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2013-10: Autumn seminar 2013

EUMA Sweden Autumn Seminar 2013

Work smarter - through personal effectiveness

Each year in October EUMA Sweden arranges autumn seminars in three of our four regions, Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö. The program and the lecturer are exactly the same at all three locations. This year’s theme was “Work smarter - through personal effectiveness" and close to 120 persons participated in total.

After the introductory presentation of EUMA, our lecturer, Patrik Sandberg, entered the stage. He promised to teach us methods for realistic time planning, how to create efficient working methods and how to structure tasks and information in order to facilitate our work.

21 days to create a new habit
The power of the habit is great!  Did you know that it takes 21-30 days to create a new habit? That is the reason why all trial newspaper subscriptions last for 3-4 weeks – by then it has become a habit and it is difficult to say no when you are offered a continued subscription period. And it takes as long to create new (and good!) habits at work. Habits that make you work smarter and be more effective.

Of course, during his 1,5hr lecture at the annual EUMA Sweden Autumn Seminar, Patrik Sandberg did not have the time to implement any new habits with us. But we were all asked to bring two tasks with us back home, work with them for 21 days and then (when they have become a habit!) give feed-back to Patrik in an e-mail.

There are several areas to address in order to work smarter - for example attitude, prioritization, time planning and interruptions. And by just changing our working habits we can become 17-23% more efficient!

One important factor is your mindset – try to be pro-active instead of reactive! And write down your goals, instead of keeping them in your head. Including the intermediate goals. When others set the goals, it is easier to reach them. When you set them yourself you tend to postpone them. Most of us do the things we find fun and that are easy to do first and leave the rest for later.

One important part of this is of course also to learn how to say “No”. It is an art to leave things undone! And to dare to focus and to part the essential from the not so essential.

Teach yourself to say NO, so you can say YES!

The Eisenhower Principle
We have a tendency to prioritize tasks that are fun, interesting, simple, etc. which maybe not always is what we should prioritize. Patrik Sandberg showed us the Eisenhower principle, which means that we should divide our tasks into A (to be done within 48 hours), B (within 2 weeks), C and D (not so urgent) tasks.

Do the A tasks in the morning when you are most efficient. You can probably not do more than three A tasks in one day. Try to delegate some of the B tasks. When you go home in the evening “park” the work in the office and do not bring it home with you.

Plan your day!
Here are some planning tips from Patrik;

  • Plan tomorrow before going home from work.
  • Book an appointment with yourself in the morning, and clean your desk.
  • Categorize your to-do-list using  A, B, C and D
  • Make an appointment with yourself each Friday to plan the week ahead of you.

Interruptions are a big obstacle to many. However, many of the “time thieves” are internal, i.e. caused by ourselves, our colleagues, telephones etc. Patrik gave us the tip to “package” the interruptions and get them done during a dedicated time of the day. This will save you a lot of time. It takes a long time to get back to your original task, after an interruption, better to pack them together! Someone said that 10 interruptions a day, equals one week a year.

During the seminar, there were many opportunities to have short discussions, giving each other lots of tips and tricks. Some of them we brought with us home to include in our new habits in order to work smarter and to report to Patrik in our e-mail in 21 days!

Kristina Fagerholm & Eva Borg


Patrik Sandberg, MD Företagscoach.

Patrik has trained over 500 companies in the Nordic countries during 15 years. He is an appreciated lecturer, trainer, coach and mentor.