Recently a few of the Directors of Green Taylor Partners went to a Practice Management conference which focused heavily on leadership, personal development and also how technology was impacting the accounting industry.

I will admit whilst driving to the Airport my motivation levels were low due to the amount of work I had left behind in my office as well as the fact I was spending the next 5 days away from home, including a full weekend!  By the end of the 5 days as we were flying back to Victoria on Sunday night, I can honestly say it was one of the better conferences I have been to and I believe it will have a major long-term impact on me.

Much of what I learned from the time away was non-business or “personal development”.  When I say “personal development” I don’t mean we walked on hot coals, we didn’t hold hands and meditate and sing “Kumbaya” and I didn’t find an old God or a new God.  I just realised a lot of things about myself and how I do things that I think I can really improve on – if I am serious about these improvements this should in turn have an impact on my ability in business as a team member, accountant, manager and leader.

Some of the things I realised I can improve about myself:

  • I need to practice concentration by doing one thing at a time and giving this task my undivided attention.  Whether this be a phone conversation (and not looking at my computer screen at the same time, not referring to emails, not looking at my mobile phone), a client meeting, a task I am working on, etc.  I previously found it too easy to be distracted by other things going on around me. Multi-tasking is also a ridiculous concept.  All that happens is you do two or more things inefficiently!
  • Have set times to deal with emails – I now do this in small batches when I get to work, in the middle of my work day and near the end of my work day.  I previously dealt with each email as it was received at work (and I can receive over 100 per day) which always distracted me from what I was doing.  I would deal with these emails at home in the morning, at home when I got home from work and sometimes felt like it was a competition to see how quickly I could answer these. I now spend 80% less time dealing with emails.
  • Stop being distracted – get away from your mobile phone, refer only sparingly to Social Media and newspapers as so much of this content is negative. I used to spend the first 15 minutes of every day looking at everything on my phone.  Banking, overseas markets, newspapers, investments, weather, Facebook, Twitter, Emails, overnight sports results.  The phone is now on the back seat on the way to and from work and for a lot of the day the phone will be turned off or on silent.  I reckon I have reduced my mobile phone use by more than 80% over the last few weeks! Stop being a witness and take in what is going on around you.
  • Saying you are stressed or busy is basically your own admission your life is out of control, so do something about it.  Stress can be a self-fulfilling concept so take control of what you are able to control.  Reduce your distractions, improve your concentration, organise your day, eat well, improve your fitness, keep away from “energy vampires”, remind yourself about what you have to be thankful for.  If you cannot control something, don’t waste your energy on it.
  • Continue to set goals and write them down.  I thought I was pretty good at this as I set yearly written goals but we were implored to take this to another level.  Set lifetime goals, write down 50-100 things you want to do in your life, they can be big or small.  Then write them down where you can see them and then TELL THE WORLD what these goals are.  If you are serious about these goals and everyone knows about it, they have a greater chance of being achieved!
  • Eat properly and get fit so you can say YES to any physical activity.  Life is for living so be ready – I’m getting there fitness wise but could still improve my eating habits.
  • Work out your own personal Purpose or Vision.  It might sound corny, but all successful businesses have a crystal clear Vision, so why wouldn’t you?  I have one and I guarantee it will certainly help your decision making and prioritising things in your life.

I am trying to use what I have learned to improve the quality of the impact I am making on my family, my friends, my fellow team members at GTP, my clients and the community in which I live.  There is still so much to do!