Time Management

Get Rid of Brain Clutter Better time management isn’t the only solution to feeling overwhelmed. You may have a case of “brain clutter.” When you’re feeling stressed and unproductive, your first instinct might be to look for a better system: A better system to manage your time A better system to manage your projects A better system to manage your life Before you blame the system, first check to see if you have excessive mental friction and brain clutter. As Brigid Schulte explains in her book, Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time, “Getting a handle on overwhelm was not just about creating more space and order on my calendar and in my office, but doing the same in my mind.” Eliminating mental friction will create that space and order in your mind. Typical causes of mental friction include: Ambivalence, indecision and self-doubt Tolerations Unfinished projects Random mental clutter Unclutter Your Brain Ambivalence and Indecision In a study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, researcher Frenk van Harreveld discovered that “When ambivalence is high, choice is unpleasant because of the uncertainty about the consequences of the choice.” All of that unpleasantness leads to procrastination. The simplest way to reduce ambivalence is to be very clear about what’s most important to you, and narrow it down to just a few priorities. When you aren’t constantly caught up between competing priorities, you have more energy to take action. If you have multiple roles in your life, your priorities will shift throughout the day. Decide on your priorities for specific periods of time and you will...

Toxic Leadership

A New Look at Solutions Much has been written about toxic leaders with psychopathic traits and narcissistic personality disorders. Bad leaders leave a trail of diminishing returns, ruined reputations, failed products, employee litigation and disheartened staffs. But applying labels doesn’t solve any problems. Leadership is relationship-driven, and organizational toxicity involves all levels – from followers to executive boards. Chopping off the rotting head won’t do the trick when the entire organizational system has been infected. Companies that replace one dysfunctional leader with another often run through a series of CEOs in an attempt to find the right savior. They’re effectively changing seats on the Titanic. Signs of Toxicity There is no precise definition of toxic behavior. Most people recognize it as displays of arrogance, selfishness, manipulation, bullying, callousness and control. Toxic bosses may be smooth and polished with people they need, but disrespectful and harsh with subordinates. Many toxic bosses achieve spectacular results and wind up in the limelight, so their transgressions are forgiven or tolerated. They use their ability to manipulate people to further their own careers, no matter the cost to the organization or its people. In the short term, they act like heroes and create loyal followers who produce great results. In the long term, they create enemies, bend rules, and push the limits of ethics and relationships.When business results are positive, toxic behaviors may go unchecked. But when the bottom line takes a dip, CEOs lose their patience. Resisting External Help Unfortunately, companies often call in coaches or consultants only after reluctantly acknowledging the scope of their problems. Even when they do ask for help,...