Ever find yourself moving so quickly that you aren’t really finishing anything?
Instead you are kind of bouncing from one project to the next, reacting to what’s coming at you, and wondering what you accomplished at the end of the day? There are several things that can be the cause of this, but in this post we are going to focus on avoiding distractions as a Quick Start. (Quick Start is a Kolbe mode of instinctive operation. Learn more at Kolbe.com.) The Quick Start type of person tends to jump in and experiment without pre-determining a methodology (the “instinct to innovate”). Often the Quick Start type is described as being distracted by the next bright, shiny object. In a previous post, we discussed how to avoid analysis paralysis if you are a Fact Finder type. Here we will discuss how to be more effective as a Quick Start and to still allow yourself the freedom to chase the shiny object without wrecking your productivity.
Often as a Quick Start we find ourselves being drawn to the more creative tasks that spark our juices versus the more follow-through type of tasks. We love to jump in and problem solve or innovate, but this can cause problems in the ever-growing to-do list that remains undone. Because Quick Starts in the office place tend to cause a lot of chaos by their tendency to re-create and make last-minute changes, they can be the source of office frustration. It’s important to also remember the value a Quick Start can bring to a team. Often this is the person who will jump into an unknown situation to problem solve and to innovate when all the facts are available but action needs to be taken. This is crucial in a small business.
So let’s implement some techniques to help Quick Starts be more effective while still allowing space for their true value.
1. Tackle the to-dos first. Give yourself a tight timeline. And reward your completion.
The to-dos are often where Quick Starts really drop the ball, and where they are almost always least efficient. So if you are a Quick Start, use your innate need to work against a deadline. Give yourself a short time frame and tackle your to-dos first. Then you can move on to the more creative, fun work as a treat to yourself. When I’m most effective, I sit down to make my follow-up calls first thing in the morning, with one cup of coffee and that’s it. I make a game out of it and do not allow myself to get up for a refill, a snack, to go to the bathroom, or for ANY reason until my calls are done. It seems silly, but you’ll be amazed at how quickly you blow through your call list. The same technique works on any task you find mundane that just requires you to sit down and plug through it. Scanning in receipts and filling out expense reports –torture! So I sit down with one cup of coffee, shut down my cell phone, my email, Facebook, or any form of fun distraction, and I am amazed when I am done within 45 minutes. Then I can move on to the more fun projects where my value is truly needed.
2. Ask your team to hold you accountable, because there is no better way to keep people on task. Quick Starts don’t avoid follow-up and to-dos because they don’t care. It’s just where we struggle to stay focused. So use the accountability your team can provide to hold yourself to task. My team always knew that the first hour of my day was “follow-up call time.” If I did happen to get up to sneak a second cup of coffee, my team would catch me. “Did you finish your calls????” We made a game out of it and it worked. (Funny how accountability was a technique we also suggested for Fact Finders – we have yet to find a situation that accountability can’t help resolve.)
3. Touch it once. This is a great tip for everyone, but in particular for a Quick Start whose challenge will be focusing on that follow-up to-do list. Try to communicate information, send things, review things once and be done with them. Pick up the phone and resolve things, versus emailing and having to touch something three or four times. When possible, don’t have one to-do become something you have to interact with multiple times. Each time becomes more ineffective than the last and only slows you down.
4. Plan your production time. Schedule time each week to tackle bigger production projects versus quick follow-up to-dos. Be sure to plan specifically what you will work on and complete during that time so you can anchor to it. Otherwise, you will find it harder to stay on task and not be distracted by a more creative, interesting project. An email with an interesting article or a team member asking you a quick question or to review something will blow up the entire production time. Have an agenda and stick to it.
Being a Quick Start brings a valuable MO to a team, but we have to be conscious of the chaos we can cause and be responsible for it. Quick Starts are often surrounded by more Fact Finder/Follow Thru people to balance them out, but that also means they approach things completely differently. What makes sense to you can cause a lot of stress to them. Be respectful of each other’s instinctive methods of approaching situations and use them wisely instead of fighting them.
These four techniques will help you be more efficient and reduce the stress you may cause your team. Ultimately they will leave more room for you to get to the fun, creative stuff in a responsible way.
A great way to build your team is with a balance of Kolbe types while minding that they aren’t all so averse to each other that they can’t communicate. If you are hiring and need support in making sure you are hiring the right Kolbe for your role, contact us to discuss the Smart Hire Solution™ process.
Champions of your continued success,
Laney and Molly