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10 Tactics to Better Manage Your Energy and Time 

On Monday I talked about better managing your energy. 

Below are my top 10 Tactical Ways I manage Energy and Time

“Einstein is reported to have said that if he only had one hour to solve a problem he would spend 55 minutes defining the problem and the remaining 5 minutes solving it routinely.”

  1. Each Saturday morning for an HOUR (it’s a time I tend to be freshest) I re-organize my calendar for the next weeks ahead and ask myself: 
    • Does this meeting serve my top 5 priorities this month, my team (direct team, boss and partner teams)? 
    • How many mentor meetings do I have in the calendar? Optimal 2 per week. 
    • How many peer collaboration meetings that provide me inspiration? Optimal 2-3 per week 
  2. I write a Focus for the week email to my team outlining our top 4-5 priorities for the week. They tell me it helps keep them on track and is a check for me against my responsibilities as a team leader. 
  3. I put my own oxygen mask on first. Starting with the night before – I check email between 8-10pm, after my morning routine (meditation, gratified and morning workout), Noon, 3 pm and 530pm. I drive my agenda, my email does not drive me! 
  4. I have learned how to gracefully say “no” to relevant but not high priorities for my week.
  5. I have learned to leave elasticity in my days and week, for fires that are likely to come up. Nothing worse than zero time in the calendar to address something from your boss that is critical. 
  6. Know what meetings you will move if something does come up. Take the thinking out of it on a stressful day 
  7. I book slots “do not book” to give me time to think and to get good quality work done. A recommendation by the former President of Linked in  
  8. Write down two things you are grateful for at the end of each day PLUS one thing you could have improved. This gives you perspective. 
  9. Use Google Scheduler for email (or similar app) to handle emails you are ripping through to send them out at the time that is best for YOU. 
  10. Create an Aspiration list of things you would like to do (sometime) but are neither important nor urgent. This gets it out of your head (ie clears the mind for priorities) and gives you something to review when you have time. Mine is currently 50 deep, and once every two weeks I move things up from that list and do them, when relevant

 

If this is really critical for you right now, buy “The One Thing” By Gary Keller (hardcover or audio) and prioritize finishing in the next month to supercharge this skill…or add to your new aspiration list. 🙂

Defeat Average today. 

 

Colin

You are overwhelmed, anxious and can’t get everything done

Problem:

You are overwhelmed, anxious and can’t fathom how you are possibly going to get everything done in the week, including reading and returning all your emails!

Many people ask me how I manage time effectively?

Solution:

Read this old gem I wrote on Managing your energy and not your time, and…

Answer these four questions:

  • When am I at my best?
  • If I look back at my best days, what has been consistent in all of them?
  • Who do I lean on for positivity when I get anxious or overwhelmed?
  • What is the best way I recharge my soul?

Stay tuned Wednesday for tactical answers on how to better manage your energy and your time.

Defeating Average

Colin

Even Broadway performers have the yips

It’s not how you start, but its how you finish! As my wife Blake tells me, people are only going to remember 1-2 things from a talk or a performance. Perhaps the opening, a compelling story in the middle and a strong close.

What happens if you have a slow start? We’ve all been there. Lock it in and crush those 1-2 moments that people are going to remember long after it’s done!

We were at a cabaret performance on a cruise through the Greek Islands on holidays and we had some world class Broadway performers put on shows each night. Most of them perform scenes or songs in well-known shows and do it over and over again at the world-class level. We are talking Tony nominee and award winners. They are not as used to stringing a number of unconnected songs or routines together for a cabaret. As they got settled into the one-hour performance, a couple had slow starts. You could tell they were getting their grounding in the routine.

I noticed something in each performance and talked to one of them about it after.

They took a slow methodical breath in, paused and recentred.

They tapped into emotion they had experienced in the past from their top performances and you could see them instantly lock-in. Bang! The next song was 100% on target.

That is the difference between good performers and great performers. Great are maniacally prepared and they know there will be times when they freeze and are prepared to work through it and deliver mastery.

It’s comforting to know, even the best get nervous and to see how they fight to get back on the tune.

Defeating Average.

Colin

Thank You For Showing Up

Your pursuit may be individual but how you get there always has roots in a team.

In my 1st year at Salesforce, we had a bunch of like-minded sales guys and gals who did a lot together. Worked hard, sold software had fun and found time to give back to our community.

One thing we also did together that summer was meet one to two times per week at 6 am in a local park for a workout. Our friend Paul played high-level basketball and he ran us through some paces he did in his camps.

Push ups, sit ups, carry bricks up and down hills and line runs. We were exhausted every time! We were also building the blocks or bricks of accountability. Just making that mental decision to get out of bed after 5 am to make it on time built our mental muscle.

Once we were there, we always had a blast…and grabbed breakfast together after with a lot of laughs.

We had many reasons not get out of bed or show up AND on most days we had 9-10 strong-willed reasons (with tired eyes and big smiles) to make sure we did.

How do you show up when you need to?

Defeating Average.

