There are no shortcuts. There are no quick fixes. There are no secret methods to “being productive”, “making more money”, and “time management”. As much as I may use these phrases on occasion, they are all worthless without the magic word. The magic word overrides all of these. When you focus on that magic word, everything else falls into place. When you focus on that magic important word, you don’t have any problems getting shit done. You don’t hate your day and your life. You realize that busting your ass is part of the process of success.Read More
One of the best things you can be in life and in business is more outgoing and more approachable when it comes to making new friends. I thought I’d use this time between us to talk about my history- how I’m more outgoing, more boisterous; how I make great connections, how I shake more hands, and how it’s benefited me in my life and in my business.
I’m a student of productivity. I have to be—distractions are everywhere.
And while I know there are hundreds of apps designed to plan, protect, measure, and manage my time, I prefer some died-in-the-wool methods.
The good news is you can use them as well and with zero training.
First, how are you doing? Are you able to focus when needed and complete the task at hand? Are you organized and following a plan? Can you recover from inevitable distractions quickly and get back to work?
If you’re not sure you’re playing at the top of your time management game, then these solutions can make a big difference.
I think “open door” policies are stupid. It’s also stupid to check you email first thing in the morning, work without a plan and allow interruptions to rule your day.
That’s why you need Boundaries.
A Boundary is when you are strategically unavailable. Different from a meeting, a Boundary is a time block that reoccurs every day to allow you to work on projects that require your full attention.
My first Boundary is from 5:00 to 7:00AM for writing. No Internet, spell-check, email, or social media—just a big cup of tea and writing. I will either be working on a blog (guess what time I’m writing this), client proposal or speech—most mornings I can crank out 1,000 words.
My next Boundary is 9:15 to 10:30AM. I’m at my office (a 12 minute bike ride from home) and working on 50% of the hardest work on my plate for the day.
And then I have a Boundary from 1:30 to 3:30 for the second 50% of hard work.
Here’s the trick: I don’t worry if it doesn’t happen. It could be I have a client meeting, a speech out of town or I’m meeting someone. Of course, I try to schedule around my Boundaries, but if I can’t protect that time my trick is to return to my routine the next day.
You get ready and are on time for meetings. Right? Why not create a meeting for yourself.
Blocking happens when you create an appointment with yourself for a task that either:
When I get off the phone from a new client I block time on my calendar to interview delegates (invaluable research as a speaker), create handouts, or have a final call with the client.
I also Block time for responding to RFP’s (Request For Proposals), researching for my blog, creating email sequences for upcoming webinars and just thinking.
I’m always a bit surprised how my Pavlovian reaction to seeing a meeting on my calendar (even if I’m not meeting someone) alerts me to get ready to work on that task.
One last point about Blocking time for yourself: my rule is once the Block is created you can’t delete it, only move it.
When I visit my friend’s cabin each summer we chop wood. Nothing like chasing a scrap of wood around the chopping block to keep me happy.
It would be a bit silly for me to announce I’m going to “chop some wood”, proudly return with one stick only to head out 20 minutes later to “chop some more wood.” Instead I Batch.
Batching is a lost art in our age of multitasking and it still works like a damn. When you Batch you complete similar tasks all at once. The most obvious example is your email. That addictive InBox (Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D likens our addiction to email to that of a Vegas slot machine) will suck up every available moment unless you reserve your visits to Batching. Other examples of batching include:
And now for the one power tool that will have the biggest impact on your success—taking Breaks. Don’t underestimate the power of a Break.
New research found that over four hours of sitting a day (between your breakfast, commute, email, social media, TV, Netflix and meetings that’s easy to do) doubles your risk of Type 2 diabetes, obesity and early coronary disease. Got your attention?
The trick is to take Breaks throughout the day, not to wait for that long walk in the evening. Researchers found that exercise after the fact (like going for a long run after work) can’t undo “damage” done while we’re dormant in our chair.
So you have to plan to move at least every 15 minutes. Here’s how:
Boundaries, Blocking, Batching and Breaks – pretty easy hacks to get you productive and moving. What are you going to start with?
