Have a blessed day!
Archives For Productivity
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!
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!
Good morning to you! It’s supposed to be warmer today here in northeast Indiana, but it surely doesn’t feel like it right now.
Intimidation and fear! Not very warm and fuzzy words are they? Words that we obviously don’t want to describe the culture of our organization! But yet, we continue to do certain things that do cause intimidation and fear. One of the most common of these is the annual performance review and I cannot understand why we continue to do this to our people.
I have been a part of the US Army, worked at two Fortune 500 companies, worked in state government and in ministry over a 32 year period and I have yet to see annual performance reviews actually do anything about performance. I have seen them cause huge amounts of stress to both the employee and the supervisor, I have seen them manipulated to justify the pay scale that had already been decided for someone before their review, I have seen them continually inflated due to a supervisor’s discomfort with conflict, I have seen them used to justify letting someone go, and I have seen them used to shift the blame for a manager’s poor leadership of his team. I have seen all those things and more, the one thing I haven’t seen is an annual performance review actually help someone to improve their performance.
What I have seen improve a person’s performance is an ongoing dialogue between the person and their leader where expectations are clear, where resources and appropriate authority are provided to accomplish assigned tasks, where coaching for performance is ongoing, and where the leader realizes that their relationship with the employee is critical to the employee’s success. I have seen it work when the leader realizes that they often are the biggest impediment to their team’s success.
So, if you want to create an atmosphere of fear and intimidation, go online and download one of those checklist type of annual review forms and then sit in judgment of your employee’s performance for the year (when in reality, if you can remember how they did over the last six weeks you are doing well!) and then take no responsibility for your part in their success and failure.
Or, you could start evaluating, on a regular basis, your partnership with your team and how together you can become more effective. Then, maybe you will see less intimidation and fear while seeing more secure and productive team members. Do something radical that will actually make a difference – trash the annual review and go to ongoing coaching and see what happens.
Peace and grace to you today,
Good morning – I hope your week has gotten off to good start.
Execution – how well do we actually get things done? We talk and we plan, but actually executing and executing well can be a challenge. So how do we become better at actually executing?
Chris McChesney and Sean Covey have developed The 4 Disciplines of Execution. In their book, they make the point that there are four disciplines to execution that you need to master:
1. Focusing on the Wildly Important - this is all about focusing your finest effort on the one or two Wildly Important Goals (WIG’s) that will make all the difference versus giving mediocre effort to dozens of goals.In fact they go on to say that the more goals you have, the fewer you actually achieve. You can actually have so many goals that you accomplish none.
2. Acting on Lead Measures – Invest your best efforts in those few activities that have the most impact on the WIG’s. Lag measures are what we are most familiar with – they tell us if we have achieved our goal. They are more historical or backward looking. Lead measures however, tell us if we are likely to meet our goal – they are forward looking.
3. Keeping a Compelling Scorecard – make sure everyone knows the score at all times. Translate your lead measurements into a visible compelling scorecard. Think about this – have you ever gone to an athletic event where the scoreboard was not working? How much interest do you think you would have if you had no idea of the score? Knowing the score is a powerful method for keeping people engaged and focused.
4. Creating a Cadence of Accountability – Great teams operate with a high degree of accountability. In great teams accountability means making personal commitments to the entire team to move the scores forward and then following through in a disciplined manner.
If you are interested in becoming more effective in regards to execution, then this is a good book to add to your library.
Grace and peace,
Good morning, I trust you had a great Thanksgiving celebration. It was a great time at our house with everyone home plus some good friends visiting from Michigan.
Have you ever heard the phrase “Less is more”? We say that we believe it, but in our culture, it seems that we really put the value on addition or even multiplication. We keep accumulating – material “stuff”, things to do, more activities, greater responsibility at work, more sports & activities for our children, more time surfing the net, and more & more debt as we accumulate all of these things in our lives. The sad part is that as we are driven to add more of whatever in our lives, it all seems to crowd out the simple things that really bring us joy. What is really important becomes obscured by all the stuff and and frenzy of activity.
