When you find what you love to do, your “work” becomes creating enough time for it, for what you believe in so passionately. Ever wonder how Leslie gets so MUCH done for Women Inspiring Women?
My curiosity was piqued one day when she posted on Facebook about getting organized for her day. I called and she agreed to an interview. (I love it when that happens !)
She has a way of balancing efficiency and organization with the personal touches and leadership required of her role. It’s easy to get so focused on efficiency and productivity that we forget about the people around us. She certainly has balanced all of this well and is a model to the rest of us, I’ve found out. As I talked with Leslie, the word “shepherd” came to mind. She guides us, takes care of her organization and its members, inspires and leads.
“For Leslie, her greatest joy in life is helping others to achieve their dreams, realize their unique qualities and encouraging them to reach for the stars.” WIW web site.
She’s been noticed –
- Awarded NH Small Business Administration’s “Women in Business Champion” 2009;
- One of only six recipients of the “Outstanding Women in Business” award from the New Hampshire Business Review in 2010.
Elements of Leslie’s Organizing/Productivity Systems — Ideas for all of us to consider:
- Bird’s eye view: Leslie reviews her master to do list a week in advance, and even two weeks out. She also looks at it daily, but the week’s review keeps her well prepared, out of the clutches of chaos, and keeps projects moving along, week to week. More time for inspiration!
- She knows her work style well: Although she has changed her organizational tool of choice over the years, she knows that her appointments, to do’s and key email communications need to be all in one spot – making it far easier to see the whole picture as she sets priorities for the day.
- She pays attention to her productivity. She was aware that she and her business had outgrown one set of tools for keeping track of it all. What impressed me the most was that she stuck to her guns: She kept the best of her older system. She knew what her requirements were and understood which methods worked and didn’t work for her. She chose a new system based on her requirements. It often happens the other ways for many people.
- Paper or PC? Although she’s more of a paper person when it comes to scheduling and lists, she is not afraid to step out and question others about which productivity software they prefer and why. In the end, if she moves to a new system, she’ll move knowing she’s made an effective tools choice because of her upfront work. She gives more thought to this topic than many of us; I hope she’ll inspire more of us in this way.
- She starts her day deciding on priorities and figuring out the timing of the tasks and flow of her day. She used to do what a lot of us do, start her day getting rid of bunches of those little, but far less important, tasks. Busy work versus important work.
- After the daily priorities comes email processing and then working on tasks which, once off her desk, can let someone else keep moving on that project.Focusing on this affects the efficiency of projects for your business, not just one’s own productivity.
- Personal time is personal time and work time is work time. What I enjoyed was how she expressed the value in this boundary. She wants to be fully engaged with the person or the task, and for her, that’s done by keeping personal calls on personal time. Not talking with someone while thinking about her next work task.
- Related to this is her take on multi-tasking (which is backed up by research!): “Multi-tasking isn’t always efficient, as nothing is getting your 100% attention. It all comes back to the focus and being totally engaged.”
- For events, she uses a monthly planner, so she can plan further out into the year and see what’s coming up, for her events and for other events which may conflict. Ideas are written on post-it notes, so they are movable but the idea doesn’t get lost. Love this idea!
More in a next blog post … about organizing on the go, with Leslie Davis Sturgeon.
Leslie’s favorite sayings:
“Efficiency to avoid chaos.”
From Maya Angelou, “When you know better, you do better.”
Perspective, perspective, perspective.
Resources: Women Inspiring Women website