Avoiding Overwhelm – Managing the Workload of Being a Leader

One of the challenges that all entrepreneurs face is managing the workload. Being an entrepreneur is not easy. It takes a lot of time, energy, effort and attention.
In this short video, Amy Jen Su, shares her perspective of how can we manage our workload and still have peace of mind and not get overwhelmed.
She shares the 4P’s that we need to work on individually in order to achieve the 5th P (Peace of Mind):

Personal Operating system:

What she means is how we do operate as an individual.
  • Do we have a single place where we capture everything that comes our way (Landing Pad or Operating System)
  • Do we have a way to sort through this and identify what needs to be done today and now?
  • Do we know what time in the day are we most effective? Can we use this time to tackle the most important and the highest value adding items on our list? Do you manage your calendar in such a way so as to maximizing this energy rhythms?
  • Have we built-in habits and rituals to deal with the highs and lows of our physical energy through the day?

People:

In this part of our professional lives, she talks about the importance of having boundaries.
  • Have we set up your personal boundaries (times when we are available, times when we are not available, when can people expect a response from us, etc. Do you have an emergency protocol (what needs to be done in case of an emergency?)
  • Have we helped the people who work for you set up their own boundaries?
  • Are we comfortable with these boundaries?
  • Does our team have a go-to person for a lot of things? How over-worked are they? Are they becoming bottle-necks for our team and our own productivity?
  • How can we help our people to improve their productivity so we can have more leverage and thereby become more productive?

Priorities:

In this part, she explains the importance of having clearly defined priorities in our lives. She also uses a 2×2 (Passion * Contribution or value) matrix to talk about different tasks and shares a recommendation for each one of the tasks based on which quadrant they fall in.
One could use this matrix or the one that Stephen Covey made famous or any other matrix. I believe the core purpose of each one of these matrices is to force us to look at each of the task that we do and think about it critically and make a choice:
  • Try to eliminate what can be eliminated
  • Try to Automate what can’t be eliminated
  • Try to delegate what can’t be automated and what is not your area of contribution
  • Train to become more efficient at doing tasks where we have the potential for high levels of contribution
  • Enjoy tasks that we are good at, love doing and those that add a lot of value.

Presence

In this part, she talks about one of the things that most of us struggle with. This is about being present in the moment,  giving someone or something our total attention and focus.
  • How long is our attention span? Can we increase this using meditation or training?
  • Do we have any “visible or invisible tells” that can inform us about our attention waning? Can we identify this and learn to bring our focus back.

Conclusion:

Amy shares that once we take care of all of these 4 P’s, the 5th P, which is peace of mind can be achieved. I personally believe that this is an ongoing process. One that each of us would benefit from doing at least every quarter. And as we get more and more intentional about not staying in overwhelm territory, we will become more and better at staying calm and at peace. This also offers an additional bonus by increasing our ability to observe opportunities that are present all around us, if only we were present enough to notice them.

PBTO53: Deep Work: How to do work that Matters with Cal Newport

Who is on the show:

In this episode we host, Cal Newport. He is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at Georgetown University.

In addition to studying the theoretical foundations of our digital age, Newport also writes about the impact of these technologies on the world of work.

Why is he on the show:

His most recent book, Deep Work, argues that focus is the new I.Q. in the modern workplace and that the ability to concentrate without distraction is becoming increasingly valuable. He previously wrote So Good They Can’t Ignore You, a book which debunks the long-held belief that “follow your passion” is good advice, and three popular books of unconventional advice for students.

