More Time for Q2

I have to say that this is probably one of the most applicable courses to apply to day-to-day life both at work and at home.  I now receive much fewer emails (due to rules), have fewer Q1 and Q3 events and somehow have more time for Q2 now! I have been able to not only work on, but complete big projects I had been trying to “find time” for in the past.

At home I have been able to schedule one on one time with all 5 kids and my husband each week since the class! Things are good!

We have started using the time matrix in our staff meetings and each person talks about what Q1 and Q2 events they have going on each week and what items they need assistance from others on.  It have improved our discussions and efficiency at these meetings. I am also teaching this course to a group of 15 leaders today- wish me luck! Thank you for providing such a good course that has improved many of my days since!

–Contributed by a 5 Choices participant

Very Useful, Helpful, and Valuable Information

I enjoyed The 5 Choices to Extraordinary Productivity class. Very useful, helpful, and valuable information was shared.  I applied many of the lessons learned over the past three weeks both at work and at home.

I am already better organized with my Microsoft Outlook emails.  I automatically send certain categories of emails to “Delete”.  I made some folders to move other routine categories of emails into that I monitor on a monthly basis.  A feature I started using and am really enjoying is Tasks.  I am better able to track all that I do and need to do.  It helps during staff meetings when updating the group.  Also in Tasks, I save all emails and documents/hyperlinks associated with completing that Task.  It’s nice keeping items in one common area so my “Core Four” are better organized now.

Three key members of our team attended the class earlier in May and we started using the Time Matrix at our staff meetings later that same week.  Of course the first meeting was to present the concept and show an example of how to use the Time Matrix.  It has helped focus our meetings and I believe helps each individual focus their priorities throughout the day and week.

I am more aware of things that pull me toward Q3 and Q4 and can better ward those off.

Thank you for presenting the class.  Again, I really enjoyed it and learned a lot.

-Contributed by a 5 Choices participant

The 5 Choices – A BIG Hit

We did our first 5 Choices workshop last week and it was a BIG hit.  Everyone loved the workshop.  My colleague taught this workshop and did a phenomenal job.  He loves the tech stuff.   He demonstrated how he has linked his iPhone, iPad, and desktop.  He also demonstrated the Master Task list in Microsoft Outlook and much more.   Two of us in the workshop who carry their planners around like a badge of honor have committed to go high tech.   I made a push yesterday at our SMT meeting to purchase  iPads for all Senior Management and consider all Managers at some point.  I also discussed the need to determine time zones for all meetings throughout the District ensuring Q2 time for everyone.

I was so impressed with the content and it made sense.   Several commented how happy they were we ended with the 5 Energy Drivers.  Totally made sense and helped bring all the other content into perspective.   It was just an awesome workshop.

Contributed by a Senior Vice President of Human Resources with a Healthcare Organization

6 Keys to Better Email Communication

Good communication is key to productivity, yet much of our communication happens today via email. Though email allows us to move quickly, it also makes us feel highly unproductive.  Common email mistakes lead to miscommunication and decreased productivity for you and your email recipients.

Reply All

It is unlikely that everyone in an email thread needs to see every response. Remember a group email can include 100’s of people! Only send a reply to the people who absolutely need the information.  Reply all creates a Quadrant 3 (urgent but not important) distraction for everyone who did not need to see the message. If you need an added layer of protection, Outlook has created a couple of useful reply all tools. One tool is for the person replying. It sends a pop-up alert when you hit the reply all button. If you are the sender, you can also remove the reply all function before sending a large group email.

Read Twice, Ask Once

Asking unnecessary questions not only wastes the other person’s time, but it shows that you didn’t pay attention to what they said the first time around. When you are in a hurry, you may not take the required time to digest an email communication. Instead of skimming your email, take a moment to really read and understand it. Only then will you be ready to act appropriately or to ask the relevant questions.

Subject Line Mistakes

How much time do you spend searching for important, but “lost” emails?

This time zapper can be solved with three simple tips:

  1. Alert the reader to the type of email you are sending: Response, Request, Informational, or Entertainment.
  2. Create concise, but relevant subject.
  3. Every time you begin discussing a new topic you should start a new email or, at the very least, change the subject line so that it reflects the new topic.

Here are some examples:

Request: Certification meeting with Coca-Cola

Informational: Please Read HBR Productivity article Page 22

Response:  Alternate dates for Meeting request with Tom W.

Pay Attention to Details

Even little things like spelling and grammar can cause confusion and wasted time. Spend an extra few seconds of Quadrant 2 (urgent and important) time to make sure your email reads like you want it to. Watch abbreviations and read for tone. Attention to detail will impress your reader and help to avoid some of the miscommunication that happens when details are missed.

