Have a blessed day!
Archives For Personal Management
Have a blessed day!
Good morning – headed to Michigan today to see some of my favorite people at Life Action Ministries.
Question – are you as productive as you want to be? Is there a nagging feeling that you’re not “hitting on all cylinders?” Most of us struggle with this and we’re really not as effective and productive as we could be. We want to be more effective and productive because we are doing things that matter and our work should be done as unto the Lord. It is important. Now the answer is not working harder. If you are like most, you are already working hard and it’s not just about working harder.
It’s more about changing some of your old habits and developing some new ones. Following are nine habits or things to incorporate into your life that will make you more productive and effective:
1. Get enough sleep! You weren’t expecting that one were you? Especially as number 1? The lack of sleep or poor sleep habits is one of the major productivity inhibitors - and a cause of many bad decisions. So learn how much sleep you need and get it. Click here to read more about the importance of sleep.
2. Take walks during the day – really. Walks are good for you physically and mentally. They improve your creativity and productivity. Click here to read a little more on taking walks.
3. Work in focused 90 minute blocks of time, uninterrupted if possible, and then take a quick break. Turn off your computer, your smartphone and whatever else would distract you and focus for 90 minutes on the task at hand and you will be amazed at what you accomplish. Click here for more on this subject.
4. Understand your weekly rhythms and plan your work accordingly. We all have weekly rhythms – times when we are more energized and creative and times when we are moving more slowly. For most of us, Monday is a warm-up day, Tuesday and Wednesday are our peak days and by Thursday our energy is ebbing somewhat and Friday is usually the lowest energy day for most of us. So plan your work so that you are doing creative and focused work on your high energy days and take care of your busy work on days like Friday. Click here for more on this.
5. Put no more than three things on your To Do List each day. Don’t try to do everything today. Take that 50 item To Do List and trim it down to the three most important things you need to do today and focus on getting them done. It will make a difference.
6. “First Things First” – Do the most important thing first – not after you have checked and answered your email and then cruised the Internet – do it first!. Manage your work by priorities. Click here to read a little more about this.
7. Do a Weekly Review every Friday afternoon. Set up a recurring appointment for yourself for about 45 minutes every Friday afternoon. Use this time to review your week and to plan the next week so that when you come in the next Monday morning you arrive with a plan and not scrambling to figure out what to do. Click here to read more about the weekly review and here.
These are just a few things that if you build them into your life, you will become more effective and productive. But don’t take my word for it – try them out for a month and see if they work for you.
Question – what are some of the things you do to be more productive?
Hope your week is going well and finishes well!
Have you ever noticed how easy it is to slip into unhealthy habits or rhythms in your life and how hard it is to develop good ones? Well, in today’s post I am “preaching” to myself. We had some very healthy rhythms going, but then we moved which disrupted things for a while and it is a challenge to get back where we were, but we are making progress.
Over time, I have found four major themes of rhythms important to my overall health. (In my next post I will talk about the rhythms you need in your work for an effective and productive week). The four rhythms that work for me are:
- Spiritual: Over time I have found that it is important for me that I read some Scripture each day and meditate on what I have read during the day. Additionally, it is important for me pray daily and to stay in a prayerful mindset throughout the day. It is amazing how that changes your perspective.
- Relational: It is important that you nurture the key relationships in your life. One way we do that is that Angela (my wife) and I take each Saturday morning as a breakfast date. We make it a leisurely morning that is focused on our relationship. It does come at a cost as Saturday morning is usually the big project time for most people, but this has been important in our relationship. Additionally, for years we have had a family date where one night each week we go as a family to the local Barnes and Noble bookstore, read books, talk about the books and drink coffee. It has been a blessing to our family.
- Health: Your physical health is important. We all know this, but it seems to be an area where so many of us struggle. Before our move we were working out five days a week and were feeling so much better. We had much more energy. Since the move, once or twice a week has been the best we have done and we can literally feel the difference. So, we have purposed together to get back into a healthier workout routine. I have read many times that if you will at least do three 30-minute workouts a week, you will dramatically improve your health.
