Until

Until you multiply that times 50 weeks a year, when it becomes… Ten grand. 300 hours. 12 days.

Yet, you’ll assert that you don’t have enough time.

If you were focused and organized, what could you get done in twelve days?

The Stop Doing List

Lots of people have todo lists that keep them on track throughout the day.

Without them, a lot of things would never get done – including by me.

Think about all the stuff you do. Make a list.

Start with daily tasks, then weekly, then monthly – but do 1 at a time.

Oh yeah, there’s another list of stuff that needs to get done.

Just not by you.

Stop

Of those things on the list(s) you just made, what can you stop doing?

What can be delegated?

What can be automated?

What really doesn’t need to be done at all?

What doesn’t move you forward toward your business goals?

Think hard

What things – if no longer done – would free up the time to do all the high-priority things you should be doing, but aren’t?

What could you get done if you weren’t doing the things on the “Stop Doing” list?

There’s no time


Creative Commons License photo credit: scragz

Today’s guest post comes from Adrian Savage, who was guest posting over at LifeHack.org when he wrote “There’s no time”.

If you struggle with having to much todo list at the end of your day/week/whatever, you might find the discussion of what amounts to a “ToDont list” helpful.

Too many customers? Now what?

Even today, plenty of businesses – particularly those run by consultants who charge by the hour – find themselves with too many customers.

How many is “too many”? Simple. One more than you can handle, regardless of the number, regardless of your economic situation.

Fortunately, it’s an early warning signal that your business model needs some work, though you might say it isn’t early enough:)  You shouldn’t feel bad about it – a lot of people find themselves in this situation: accountants, lawyers, doctors, dentists, chiropractors and others who charge by the hour.

Ann Rusnak talks about the too many customers problem in today’s guest post.

Where is she going? Among other places, right here.

Life and business control starts with systems

Many business owners would love to have control of their lives, yet they never seem to take any serious steps toward achieving that state.

I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m no poster boy in this department, but just like me, if you look around, you’ll find someone doing even worse than you at this.

It’s something I have to make a very determined effort to stay on top of.

For me, it all comes back to systems.

My system is fairly simple.

It consists of Outlook, lists and a Smartphone or similar that talks to Outlook and knows what’s on my todo list and calendar.

One thing that makes Outlook far more functional at this is David Allen’s Getting Things Done (GTD) add-in for Outlook.

If you haven’t read David’s book Getting Things Done, I suggest giving it a shot. I’ll warn you – You might not agree with his methods at first.

If you are one of those people with piles all over your desk and all over your office, constantly trying to figure out where things are or finding things late because they were in a pile, then David’s book is a definitely a worthwhile read for you.

Lets get back to the Outlook thing for a minute. GTD for Outlook adds a toolbar to the email viewer screen, and to the main Outlook screen.

One of the most important buttons on that bar is DEFER.

When you get an email that you dont need to deal with for 2 weeks, or it confirms an appointment (and the other user isnt using Outlook’s meeting confirmation/calendaring features), you can simply use the Defer button to quickly create an appointment on your calendar.

Best of all, that appointment has the original email attached to it, along with any files or what not that came along with it.

I’m not going to document the entire product, but that button not only saves me a lot of time (no manual entry of appointments) but it also helps me make sure I am where I’m supposed to be, when I’m supposed to be.

Give the book a read. I think you’ll get something out of it even if you don’t use Outlook. There are other programs (Including another add-in for Outlook) that were designed to work in the GTD system.

Control of everything is impossible, but effectively dealing with the disasters (or just random annoyances) is a lot easier when the controllable stuff is actually under control/management.

Remember, you set the tone for your business.

If you aren’t under control (or at least look it), then your staff won’t see much reason to be either. Or they’ll find an employer who is.

Same goes for clients.

Is your controllable stuff actually under control?

We dont need no stinking batches

Apologies to fans of the movie The Treasure of Sierra Madre, but Darren set me up so well, I just couldn’t resist.

Note: The embedded YouTube viewer is annoying the often-annoying Internet Explorer, so you can see the video here instead.

You see, Darren Rowse of Problogger, and Digital Photography School would argue that you do need those “stinking batches”.

In today’s guest post, Darren describes how batching his work allows him to get more done.

Productivity on a weekend!

Today’s guest post is about a couple of tools that I thought you might find handy.

Slither over to David Seah’s blog and you’ll find 2 pretty handy tools to make you more productive: The Printable CEO Series and The Compact Calendar.

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photo credit: ericmcgregor

As you might expect, I think the more planning and scheduling you can do – the more productive you will be – assuming there’s a dose of self-discipline in there as well. Look at it this way, it’ll give you lots more time to watch American Idol on the TiVo – on YOUR schedule 🙂