How can you let your hero know your appreciation this week?
And….who would see you as THEIR heroes?
Carol Keers’ Executive Presence Tips
In the eleven (11) years since the first iPhone (pictured) was delivered in 2007, the time spent on “collaboration” by office workers has jumped from 35% to 85%. Collaboration includes email, texting, messaging apps, meetings, international travel, audio-calls, video-calls, etc. During the same period, the “Happiness Index” survey shows that people in the USA have gone from 4th to 19th in the world. The current Harvard Business Review article “Collaboration Without Burnout” and the New York Times article, “You Could Be Too Much of a Team Player” both talk about the distractions, and the potential drag on productivity, by being too collaborative.
There is little question that social media, email and text messages have both positive and negative impacts. Easy access to our life during all our non-sleeping hours can consume our lives. It now appears to have reached the point where it is hurting us more than helping us do our jobs and live our lives. How do we save the good things and control the bad things?
One “life changer” my busy clients have reported is booking two one-hour blocks on their calendars to think, plan for meetings, walk, or do work that takes thought (not checking email). My clients report that most of the time they are able to maintain at least one hour per day. That hour or two of think-time makes all the difference in their ability to make right choices. Time to think about where they can provide the most value, and when they should say no to collaboration requests, positions them well to make good decisions.
For those who do not have a door they can close, find a place. An empty conference room, a coffee shop, a library, or time at home are all alternatives my clients have used successfully.
I am a strong believer in good collaboration. Being clear about where our contribution makes sense and is truly needed. Good agendas and meeting minutes make it easier to get value without attending the meeting, for example. Another example is a well run meeting that includes the right people; a clear agenda and clear responsibilities may avoid the need for several meetings on the topic. Modern communication tools make it easy to report progress to those concerned.
Learning to prioritize and limit your commitments (in a gracious way) is a powerful tool. Many people, myself included, get a good feeling from helping others. Those feelings are the lubricant of society. They can also be the drug of burnout. The truth is, many of us try to ignore the fact that 24 hours in a day is not negotiable. Saying “yes” to one request will say “no” to something else in your life.
What is truly important to you? What do you not want to sacrifice by saying “yes” to the less important things. I am an exception in my choice to limit my television time to one hour per day with my wife, who enjoys that time together. Others find binge watching of great programs as very rewarding. The only question is, are you making the trade-offs you want when the 24-hour day is ended?
We are social animals who need others in our lives. Most people spend more time in their work community than their personal life community. It’s good and natural to do what is essential to support that community. Current studies indicate our society has probably gone too far on the collaboration continuum. It is not wise to close the door on collaboration, but it is wise to close your door on distractions for a couple of hours each day.
My client who tended to rush and interrupt himself said, “The molecules start bouncing in my brain like a heated-up beaker when I get excited!” No, he wasn’t a scientist – he was a Vice President of Sales!
So, what should you do when you start rambling?
Manage those “molecules” of thought and you will be showing consistent executive presence.
Carol Keers’ Executive Presence Tip
Some schools no longer teach cursive writing. Most students use tablets or computers. Now studies are finding that those who hand-write their notes are better able to remember and do better on tests. Those typing their notes tend to capture the teacher’s words, but those using written notes tend to include a more thoughtful selection of what is learned.
I used to write notes continually in a journal or paper calendar. Now it’s all on a computer. I seldom went back to my notes, but when trying to recall a meeting or key points, I pictured the words I wrote in my notebook. I believe I remembered better. Studies now show it was probably true.
David Sax, in his book, “The Revenge of Analog“, describes all the ways we are seeing the myth of the digital utopia and moving back to analog. Vinyl records are one noticeable example. More people are going back to journals, particularly for doing creative work.
Handwriting is becoming a more common feature of computers. Handwriting on computers is not new. I have had computers that capture handwriting for over fifteen years. The two computers on my desk both have pens and writing capability. I use Windows 10 tablets/laptops by Lenovo and Microsoft. The newer iPads have a pen option. There are even “digital paper” units that are like paper and the notes are captured on a computer.
The recognition and search-ability of handwritten computer notes provides a nice combination of benefits. Most of us find someone taking written notes rather than typing on a computer to be more personal. Using handwriting on a computer tablet is a great compromise. If you haven’t tried it, I encourage you to test it for yourself.