“When you feel good about what you did, your brain will change. It will want to do the behavior again in the future. That leads to making the habit stronger.” —B.J. Fogg, Ph.D
Bio: Hugh Culver co-created the world’s most expensive tours (to the South Pole), started five companies, and teaches experts the business of speaking. Read his blog on the business of speaking. Follow him on Twitter @hughculver
Let’s be honest, at some point we all hit a wall. A Plateau. A Bad Day. Writer’s Block. Whatever you might call the moment when things stop working. It is a natural part of reaching for a goal. It’s just a part of life. How you handle that moment is crucial though. If handled wrong the wall becomes too big to overcome, and we become frustrated, irritable, and maybe worst of all, we give up.
If we handle the moment well, the wall becomes a hurdle. It doesn’t mean it doesn’t take work or time to overcome, but we soon find ourselves back on track to achieving our goals. Here are a few ways to handle those moments when we hit a wall in our life.
We work hard. Life can get busy. Sometimes we hit the wall when we are tired, and that makes the wall bigger than it actually is. It is OK to take a break. Walk away from the wall for awhile. Part of this is being aware of your situation and self. To be honest enough to take a real break. I know this is difficult for us when we are striving to achieve a goal. But when you feel rested, you might discover that the wall was not that big in the first place.
This option is also hard to do sometimes. Our pride gets in the way, but consider that great athletes have coaches, great writers have editors, and simply, CEOs have friends. We are people, not machines. Getting someone else’s perspective on a situation is a valuable asset in overcoming a “wall” moment. When working on a goal, our focus can actually blind us from seeing new opportunities or hurdles that trip us up. Life is a team sport, you don’t have to do it alone.
One way around a wall is a new approach. Asking for help can lead us to consider new approaches. But we can figure it out sometimes when we hit a wall, and we hit a wall, and we hit it again. If we keep doing the same thing and keep hitting a wall, it is time to change. As a coach and teacher I am always evaluating the outcome of a lesson or practice plan. Track is the best example here. As a track coach I paid attention to my runners’ times for their events. If they didn’t improve their time after a few weeks, I knew I had to change their training. The same holds true in our pursuit of a goal. Hitting a wall, especially a couple of times, is a sign to try a new approach.
The last approach may be the most important, learn. When we move into a new area of life or step closer to a goal, we are entering new territory. And we might not have the knowledge or skills for this step forward. My first novel has been out for six months. Sales started out well, in fact, I sold a couple of hundred copies. But now sales are almost to a stop. I have hit a wall. This wall is because of my lack of knowledge about promoting a book. It will take some time, but I am learning about different ways to self-promote and hiring an agency to promote a book. This wall was created because I had not gained the knowledge needed to promote a book well.
Hitting a wall is a part of striving for a goal. It is part of life. Using one of these strategies should help you get through the moment and back on track.
Bio: Jamey Boelhower is a husband and a father of six. He is currently an Instructional Coach and an adjunct professor for Central Community College, Nebraska. You can read his regular blog “It Is All Connected” by clicking here. And you can follow him on twitter at @jdog90Read More
It is time to wake up and be average. Because that that is what most people will do. They’ll relish the fact that they can sleep in because their POS job makes them get up at the same time every week. They get up, turn on the TV, make coffee, and land on the couch. They’ll do everything they can do to avoid any working or learning. And around noon they’ll start hooking up with their friends to see where they are going to get drunk tonight.
You can get up and be a high achiever. You can wake up earlier than you do the rest of the week because this ENTIRE day is yours to create. You can drink 32oz of water right away and stay standing up because doing both will wake you faster than the strongest cup of coffee out there. You can look around your house and start arranging things in ways that facilitate success. You can spend time learning something new online that will help you start that hobby or business that you wanted. You can go down to the local gym, get a tour, join, and put GYM VISIT on your scheduled at a 3 day/week appointment that you will not miss. You can go through your cupboards and throw out all of the crap that is unhealthy. You can start getting rid of a ton of stuff around the house you don’t use and take it to Goodwill so somebody else can benefit. And you can call a friend or two that has kickass life you want to have and take them to dinner and pick their brain.
