how well do you juggle?

Does it seem that in your personal and vocational life that it is a juggling act? We all fill so many different roles that sometimes it is hard to remember “which way is up”!

This article on the Harvard Business Review site has some good recommendations to help you “juggle”.

One of my favorite quotes is also in this article:

“The trick to juggling is determining which balls are made of rubber and which ones are made of glass.”

The bottom line is, do you know what your real priorities are in life and are you living and working in accordance with those priorities?

some steps to improve stewardship of your time

sunshine Lauren Niles FEB 2014Good morning! The snow is melting! After record snow falls here, the snow if finally melting. What a blessing!

Most of us take stewardship seriously and time is one of our most precious resources. So, I always enjoy reading about ways I can be more effective in the use of my time. I don’t always take all of the suggestions, but occasionally I come across a gem that is a real help. So here is a list from an article entitled 10 Simple Steps to Exceptional Daily Productivity by Jeff Haden.

1. Every Sunday night, map out your week

2. Actively block out task time.

3. Follow a realistic to-do list.

4. Default to 30-minute meetings.

5. Stop multitasking. 

6. Obsess over leveraging edge time.

7. Track your time.

8. Be thoughtful about lunch. 

9. Protect your family time.

10. Start every day right.

Some good ideas here. Click here to read the entire article where he goes into more depth on each of his suggestions.

What are some of the things you do each day to be more productive?

Be a good steward of your time – it is an expendable resource!


a seeker of knowledge and wisdom

waterfall at LAMGood Friday morning to you!

Think about the following for a few minutes:

“Incline your ear, and hear the words of the wise, . . .” – Proverbs 22:17

“Apply your heart to instruction and your ear to words of knowledge.” – Proverbs 23:12

“. . . with those who take advice is wisdom.” – Proverbs 12:10

So today:

Are you seeking wisdom?

Are you seeking knowledge?

Are you seeking advice from wise people?

If you aren’t, why not? Develop the heart of a learner, be one who pursues wisdom, learn how to humble yourself and seek the advice of others. Begin to grow.

Have a great weekend!

What You Need To Stop Doing

I hope you had a blessed Christmas celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior – Jesus the Christ. We have minimized the use of technology over the last few days but I thought time to get up another post.

Christmas Wreath
Christmas Wreath

I read something interesting this morning on the Harvard Business Review website (this is a great resource by the way if you are in leadership, whether it be business, non-profit or a church). The article is on things people wished their boss (leader) would stop doing and some sound very familiar. When I have asked people directly how I could be a better boss, some of these very things came up in the discussion. So here is the list from the HBR article:

1. Don’t obfuscate; tell it like it is. – People, especially the Gen Y crowd, want to know where they stand. They want to know what they need to do to get better.

2. Stop telling me what I know. – They want to be coached and taught and then given freedom to do the job. One quote was “Coach me, enable me, support me”.

3. Don’t stray; walk the talk. – Pretty straight forward. Be a person of integrity. Ensure your actions are consistent with your words. People are looking for role models and they are proving difficult to find. When I was at Life Action Ministries, we called this having a Life Message.*

4. Stop playing favorites. – Again, self-evident, but so many of us are guilty of rewarding people for the wrong reasons.

5. Don’t be a boss, be a leader. – There was an unmistakable call for appreciative, empathetic, respect-worthy leaders. One person said “A boss inspires fear, a leader inspires enthusiasm.”

Some good points. Take some time and ask your team members what it is that you need to stop doing in order to become a better leader of your team. Not very easy to do. Also, when you ask and they tell you – resist the incredibly strong desire you will have to defend yourself. Defending yourself is of no value. Just listen and learn and become a better leader.

Hope you have a great Wednesday!

* Life Message
1 Thessalonians 1:5; 2:10
Someone has said, “A message prepared in a mind reaches minds; a message prepared in a heart reaches hearts; but a message prepared in a life reaches and changes lives.” The power of God to change lives is released through the truth of God’s Word illustrated in lives. Therefore our lives must be living demonstrations of the reality and the truths of His Word.

The Adventure Begins!

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!

Check out this post on the 99U blog, “The Key To Creating Remarkable Things” – it makes sense!

I hope you  have a blessed week serving out Lord and others!

A Critical But Underutilized Management Skill

Good Monday morning! Over the last few weeks I have mentioned about how dry it was here and about how I did not have to mow. Well, we have had some rain and my yard has gone from a desert to a jungle. Amazing how fast it recovers!

There is one thing that we could be doing better that would motivate our staff, empower our staff, develop our staff, allow us to focus, reduce overwork, and maintain priorities. However, we avoid that thing and we don’t cultivate the skill – all to our detriment and to the detriment of those we lead. I wonder why.

