NewHabits Programme in Kingston, Jamaica

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Recently, on my blog and ezine, I wrote about the scary economic news,
and how it’s deepened the need for productivity solutions. During this recession, we are forced to find ways to do the same or more withmuch less. That goes for companies, and it also goes for careers.

Less people, smaller budgets, little time, a lot of really bad news…

Well, I actually have some good news for those interested in doing the course in Kingston.

I have undertaken a revamp of NewHabits-NewGoals, my (formerly) 2 day programme that has been offered here in Jamaica and in Trinidad.

>>> To jump to the details, see http://fwconsulting.com/newhabits

With this new design, I decided to incorporate what I learned from the feedback over the past year, and am offering a “hybrid” for the first time.

The new programme consists of a single day of classroom training, which tackles the Essential Fundamentals, plus 12 weeks of online e-learning including live conference calls to review the Essentials and get into the Advanced Fundamentals.

This matches my experience in Kingston and Port of Spain, in which the materials that participants got the most value from came on the first day.

In making this change, I have tried to match the pace of learning — a lot of new stuff in the beginning, with the more advanced stuff coming later, in more digestible chunks. This makes it much easier to accomplish the goals of the programme — to give those who attend
the tools to create a customized time management that fits their life, and their lifestyle.

>>> For details visit http://fwconsulting.com/newhabits

The best news of all is that I am able to offer the programme on February 13th at a significant reduction in price, which I know that you’ll appreciate given the times we are in.

What I _cannot_ promise is that the price will remain at J$14,000 (GCT inc.) after the next programme.

In addition, I also can’t promise that the Early Bird or Corporate discounts for registering before January 31st (J$12,000) will be there for everyone who asks for them, as they are limited in number, and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

So, act early, and claim your seat today. Click on the link below and request an invoice today.

>>> Find programme information at http://fwconsulting.com/newhabits

Hope to see you in the class in Kingston, Jamaica,

Francis
francis@fwconsulting.com

P.S. Of course, you might also decide to take the 12 week online
programme by itself. If so, the price is being kept at US$99 /
J$8.2k for now, so you can see why NewHabits’ price is good value
for money.

P.P.S If you have questions, you can ask them at my blog at:

A Time Management System for Entrepreneurs

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An article I wrote on the reasons entrepreneurs need to develop their own time management systems was recently carried on one of my favorite sites: Entrepreneur’s Journey.

The work I have been doing in this area was inspired by my move to Jamaica, in which I discovered that the time management system I was using in the U.S. would not work here in Jamaica. I had to make some changes fast, in order to keep my head above water!

Here in the Caribbean, we simply cannot use the time management systems that were not developed with us in mind in full. They assume that the reader or user is just like them — living in a developed country with a culture and way of thinking that is the same.

Those of you who read Chronicles may recognize that I first started writing about the topic here in this blog, an eventually started a new blog when it started to take things over. It’s not only turned into a new blog, but an entirely new business.

In the article mentioned here, I focus on time management systems for entrepreneurs. Yaro Starak, the owner of the blog, offers a course I took some time ago called “Blog Mastermind” in which I learned how to take my love of writing, and turn it into financially sustainable.

To tell you the truth, many other Jamaican bloggers have fallen off the radar and closed their blogs after they ran out of interest. This new dimension has given me a reason to keep going, even if it’s only because it’s so intriguing.

Blog Mastermind was a real eye-opener, and if you’re interested in learning more about the program, there is a tremendous free e-book called BlogProfits Blueprint that is available at Yaro’s website.

A Manifesto for Change

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Yesterday, I figuratively nailed my own version of Luther’s Theses to the ChangeThis.com website.

I can’t claim that it had the same historical significance as other more famous printed texts, but it did feel good.

My ChangeThis.com manifesto was published yesterday, calling for a new approach to time management thinking.

In the 21 page PDF document, entitled “The New Time Management: Simply Focus on the Fundamentals, and Toss Away the Tips”, I make the point that working professionals the world over have destroyed their productivity and peace of mind by buying gadgets, and buying-into too many tips from other people.

Instead, they should be focused on perfecting their time management skills by focusing on the fundamentals of time time management. The manifesto focuses on the first 7 fundamentals (the essentials) without getting into the 4 advanced fundamentals.

Here is the info for retrieving it:

ChangeThis Newsletter No. 45

* * * *
* * * *

45.04
The New Time Management: Simply Focus on the Fundamentals, and Toss Away the Tips
by Francis Wade

“As working professionals across the world, we all want the same things when it comes to time management. We want to feel a certain peace of mind that comes from knowing that our affairs are in order and that we’ve not forgotten something that might jump up later to give us a nasty surprise.”

http://changethis.com/45.04.NewTime
http://changethis.com/pdf/45.04.NewTime.pdf

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Managing the Exploding Inbox

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The following article was carried in the Sunday Gleaner today (with some edits) :

Here is the original article:
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It’s one of those issues that everyone complains about – “my Email Inbox has 500 items.” The retort draws a quick response — “Oh yeah, that’s nothing… mine has 5,000!”

