Archive for the ‘Time Management’ Category

Great Performers Make Their Personal Lives a Priority

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Work life Balance 2The great dilemma for most people striving for success is to balance their personal lives with their careers, so that neither suffers. How difficult that can be is represented by numerous broken relationships and unrealised dreams. In a very recent post on the Harvard Business Review site, Stew Friedman explores this idea and proposes a way of making it work. You can read the full article here.

Friedman references examples of successful people who have achieved in the four areas of life – work, family, community and self, and talks of “four-way wins” that result in all of these areas being enriched through the span of one’s lifetime. While using these examples, Friedman does so in order to highlight that anyone can achieve this, and it is not the domain of the rich and successful only.

While the article elaborates on these examples, there are three principles that Friedman advocates as the starting point for this success, a quick summary of these are:

  1. Be Real – that is, act with authenticity to clarify what is most important to you.
  2. Be Whole – see how the most important things to you in work, family, community and self affect each other.
  3. Be Innovative – simply experiment with creative ways to get things done, that suit you and those around you.

No one said it was going to be easy, and it does require some degree of strength to work to align these actions between the various domains so they all line up with core values. But when you achieve this, there is less conflict and you can move forward. An interesting comment from Friedman is that the examples he gave of successful people, “…persisted because of their commitment to their families, communities and private selves, not in spite of them.”

The first step – what matters most to you?

The Avondale Business School can advise your organisation on being effective in these areas – find out how by contacting Warrick Long at the Avondale Business School.


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Multitasking Doesn’t Work!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Multitasking 4I have met a lot of people in life who have been very proud and vocal about their ability to multitask, notwithstanding I am a male and supposedly have diminished multitasking abilities. However, a recent article from Andrew Medal in the Entrepreneur blog (find it here) suggests multitasking is not as good as we’ve been led to believe.

The article contends that switching from task to task is very ineffective as it takes our brains some time to adjust to the new flow of thoughts, and rapidly changing disrupts these flows, and compromises the quality of our work. I wonder if this principle would equally apply to rapidly moving from one meeting to the next, with little time between to process or adjust?

Medal proposes a system to increase productivity, based on the method developed and implemented by Ivy Lee in 1918. The process involves six steps:

  1. Make a list of six important tasks for tomorrow at the end of each work day.
  2. ?
  3. ?
  4. ?
  5. ?
  6. Complete all tasks on the list in the same manner and repeat the process for the next day.

What are steps 2 – 5? Well you will need to open the article and find out! However, I can attest that the process does work well, except for when a crisis occurs!

The Avondale Business School can advise your organisation on being effective in these areas – find out how by contacting Warrick Long at the Avondale Business School.


P: 02 4980 2168

Stress Reduction Tips

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Stress ReductionThe calendar year-end can either be a relaxing time for many, or a frantic period for others. Either way you might just take a few moments to think about the stress in your life and how to reduce it.
Nicole Fallon from Business News Daily has collected a range of ideas and summarised them below (read the full article here). The challenge is to see if you can introduce even one of these in the New Year and improve your stress situation.

  1. Change your habits
    a. Schedule breaks into your day.
    b. “Go for a walk, grab coffee or take the time to sit down and have lunch”
    c. Devote time to physical, mental and emotional self-maintenance.
    d. Keep a handwritten to-do list.
  2. Change your communication
    a. Socialize with your co-workers.
    b. Use the right communication tools.
    c. Cut ties with negative people in your life.
  3. Change your mind-set
    a. Accept that you’re not immune from stress
    b. Stop thinking you have to be right.
    c. Remember that all negative situations will passs

The full article gives more detail and examples for each of these, which might help you reduce the stress in your life.

The Avondale Business School can advise your organisation on being effective in these areas – find out how by contacting Warrick Long at the Avondale Business School.

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Nobody Cares How Hard You Work

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Long HoursAn article recently in 99U had this headline, and it really caught my attention. And you can read it here. Working through the available research, author Oliver Burkeman points out that most likely we “chronically confuse the feeling of effort with the reality of results”. That is, just because we have spent a long time at work doesn’t mean we have actually achieved anything of significance.