Check Your Tone

Misunderstood emails are the biggest time waster of all. Albert Mehrabian’s communication study showed that words make up a very small part of direct communications. In other words, we need to hear the tone of the words and see body language in order to really understand the message. Unfortunately, email is ONLY words, which often causes a distortion of the message. Before you send any email, read for tone. Make sure you have carefully picked each word and phrased each sentence to mean exactly what you meant. Be careful of misunderstood clichés and jargon. If you have any concern your email can be misread, it probably will be. In that case, you are better to communicate directly.

Some Things Are Better Said In Person

Email can be a tool or a crutch. If you are using it to avoid a conversation that should be done in person, think again. Criticism and frustration should always be delivered face-to-face if you want to avoid hurt feelings; misunderstandings; and long, drawn out communication cycles. Don’t hide behind your keyboard. Even easy questions are often better asked “live”. Before you send your next email pause and ask yourself, “Is this the most productive way to communicate my message?”

Avoiding these common mistakes will improve your productivity and increase your ability to communicate effectively. Technology should work for you, not against you and it can when you utilize it well!

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

Fantastic Foundation

The FranklinCovey consultant did an incredible job of explaining the material in detail.  The material was Off-The-Hood GREAT.  I have implemented a lot of what he taught us and it has already made an impact on my business.  I have been searching to find a way to keep all my stuff in one spot and not use the paper product.  I feel I now have a fantastic foundation to build upon and I am utilizing Outlook 1000% more effectively than I had in the past.  The Core 4, the Quadrants, the 30 Minute Weekly Planning and the 10 Minute Daily Planning, the review of the Notes section with the Goals I’m setting, etc., have all had a huge impact.

So, thanks for providing a great program and for pushing this material onto the students in a steady and well thought out format.

–Contributed by a 5 Choices participant

5 Choices Has Improved Many of My Days

I have to say that this course is probably one of the most applicable course to apply to day-to-day life both at work and at home.  I now receive a lot fewer emails (due to rules), have fewer Q1 and Q3 events, and somehow have more time for Q2 now! I have been able to not only work on, but complete big projects I had been trying to ‘find time’ for in the past. And, at home I have been able to schedule one on one time with all 5 kids and my husband each week since the class! Things are good! We have started using the time matrix in our staff meetings and each person talks about what Q1 and Q2 events they have going on each week and what items they need assistance from others on.  It has improved our discussions and efficiency at these meetings. I am also teaching this course to a group of 15 leaders today. Wish me luck! Thank you for providing such a good course that has improved many of my days since!

–Contributed by a 5 Choices participant

Things That Matter

“The 5 Choices has been a great way to develop a steady habit of planning every day and every week for success. Everything from defining my roles to defining my purpose statements for those roles to ruling my technology has been extremely helpful in making sure I am only doing things that matter every hour of the day…and keep myself fired up at the same time.”

Contributed by a 5 Choices participant

Best Processes Explained

“I did not feel confident in my time management skills as a new hire. The 5 Choices to Extraordinary Productivity work session went through everything that I had doubts in and explained the best process to deal with them. Good time management ideas, like weekly/daily planning and good note taking ideas. Very up-to-date with technology, using technology to increase productivity with Microsoft Outlook and iPhone Apps.”

Contributed by a 5 Choices participant

From 7,500 Emails down to 1…Still

I just had to follow up with you one more time to thank you again for giving me the tools I so desperately needed to manage my technology. Doing the initial purge of my 7,500 emails was one thing, but I
wanted to let you know that two weeks after your Outlook webinar, I have only one email in my inbox (and I consider that one too many!). I have never been this “in control” for this long. I can’t imagine ever going back.

Christy G.

The Single-Best, Life Changing Webinar

I just wanted to follow up with you regarding the 5 Choices / Outlook webinar I participated in on Friday. I can say with certainty that your webinar was the single-best webinar (and possibly training session PERIOD) that I have ever participated in. I have never left a training session as armed or as motivated as I was last Friday. The concepts you delivered were immediately applicable and have already had a huge impact on my ability to be more productive and efficient. I spent my entire day yesterday (and night – into the wee hours of this morning) purging the 7,500 unfiled emails in my inbox. When I finally went to sleep at 4 a.m. this morning, I had either deleted or filed EVERY SINGLE ONE. I had zero emails remaining in the main inbox folder. Once in the zone, I couldn’t let it go until I had also created rules, categories, and tasks.  I feel more organized and in control of my time than I ever have, and this is just 48 hours or so after the training. And by using the categories and tasks, I can easily see where I’m spending my time – and let’s just say it’s not where I should be! I’ll definitely be making more changes as I continue to embrace this new paradigm.

So…I just wanted to thank you for giving me a new way of thinking and a new set of tools to help me become more effective and productive. I don’t want to sound dramatic, but I would consider your seminar “life changing.” Thank you again!

Christy G., a 5 Choices Participant