This most critical of skills is simply delegating. For whatever reason we fail to learn the skill of delegation and we and others suffer as a result. Amy Gallo in her Harvard Business Review article “Why Aren’t You Delegating?” has some thoughts. Check out her article. I have some theories as well. But ask yourself – why aren’t you delegating? What is it that you fear will happen if you delegate?

Also – check out my post on “Delegating – the 5 Levels” for some practical guidelines on how to delegate.

So – just try it today – delegate something!

Blessings on your day & week!

Want to be More Productive? Go to Sleep!

We finally have some rain here in southwest Michigan – what a blessing!

Do you want to be more productive, more energetic, and live longer? Try getting at least seven hours of sleep each night.

Most of us get six or less hours of sleep a night which leads to fatigue, poor thinking, and poor health. In fact, getting less than six hours of sleep a night on a prolonged basis increases your chance of heat disease by 48 percent.

Tony Schwartz, in a Harvard Business Review blog post goes into detail the benefits of getting seven to eight hours of sleep a night versus the six to six and a half most of us get or the less than six hours 30 percent of us get each night. The difference is astonishing.

Simply getting one or two more hours of sleep each night on a consistent basis will radically transform your life.

So what is keeping you from doing so? Habit? Do you really have to stay up to watch the news? Do you really have to check out everyone’s Facebook? Do you really need to surf the Web for a couple of hours?

Try changing your habits just a bit and feel better, be more productive, be happier, and live longer. Just try it!

Rest well tonight!

Take Back Control of Your Attention

Good morning! Still warm here in Michigan – warmer that where I am from in the South!!

What has your attention? Really? A while back I wrote a post on “What Has Your Attention?” Now the questions is how are you stewarding your attention? Sound a little funny? Think about it – how you use your attention is really a stewardship issue. How are you focusing your attention? On what?

Tony Schwartz has a good post on this issue and he identifies seven things you can do to take back your attention – especially taking it back from the numerous tech devices that we have that consume our attention!

1. Start to focus on what you’re doing with your attention. – Keep a simple journal or log to see what is pulling at your attention each day.

2. Either the night before or the morning of the day – write down the two or three most important things you have to accomplish that day.

3. Do the most important thing first! Before checking email, the web news sites and so on. TURN OFF all of your electronic devices!!!  And concentrate on that priority for 90 minutes and then take a break.

4. Eliminate the “insecurity” work. Interesting concept – check out his blog post to se what he means.

5. Keep a list of what is on your mind – instead of trying to keep up with everything on our mind, develop some kind of list where you transfer that thought to the list so you don’t worry about trying to remember it.

6. Every time – that is every time –  go online ask yourself if it is the best use of your time.

7. Systematically train your attention. One way is to read good books for a sustained, uninterrupted amount of time.

Some good points. The main point to me is that taking control of your attention is a matter of stewardship. Do not waste your attention!

Grace and peace to you this week.

The One Thing That will Increase Your Productivity

Good morning!

There are books & books, articles and blog posts everywhere about how to improve our productivity. Each of those have lists or systems. Some complex, some simple, and some that require buying their software. I found out I was losing productivity just trying to figure out how to be productive!

I am a simple guy so here is one simple thing that will greatly enhance your productivity more than any fancy system.

Simply decide what is the most important thing you have to do that day and do it the first thing that morning.

Just do what is most important first!

Simple, but most of us have to read email, check out the news or our favorite website, talk to someone and so on. Instead, just for a week or two, just try doing what is most important the first thing in the morning and se what happens.

Grace and peace to you,

Are Meetings Frustrating You? Try Three Simple Things

Good morning! I hope you had a great day celebrating Independence Day yesterday.

For many people, next to e-mail overload, unproductive meetings are one of the most frustrating aspects of organizational life. There are several good book out there on the subject with my favorite being Death by Meeting by Patrick Lencioni. But instead of rehashing his book (click here to see some of his tools) I am going to share just a couple of things that really make a difference for me.

First – decide what you are really wanting to accomplish in the meeting. What is the ONE thing you want to walk away with at the end of the meeting? Write it down and even put it on the top of your agenda.

Second – after you build your agenda, cut it in half! Force yourself to truly rank order the topics and only deal with the most important half of them. And then, spend more time arriving at better decisions on the most important issues.

Third – after cutting your agenda in half, then assign time frames to each agenda item and stick to the time! Force discipline into your meetings.

Try these three simple things for a few meetings and see if the quality of your meetings improve. You might be surprised.

Have a blessed Thursday!