You’ll never get the chance back. You can try to do it next Saturday but odds are if you blow it off now you’ll blow it off then too.
A lot of people want to make a difference in the world. But I can tell you from personal experience that the best you can do is to try and make a difference in a single life. Find someone who desperately needs something you have: Street smarts, intelligence, business wisdom, a shoulder to cry on, etc. Give THAT to a single person and you will make a world of difference to them. Don’t try to change the world. Make life better for a single person at a time. Your ripple will make the world better in ways you’ll never fully be able to realize.Read More
Laughter is a good thing. Scientists tell us that laughter, humor and joy are an important part of life. Laughing lowers blood pressure, reduces stress hormones, and increases muscle flexion. It increases the circulation of antibodies in the blood stream and makes us more resistant to infection.
Laughter is good for us physically, but that is just the beginning. Laughter is good for the soul. There is a holiness in laughter. Laughter brings us closer to each other – and there is something holy about people coming together. Laughter provides us a moment of grace. It occurs spontaneously and unexpectedly. It catches us by surprise and we respond with laughter. We never expect to laugh, just as we never expect grace or good fortune when it arrives. And in that grace, we are able to recognize the folly of our own pursuits.
Laughter helps us to transcend ourselves, and I need that help. Too often I take myself far too seriously. There is a danger of taking ourselves, our beliefs and our life too seriously. Fanatics, it seems to me, see nothing as funny. Here’s a suggestion. The next time you’re in the middle of an argument, start laughing – not in a derogatory tone, but in the jovial sense of being in on a good joke. Then see if the anger begins to melt away and if you can find a more creative way to handle things. I’ve done this with my kids and it actually works. And you know what else? Now I know that when I think about doing it and don’t, that I have lost my perspective.
Laughter can be an important tool for keeping our troubles in proportion, for realizing that things aren’t always as bad as we think they are. But even when things are as bad as we think they are, laughter helps create positive emotions and helps us find a frame of mind in which we can more easily cope with the struggles of life. Laughter eases tension and sharpens our ability to concentrate. Laughter is a lot like changing a baby’s diaper. It doesn’t permanently solve any problems, but it makes things a lot more acceptable for a while.
If I am able to laugh with you in my mistakes as well as with you in yours, it suggests we are all flawed and imperfect. Embracing good natured humor, we find the humility to see the foolishness of trying to be perfect and the gift of enjoying the smiles and laughter of love.
Children laugh on average 200 times a day and adults only 26 times a day. How many times a day do you experience the rich joy of laughter? If we want to be happier, healthier, and more productive we seriously need to make time to laugh. Because when we laugh, when we really laugh, deep from the belly… we feel alive! Start looking for more reasons to laugh today.
Barbara Lee, the Sex Minister, is an international author, award winning speaker and accomplished group facilitator and trainer.She has committed her vocational journey to the non-profit sector and ministry where she is an advocate for diverse populations, particularly the marginalized and voiceless in our society. Barbara has an MBA in Leadership Studies and a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration. She is an ordained interfaith minister who has led pilgrimages to the Five Holy Peaks of Taoism in China. Barbara, a resident of Grand Haven, was a presenter at TEDxMuskegon 2013. Her books include Sacred Sex: Replacing the Marriage Ethic with a Sexual Ethic and Tension in the Tank: Embracing Interfaith Mysticism Without Leaving the Church. More information is available at thesexminister.com or barbaraleeauthor.com
It doesn’t matter if you are the CEO of a Fortune 500 company or a T-ball coach. Life presents us with leadership opportunities. I have been in education for 15 years. I’ve been a head coach for football, basketball, and track. However, the one role that has taught me the most about leadership is being a father of six. Fatherhood has taught me three important lessons on what it means to be a true leader.
People want to know they matter to you. Time is the greatest indicator of value we have to give. But what I’ve learned is that quality matters more than quantity.
