The Best Time is Now


I didn’t get the blog written this week. I have a new client. In these pandemic times, that is fantastic news. And this client, well, like many businesses, they’re fighting for their lives. So I owed it to them to make sure they got some time from me. I also had commitments to a strategy planning session with my CCSBE Board. I also had work with our collaborators at Platinum Pivot. All this to say, if you miss your target and need to stage a recovery, the best time is now.

That wisdom has been around for a while. There’s an old Chinese proverb, often quoted, that says the best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now. Readers usually see a post from us on Thursday or Friday. Funny thing, though. We’re regular people, and once in a while, commitments just get in the way. We break promises even to ourselves. I bet that’s happened to you, as well. My friend, coach Debbie Adams, would tell you that when you’ve fallen off the wagon (your plan) you’ve got to chase that wagon!

We’ve all been going through unprecedented times. This week, conversations with clients, contacts, and colleagues have been taking on a different tone. They’re feeling a shift, like the frenzy of video calls is subsiding somewhat, and they’re getting work done. They’re looking at their businesses and making changes. They’re holding strategy sessions and planning for the future with a frisson of hope. These are good things. So if you’ve got something you’ve let slide, and it’s important to you, the best time is now. I just did it, reaching out to you.

I’m Megann Willson, and I’m one of the Partners here at PANOPTIKA. We work with our clients to help them see everything they need to know to make better decisions. If this was helpful to you, I hope you’ll share on social. You can also find us on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. Or you can subscribe to our news, straight to your inbox, using the orange button, below.

5 Productivity Hacks for Working from Home

Image by Tina Koehler from Pixabay

I’m going to start with the best hack of all. Go easy on your customers, employees, your kids. Most importantly, go easy on yourself. So yes, absolutely, it’s easy to fall into an unmotivated abyss. But the opposite doesn’t have to be climbing Mount Everest. Make a to-do list for the day and make sure you have things on there for work, for yourself, for family, and then for friends or community. Then slash it. Under each of those categories, ask yourself, “If I could only get one of these done today, which one is my must-do”? Focus on those, give them your best, and know that you’ve done enough. Don’t try and be the productivity Queen or King. 

Next, find an accountability partner. In your regular office, perhaps you had colleagues who would send cues like, “Hey, how’s the Perlmutter Project going?” , which would prompt you to think, “I’d better get on that!” Find a friend who needs the same nudge and agree to call each other once a day just to see if you’re on track for the one thing you’ve said is your most important thing.

Working from home might also feel like a good excuse to lounge around in your pj’s and work whenever you want. “Whenever you want” can easily can blur the lines between work time, and personal time and become all the time. Plenty of people are suffering from that now. It’s one thing to be comfortable, but the reason we dress up and show up at work should be for ourselves. When we feel confident, we sound confident. So if you’re making phone calls or connecting on video, dress for the way you want to show up. Not for the way you’re feeling right now. You’ll feel more productive, and you really will get more done. 

Plan ahead! If you’re sharing a small space, working around kids and school, phone calls, video calls, for more than one person can be a challenge. As much as possible, coordinate your calendar and practice time-shifting. Everyone has to give 100% on this, so the key is to be generous with your time, but greedy with your schedule. This will let you get things done without having the added apology time that close-quarters friction can cause.

And number five, try a modified Pomodoro. Let’s call it the “tomato sandwich”. Do a task you’re not thrilled about, but that must be done, and sandwich it with a thin layer of something you really want to get done for you. Wrote a draft of that report? Excellent. Treat yourself to a nice cup of tea. Finished your latest group video call? Read that interesting article you’ve been meaning to start. It might be Pavlovian, but it works!

I’m Megann Willson, and I’m one of the partners here at PANOPTIKA. We help our clients see everything they need to make better decisions for their businesses. You can find more ideas on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or click the button and subscribe for our Friday News You Can Use.

Take Your Time!

Planner and clock

Do you have a long list of things you want to do, and never enough time to get them all done? Here’s how to get control of your calendar. Take your time!
No, I don’t mean slowing down, although that can be helpful if you use the time to plan, prioritize, and jettison unhelpful commitments. I’m talking about making sure you take the time back, that others want to take from you. That unwieldy list of meetings? Ask for an agenda, and figure out whether there is something you need to learn or contribute. If your presence is simply to be another “warm body” in the room, you may be better off using your time and talent elsewhere. And what about those well-meaning colleagues, neighbours, or friends, who just want “a couple of minutes”, when you’ve scheduled time to work on an important project, or study, or follow through on some other commitment you’ve made to yourself or others? This is truly a time when you need to take [back] your time. Make sure you have a polite response ready, such as “I’ve made a commitment to work on something right now. Can I call/email you when I’m done?” or “I’m working to a deadline at the moment – let me put some time in my calendar for you for when I’m finished, so I can give you my full attention.”
Your time is valuable, as are your commitments to yourself and others. You owe it to yourself to take the time you’ve allocated. Remember: someone else’s lack of planning doesn’t need to be your emergency.

I’m Megann Willson, and I’m one of the partners and founders here at PANOPTIKA. Steve Willson and I can work with you to get your priorities straight, giving you more time to find, understand, and keep the customers that will help you build your business and make more money. When you can see everything, you’ll make better decisions. For more ideas, follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter. And if you’d like a power-packed message directly from us, every week, sign up below.