Thursday 15 July 2010

Trying Harder Just Doesn't Work - Try Different!

When people complete my online surveys, I often review their scores and comments and send what I hope are helpful suggestions. Since they're sufficiently annonymous, I'll start posting those here where they could help others.

Hello Martin,
You visited my website  and I see you completed a survey and I hope you found your report helpful.
I noticed your ONE THING - doing paperwork, and I have a few comments which I hope you'll find helpful.

Most of us think trying harder is a good thing to try, but in my experience it's doomed long-term. Trying harder only works as long as you're - well - trying harder. Which is to say - trying harder than you usually do, or trying harder than you find natural.
But if nothing else changes, it won't last.

In my extensive experience, it's far better to find a "structural change" to put into your life which will alter the balance of forces in which you currently settle at a place where paperwork doesn't get done.
Film stars don't generally get great bodies by promising themselves they'll workout more often, they hire a personal trainer - they put a structural change into their lives to upset the current balance. That change will knock on their door at some un-Godly hour and drag them to the gym. It will chivvy them on through those last agonising sit-ups, it'll praise them when they're low, push a little when they need it and so on.
So - back to paperwork. Paperwork and Martin. Can you see a way to alter the structural of your working life?
I often talk about the Big Three techniques:

  • Decimate 
  • Delegate
  • Automate

Decimation means destroying. Are you sure the paperwork really needs doing at all? All of it? All of it - in that way? Can you do some things to make some of it disappear forever from your life? In this computer age, can you use computers and the way you organise your work to stop doing some steps in the paperwork?
If you're finding that some of the paperwork is transferring information from one document to another, then that's certainly ripe for automation, and if you don't have those skills, you can delegate.
Delegation in these days of globalisation has never been easier. You can hire people on the other side of the world to do the paperwork you hate., or to autoate it for you. Virtual assistants are becoming commonplace - they work from home for you, via the Internet.
Making changes like these would remove the problem without the need for you to somehow find a way to motivate yourself against your nature for as long as you need it done.
The cost? It's both low and high - logically it's low, but emotionally - it's likely to be high. Resistance to change, pessimism about change, and fear of change are endemic in most of us, and they will fight to keep you in your present reality - a kind of trap.
If you can find a way to suppress those tendencies, you'll be walking out of your trap some time soon.
Oh, and coaching can help!

Many people who have not had coaching are a little sceptical about coaching. Can it work? Is it a waste of money? Will it be comfortable? And so on.

If you're in that group, please use these links to explore your concerns:

RISK There is none. You have a money-back guarantee. If you're not happy, you don't pay.
SHOW ME I have a series of videos on coaching here. You can hear my BBC Radio interviews here.
PROVE IT I have a large number of testimonials from satisfied clients.
TELL ME There are all kinds of ways to give me feedback or to talk to me here.
TRUST I have trained coaches for Europe's largest training body - the coaching academy.
I'm a magistrate on the Bedford bench. More about me here.
F.A.Q. Lot's of answers to frequently-asked questions here.

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