The Womack Report: 1:3
Your Best Just Got Better: Work Smarter, Think Bigger, Make More

don’t manage minutes, DO manage focus

Monday morning, bring the MITs back in to play.
(MITs = Most Important Things)

Greetings from Canary Wharf (London). This past month has been fantastic: Seminars and Executive Coaching in New York, Raleigh, back to New York and then to London! What have I noticed?
People I’m working with are STILL trying to manage minutes, attempting to manage their time.

Problem is, it’s just not worth the…well…time! Why?

1. I can schedule a meeting on my calendar, set an alarm/alert, and STILL have that plan overruled by one phone call or knock on my office door; my focus is compromised.
2. There’s a fundamental flaw in planning NOW what I think I’ll be able to do THEN. The problem is, by default, I will have to re-prioritize when I get there; again, my focus is compromised.

Have you ever been reading a book, get to the bottom of a page, and realize you have NO idea of what you just read? Funny thing is, that it wasn’t “time” you mismanaged there, it was focus.

When I’m getting ready for another day of productivity, I start each morning by writing down the THREE or fewer MITs I need to focus on. Try it now:
Write four of your Most Important Things for tomorrow – on a sticky note, on a note card…on your hand! Then, throughout the day review them.
I can think of three reasons to choose your MITs ahead of time:

PSYCHOLOGY
Focus is fleeting … I know my own need to “finish what I started.” The days that end and I look around and there are “still” unanswered and unprocessed emails in my inbox are the ones I find myself working on just a little bit later into the afternoon/evening. By knowing what my MITs are throughout the day, it makes it easier to say “Yes” or “No” as those emails/phone calls/interruptions come in DURING the day.

SOCIOLOGY
I advertise my MITs. I let myself (see above), my team, mentors and even seminar participants (when I’m in front of an audience) know what they are. During a coaching day, for example, I generally have a consistent MIT: The Client. During a triathlon: Racing.
When other people are aware of my 3 MITs, even they make different decisions about what they interrupt me with, how often, and when.

TECHNOLOGY
And, this is where it gets interesting…use the tools to your advantage. For example, I have a “task” on my BlackBerry list (that syncs over to my laptop) for each person I work with and for. When I think of something to go over with them, I don’t pick up the phone, I don’t start a new email (UNLESS they are the MIT for that day, of course!), instead I simply open up their note on in my tool and add that thought right there.
(Another way I’ve done this is to open up and save a DRAFT email. Then, throughout the day I can add another bullet point to that and at the end of that day email over the “list of things we need to schedule time to discuss.”)

So, as you get ready for Monday morning let’s all pick our MITs. When you see something (as they say in New York City), say something.

Here are 3 things to do more of:
1. Write down your MITs for the day; do this the night before.
2. Look at them; this week: 8am, 12pm, 3pm, 6pm
3. Make more decisions about what you say “YES” to based on focus.

If you’d like more ideas on to maximize the -ologies of a more productive day…

Psychology
Sociology
Technology

…just email, text, or call.

Week of 13 November: GMT (London, UK)
Week of 20 November: GMT -8 (Silicon Valley & Marin County)
Week of 27 November: GMT – 8 (Ojai, CA)
Week of 4 December: GMT – 8 (Silicon Valley, attending Singularity University: http://singularityu.org/?page_id=147)
Week of 11 December: GMT – 5 (New York City)
Week of 18 December: GMT – 8 (Ojai, CA)