You'd think that after I reinstalled the 32 bit edition of Vista that my machine had broken with the amount of blog posts I've put up lately. In fact, that's not really the case. I've just been really busy. The big difference is that I've actually been getting some things done, and not really had time to talk about it online. I need to fix that, though. (The talk about it online part.) 😉
Before I get into what I have been doing, (which won't be in this post,) I need to give a long overdue shout out to my friend Steve French.
I met Steve after posting about my time management woes. In fact, Steve emailed me to offer his help, and I took him up on the offer. His company is called Infomatix, the LinkedIn summary of which reads "We work with growth-oriented entrepreneurs who want to reach new levels of productivity and profitability." I'd call him a performance coach.
Steve's focus was interesting. For 10 weeks we had a one hour conference call to discuss certain aspects that could help improve performance and time management. We talked about goal setting, and time management techniques, email handling, file management, (physical) desktop management, and a host of other topics in that period. And while I won't share all his secrets, there are a few things that have really stuck with me since our regular calls ended back in November:
- Kolbe profiling is really cool. I have a new staff member (yeah, AGAIN). This time though, I spent the money and got two candidates to complete Kolbe profiles, measured against an "ideal" profile that I completed, as well as against my profile. The results narrowed us down to the ideal candidate, and she's still with us and doing great. I'm a total convert to Kolbe, despite the fact that my wife (and the employee too, actually) thinks it is all hocus-pocus!
- Positive focus is drastically undervalued. Steve started every session with the following three questions: "What are the 3 biggest successes you had last week? What made them successes? What do you need to do next on them?" I'll admit that the first few sessions I kind of rolled my eyes a bit, but played game with him. I can honestly say now that it is probably the part of the sessions that I miss the most, as it really made me think. I've spent my entire life working on what I have to do next, never looking back in the rear-view to appreciate what I have already accomplished. That may sound funny, but that is a truism, and it's something that I have changed in my life. I now start every morning listing 5 positive things I accomplished yesterday, and then plan out the things I want to get done during the day.
- I re-evaluate my goals after lunchâ€¦ wellâ€¦ most of the time. If I'm not so focused on getting something done, anyway. But if I'm humming and hawing and not being productive, I force myself to. The question is "What do I have to do to leave work on time and happy?" You know what? I leave work on timeâ€¦ and happy. Not every day, as some days are tough, but I definitely have way less stress than I used to, despite still having a huge work list.
- I work far better in Outlook than I used to as well, thanks to some power training that Steve helped me out with. My inbox is empty, my task lists are not covered in red (overdue) items, and I do book appointments into my calendar to follow up on things. All very different from a year ago.
I found it really easy to connect with Steve, as he has worked in both finance and IT, as I have. He's been in many of the same situations I have with workload, and pressures. But being able to swap war stories is only so much when you're trying to help someone. Steve was very adaptable to my needs. If something he showed me just wasn't something I could work with, he encouraged me to call him out on it, which I certainly did. We both recognized that some things work for some people, and not for others, so he'd either come up with alternative methods or not, as the case fit at the time.
Another interesting thing about Steve is his attitude to technology. The more I look around, the more I read, I become very dissatisfied with the user interfaces and workflows that are built by programmers with either little regard for, or understanding of, the way people really work. Steve's focus is helping you get your technology to work for you efficiently. He'll show you the tips and tricks you need in Outlook, Sharepoint, Windows Search or whatever, to let you get things done more quickly.
As you no doubt have picked up, I was really happy with my coaching from Steve, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend him to anyone in need of some help in this area. You can find Steve's website and contact information at www.infomatix.ca, and his public LinkedIn profile is available here.