- Block off time on your calendar to complete key tasks―they can’t be compromised and need to be protected from less important activities
- Maintain your fitness―sustained energy is necessary to effectively complete a period of high performance
- Negotiate new timelines if your work exceeds the available time to complete it―attempting the impossible leads to poor quality
- Track your time―measurement leads to improved effectiveness
- Say no to new tasks―this is easier and more effective than trying to adjust your existing commitments to accommodate new ones
- Let everyone know you are entering a crunch time―intense focus can be misinterpreted. Also, this discourages people asking you take on new tasks
- Mandate a six hour sleep rule―any less and you quickly reach diminishing returns
- Set an end date for when the crunch period is over―if not, the crunch pace can become your new norm
- Capture lessons learned―throughout the period, ask yourself what is going well and what could be improved upon?
- Reward yourself and those close to you―celebrating acknowledges sacrifices made and helps frame the experience as worthwhile
Delegation has never come easy to me. It’s definitely not a strength. The first time I had access to an assistant, I didn’t know how to help this person help me.
My justifications for this poor time management cover the range of productivity misconceptions: it would take more time to explain what I want than to do it myself, I do this task really fast, I can do it the best, etc.
Starting a consulting business didn’t make delegation any easier. Often, there was only me to delegate things to and completing tasks myself gave me the satisfaction of keeping expenses low. I had no problem calling in experts to do work that I couldn’t do myself, but the small tasks remained areas of opportunity. My accountant offering to file my quarterly tax payments. I responded “No thanks, I like to do it.” Another productivity mistake.
Last week, I was reading a blog post by Steve Scott about his Kindle book launch. He shared that Fancy Hands, a virtual assistant subscription service, had completed his research for a small fee. I clicked on the link and became intrigued by this service.
Fancy Hands offers most types of tasks including setting up appointments and conference calls on your calendar, booking services, admin tasks such as editing emails, making calls on your behalf, research, etc.
I decided to start with the basic 5 tasks per month for $25 package to test how much I would use the service. The set up process took minutes on their easy to navigate website. It was great to see a 50 percent discount for the first month adjustment to my invoice too. Every step of the process made me happier.
This year, I haven’t had a lot of time to market Change with Confidence or my consulting business. This seemed like a perfect area to get help with. I wanted to send copies of my book to professors to see if there was interest in including it on their course reading lists or to have me as a guest lecturer. I have had excellent experiences with a few profs, but have not had time to expand my connections.
My first Fancy Hands request was to compile a list of profs who teach organization development or change management courses in the US and Canada. In time, I will create another task for the rest of the world.
Once I hit send, a banner appeared saying “relax while we take care of that for you.” I thought, this is also a de-stressing service.
I can’t wait to review the results of my request. My guess is that once I get used to the service I will think of many other tasks that are better completed by Fancy Hands. Delegation is easier than I thought. Phil