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Reinvention: It’s something you can do

Reinvention: It’s something you can do

Fourteen months after the first one, I tried to put together a Reinvention Forum with the Ho‘ohana Community of my Talking Story blog (which by the way, is a virtual community you are warmly welcomed to join into).

I’ll be frank: I had my doubts that I could pull it off, and as things do have a tendency to happen as your expectations have led them to, the entries for the forum overwhelmingly happened in the final hours before the submission deadline. But they DID happen, and we nearly tripled the articles from the first time around.

Reinvention seems to be a scary word for a lot of people; it ranks right up there with, gulp, “change.” If not scary, it’s intimidating, something you think that you could never do, for it takes someone else with a bigger, revolutionary kind of innovative idea, someone brilliant, …but surely not you. For many, reinvention implies you have to start from scratch and be an Einstein-like inventor, or be an incredibly brave idealist.

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Not true. Learning to reinvent little by little is a way of grooming your own potential for leadership initiative. Your idea doesn’t have to be completely original; we can all reinvent by putting our personal signature on an idea we love which may already exist. There is an incredible amount of unmet opportunity dormant in the wasteland of unsupported ideas which were abandoned by those who weren’t tenacious enough, or who feared making mistakes when they didn’t need to.

Sometimes we reinvent to fix an irritation. I admit this is where my own contributions to the Reinvention Forum happened with the articles I’d written on Human Resources and compensation design. Irritations become very hopeful, positive and proactive within an enthusiastic and optimistic effort to reinvent the processes associated with them. Think of the way a pearl is created around a grain of sand which has become an irritation in an oyster, or the way a talented muralist transforms a wall which previously attracted too much graffiti.

Reinvention is something we can all do. The only question is if we will.

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For me, the word reinvention is not at all intimidating. It has other connotations. An easy way to groom more creativity. The willingness not to give up on something promising, but still slightly flawed. The opportunity to collaborate with others on synergistic effort, uncovering a third alternative; not mine, not yours, but something better entirely. The triumph of our human capacity to make things matter. And as far as virtual communities go, a forum meant to be where people don’t just complain, they generously seek to offer solutions.

Visit our Reinvention Forum on Talking Story and you will see what I mean. Add your own thoughts and comments to help us flesh out our ideas. Counting this post, you have 21 different opportunities to do so. Here is a run-down of the topics you’ll find there.

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Reinventions at Work and in Business:

1. Reinventing Brainstorming at Work
2. In search of a job spec that inspires
3. Reinventing Business, Making the Transition from Advertiser to Facilitator
4. Employee Evangelism
5. Coyote and Jackalope
6. How to Kill Creativity
7. Robots R Us: Crisis in Customer Service
8. Manifesting Possibility
9. The Most Valuable 10% of your Job Description
10. Meeting Planner | Organizer | Worksheet
11. The Resistance
12. Want to be a great place to work?
13. Why do young leaders leave organizations?
14. Vaporizing Limitations
15. Information Sharing: Don’t Hoard your Knowledge
16. Passion for the Good Customer Experience: Circle Recognition
17. A Reinvention Revolution; 3 Sacred Cows to Start With
18. The Reinvention of Human Resources
19. Got a job to fill? Tell it like it is
20. Great Project to consider: A Compensation Overhaul

I fully intend to have a Reinvention Forum again. Perhaps you’ll be there as a contributing author the next time, telling us about your own reinvention success story. I hope so; there is a wealth of potential just waiting for its day in the sun, and its got your name on it.

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Articles Referenced here:
Reinventions at Work and in Business: a Ho‘ohana Community Forum
Synergy: The Third Alternative
Looking for Leadership – any ideas?
From Mistake to Marvel

Rosa Say is the author of Managing with Aloha, Bringing Hawaii’s Universal Values to the Art of Business and the Talking Story blog. She is also the founder and head coach of Say Leadership Coaching, a company dedicated to bringing nobility to the working arts of management and leadership.

Rosa’s Previous Thursday Column was: And the Survey says?

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Published on July 17, 2018

How Productive People Compartmentalize Time to Get the Most Done

How Productive People Compartmentalize Time to Get the Most Done

I’ve never believed people are born productive or organized. Being organized and productive is a choice.

You choose to keep your stuff organized or you don’t. You choose to get on with your work and ignore distractions or you don’t.

But one skill very productive people appear to have that is not a choice is the ability to compartmentalize. And that takes skill and practice.