Burkeman highlights the “labour illusion” which is where people are more concerned that a job appeared to take an appropriate amount of time rather than whether it was actually done properly. He gives examples like the locksmith that became so good at his job he was able to do most things in little time, but then his customers complained that they felt cheated that it took him so little time and effort. Also, you know that little whirly thing on flight search pages that spins about while you are waiting for the best deal available? Well people would rather wait for a longer time with that showing, than not have it showing and get the results quicker, because it looks like the site is “working hard”.

He also brings to attention the “Effort Trap”, whereby spending a 10 hour day barely achieving anything other than routine is felt more worthy than spending two hours “in deep hard concentration on hard thinking, followed by a leisurely afternoon off”. Yet the two hours is more effective than the 10. Yet we still fall trap to the idea that hard work is what ultimately matters.

This idea lives in too many workplaces, where promotion is linked to the boss sensing the effort and hard work resulting from long hours, rather than your outputs. It should be more about making sure you are doing the right things, rather than just doing a lot of things.

Burkeman advises us to spend the first two hours of our workday on the most important tasks, and challenges us to consider limiting our working hours. Being tired at the end of the day is not a good indicator of a day well spent.

The Avondale Business School can advise your organisation on being effective in these areas – find out how by contacting Warrick Long at the Avondale Business School.


P: 02 4980 2168


Sunday, September 13, 2015

Multitasking 2Tim Hartford has written in the 3 September 2015 edition of FT magazine on the issue of multitasking (Read it here) with some very interesting results. Referencing current studies on the topic throughout, Hartford looks at the history and modern phenomena we know as multitasking. Are we destined to multitasking as a by-product of our modern era? It is fuelled with technology that allows us to text, talk, email and watch through the same device almost simultaneously. Some have argued that this is not really multitasking, but actually an addiction to the internet.

One of the studies cited notes that multitaksers tend to overrate their ability to multitask, and are in fact quite bad at it. The same study also notes that multitasking typically makes us more forgetful, and unable to apply information in different contexts.

Multitasking has also seen the rise of the Zergarnik Effect, which is when we leave things unfinished and then find ourselves unable to let go of them mentally. Our subconscious keeps reminding us that these things need attention. Doing a bit of this and a bit of that feeds this effect and keeps our brains from resting. The good news is that we do not actually need to complete these tasks, just to develop a plan of how and when and then write it down.

Interestingly people who are very good at multitasking can often also be the people who provide creative solutions to issues – it stimulates thinking creatively.

It is a very challenging article that ends with six ways to multitask with some success:

  1. Be mindful
  2. Write it down
  3. Tame your smartphone
  4. Focus in short sprints
  5. Procrastinate to win
  6. Cross-fertilize.

The Avondale Business School can help you ensure your time is highly productive – find out how by contacting Warrick Long at the Avondale Business School.


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Use Your Calendar to Form Good Habits

Sunday, August 30, 2015

CalendarRecently Stephanie Lee blogged some really useful tips on using your calendar more effectively to form good habits. You can read the full article here. These habits can be personal (like exercising) or professional (read ABS InfoLink each fortnight). Whatever they are, Lee has some very handy tips to use your calendar to help.

The major parts of the article are as follows, and under each are specific tips and ideas to help make it work. It is worth the time to read the full article and take on board the finer details. Here are the major points of the article:

  • Break down the habit
  • Figure our time and frequency
  • Add the main action item to your calendar
  • Tips for when you ignore calendar alerts
  • Help to drive the habit home
  • Have patience

This last point was particularly interesting. In it, Lee refers to the common understanding that to make a new habit stick it takes 21 days. This is not actually the case, as shown in research undertaken in 2009 and referred to by Lee, which discovered it takes anywhere from 18 – 254 days to make a habit stick.

So what are you going to do today to begin a new habit?

The Avondale Business School can advise your organisation on being effective in these areas – find out how by contacting Warrick Long at the Avondale Business School.


