Machen MacDonald: Vacation time management |

Machen MacDonald: Vacation time management

Have you ever noticed how much you get done during the couple days leading up to a vacation?

For those of you thinking you haven’t taken a vacation in years … that’s another article. Suffice it to say we all have bursts of productivity and wouldn’t it be great if we could continually string those bursts together?

You absolutely can and here’s how you do it in six steps.

1. Prioritize your activities based on your zone of brilliance — We all have innate and developed skills, talents and genius. Learn what yours are and perform the tasks that allow you to execute your brilliance. Place those key activities for that day onto your calendar or to-do list. Look only at that short list rather than a long running to-do list that you can’t possibly get done in only one day. Limit, eliminate or delegate activities that are not in your zone of brilliance.

2. Seek to increase your capacity — Don’t wish for things to get easier. Endeavor to increase your capacity to handle more so it seems easier. Carve out 30 minutes each day to study, practice or take on a little more. In just one month you will have invested 15 hours toward increasing your ability to do more. It may be hard by the yard but it’s a cinch by the inch.

3. Be intentional — Efficient performance is not just about doing things. It’s about doing the right things in a certain way. That certain way is with intention. As you do what you do, be mindful of achieving the desired outcome as you do what you do. You will find, in that way, you make less mistakes, do superior work, and have more fun along the way.

4. Segment your day — This is a close cousin to being intentional. Throughout your day, chunk your focus and activities in to segments. Getting up, showering and having breakfast can be one segment. Ask yourself how you want to be during that period. Driving to work, getting settled into your office and planning your day can be another segment. How do you want to be and what do you want to accomplish during that segment? Each meeting or phone call is another segment. Each time you get up from your desk or open a door can be a segment. It’s easier to stay focused, intentional and high energy for segmented periods than it is for a whole day.

5. Limit distractions and interruptions — Life and work are dynamic. Things continually happen and change that can distract or interrupt our focus and energy. The trick is to set up the environments we operate within so we are not exposed to distractions and interruptions during our focus time. Turn off ringers on phones. Turn off email notifications. Inform people that you wish not to be interrupted. Make sure all you have in your immediate space is that which you need to get the job done and nothing more. Have equipment, tools or resources that are in good working order. Something as simple as not having staples in your stapler when you need them can crash a flowing segment of creativity or productivity.

6. Celebrate and calibrate — Notice what is going well. Focus on the positives and really acknowledge the good work you and others are doing. Notice what elements lead to those accomplishments and how your capacity is continually increasing. Results equal activity multiplied by effectiveness. If you are not getting the results you want adjust your activity level or improve your effectiveness. Calibrate, calibrate and calibrate.

Start incorporating these six disciplines into each of your days and you will create that good feeling that comes from knowing you are caught up and on top of your work. Here’s to vacation time.

Make it up, make it fun and make it happen!

Machen P. MacDonad, CPCC, CCSC is a certified life and business coach with ProBrilliance Leadership Institute in Grass Valley. He helps business people gain more confidence and clarity to live their ideal life. He can be reached at and 530-273-8000

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