December 21, 2010

Success is a Personal Thing

One of my personal success factors is being able to afford to have someone come in and clean for me every two weeks. It started 15 years ago when I was single and living in Toronto. I was flying all over North America and my housekeeper would come in while I was away. An empty apartment accumulates more dust than a lived in one. I was making plenty of money to be able to pay someone to do something that I really dislike… and go play.

Each person has their own definition of success. Yours probably has nothing to do with housework. Understanding your own personal success factors is important because it keeps you from chasing after goals to which you are not emotionally tied. Goals that don’t feel authentic will be much harder to achieve.

Success is externally evaluated but internally experienced. Behind all of the outward signs, the essence of success comes down to our own personal sense of fulfillment and satisfaction.

Evaluate annually. Now is the time of year that we are considering how successful we have been. And we are planning how successful we will be next year. Dollars are important but also think beyond dollars. Consider:
  • I feel successful when…
  • My symbols of success are…
  • What factors add up to my personal definition of success?
Personal success factors change over time. Many of mine have changed in 15 years. But I still have a housekeeper come in every two weeks!

Originally published in Work Better, Not Harder on December 21, 2010



December 8, 2010

How Many Minutes?

Should you take the time to set up a good process?

Whenever you think “If only…” with regard to your work, you have an opportunity. Consider it from an economic perspective:
  1. How many minutes would that “if only” save you each time it occurs?
  2. How many times per month does it occur?
  3. Multiply the answer to #1 by the answer to #2.
  4. Now consider, how much time would be involved in putting the “if only” in place? (in minutes)
  5. Divide the answer to #4 by the answer to #3. The answer is the number of months it would take for the time investment to pay off.

If your answer is 3 or less, you should consider making the change immediately. If the answer is between 3 and 12, it’s a worthwhile investment of your time. If your answer is greater than 12 months, perhaps what you’re doing now isn’t so bad, but there’s still an improvement opportunity.

A good process is a beautiful thing if designed right.
  • It takes the think-work out of more routine tasks.
  • It helps ensure quality.
  • It also makes it far easier to delegate to others.

So, if you could save yourself an extra hour or two each week, what would you do with it?