by Guest Blogger, Lena West, Chief Social Media Strategist at xynoMedia Technology
I must admit that there is nothing that gets under my skin more than someone who is scatterbrained - and since this is a blog about women for women...
I just had an interaction with someone whom I'll call Scatterbrained Sally. Sally is by all rights an accomplished professional. She's got great experience, she's great at what she does, she's attractive and smart.
But, she's not the sharpest knife in the drawer, if you know what I mean. She has an email inbox that looks like Collyer's Mansion, she let's opportunity after opportunity slip through her fingers because she doesn't make time to follow-up with influential people who have offered their help in growing her business, she misplaces important documents and contact information...
...yet she continually wonders why she doesn't have the same clout as other people in her industry.
You know the type:
- she would lose her head if it weren't attached
- she's leaves you waiting for at least 30 minutes every time you meet her
- she constantly asks you to re-send emails because she can't find the email you just sent
- her Post-It note usage is a threat to the rainforest
- she keeps a 'back-up' sim card because she loses her cell phone so often
- her house always looks like a small explosive device was detonated therein
She thinks it's cute, funny or just "how she is",but you're about to start selectively screening her calls.
And, being a Mom and a business-owner is NO excuse.
Now, I ain't perfect by a long shot, but c'mon Sally...get it TOGETHER.
Here's what works for me:
- I subscribe to a productivity belief system. I happen to work best with David Allen's Getting Things Done approach. The Simpleology system works for a lot of people as well. I don't care what you pick, just pick something and stick with it. This will give you a productivity framework throughout your day.
- When someone says, "I'll have that to you by Wednesday." I immediately go to my calendar and set up a tickler for them on Thursday (I give them a day to get it together) and then I'll ping them on Thursday if I haven't heard from them.
- When I make a commitment to have something done by a certain time, I add it to my calendar right then. When I don't, I invariably lapse into Scatterbrained Sally's territory.
- I clean out my inbox. I try to do this daily. I succeed 90% of the time, which is better than most people so I'm ahead of the game. People who know my schedule and responsibility level are often shocked at my response time.
- I make things clear. Who's calling whom? When? Why? What's the agenda? Can we do it in 15 minutes as opposed to a half-hour? Roy Williams is a respected guru of mine -- and he likes my writing so much, he put it in his book, People Stories: Inside the Outside. When I attended one of the classes he still teaches (if you haven't been to the Wizard Academy, make it your business to get there), he said something that changed my life. He said, "The risk if insult is the price of clarity." I have found that the people who are most...afronted...by my personal style are people who are usually muddled thinkers. Clarity saves time for those who want to be productive, it annoys those who don't.
What could I do better? Definitely project management! More on that later...but project management is my Achille's Heel!
Bottomline: Are there one or two small ways that you can "get it together"? Why aren't you doing them already? How many missed opportunities and projects will it take for you to make a change? How can you take what you're already doing right and pull that over to areas in which you need help? Do you need an assistant? An intern? A time/energy management course? What do you need to get there?