The Power of Teams

English: Tour of Britain
Every year I'm in awe of the Teams taking part in the Tour de France and now the Tour of Britain.

I only started watching it a few years ago and at the beginning didn't understand what on earth was going on.

The riders work as a well oiled machine - working together to get their man to the front at just the right moment - whether it's the sprinter, the hill climber or the leader hoping for the yellow jersey.

Using slip streaming to save energy and taking turns at the front of the 'train'.  Dropping back as a team to bring a key team member to the front who's fallen behind.  Making sure the leaders are fed and watered along the whole route.  Looking out for everyone else - it's not one rider, one race.

How they have the strength, determination and sheer guts to ride over 150km, often up hill and still have the energy to sprint to the line is impressive.

It takes hours of training and miles and miles in the saddle but just goes to show what the human body is capable of when you focus on the end goal.

English: Tour of Britain (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Is your to-do list full of projects?

African Bush Elephant in Mikumi National Park,...
Many people add tasks to their daily and weekly to-do lists which are actually a major project in themselves.

This is one of the reasons those particular items often get left.  They're just to big to manage in one go.
  • Are you having difficulty prioritising what's on your list?
  • Is it difficult to work out what's important?
  • Are you putting off larger tasks because you don't have time or you're reluctant to do them?
Think about all the tasks on your to-do list.  Are they actually projects or large tasks that will in reality take longer than two hours?

Break larger tasks down into smaller, shorter steps that you can achieve in less than two hours.

Be realistic about what you can get done in a day.  Only write down as many tasks as you can actually complete in the time available.

You have your day to day work, so there's no point in allocating an additional 8 hours of tasks.  It just won't happen.  In all likelihood you won't get more than 3-5 done.

Allocate time in your schedule to complete these tasks.

If you do have a large project to complete - how important is it in the grand scheme of things, what's the benefit to spending time on it?

Set aside time on a daily or weekly basis to work on this project.  Having a regular time slot for a particular project enables you to make steady progress, without having to find a large chunk of time to do it all at once.

Review your list and break those larger tasks down into more manageable, realistic actions.

African Bush Elephant (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Create a to-do list that works.

Manage your email while on holiday

I was talking to a client this morning who, like many of you at this time of year, has returned from their two week Summer holiday.

They run their own Tax Advice and Accountancy business, so they are very mindful of looking after their clients.  Usually they would spend time working, even though they were on holiday.

This time they set up an automatic 'Out of Office' email for while they were away.

The benefit:

1.  It lets your clients, customers and anyone else know that you're away from the office - on holiday, so they won't (or shouldn't) expect a response from you during that time.

2. It provides an alternate contact for their enquiry - a phone or email contact for a colleague or member of your team.  For urgent enquiries only you can include your mobile number - if appropriate and only if absolutely necessary.

3. It keeps them informed - they know when you'll return and when they're likely to get a response.

They also spent an hour a day while they were away, just checking and dealing with their email.  This was their choice and their personal preference and didn't interfere with the enjoyment of their holiday.

As a result of these two things, they found that any work interruptions to their holiday where almost entirely avoided (they only had one).  They returned to just 50 emails in their Inbox, not the usual 1000's they would normally expect after two weeks away.

Are you able to switch off entirely when you go away on holiday or are you constantly drawn into work related issues?

Are you able to delegate effectively to your team, so you can enjoy your time-off without having to stay in contact with the office?

Get in touch if you want to really relax, switch off and enjoy guilt-free holidays.

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Image courtesy of [Winnond] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net