I have found an interesting book called The Laws of Subtraction: Six Simple Rules, that highlights the importance of “subtraction” in your life so that you remove the right things in the right way so that you begin leading a more meaningful and impactful life.
the six laws are:
1. What isn’t there can often trump what is.
2. The simplest rules create the most effective experience.
3. Limiting information engages the imagination.
4. Creativity thrives under intelligent constraints.
5. Break is the important part of breakthrough.
6. Doing something isn’t always better than doing nothing.
The book is worth a read if you are feeling overwhelmed with the sense of tremendous activity in your life while at the same time feeling ineffective and unfulfilled.
Blessings on your week!
Good Monday morning to you! Hope you had a great weekend.
Do you ever had that nagging feeling that there is some aspect of an issue that you have not addressed? Or maybe in one of your meetings everyone seems to be saying the same thing? Or maybe the strongest personality in the room is overly pessimistic or optimistic so everyone else adopts the same approach? Regardless, you know that you are missing something.
Well there is a way of parallel thinking that will help you and your team fully think about and discuss issues. It is called The Six Thinking Hats. In this approach you learn how to separate thinking into six distinct functions and roles that help you to have a more robust analysis of the issue.
First is the White Hat – this aspect just deals with the information that you have or need. Just the facts.
The Green Hat deals with all the possibilities, alternatives, new concepts, and so on.
The Yellow Hat is when you explore the positives and look for value and benefit.
The Black Hat is where you look for the difficulties and dangers and explore why something might not work.
The Red Hat deals with emotions, hunches, and intuition. Here is where yo express your fears as well as hopes.
The Blue Hat is the managing of the thinking process ensuring that all of the “hats” are used in the process.
So, if you want a more robust examination of an issue, try wearing the Thinking Hats.
Have a blessed week serving our Lord!
Online addiction? Really? Yes – it seems that we really do often develop an addiction to being online. Constantly searching, constantly “clicking” – for what?
Tony Schwartz has a good article on online addiction and some steps you can take to battle that tendency. Click here to read the full article. The more time we spend online, the less productive and creative that we are which diminishes our lives.
Tony suggests the following:
1. Lead yourself not into temptation. Instead, consciously choose times to turn off your technology entirely.
2. Carry a notebook with you throughout your workday. Download any ideas that come to you as quickly as possible —
3. Between meetings and obligations, take some time to breathe deeply — You’ll feel calmer, and you’ll be better able to focus.
4. Take a 15- to 20-minute nap between 1 and 4 p.m. — especially on days when you’ve not gotten sufficient sleep and you find yourself dragging.
5. Designate and put in your calendar specific times each week to think reflectively, creatively, and/or strategically.
Some good suggestions. My question for you – Is technology a tool or is it your master?
Good morning from Fort Wayne, Indiana – our new home. Today beings a new chapter in our lives as I report in for my first day at Ambassador Enterprises. Ambassador is a fascinating company that seeks to glorify Jesus in all they do . Their Purpose is: “To daily live in such a way that others are drawn to God.” And their Mission is: “We invest in leaders and organizations to build high-trust, high-care, high-performance teams.” Quite a group of people!
Just a reminder for you as you start off this short week – do what is important first! Not email, paperwork, voicemail or whatever. No – focus on the most important thing you have to do today – first!
I hope you have a blessed week serving out Lord and others!
Just focus! Heard that before? Well, it is actually good advice.
Today, it seems the biggest obstacle to getting things done – especially important things is a lack of focus. We are a tremendously distracted people. So, if you want to really make a difference, if you really want to do work of lasting value – focus. And focus on important work.
Avoid the distractions, close your Internet pages (especially Facebook and the news sites), shut down your email for a while, turn off your phone and go to work creating something wonderful that will make a difference.