stevemedcroft.com
13Dec/150

Self Portrait Number 6

Digital pen and marker.

Self_Portrait_6_web

9Dec/150

Get stuff done!

Empty_Mailbox_ScreenshotI was at lunch with a sales rep the other day and the subject of how we each manage our daily work in a world where communications are coming at us from an ever-growing number of tools. I mean, I get emails, phone calls, texts, Facebook messages, Direct messages in Twitter, Instagram notifications, and I am forwarded the contact requests through our website. But I was able to show my rep that I have an empty email inbox - meaning that I am able to stay on top of the flow of work coming at me as it comes.

I manage myself mostly through email and to-do lists and as new opportunities to work come up, be they reactive (me replying to or work being triggered by communications coming to me through all the methods listed above) or proactive (tasks generated from meetings, discussions with employees, reps, partners, thoughts and ideas about the business I have in either intentional sessions of off-work hours), I stay ahead by making an immediate, momentary decision from one of four possible dispositions with each opportunity.

Do It Now: If I can, I reply, resolve, or do the thing right then. A customer emails me with a question I can answer quickly, I send a reply right then. A phone call comes in from a customer, I answer if I am able and deal with the call right then An employee has a question, I answer now if I can answer quickly and without a major disruption to the flow of whatever I am working on at the time. For the things I can or don't need to deal with right then, I...

Delegate it: I get an email from a customer about a shipping or a billing issue - something not directly related to my direct mission of driving sales - I pass it along. We sell an order to a customer and it's time to put the final paperwork together, I turn over all the information I have and the team takes over to make sure we deliver. A customer calls with an issue with a product, I ask them to email me the details so I can refer it to someone who takes care of product issues. As soon as something crosses your desk that requires action, that is better handled by someone else, pass it along immediately. If it can't be delegated...

Schedule it: I schedule work that I need to take care that I cannot attend to immediately. Rather than let these items pile up in my email or other inboxes, with no through to when they need to be taken care of, I use free or very inexpensive technology to schedule them. First, I keep a folder in my Gmail called 'Pending' to hold emails that I need to reply to but can wait until I have time to batch-process them. Second, I use ToDoIst to schedule things that are time sensitive but don't need to be done at a specific time (make sense - meaning I need to take care of it tomorrow but not at 9am tomorrow). Third, I use Google Calendar for things that are specific-time sensitive. Simple tools for a simple organizational work-flow system. For everything else that comes across my desk, that can;t be done immediately, can't be delegated, can't be scheduled...

Throw It Away: Sometimes, that email., that Facebook message, that Twitter DM, is not worth the time it would take to reply. Not every opportunity to do work should be taken. In fact, working smart means separating the work that advances your agenda from the work that detracts from your agenda. Time is a finite resource. Spend too much of it on work tasks that don't advance your professional goals work against your future. Do not be afraid to simply throw away work you don't need to take or pass along.

That's it. A simple but effective set of rules to filter opportunities to work through that allow me to end every day with the beautiful empty inbox and to-do list.

 

5Dec/150

Chris Froome, Tour de France Champion

Froom_TdFThis is a pen and marker piece modeled from a photo reference I took at the Tour de France a couple of years ago. The text reads:

On July 19th, 2013, David Herzog, Paul Theisen and I took a trip to the Tour de France. Stood on the barriers and watched the riders line up for the start. Stage nineteen was scheduled to travel 2014 km from le Bour d'Oison to Le Grand-Bornard. Chris Froome, who went on to win the entire race, passed by us on his way to the front. His intensity was palpable and his presence commanding.

4Dec/150

Onion Field

DSCF1174

3Dec/150

Diet Pepsi love

Pepsi-Love

An ode to a habit I have now kicked. Digital painting.