Immediate Results

“Immediately following the 1st session, the team’s language had changed as had the approach. They started questioning where a proposed activity would sit in the time matrix and whether or not they should act on it or discard it.”

Contributed by a 5 Choices webinar participant, January 2012, United Kingdom

Keeping the Important Clear

Your phone rings, your computer dings and someone walks into your office.  You already have a long task list of those things that you need to accomplish.  Then there is the task list that your boss, significant other and children might have for you as well.  And, don’t forget that you have goals and dreams.  How do you make sure that you get your most important things done in the day, month and/or year?

Start by creating a clear picture of what it is that is most important to you in your most important roles.  Write it down.  Review it often.  When distractions and the long task lists get in the way, use your clear picture to keep you focused on what matters most.  Then, make time to “paint that picture.”

Contributed by Todd Musig, Productivity Practice, FranklinCovey

Less Panic and more Productivity podcast with Kory Kogon

Andy Kaufman’s podcast entitled “Less panic and more productivity for project managers, with author Kory Kogon” discusses The 5 Choices and how you can sort out the urgent from the important. Click here to listen to the podcast.

Renewed Sense Of Value

“Thank you for the opportunity to be a part of the webinar yesterday, I believe it was time very well spent and I have a renewed sense of value for myself and what I can accomplish.

In today’s environment, focus and consistency are the hardest to achieve but I believe both bring stability and increased productivity. By implementing the tools and concepts that we learned (or will learn and put into practice) yesterday, I think that not only will I benefit but my team as well. Together we will change the culture of how we manage our business.

We are a small branch with large potential and it is critical to our success to be focused on the important and not the urgent as well as sorting out the big rocks vs. shoveling the gravel out of our cubicles.

I read the book last night and have dog tagged areas/topics to share with my team. I plan to hold a few “classes” to get them started on thinking about the choices and better utilizing outlook.  I think it is important that as a team we change our culture so we all understand the goal.”

Contributed by a 5 Choices participant


Time Is On Your Side – When You Are Proactive

We all know the saying, “Time is on your side.” The question is; is it really? As I work with people who are trying to be more productive, questions about time are a hot topic. Here are just few items to think about when you consider how you spend your time.

How often do you “touch” each email in your inbox?  Two, three, four times?  Many of us read the email once, then leave it in our inbox until we can finish the task, decide how to answer, find someone to delegate too. Yet, most of the time we skim over the same email for days. Finally we do whatever is needed or we delete it because it no longer matters. It takes time and ENERGY to skim those emails, leaving us feeling tired and overwhelmed. Time isn’t on your side when you are procrastinating. Read your email once then do what needs to be done.  Change it to a task or an appointment, delegate immediately, pick up the phone and answer the question. Whatever it is, don’t wait. Make a goal to touch it once. You’ll be surprised how liberating it will be!

When it comes to decisions, “Strike while the iron is hot,” is a better way to get things done. Many of us wait to make decisions. We go to six stores hoping to find the perfect suit or dress, only to go back and buy the first thing we tried on. Worse yet, we wait to make the most IMPORTANT decisions. Waiting results wasted time and sleepless nights. It can even result in missed opportunity and regret.

I recently talked to a man who had been offered a promotion. For days, he sat on the decision. He knew he deserved the promotion and he wanted the bump in pay but the title and the tasks of the job were not quite what he had hoped for. So he sat, mulling it over, tossing and turning at night and delaying the conversation each time his boss approached.

“I can’t get anything done right now.”

“Why don’t you tell your boss what you want?” I asked.  “Why waste all this time and energy?”

Later in the day he pulled me aside. “I did it! I called him. I told him what I was really hoping for. He said if I accept this now, it can be a stepping stone to where I want to be. I was glad I clarified my aspirations and both of us are excited now that I’ve accepted….”

How often do you delay hard conversations…even easy conversations because you are afraid of the outcome? How often do wait, considering the options, hoping for something better to come along instead of acting definitively? Most of us know exactly what needs to be done, but we wait days, months sometimes even years to make a decision.

Don’t wait! Do what needs to be done.

If you want time to be on your side. Be proactive!

Contributed by Suzette Blakemore, Regional Practice Leader, Productivity Practice, FranklinCovey Co.

Is Laundry or Expense Reports a Quadrant 2???

