Confession time. I use to stink at time management and project management by nature. Like pole cat/skunk bad. (The former is what some of us back woods southerners call them…) I would be rather unproductive at productivity.
The epiphany came at my previous position when suddenly I took charge of a team of eight people and we had a few bumps in the road.
But first, I have to talk my former colleagues up. They remain some of the smartest, hard-working, and most passionate people I’ve ever encountered in a professional environment. It probably resulted from with us all enjoying a challenging job where our phenomenal boss enabled us to be creative. The ladies and gentlemen simply and consistently went above and beyond.
You may even blow a gasket when I mention this team of government contractors outpaced any challenger and frequently overdelivered on their projects. Credit absolutely goes to my boss and my forerunner in my own position. Yet here I was. At least I wasn’t exactly inheriting a team of backups where all the upperclassman had gone into the draft.
But back to productivity.
Our situation was unique, their probably wasn’t another cell like us in the branch that we worked with. This meant we were blazing some trails and going into unchartered waters. This also meant we had some interesting problems.
Problems like getting two competing contractor companies’ teams to work together. Other problems involved a shoestring budget that most startups would run away from. In addition to this, we engaged the typical problems of being a bit of a disruptor. Disruption, while often overused as a term, is a very real phenomenon when you start to talk about technology intruding upon the space of paper and pencil.
Throw in important projects that explicitly determined how many of those excellent contractors we could employ in a given year. Needless to say, there was a good bit going on.
Drowning in Problems
As anyone who manages people will tell you, their problems become your problems. There are times when you must navigate the waters of different interpretations and levels of drive. There are times when you are called as a leader to shield your team from threats. And this doesn’t include the project management aspect.
Managing people is hard. Managing people and correctly managing your time is even more difficult. Even if you are a solopreneur with a sweet side hustle, the weight will fall on your shoulders. There will be sleepless nights and situations with clients to diffuse.
You may even have to fire someone. Heck, you may have to hire someone. I’m still not sure which of those is worse.
I Needed Productivity Help
They say the first step to solving a problem is admitting that you have one…or something like that.
I had a productivity problem.
Once I conceded things existed in which I didn’t fully grasp, the wisdom of a few different writers and friends began to weigh on me. I heard lots of talk about finding a mentor but I thought mentors were the sort of thing that sounded clever on paper but failed when it came to the whole IRL (In real life) thing.
Everyone talks about finding mentors, but I actually had a couple thrust upon me when I wasn’t looking for them at the time.
The first was my boss at the time. He had been in a war zone and had some great stories to tell. Yet the guy had a knack for calling BS on techies. He could call any of our bluffs with the wisdom that came only from experience. Then, he would also go to bat for us with the fiercest loyalty. He could reason with the staunchest critics. If you could bottle up his traits, we would all be better and I’d be rich.
However, we were somewhat alike on a key point. We tended to react to the things that came at us. It wasn’t that we sidetracked our way into the emotions or speed bumps. We just would occasionally lose the forest for a tree or two.
It wasn’t the 30,000-foot view of the project where I struggled. It was in the day-to-day application. In the weeks leading up to deadlines and demos.
One of the things I found out about mentors is that they can be virtual or even found in a book.
I had long been reading the blog of a guy named Michael Hyatt. Michael was formerly the CEO of a large publishing house but had recently struck out on his own to help people write books, blogs, and generally be successful. As part of his offerings, Michael launched this course called Best Year Ever.
First, let me admit that “a friend” may have purchased some of those other affiliate marketing schemes with the hope of making it rich. This “friend” quickly found himself mired in affiliate funnel hell with loads of emails and offers to purchase stuff which made you money, although it was unclear once you started watching the videos and reading the blog posts as to exactly how…
How could I ever trust one of these online courses again? (Asking for a friend!!)
Michael slowly won me over as I implemented some of the wisdom from his blog posts. With my pressing need as a result of my then newfound position at work, I decided to sink just under $200 on his Best Year Ever course.
Boy, did it pay for itself!
In the course I learned that writing down my goals really helped me to gain the clarity I needed. As I will share in a future blog post, the goals I wrote down magically became complete. Just putting pen to paper or keyboard key to finger (and printing!) helped me set my sights on goals that improved life at home and at work.
And that’s how Michael Hyatt became my virtual mentor.
The really good news is Michael will offer that course later this year.
The Productivity Pitch – The Seven Deadly Sins of Productivity
The other really good bit of news is that Michael is back to his old tricks. He launched a new course called Free to Focus™ that deals with effective productivity:
Free to Focus™ is a total productivity system designed to help high achievers accomplish more by doing less. Using the top tier strategies in this course, young leaders and elite professionals alike can free up time and energy to focus on the people and projects that matter most. Sadly, most leaders spend 80% of their work days tackling the urgent and only 20% on high-leverage ventures that move their businesses forward. This system flips that ratio.
If you’re still skeptical, the good news is that there is a quickly-approaching webinar, called “The 7 Deadly Sins of Productivity: The Hidden Habits Undermining Your Performance—and How to Change Them.”
Michael will teach exactly what things are stealing your time and focus each day. He narrows it down to seven common habits that compromise what we accomplish. The bonus is he actually will address how to overcome these seven problems!
If you care about finishing projects faster, getting rid of your to-do list, and blocking out distractions, this free webinar is for you.
Seats will go fast, so claim yours and become more productive today!
(Psst! I also hear Michael will have a few bonuses up his sleeve. Go check it out!)