What is compartmentalization

To compartmentalize means you have the ability to shut out all distractions and other work except for the work in front of you. Nothing gets past your barriers.

In psychology, compartmentalization is a defence mechanism our brains use to shut out traumatic events. We close down all thoughts about the traumatic event. This can lead to serious mental-health problems such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) if not dealt with properly.

However, compartmentalization can be used in positive ways to help us become more productive and allow us to focus on the things that are important to us.

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Robin Sharma, the renowned leadership coach, calls it his Tight Bubble of Total Focus Strategy. This is where he shuts out all distractions, turns off his phone and goes to a quiet place where no one will disturb him and does the work he wants to focus on. He allows nothing to come between himself and the work he is working on and prides himself on being almost uncontactable.

Others call it deep work. When I want to focus on a specific piece of work, I turn everything off, turn on my favourite music podcast The Anjunadeep Edition (soft, eclectic electronic music) and focus on the content I intend to work on. It works, and it allows me to get massive amounts of content produced every week.

The main point about compartmentalization is that no matter what else is going on in your life — you could be going through a difficult time in your relationships, your business could be sinking into bankruptcy or you just had a fight with your colleague; you can shut those things out of your mind and focus totally on the work that needs doing.

Your mind sees things as separate rooms with closable doors, so you can enter a mental room, close the door and have complete focus on whatever it is you want to focus on. Your mind does not wander.

Being able to achieve this state can seriously boost your productivity. You get a lot more quality work done and you find you have a lot more time to do the things you want to do. It is a skill worth mastering for the benefits it will bring you.

How to develop the skill of compartmentalization

The simplest way to develop this skill is to use your calendar.

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Your calendar is the most powerful tool you have in your productivity toolbox. It allows you to block time out, and it can focus you on the work that needs doing.

My calendar allows me to block time out so I can remove everything else out of my mind to focus on one thing. When I have scheduled time for writing, I know what I want to write about and I sit down and my mind completely focuses on the writing.

Nothing comes between me, my thoughts and the keyboard. I am in my writing compartment and that is where I want to be. Anything going on around me, such as a problem with a student, a difficulty with an area of my business or an argument with my wife is blocked out.

Understand that sometimes there’s nothing you can do about an issue

One of the ways to do this is to understand there are times when there is nothing you can do about an issue or an area of your life. For example, if I have a student with a problem, unless I am able to communicate with that student at that specific time, there is nothing I can do about it.

If I can help the student, I would schedule a meeting with the student to help them. But between now and the scheduled meeting there is nothing I can do. So, I block it out.

The meeting is scheduled on my calendar and I will be there. Until then, there is nothing I can do about it.

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Ask yourself the question “Is there anything I can do about it right now?”

This is a very powerful way to help you compartmentalize these issues.

If there is, focus all your attention on it to the exclusion of everything else until you have a workable solution. If not, then block it out, schedule time when you can do something about it and move on to the next piece of work you need to work on.

Being able to compartmentalize helps with productivity in another way. It reduces the amount of time you spend worrying.

Worrying about something is a huge waste of energy that never solves anything. Being able to block out issues you cannot deal with stops you from worrying about things and allows you to focus on the things you can do something about.

Reframe the problem as a question

Reframing the problem as a question such as “what do I have to do to solve this problem?” takes your mind away from a worried state into a solution state, where you begin searching for solutions.

One of the reasons David Allen’s Getting Things Done book has endured is because it focuses on contexts. This is a form of compartmentalization where you only do work you can work on.

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For instance, if a piece of work needs a computer, you would only look at the work when you were in front of a computer. If you were driving, you cannot do that work, so you would not be looking at it.

Choose one thing to focus on

To get better at compartmentalizing, look around your environment and seek out places where you can do specific types of work.

Taking your dog for a walk could be the time you focus solely on solving project problems, commuting to and from work could be the time you spend reading and developing your skills and the time between 10 am and 12 pm could be the time you spend on the phone sorting out client issues.

Once you make the decision about when and where you will do the different types of work, make it stick. Schedule it. Once it becomes a habit, you are well on your way to using the power of compartmentalization to become more productive.

Comparmentalization saves you stress

Compartmentalization is a skill that gives you time to deal with issues and work to the exclusion of all other distractions.

This means you get more work done in less time and this allows you to spend more time with the people you want to spend more time with, doing the things you want to spend more time doing.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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