I get asked this question many, many times by 5 Choices participants when we are having rich discussions around determining what is important and what is not, what is urgent and what is not.  Quadrant 2 is the ideal place to be and so many times people will sidle up to me on a break and say….”well…what do I consider my laundry? It seems so menial…..why would it deserve such an important place like the famous Quadrant 2″?

Think about it.  Is doing the laundry important?  Of course it is, and it needs to be planned right?  If you plan when you are going to do your laundry to avoid BAD CONSEQUENCES or enjoy GOOD consequences it is “important and not urgent”.  It is a Quadrant 2 event that you have under control.

We all know what happens when we suffer the consequences…open your bureau or closet and suddenly we are in crisis because we have NO CLEAN SOCKS!!!!!!!  Now you really have a Quadrant 1 on your hands.

Same thing with your expense reports.  I travel very heavily, sometimes 4 cities in a week, each one needing a separate expense report.  This is a big rock for me, a Q2.  I am going to get them done before the week ends no matter why.  Why?  Two reasons; I want my money soon, and second there is not a worse time waster than having a pile of expense reports from 4 weeks accumulated that I need to sort through and figure out.  It’s urgent, I’m stressed, and it is NOT WORTH IT!!!!!

So what’s my point?  Quadrant 2 is the quadrant of action.  It should contain the most important things we need to do WITHOUT LETTING THEM GET TO URGENCY.  It contains our most pro-active work and thinking…and it also contains the day to day important things that we need to have well planned to accomplish with quality and less stress.  It actually makes me feel extraordinarily productive, actually!!!

A Lot More Proactive

“Since I did the 5 Choices program, I became a lot more proactive and became more conscious of the moments when I am automatically reactive. In those moments, I recognize it, stop for a moment, try to get my consciousness back, and some of these times I read my roles’ statements to get in touch with what is most valuable to me (and sometimes read my life mission statement as well). And this is giving me a lot of effectiveness and self-realization when I do the 30/10 planning based on these valuable things to me. Regarding the fifth choice, I feel a lot more comfortable now when talking to people about how important “relaxation” and “human moments” are. The other three I think were already more popular to talk about. But those two relieved a lot of blame. I feel more integrated now having the ‘approval’ from science (confirming what I had always felt) that all these together make us more productive. I am very grateful for this program.”

5 Choices Participant

The 5 Choices Has Changed My Life

Taking and applying the 5 Choices has changed my life, increased my productivity dramatically on the job and has had an amazing effect on my personal life!

I was soooo good at meeting deadlines, keeping up on the actions with the due dates, making sure all the Q1’s and Q3s’ got done. People described me as organized, and productive. But there were all these things I should do that I just never got to because they had no deadline, no due date – until they became a Q1 and THEN they got done. Taking the course, and reading the 5 Choices monograph made me realize I was very efficient by not effective.

I attended a 5 Choices World Tour event (a 3 hour overview of the class) on Nov 1, 2011 and that night I created a Big Rock zone from 7-8am each work day, where I could focus on a big rock – something important but not urgent. Luckily I kept a list. Because in two months I had accomplished amazing things and got one of my best reviews ever. I got through so much! So over the Christmas break I went back and read the monograph and then I started implementing all the Choice 4 ideas. Wow was that exiting! I got approval to take the full class, where I learned more, and thought wouldn’t it be amazing if I could teach the class!?! I have now completed training 3 groups and am preparing for two more. This is in addition to my regular learning program management job, at which I have done exceptionally well in spite of the increased workload.

What I didn’t expect is how the concepts would seep into my personal life. I work hard during the week and on the weekends by the time I have done the laundry, and figured out shopping list, and done some cooking, and paid bills – I was done. Tired. Out of steam. Now I have a Big Rock  – something important but not urgent – scheduled for either Saturday or Sunday morning. I do it FIRST, and then do all the other stuff, and I am feeling so much more in control of my life! I find I apply the principles constantly, cleaning out my closet, organizing my files, planning trips, etc.

Working on my role statement also improved my relationship with my husband – I wrote out my role statement as Robert’s best friend and partner and reviewed it with him. He was blown away but said to be truly extraordinary it would be wonderful for him if I added one more piece, something I didn’t even know he wanted me to do. I added his recommendation and we have a quarterly review meeting to see where we are, and each chose one Big Rock to do each quarter – and are making significant progress! We feel so much more in control.  Robert loves it and appreciates so much the effort I am putting into being an extraordinary wife.

So you can see I am off to another great year thanks to the 5 Choices!

Submitted by Elise, a FranklinCovey Client Facilitator