Dyslexia! That was me; that was my problem. You can’t imagine what a relief it is for an eighteen-year-old to learn that he is not mentally retarded.
Read more about Dyslexia
My life has changed a lot during this huge, albeit enforced, global lockdown experiment.
I am finding it quite an intriguing time for a re-evaluation of both my life and my work, and figuring out what’s really important when some of what I thought was important has been taken off the table.
I am playing the game of “What’s new for me?” and every day I notice something else new and wonder what I can do with it.
Some things are personal and perhaps even trivial, such as my body is clearly liking less frequent use of chemicals like deodorant, and there is little ironing to do.
Some things are work-related, such as the fact that the people who buy from me have changed, so my strategy must change. Keeping doing what I have been doing is simply not an option.
Every day, for a few days, play the game “What’s new for me?”
What do you notice, and what do you realise about what you notice?
If there is a benefit in what you notice, what would it be?
We must focus on the potential for sunshine in the storm, or all we see is storm. The sunshine is coming 🙂
Note: I am thinking about me. Of course I am. But my heart and thoughts go out to those on the front line. Most of us will never realise what you have done for us and what it cost you. Thank you.
It is clear there will be a fundamental schism: before COVID-19, during COVID-19, and after COVID-19 when a new normal emerges.
For some right now, survival is the only item on their to-do list. My heart goes out to you.
For others, it is trying to peer through the fog of uncertainty for what comes next. How will the dramatically changed economic and social order affect me and my family?
One day, our as yet unborn descendants will ask us, “What did you do during COVID-19?”
What do you want to be able to tell them?
McKinsey developed a model for business, but it is equally useful for you and me.
Resolve Determine what you need to do now to survive, and resolve to do it.
Resilience Realise that this is not a short-term glitch. We will all need to dig deep over the longer term.
Return Look ahead to what you will need to do to get things restarted, or to slow down if you were one of those who had to go into overdrive.
Reimagination Imagine as best you can what a post COVID-19 future will look like and how you can thrive in that future.
Reform Start shaping and reforming yourself. What can you learn now, to insulate yourself from future shock?
The McKinsey article is here.
So, back to our question: “What do I do?”
Change it to “What do I need to do now?” then do it now.
Tomorrow is another and different day.
This is the ninth in a series of tips on how to handle crazy busy and not get caught up in the ‘fear’ of failing to handle it, and the resulting stress chemicals.
Ninth tip: When do you need to go deep?
Most of us spend our working life in a frantic blur of email, meetings and competing priorities; and then the day is over. These incessant and different activities don’t allow us to focus deeply without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. They keep us at the shallow end of our ability to think.
Idea 1. Look at your to-do list. Which tasks on that list would benefit from deep and undistracted focus? And which ones can you handle easily with only a shallow focus?
Idea 2. You have probably already noticed that there are certain times of the day when you can concentrate more easily. When are those times for you?
Now join these two ideas together…
What deep work do you have to do, and when is the best time of day for you to do it?
Schedule these deep tasks in your diary, and in addition, make sure you’re not distracted from going deep while you do them.
Cal Newport, in his book ‘Deep Work’, recommends 25-minute deep slots with a five-minute break where you move, walk, look at the sky (but don’t get distracted by shallow work).
Try it out, and when you truly do deep work, it is likely you will be able to master more complicated information and produce better results in less time.
This is the eighth in a series of tips on how to handle crazy busy and not get caught up in the ‘fear’ of failing to handle it, and the resulting stress chemicals.
Eighth tip: How to defeat the problem box
We have all had the experience of a ‘Eureka’ moment when the solution to a problem pops unbidden into our mind. How does this happen?
Think of a problem as being in a box. When you are holding the problem tight in your mind, you are in the box with the problem and subject to the limitations of the box.
Sometimes we must let go in order to grab a problem in a different place or see it in a different way.
We need to disengage our conscious mind by meditation, playing football, socialising, having a nap, or if you are Dr House, watching General Hospital on TV. By the way, if you want a meditative TV programme, look on Netflix for Bob Ross and the Joy of Painting.
With your conscious mind ‘out to lunch’, your subconscious will roam free of the box and its limitations and see new possibilities and potential solutions.
The next time you bring your conscious mind back to the problem, do it gently in a relaxed state and ‘from a distance’. Notice what thoughts bubble up from your subconscious.
This is the seventh in a series of tips on how to handle crazy busy and not get caught up in the ‘fear’ of failing to handle it, and the resulting stress chemicals.
Seventh tip: How to say ‘no’ with style
In the last tip, I suggested you notice what was going on when you said ‘yes’.
Sometimes, you need to say ‘no’ – for you, for your health, for the good of the task you are declining.
Here is a basic sentence structure you can use
Acknowledge the other person’s view ‘however…’ Say what you feel State what you want to happen. Here are tips on how to use this structure and the art of saying ‘no’.
And here are some phrases you can use to say ‘no’ with style.
Do you want or need to take charge of your career? Are you a manager who wants to support a direct report in their career development? This topic is primarily aimed at the individual person wanting to be proactive about their future direction, but it also has plenty of hints and tips for line managers involved in talent management and motivation of staff and colleagues.
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