Email explosion is one of the favourite things that Caribbean professionals across the region bemoan, but feel they can do little about. They suffer as they watch the size of their Inbox grow, and devote weekends, public holidays and even vacation days to getting rid of the monster. Once they do so, there is a feeling of relief as order returns to their tired psyches.

However, a month later it’s back.

Some try the trick of periodically copying all their messages to a bottomless folder, returning their Inbox to ground zero. Others simply delete everything, deciding that anything that’s in there is probably not valuable, and “if it’s really important, they can call.”

On the other side of each email, however, is someone who genuinely wants a response of some kind. The sender waits, while forming an unfavourable opinion of the person that has not replied. Cleaning shop by deleting emails en masse is risky business.

What can be done to address this problem that most will admit is not going away, and is likely to only get worse?

Face the Unproductive Facts

The first insight is the hardest to swallow: an overflowing Inbox is a sign of weak time management and productivity skills.

It’s not due to “those people” who won’t give us a break. It’s not that we are “bad at email.” It’s also not God’s fault for refusing to give us more hours in the day.

Recent research by Framework Consulting shows that an overflowing Inbox is a sign that the user probably has not learned, and is definitely not using, the best time management practices. Their Inbox is only reflecting the results of the habits they are using.

The solution? It turns out that a complex set of skills must be mastered in order to produce the Holy Grail of professional productivity – a perpetually empty Inbox.

That is no trick. A perpetually empty Inbox is not one that is blocked from other users, and does not come from changing an email address, job, country or computer. Instead, it is one that involves the skilful handling of email as soon as it arrives.

How is this accomplished?

The 11 Fundamentals

An empty Inbox is not created overnight. Instead, it involves the steady application of a set of habits that must practised continuously, like a forward defensive stroke or a scale in C major.

Of the 11 fundamentals, we have found that 7 of them are critical to properly manage email. These seven practices comprise the core of all complete time management systems, and once they are each mastered to a high enough level, the empty inbox is a natural outcome. When any of them is missing, the result is Inbox overload.

Here are the 7 core practices essential to proper email management.

  1. Capturing: using the email Inbox for temporary storage only, and for quick emptying. Messages are downloaded from a server only upon request.
  2. Emptying: moving messages out of the Inbox to other folders as soon as it’s practical
  3. Tossing: permanently deleting emails that won’t be acted on
  4. Acting Now: taking immediate action on messages that require 5 minutes or less to be completed
  5. Storing: placing information from messages in different folders for future retrieval
  6. Scheduling: using messages to create appointments for solo or group work e.g. to block out time for an interview, or time to review a document
  7. Listing: taking information from messages and adding them to lists for later action e.g. a list of items to be covered in a meeting agenda

Perhaps the biggest change that most professionals can make immediately is turn off the ability of their email programme to download messages automatically. Instead, in order to “Capture” properly, they must manually download email at pre-appointed times, while disciplining themselves to rarely, if ever, check email at other times.

None of these practices are easy to implement, especially as they are simply not taught in schools. Most of us put together a time management system without guidance in time to pass our 11+ examinations, and we are stuck with our creations that were meant for an age when email wasn’t invented.

The advent of email, with its 24 hour demands, means that we must all “up our game.” Instead of relying on home-grown approaches that were incomplete and ill-informed, we as professionals must take the next step to deliberately design our own time management systems. Using the 7 core practices as building blocks is just a start. A perpetually empty Inbox is a powerful milestone to accomplish.

Unreturned Calls

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One thing I have noticed about doing business in Jamaica is that professionals seem much less likely to return phone calls than in the U.S.

I have decided that this largely comes from a lack of competence, rather than an intention to do malice or harm. How can I tell?

Well, it seems that it shows itself when the person is finally met face-to-face, at which point profuse apologies are made. There are just many more people who are incapable of handling the volume of stuff they have coming at them, and the skills they are using are just not adequate.

In general, the productivity of the average professional is lower than that of their counterpart in the U.S. It isn’t even the case that people work harder in the U.S. — although they do work longer hours in general. I attribute the difference to a lack of role models to demonstrate good habits more than anything else.

I really do believe it just comes down to a skill difference, and that can easily be overcome with the right training, coaching and mentoring.

"New Habits – New Goals" February Workshop Open

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The first official “New Habits-New Goals” workshop is now open for registration.

It builds on the pilot class that was held in January with 13 participants and, once again, promises to give those who attend the tools to construct a time management system for themselves, built on the fundamentals of personal productivity that represent the newest thinking in the field.

It will be held on February 26-27, 2008 at the New Horizons Computer Learning Centre in Liguanea.

The class will be small, with less than 15 participants — we still want to keep things small to give more individual attention.

For more information see http://fwconsulting.com/newhabits

It’s Been a Long "Time" Coming

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If you have been following this blog, you might remember the posts I did related to the 2Time Management System — for time management and productivity.

After a few years of developing the idea, I am launching the course today in the form of a pilot programme.

What: New Habits-New Goals – The Practice and Art of Professional Productivity in January, in Kingston

For more details, see http://fwconsulting.com/newhabits