Archive for May, 2013

The Project Management of Spring Cleaning

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

Michelle LaBrosse, PMP

Yes Spring Cleaning Can be FUN

Yes Spring Cleaning Can be FUN

I’ve been doing media interviews around the country the past several weeks on how to use project management skills to get your house in order.   Yes it is that time of year where we want to get rid of the old and make way for the new.   The origins of spring cleaning may in fact be biologically driven as we start to awaken from a winter stupor induced from less sunlight and have renewed energy from more sun and longer days.   It’s hard to muster up the energy in the winter to keep the house in order and when spring rolls around,  it’s time to clean up after a long winter siesta.

But where to start when you have piles of stuff all over the house, windows to be cleaned, gardens to be planted and a garage that is so choked with “stuff” you can’t get to the bicycles.

To help people get organized and stay organized,  my side kick Kristen and I created a forty hour course called the PM of Spring Cleaning.   In this course our students first learn how to prioritize their spring cleaning efforts, then they learn how to best leverage theirs and others’ innate strengths to tackle those spring cleaning projects.  Next they learn how to plan their spring cleaning projects with their family.   They end the course by learning how to put everything into practice in a way that keeps them and their families inspired and focused.   If you want to learn some great project management techniques and develop ways to stay focused and inspired for your spring cleaning efforts –  click here to register and use the promotion code – blogclean to get $100 off the price of this fun course.

Beating the “Nothing Done” Syndrome

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

Michelle LaBrosse, PMP

You know the drill – your to do list is miles long and it just keeps getting longer by the minute.   You get bombarded with text after text with things people want from you that need your immediate attention, your email in box has 50 unread emails with just as many attachments of material you “should” review.   Your phone rings perpetually with reminders from people who need this that or the other from you.   And if that instant message chime doesn’t stop on your lap top you are going to throw the machine off the balcony.

So what do you do – go look at your Facebook account and get lost in the minutae of the moment.   You end up getting NOTHING DONE.   Businessweek estimates we have $650 Billion dollars per year in lost productivity because of all these distractions that keep you from getting anything done.

Distractions are a powerful force programming our brain for ineptitude.   With every distraction, your brain triggers a small amount of dopamine which is a feel good hormone triggered whenever we satisfy an addiction.   However this comes at the expense of developing the pre-frontal cortex parts of our brain that helps us focus and achieve higher order goals.

You can start to overcome this very modern day addiction to distractions and you can start right now.   This is not another thing you “should” do – it’s just something you do do.   It’s a conscious choice you make on a moment by moment basis to choose a different reaction and a different way of being.   It’s a conscious choice you make to program your brain in ways that serve YOU.

The first thing you need to do – turn off your phone, your IM messaging, any alerts that tell you you have an incoming message and choose to focus for the next eleven minutes to focus on what we are suggesting in this article.   Focusing on one thing at a time while it may seem like a luxurious indulgence is an absolute imperative for you to do to beat the “nothing done” syndrome.

Because of modern day distractions, most people can only focus intently at the most for seven minutes.   At Cheetah Learning we know this and we switch up our curriculums to have their students shift their attention in new ways every seven minutes.   When you set up your day to focus in short bursts on the things that are truly important to YOU – you will start to notice you get things DONE.

Lets start with your kitchen.   When was the last time you just focused on cleaning the kitchen to the exclusion of anything else.   I have a daily practice to start each day with an “empty bowl” – that means I make sure my kitchen sink is emptied of all dishes.   It is an intense ten minute focus and it starts my day with a clean sink.   But it is so much more than just a clean sink.   This ten minute practice every morning sets me up for a day of knowing I can focus in another ten minute chunk of time.    Think about a ten minute practice you can do right now.   Maybe it’s cleaning up one pile of stuff on your desk for ten minutes to the exclusion of anything else.   Tomorrow do the same thing – pick ten minutes and focus on ONE TASK and only do that task.

In the world of Project Management – this is called “time boxing” – as you start to develop the neural networks for focusing you can extend the time you can focus.   Time Boxing can help you beat the “Nothing Done” syndrome in no time flat.

Get going, I figure you have ten minutes left of all your devices off – you’ll be amazed at what you get done in the next ten minutes.