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Deliverable Me

One of the joys of being a parent and, in my case, a grandparent is that you can indulge in watching some really good kids' movies. And way up there in my top 10 is Despicable Me. We watched it again over the holidays. I love the movie, the storyline, and ... I love the title.

So I'm playing around with this title to make a point in this article. It's about the concept of Deliverable Me.

Perhaps the most clunky piece of jargon coming out of the project management profession has to be the word deliverable. There are far better alternatives: 'output,' 'product,' 'enabler,' and so on.

As the name implies, a deliverable is what the project delivers, either at the end or along the way. It reminds the project manager that it is not all about the activities, the activity network, the resource planning, and so on. These all contribute to the busyness of the project, and although perhaps necessary, these can become an obsession, even a distraction, from delivering the end product, and beyond that, the point of it all - the what the customer really wants.

'Deliverable' must be the clunkiest piece of jargon coming out of project management.

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A few years ago I was working with a global publishing business. I ran a few project management and stakeholder engagement workshops. And then my client asked me if I could help by delivering a workshop for people to improve their personal work organisation. Overwhelm as we now call it, was rampant, and people's working lives too often seemed to border on chaos. Productivity was certainly not what it should have been.

I'd like to think the client invited me to think about this because my style of coaching project managers was plain-speaking, without too much jargon, and it helped people see the reason behind what they were asked to do on a project.

The most powerful productivity techniques were borrowed from project management.

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So although I did not consider myself at that time to be any kind of productivity ninja, or time management guru, I accepted the invitation. I developed a one-day workshop called Organising Yourself More Effectively. OK, it's not the snappiest of titles, I agree, but it set out what I hoped was the goal of the workshop.

It turned out to be a resounding success. In fact, the responses I had from delegates were somewhat surprising in the way I seemed to have helped them gain traction in their working lives.

Seeing my life as a project, the 'Deliverable Me.'

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But when I dug a little deeper into what tools they had found particularly helpful, they were mostly borrowed from my project management bag of tricks. That made me think: some of the tools we use on projects and programmes can also be very powerful for the individual, for treating my life as a project, where I see myself as 'Deliverable Me.'

Anyway, we have just opened the doors again, after nearly a year to our online version of that workshop. This time we call it Leading Yourself online. However, in this workshop we go beyond modest goals of improved personal organisation and increased productivity to something more profound: moving from the captivity of overwhelm to developing ourselves to become what I call positive outliers, people who are outstanding, positively so, people who consistently do their best work. If you are interested, check out my short Doing Your Best Work email series first.

I hope to see you there.

Stop Pushing Me!!

At times we all feel somewhat overwhelmed by all the jobs piling up, whether in our email inbox, or in our own to-do lists. Many are overwhelmed all the time. It's as if our lives are being driven by that pesky list of demands. It feels like they are pushing us, each vying for first place in our attention and our efforts.

Well, it's time to stop being pushed by our work. Instead, try pulling your work through.​

This week in our Leading Yourself online Workshop, we are going through a module called, From Push to Pull,  where we explore the technique called Personal Kanban. ​Kanban boards originated in lean manufacturing as a powerful way for teams to improve their internal communication and performance. Then Kanban became a common tool used within Agile development teams, so much so that many now think Kanban originated with Agile. 

Many now think Kanban boards originated with Agile.

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A few years ago, I read Jim Benson and Torianne DeMaria Barry's Personal Kanban. I was hooked. I ​introduced it into my Organising Yourself Effectively  workshop, and people loved it. It became one of the most popular tools that we covered. Stories came back of how clients had adopted it into their working lives. This was yet another example of people discovering the personal power of tools used more commonly in a project management context.

Personal Kanban became one of the most popular tools in my personal organisation workshop.

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Here is one of the videos in the Workshop, using the online platform Trello to illustrate the personal kanban.​

This isn't the first time I've written about Personal Kanban or Trello. A few months ago I posted a piece called, Tools that evolve with our work

To become free, we need to think free, and not like victims.

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As the above video shows, though, there is something quite powerful about the idea of choosing to pull work through, and not being pushed by it. To become free, we need to think free, and not like victims. Personal Kanban, simple though it is, can help us with that move to freedom in our daily work.​

Do you use kanban for your personal organisation? If so, leave a comment below. If not, what do you used?

One Simple Thing to Make You More Productive

This year's first Leading Yourself online programme is going well, and we have just completed a module called, What's in Your Foreground? It's about the importance of priorities and their place in the skill of leading yourself, where you find them, and so on.

In this short video I explain one powerful technique called the MIT. I use it daily, and I find in one of my most powerful personal routines​, boosting my focus and my productivity significantly.

It reminds me of this scene from the movie, City Slickers:

"What's the one thing?" "That's for you to figure out... the rest don't mean ...."

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PinkCast & the 2-minute Rule

I really appreciate Daniel Pink's work, particularly Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, an awesome book. He delivers a periodic, high-energy, short video to his subscribers called Pinkcast.

This week's Pinkcast made me smile (as it usually does). It featured another notable author and speaker, David Allen, most well-known for his book Getting Things Done.

David Allen explains the power of the 2-minute rule to Daniel Pink.

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On this episode, Daniel interviewed David in Amsterdam about his 2-minute rule. Watch it.

And how long was Daniel's Pinkcast this week? One minute 51 seconds. 🙂

Do you use the 2-minute rule? If so, let me know how in the comments below.

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