Colin

It takes a village over centuries to succeed

We are in Athens and the Greek Islands on holidays this week! We spent a great day in Athens exploring!

Home of the first Modern Olympic Games in 1896. What an amazing place to visit. The only stadium in the world built entirely of marble.

I’ve watched every Olympic Games since I was 6 years old, and one of the reasons I was inspired to run and push a little bit harder to a goal every year. What I love about the Olympics:

It only comes around every 4 years (summer games and I love the winter games too, coming from Canada) and you have one moment in time to capture glory for the rest of your life
For those who don’t, they are still amazing olympians and have so much else in their life that defines them
Every Olympian’s dream started by watching the generation before them and had the spark lit to commit to excellence
Some Olympians perform at the highlest level in 2,3,4 olympics spanning 12-16 years!
No one does this alone. It takes a team, a village and in many cases an entire country behind them.

Similar to any athlete’s Olympic dream, everyone of us who has pushed into uncharted waters, only do so with the support of many over a long period of time. When you support others dream, you support your own.

Some quick eduction on the stadium and olympics for those interested.

This stadium was built on the site of a simple racecourse by the Athenian statesman Lycurgus in 330 BC! It went largely unused in later periods and was excavated in 1869 and hosted the Zappas Olympics in 1870 and 1875. After being refurbished, it hosted the opening and closing ceremonies of the first modern Olympics in 1896. It was used for various purposes in the 20th century and was once again used as an Olympic venue in 2004!

An amazing piece of history.

Have a great weekend.

Colin

How can you achieve staggering growth?

 

I believe that a commitment to a deliberate practice of leaning into discomfort just 1-2 % daily can produce incremental and staggering growth in capacity.
 
In my first professional 10 years, I wasted energy, I was inconsistent and kept needing to restart from zero every year and left a lot of opportunity on the table.  I was of a fixed mindset and let failure derail me instead of embracing it as a learning opportunity. 
 
In my second career, I embraced failure as tuition to success. I realized by pushing towards my boundaries daily and leveraging the momentum of consistent effort and compound benefits, I could attain my true untapped potential.
 
It’s never too late to write the best chapters of your life.
 
Defeat Average this week.
 
Colin

Start by hitting it down the fairway

Even for one of the best golfers of all time, that was the advice he followed on the first hole. If you can hit it down the center of the fairway to start the final round, it makes everything else easier.

He last won a major golf championship (of the years 4 big tournaments) over 10 years ago! This will go down as one of the greatest comebacks in sports history!

Two things said about his performance:

  • “I did all the small things right today. Small things lead to big things.”
  • He used “controlled aggression in his approach.” Not too risky but leaning on his competitors.

A couple of good lessons useful for all phases of performance.

Defeat Average this week.

Colin

Perform like a champion

“Success is often gained by not doing battle, the strategy is as much in knowing what not to do as it is in knowing what to do.”
– Sun-Tzu

Excerpt from the “The Way of the Champion by Jerry Lynch” NCAA Championship Coach and Sports Psychologist.

“An accomplished jazz musician once told me that truly good music is the result of the space between the notes. The pause makes it what it is. Musical pauses are not a lack of action; they are an integral part of the action. So it is with your training and work schedule. Getting in good shape, being at your best regardless of your sport or career, is the result of the rest (pause) or space between the intervals of work. Your cellular structure is fragile and requires periods of rest. Like a champion, you need to learn how to massage your mind and body into shape as opposed to excessively forcing or pushing it there.”

Find your time to battle, not battle and enjoy the pauses between the notes.

Defeating Average Daily.

Colin

Clear is kind, unclear is unkind

Tough conversations are critical to your success as a leader. It’s a combination of empathy, aligning on values and being courageous on a conversation.

Brene Brown spoke to our company earlier this month and as she shared “Clear is kind, unclear is unkind.”  We often sugarcoat or give people half truths to make ourselves feel better when giving feedback.

“Not getting clear with a colleague about your expectations because it feels too hard, yet holding them accountable or blaming them for not delivering is unkind.”

Of course, you need to invest in the relationship and build trust to earn the right to give feedback.

Be Clear.

Defeating the Average within.

Colin

When your odds are 42 to 1…you should just go home

On Feb 11, 1990, Buster Douglas went to Tokyo, Japan a 42 to 1 underdog against Mike Tyson for the boxing heavyweight championship of the world.

I was a big Tyson fan when I was younger, most of my friends were. There was just something about his awesome power in the ring and the show he put on. I remember where I was and the moment I realized Tyson was in trouble.

Most people don’t know Douglas’ back story and that his father was an ironclad contender in the middleweight division. Buster lived in the shadow of his father’s legend in the ring for much of his life. His mother was his rock. On this night, he lived up and came out of his shadow.

ESPN and the 30 for 30 sports franchise just released the unknown story of Buster Douglas in 42 to 1.

If you have ever felt like you haven’t quite lived up to your potential (spoiler, we all do) or there is a championship sequel that you need to write, this is an hour worth spending.

Defeat the Average within.

Colin