What are we talking about:

In this free-wheeling conversation, we talk about:

  • What is deep work? Why is it important to do deep work?
  • Why is Deep work the killer app for the information economy?
  • His own practice of deep work and how it has helped him in his own work..
  • How he doubled his academic output with less hours to work and writing the book simultaneously and yet not take work home.
  • How does one go about learning to do deep work?
    • Conditioning: Tolerate or even bring some amount of boredom in your life.
    • Active training: Productive meditation. Take one professional problem and go for a walk and try to solve the problem.
    • Integrate in your schedule: Put an appointment with yourselves on your calendar to do deep work.
  • His own way of integrating deep work in his schedule.
  • Monk mode mornings for business leaders..
  • The quality of work = What you are working * How you are working on it?
  • How deep work is related to Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of highly effective people?
  • What could potentially derail your practice of deep work?
  • How we have allowed the communication tools to take over the actual work in organisations?
  • How does he learn and stay up-to-date?
  • How can deep work help entrepreneurs in their work…
  • How can entrepreneurs embrace and create a culture of deep work in their organisations?
    • Ratio of Deep work hours vs Non-deep work hours of work
    • No emails after work hours?
  • Who apart from himself has he seen do significant amount of deep work (Adam Grant)
    • How Adam builds his deep work practice
    • Examples of Businesses who are incorporating the principles of deep work in their culture
  • The work that he is most proud of…
  • Things that got left out of the book but he thinks is an important idea to spread..
  • What was the most difficult thing for him while writing this book?
  • What is his next project – the role of technology in our personal life (Digital Minimalism, future of knowledge work)
  • His thoughts on how behaviour altering products will evolve
  • His thoughts on how machines are doing deep work and men are doing more shallow work and what impact will it have in the future of work…
  • What is it that he thinks is so obvious but people miss and hence becomes non-obvious
  • His experience of running a business and what he learnt from it
  • Whats on his reading list
  • One of the books that had a big impact on him:
  • One thing that he can change how he works – Remove Emails from his life..
  • One thing that you can do immediately after you listen to this episode – Take an hour off and work on something important without any distractions.

How can you reach him:

As he indicates in the conversation, he has made it not so easy to reach him. You can find out how you can reach him and read his blog here.

Patreon:

If you like what you hear, I would request you to head over to my patreon page and become a patron for the show. You could do so by contributing anywhere from a single dollar to about 1000 USD depending upon how much you like the show.

Think of it like the following – I will bring thought leaders to your door step and in return all I am asking is for you to spend just enough get us a cup of coffee.

I would like to keep this podcast ad-free and need your support regarding the same. You can also find some very interesting artists whom you can also contribute for. I myself support James Victore as a patron. If you are an artist yourself, consider becoming a patron for James as well.

 

PBTO19: Profit First – A Simple System To Transform The Way You Run Your Business (@MikeMichalowicz)

MikeWho is on the show today:

In today’s episode, we host Mike Michalowicz. Mike is an entrepreneur and author of three books – The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur, The Pumpkin Plan & Profit First.

Why is he on the show

By his 35th birthday MIKE MICHALOWICZ (pronounced mi-‘kal-o-wits) had founded and sold two multi-million dollar companies. Confident that he had the formula to success, he became an angel investor… and proceeded to lose his entire fortune.

Mike is now running his third million dollar venture, is a former small business columnist for The Wall Street Journal; is the former MSNBC business make-over expert; is a popular keynote speaker on innovative entrepreneurial topics; and is the author of Profit First, The Pumpkin Plan and The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur, which BusinessWeek deemed “the entrepreneur’s cult classic.”

Not only is he a successful entrepreneur and a best selling author, he is also extremely insightful, funny and energetic. His insights might sound very common sensical but as they say, common sense is not so common after all.

What are we talking about

In this free wheeling conversation, we talk about a wide range of topics which are critical for the success of any business. I was blown over by his ability to be candid and practical. He shares with us the underlying principles of how to bootstrap, grow and profit from a business.

Most important learnings from the conversation:

  • The new formula for business: Income – Profit = Expenses.
  • Mike shares with us some of the key insights about how can someone bootstrap and grow from their.
  • We also talk about how to find your best customers and continue to become an expert for that kind of customers so that you can grow your business and stay profitable.
  • We also talk about how just by changing the way we look at profits, we can have a completely new system by which we run our business – leading us to make much more profit.
  • How Entrepreneurs can go about implementing this system and profit from the same.

You can reach Mike on Google+, Twitter and Facebook.