- Learning & Growth: We all need to be nurturing our minds and we need to be strategic in how we do so. We actually need a plan. One way is a reading list with a goal of so many books a month. Read in areas that help you grow spiritually, grow in your vocation, that stretches your boundaries, and finally just for fun. Also, start taking out interesting people for a cup of coffee and let them stretch your boundaries. Watch videos and listen to podcast. The main thing is to be intentional about your growth.
Of course there are many more things you could be doing and different variations. The point is that you identify what rhythms, or habits, work for you to help you to grow in all of these areas. The next thing, and the hardest thing, is to actually integrate them into your life. When you actually do, you will be amazed at the difference.
So, be intentional and begin to really flourish in life.
As the leader of your team, most often you are the one directly responsible for the good or bad mood of your team members. Surprising? According to this Harvard Business Review article, “The leader’s mood and behaviors drive the moods and behaviors of everyone else. A cranky and ruthless boss creates a toxic organization filled with negative underachievers who ignore opportunities; an inspirational, inclusive leader spawns acolytes for whom any challenge is surmountable. The final link in the chain is performance: profit or loss.“
Your emotional style sets the tone for those you lead – you have a direct and powerful impact on the mood and behaviors of the ones you lead. I can still remember when I was about to become the commander of an Army unit, the admonishment of my battalion commander. First he said, “Your duties are simple, you are responsible for everything your unit does or does not do.” Then he went on to say that an Army unit eventually takes on the personality of its commander and if I did not like how it was operating, to go look in the mirror for the cause of the problem. The bottom line is that your emotional style will become the emotional style of your team. The researchers call it mood contagion.
What that means is that your emotional intelligence is critical to your success as a leader. It means you have to come to a deep understanding of yourself; your strengths, weaknesses, conflict management style, preferences, tendencies, how you project yourself, and all the other aspects of who you are – good and bad. By the way, you can’t do this alone. You need to take the various excellent personality assessments that are out there and then have a knowledgeable person walk you through what the assessments mean. You need to have a personal 360 SWOT done by those in your life. It won’t be fun, but it will be oh so valuable!
As a leader (actually everyone), you need to learn to manage your inner life. To lead effectively you need to be an authentic person that sets the proper emotional tone for your team. Your emotional leadership sets the tone for your team and is one of the most important factors for the success of your team.
So in what ways do you set the emotional tone for your team? How are you managing your inner life?
Have a great weekend!
When it is all said and done, the thing that really matters the most to us, the thing that causes us the most hurt and joy in our lives, and the thing that most impacts our legacy is our relationships – especially those critical relationships. Our relationship with God, our spouse, our children, our extended family, and those close friends.
Relationships, for most of us, are actually the most important things in our lives. Yet for some reason for many of us, our relationships are what we are least intentional about in our lives. Somehow we just expect them to happen; we expect them to somehow stay strong and to grow with little or no intentional planning and action on our part. So often, the most important thing in our lives receives the least amount of our attention. Maybe that is something that needs to change?
Here are a few questions for you to ask about your key relationships:
- What is their love language and do I communicate with them in their love language or in mine?
- What is their personality type and how does that affect how I interact with them?
- What is their preferred method of communication? Do they like calls, texts, Facebook messages, letters?
- How often do I need to be connecting with them? Some relationships require frequent contact and some not so much.
- What are their hopes and fears? What are some of their favorite things?
- What is going on in their lives right now?
- How could I be a blessing to them right now?
- Am I intentionally scheduling time on my calendar to call them / visit them / write them / or ???
Our relationships are vital – so start being intentional about nurturing them.
Question for you – how do you ensure you are caring for those critical relationships in your life?
Have a great weekend!
Good morning! The flowers are blooming here, but it is still raining up here in the Midwest. Everything is pretty soaked, but as you can tell from this picture my daughter took that the ducks are having fun!
Do you ever feel overwhelmed with all the communication and information that is coming your way? First there is your computer with your multiple email accounts, your myriad of websites that you “need” to check, of course Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and so on. Then there is your smartphone that keeps you connected though texts, email, Facetime, and the occasional call. It sometimes seems we start our day by turning on our computer or checking our smartphone and then we spend the rest of the day just trying to manage the flood of information coming into our lives and end the day more tired than if we had been digging ditches all day.
