Tag Archives | productivity

How To Use Tomatoes To Explode Your Efficiency

Here’s a simple idea that will make a massive difference to your effectiveness and efficiency. It sounds weird. I tried it. And- it works! It’s a 60 second read that will save you many hours of time. Give it a go!

I was preparing for a series of speeches I am giving around Australia this month. I’m using my six months ‘gardening leave’ to ‘give back’ to others. Sharing learnings is how best I can do that. I had at least two hours of hard work to do to update a presentation to make it current and extra valuable. I was struggling to get started. The task felt big. Then I remembered Kuba’s weird advice at breakfast two months ago.”Enjoy tomatoes if you want to turbo your effectiveness,” he’d said. What he meant was this:

How To Get What You Want- Every Time!

There’s something I do at the start of most meetings that often shocks those there. Some love it. Some hate it. It’s a recipe, though, for getting what you want- in business, and in life. Do you do it?

My current working day is filled with meetings- often 10 to 12 in a day. Some I set up. Usually, given my role, it’s others who have asked to see me- colleagues, potential partners, industry associates, general contacts. I have to move through them quickly, efficiently, and with focus and momentum.

So I often start meetings others have asked for with this question: “Before we begin, tell me this- if you had a magic wand, what would happen at the end of the meeting- what is it you want from me or want me to do?” It’s a concept I encourage all to embrace. Do it for yourselves. This is what I mean. This is the habit I encourage you- and me- to do a lot more of.

The Secret To Having More Time In Your Life- And It Works!

A book winks at me daily from my bookcase. It’s titled “In Praise of Slowness- Challenging The Cult of Speed”. Problem is, I have been too flat out to read it. But I now have the answer to finding that time. It’s magical, and it works. Do you have it?

I have another book on my bookshelf. “The Power Of Less- The Fine Art Of Limiting Yourself To The Essential…. In Business And In Life.” I haven’t read that one either. No time. In fact, I have a hundred books on this bookshelf I have not read. Just too much else to do.

I pride myself on my relentless, persistent focus to get more of the important things done every day. Today is a case in point… a huge ‘urgent and important’ To Do list, plus I have a Possums blog post to write. How the hell am I going to get it all done? Then I remembered the words of my colleague Alan Higgins, who told me that- while he too is obsessed with “To Do’ lists, he’s even more obsessed with this secret to being highly effective and efficient. Here it what Alan does:

5 Golden Rules For A Longer And More Vibrant Career

I’m 52, and usually the oldest guy in the room whenever I meet with colleagues at or our industry more broadly. How has this happened? How have I survived and prospered in a so-called ‘young person’s industry’? Here’s the answer, in 5 simple Golden Rules. They worked for me. Will they for you?

First, not a rule. Just a reality. To survive in business and ensure your career keeps evolving and remaining relevant, you have to work on yourself as a project. You have to work harder on yourself than you do on your job. Seriously. Get very serious about yourself and working on improving and developing yourself.

I Screwed My Most Valuable Asset – Have You Screwed Yours?

I have always taken on too much. The control freak in me? Or an incredible insecurity to prove myself? I dread not keeping promises or repaying even a $10 debt: am obsessed with lists and productivity. Frankly- I’ve screwed up massively. Don’t make this same massive mistake. Here it how, and why.

Too much to do. Never enough time. Know that feeling? It does not matter how hard and efficiently I work, I always have a never decreasing set of lists needing action… on various aspects of my job, my family, home, health, financial admin, networks, and the lists go on. I work relentlessly. My days are filled with meetings- that’s part of my role; there is no shortage of senior executives who ask for time, clients who demand it or industry contacts to keep in touch with. And around those meetings a constant stream of ‘to do’s’.

I rarely have time for ‘me’. It just seemed impossible to ‘fit it all in’. Until I heard this sage advice from a South African business tycoon who spoke at a conference I was speaking at in Africa in July. It has revolutionized my thinking. This is what he said:

How To Achieve Outstanding Results- On Time, Every Time

Tony Blair’s autobiography was a dull read. Then – suddenly- as he was detailing the process he drove to bring peace to Northern Ireland (pretty cool), he shared a tip so powerful that I immediately stole it, and now use every day to help myself, our businesses and people, achieve more. This is what he said.

Actually, I learnt a lot from Tony Blair’s autobiography, but only realized its impact some time after I finished it. For example, the power of taking breaks from the office with senior colleagues… of getting away from the pressure cooker, and calming things down so as to talk deeply and resolve – calmly- complex issues. At STW, CEO Mike, CFO Lukas and I call these our ‘Fresh Air Sessions.’

But it was the technique he used to drive complex negotiations around the Northern Ireland peace process that was his most valuable insight. It’s vital for business success, and to create sustainable momentum.