At this moment I am a teacher and football coach. I spend two hours at home during the workweek that I can give to my family. I have more time on the weekends, but I have work responsibilities, too. There is no way I can give time to every child, every night. I don’t even try.
I DO make sure my children have my full attention – no cell phone. I make the conversation about what is going on in their life. Or with my younger kids, I let them choose the book to read before bed, and I make sure I tell them, in some form that I love them.
You might not want to start a staff meeting with the words, “I love you, guys.” But you can tell people they matter to your organization by turning off your phone before you engage in conversation. Ask questions about life outside the office. It is not easy to give time to everyone, but it is worth giving people quality time as a leader because people want to know they matter.
This lesson is not about steps that make things run smoothly. It is about connecting to the purpose of the routines we establish, whether it is having a monthly meeting or doing tackling stations every practice.
Here is an example; people are always amazed that our family is always on time. We have a morning routine that allows us to be on time. My wife and I get up an hour before our kids. We wake our kids with enough time for them to have breakfast and get ready for the day. When we have a rough morning, instead of yelling at the kids, we reinforce that we need to be on time. It doesn’t always make the morning easier, just that the kids do understand why, and we stay on schedule.
In leadership positions we create routines, but many times we don’t communicate to others why we are doing it. Sometimes we even create routines because others have done it that way. Spend a little time investigating the routines you have. Can you express why they are there? Are there things you want to improve? Implementing a new routine, with a clear understanding of why, will help in that area. One aspect of being a true leader is achieving outcomes; connect how you achieve those outcomes with the why.
We all know we should eat right, exercise, and drink more water. This is hard to do in the simple busyness of life. Add a leadership role to the schedule, and now it seems to be impossible. But it has to be done.
This summer I went to see my doctor because I was just not feeling right. I knew it wasn’t the flu or allergies. It was a blood pressure reading of 165/120. Hypertension. Easily fixed with medication and improving my eating and exercise. This is where being a dad really made an impact. When I got home my little girls all wanted to know if I was OK. All I could think of was how I needed to be here in good health to see my kids grow up.
Being at our best means taking care of ourselves; especially for the people we have the honor of leading.
It always seems like there’s supposed to be this one magical day where everything goes from being ho-hum to some new level of greatness. People ask me all the time whether some specific event changed everything for me. I understand why. That’s how movies and books and comics all make it seem. You’re bitten by a radioactive spider or your parents are murdered in front of you or you get exposed to gamma radiation and pow, life gets quite different. But that’s never how it goes.
WHERE DOES IT ALL BEGIN?
It begins with a choice. Everything we do begins with a choice, but this choice is married to a commitment. We commit to something more for ourselves, something bigger. This can happen in any part of your life. You say no to dessert and feel the power of self discipline. You decide to push for 225 on the bench press and work at it week after week until you hit 305 instead. Or it happens at work. You have to make an extra $2000 and you push hard and hit $5000.
But that’s the beginning. What comes next is a series of realizations that go something like this:
And once that bunch of thoughts erupt behind your eyes, everything changes. That’s where it all begins. Sometimes, it takes a few dozen times. Sometimes, it takes a hundred times. Who knows?
The difference between those people you view as successful and those people whose names you can’t even remember is that commitment to growth (Tweet That), that understanding of how to apply a lesson learned in more than one place, and the power to persist, even after you fall down a few times.
That’s what I see and that’s how I help others make their win happen.
Chris Brogan is CEO of Owner Media Group, a media and education company dedicated to equipping people to own the game they most want to win. He is the New York Times bestselling author of 8 books and counting, including his latest, The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth. Learn more at CallingAllFreaks.com
I’ve always been a huge fan of SUCCESS magazine and of the founder Darren Hardy. One of my goals has been to write more and submit my articles to national magazines. This past week I was doubly-blessed by getting an article under the “Editor’s Choice” column of SUCCESS Magazine. It has made the rounds quite a bit on social media, and I have to admit I am pretty stokes. I’d like to give a huge high five to those of you that have helped me out with the shares.
Click here to read the article. And don’t forget to share it when you are done.Read More