The one thing we are missing in our day is one of the most important things we need to be doing – thinking. Most of us are called knowledge workers these days, but sometimes it feels more like we are simply information processors. We need to be spending more time actually thinking. One of the ways you can do this is to disconnect from all your tech gear and simply take a walk. Leave your smartphone at your desk and take a walk and think. Try to do this in the morning when your mind is fresh and creative.
You will be amazed at how your creativity increases and the insights you will have when you simply disconnect from the firehose of information and take the time to simply think. Try it today and see what happens.
Go take a walk.
Peace and grace to you today,
Good morning – looks like it is going to be a beautiful day here in northeast Indiana. Finally looking like spring.
I have been enjoying a good book called Creative Intelligence by Bruce Nussbaum. One thing that has struck me so far is his discussion on framing and reframing. Essentially framing is how we look at things – our lives for instance. We all have a set of lenses through which we interpret the world and many times those lenses are “out of focus”.
His key point is that we have the power to change those lenses. We have the ability to “reframe” ourselves and to see ourselves behaving in alternative ways. reframing is about breaking your routine. He goes on to talk about how our frames of engagement are shifting from passive to active, transactional to relational, and impersonal to very personal. You can change the way you see the world, how you connect with people and how you think about the future.So often we are so used to looking at the world in a certain way that we become blind to the possibility of something we can’t even imagine yet.
He has some questions he recommends you ask to help you in reframing so that you can see new opportunities:
What’s really going on?
How did we get here?
Why are things the way they are?
What if things were different?
Some good questions to help you to start thinking differently about your situation and your life and to start seeing new possibilities.
Hope your week gets off to a great start today!
I saw this article on the Inc. website this morning and thought I would share it with you.
They suggest that everyday you make a commitment not to:
1. Check my phone while I’m talking to someone.
2. Multitask during a meeting.
3. Think about people who don’t make any difference in my life.
4. Use multiple notifications.
5. Let the past dictate the future.
6. Wait until I’m sure I will succeed.
7. Talk behind someone’s back.
8. Say “yes” when I really mean “no.”
It’s a good article and worth a quick read - click here to go to the article.
Enjoy your weekend!
It is Friday! I hope you have a great weekend planned. We have some good friends coming for lunch Saturday, so we are looking forward to that.
You come in to your place of work, fire up the computer and then maybe check out the news to see what has happened overnight, then quickly check out Facebook and Twitter. After that, you start cruising your email to see what is interesting or urgent there that you need to deal with (or think you do) and one thing leads to another and before you know it it’s lunchtime or after.
The problem is that you haven’t spent anytime on that important project yet. You really are not sure how to tackle that issue or how to get started and it’s just easier to deal with your email. Of course that’s work and you can feel good about “checking off” some of those tasks, but that really important piece of work is still sitting there waiting on your attention. Also, for most of us, the morning is our most productive and creative time of day and we often fritter it away on busy work.
It you really want to make a difference, you have to learn to discipline yourself to tackle the hard things first. Don’t use busy work to avoid doing what is most important. Also, work to priorities – not task lists.
How do you make sure you are working on the right things at the right time? What is your system?
Have a great weekend!
I mentioned last Friday about having a spring cold. Well, it kicked in full force that afternoon and through the weekend and is still hanging on this morning. I don’t even remember the last time I was really sick, so this has been a humbling experience. I came to a new appreciation as to how much I depend on Angela (my wife). She has been wonderful to me this weekend.
One of the things that is important to us at Ambassador is that people have a mindset or attitude of dependency. Not an unhealthy dependency of course, but this is the recognition of how much we need, depend on, God and others. Without God and without others we are nothing and cannot accomplish anything. To live truly independent of God and others would be the most miserable of lives.
So, this weekend (and still going on today unfortunately), I have been undergoing a lesson on how much I need, depend on, others, So, I encourage you to develop a healthy attitude of dependency on God and others. We need each other and we especially need Him.
Blessing on your week! I’ve got to go now and find some Kleenex!