P: 02 4980 2168

The Five Levels of Delegation

Sunday, July 5, 2015

DelegationI was interested to read Peter Economy’s thoughts on delegation in a recent online Inc. blog (read it here), as I had not really thought much about there being different levels of delegations. It is obvious now that it is through delegation that a leader manages to achieve the objectives of the organisation, and to actually get things done. Leaders who claim not to be able to delegate to their staff merely highlight how ineffective they themselves have been at recruiting, training and managing their staff.

The article goes into some details as to each level, and where it is most effectively used, and is well worth the read. In summary, the five levels are:

Level 1 – Assess and Report

Level 2 – Recommend

Level 3 – Develop Action Plan

Level 4 – Make the Decision

Level 5 – Full Delegation

Ideally, as a leader you will be looking to develop people to the point where they are capable of operating at level 5, but realistically that will not be the case with everyone. The decision you then face is whether they can be developed further, or they have reached a level where they can still contribute to the organisation effectively, or if it is time to part ways. The tough stuff of leadership.

The Avondale Business School can help you and your team develop leadership skills – find out how by contacting Warrick Long at the Avondale Business School.


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Want to be More Productive at Work?

Sunday, June 21, 2015

ProductivityIn a recent Business News Daily blog, Nicole Fallon, Business News Daily proposes 10 things that can improve your productivity right away. And as leaders, don’t just keep these to yourself, but see if there are ways you can introduce some of these into your employees workspaces and work lives to give them as boost as well. In no particular order, the ten tips are:

  1. Streamline your space.
  2. Add pops of colour or live plants.
  3. Decorate your workspace.
  4. Get your most dreaded task out of the way.
  5. Ignore your emails (at least for a little while).
  6. Move around. Don’t limit yourself to your primary desk chair.
  7. Prioritize tasks that take less time.
  8. Take short breaks.
  9. Listen to music.
  10. Switch locations.

The article (found here) expands on each of these and might just surprise you with some of the suggestions. For example – in number 9, maybe your recent graduate wearing headphones at their desk is not all bad? So what have you got to lose by introducing some of these?

The Avondale Business School can advise your organisation on being effective in these areas – find out how by contacting Warrick Long at the Avondale Business School.


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Opportunity comes our way …

Friday, June 12, 2015

opportunityOpportunity comes our way….


I often bump into or get connected with some of my high school or college class/college mates. This sends me to the world of reflection and memory mode trying to recollect details about this old friend or acquaintance of mine. When things get put together and I can see how things have changed over time in regards to this person. How he or she is faring now and what sort of opportunities were taken by this friend. How successful an opportunity has turned in to for this friend?

Time and time I notice that one thing is common to many of my friends who have been successful and unsuccessful in career or life can be pointed to the opportunity that was seized or missed out in the right time and place.

Two thoughts come up in regards to opportunities and they are so true when we look back and the reality is that it happens to us too.

“Many of us wait for opportunity to knock on our doors. However, most successful people are prolific door openers and do not wait for knocks.”

“Many times SUCCESS is more about DOING the things you know you should do, not waiting to learn the ‘secrets’ that you don’t know.”

Another motivational quote that I found on the web that reads like this;

“Lucky people get opportunities; Brave people create opportunities; And Winners are those that convert problems into Opportunity.”

There are numerous illustrative stories told where opportunity plays a key role in the lives of people’s success. Here are a few links for you to connect and read them.

– David Wilson –

Lecturer, Avondale Business School



Work Less and Get More Done

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Now that sounds like a great idea doesn’t it! Numerous studies have proven that regularly working in excess of 55 hours per week is counterproductive and results in less, not more, getting achieved. Not to mention the effect on quality.

Work LessTravis Bradbury, writing in the May 19, 2015 edition of Inc. Online pulls together ten tips for your weekend that can result in higher quality and quantity of work during the week. The full article can be found here. The tips are:

  1. Disconnect
  2. Minimize chores
  3. Reflect
  4. Exercise
  5. Pursue a passion
  6. Spend quality time with family
  7. – 10 You will need to read the article!

Many of you are probably already doing these things, and are not working the crazy hours of others. Well done. But if you are one of those who are regularly putting in too many hours, what do you need to do to change? Not only will you be better off, but the organisation will benefit as well.

If you would further information on how Avondale Business School can help your organisation, contact Warrick Long


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