Archives For Productivity

A Secret to Success

January 24, 2014 — Leave a comment

I was talking to a gentleman recently and mentioned the topic of habits. When I asked him about his daily habits, he responded with “I don’t guess I have any habits”. Now, to be fair, if he thought about it a while longer, and asked himself “What do I regularly do that is so routine that I do it without thinking?”, I bet he would come up with a list of habits.

Webster defines habit as:

Definition of Habit on brown background

I’ve started to get intentional about observing the successful people in my life. One conclusion that I’ve reached is that their success is, in large part, the result of their habits. If you think about it, the things that we do daily actually form the building blocks to the greater goals and aspirations that we have.

Athens bound

The olympic athlete doesn’t just pop up on our television screens and accept the gold medal. Every olympian has a story of daily routine where they sacrifice the normal on the altar of commitment. The trail of every successful person (whether athlete, artist or businessperson) is strewn with the breadcrumbs of intentional, daily pursuits that progress them toward their ultimate goal.

Notice that I said trail of breadcrumbs. I did not say pile of breadcrumbs. Because the windfalls in our lives — say winning the lottery, or a big inheritance – do not prepare us to stand on the medalist platform. It is the power of consistent preparation that ultimately elevates us to success.

Hmm, there could be something here…

A friend of mine has logged roughly 100,000 miles on his bicycle. He has ridden consistently for decades. When I first learned of this fact, I thought, “Wow – that’s a lot of miles – how unusual!” It dawned on me later, though, that the impressive statistic was possible because of his commitment to regular exercise. Could it be that part of my friend’s significantly successful life as a business owner and innovator is somehow linked to his faithful commitment to exercise? I think so.

You see, regular exercise kept his body healthy and his mind sharp. Being in shape no doubt boosted his confidence in life and business. His consistent aerobic conditioning boosted his energy and alertness at the office. He probably slept more deeply that his non-active friends. Early in his life, fitness became a habit. And the habit helped him achieve record-setting growth and success.

Power

The power to change us, to move us in the direction of our goals, is packed into these mindless routines that we call habits. I believe that the habits that we choose to build into our lives are the biggest predictors of our future achievement.

Think about the results that you want in your life. Then back-track and ask yourself what habits will help you attain the results that you desire. There are no over-night successes. We must put in the purposeful work of today and repeat it over and over again.

Successful people are characterized by daily habits that other people avoid.

What habits have helped you? Do you need to build some new habits into your life?

A Goal Setting Secret

January 9, 2014 — Leave a comment

Bigstock Closeup of man s hand writing 41634136

Ok, after the previous post, maybe you’re convinced to form some goals for the year. Perhaps you’ll start to mull over some of your unrealized dreams on your daily commute. Maybe you even spend some quite time thinking about what you want to accomplish this year. This thinking phase is great, but it shouldn’t be the only thing that you do when it comes to forming goals.

I’ve learned a powerful secret about goal setting. There is one practice, perhaps above all others, that adds power to my goals. Without it, my goals seem to vaporize within the first few weeks of the year. The absence of this one procedure almost certainly destines our goals to fail. But with it, we are positioned and empowered to reach our goals.

What if you discovered that one particular action will propel you toward your goals? What if that action was costly, say approximately $250 per goal? Would you sign up? Would you pay good money to actually gain an edge on achieving all you want to achieve this year? It’s a good question to ask. Let’s say your goal is to lose 25 pounds this year, would you pay $250 in order to shift your odds from maybe to most-likely? That’s $10 per pound!

Well, the good news is that the one action that I’m talking about doesn’t cost $250. As a matter of fact, it won’t cost you a dime! The one action that will give you an edge on goal setting (and achieving) is, drum roll…. To actually write out your desire goals.

I know, it seems too simple. Too straight forward. Too cheap! But, I’ve learned that the simple act of writing down my goals is a huge step toward success.

There is something quite powerful about actually writing down our goals. When we put pen to paper, things start to happen! Just because it is free, don’t discount the power of writing down your goals.

Here’s six reasons to write out your goals:

1) Writing out your goals gets you focused on what you actually want to achieve. The process of composing a sentence or statement that encapsulates your thoughts on a goal helps you gain clarity on exactly what you want to accomplish.

2) The physical, kinesthetic action of writing down your goals with pen and paper creates a greater connection between you and your thoughts about your goals. It activates your sense of touch and sight to connect with the sponsoring thoughts for your goal.

3) Writing your goals establishes a sense of commitment that does not exist if you just do some focused thinking about your dreams and desires.

4) Writing  your goals enables you to be accountable for them. Studies show that when we share our goals with a trusted friend, we’re more likely to succeed. You can’t easily or accurately share your goals if they aren’t written.

5) Writing your goals creates a way for you to periodically review them to gauge your progress as you work toward your goals. Reviewing your goals on a periodic basis helps you to sustain a focused effort over the long haul. Having a physical piece of paper containing your goals helps you to keep it in a conspicuous place to help keep your goals top-of-mind.

6) Writing out your goals empowers you, the goal setter. The process actually energizes you to envision and commit to reaching the goal.

Writing out your goals is a simple activity, but this simple practice is powerful! In my next post, we’ll dig into the best way to structure your goals when you write them.

Redeem the Time

December 16, 2013 — Leave a comment

I have found a great little device that has helped me become more efficient and effective- in and away from my office.

I’m talking about the LG Electronics HBS-700 Wireless Bluetooth Stereo Bluetooth Headset.

It’s easy to pair this wireless headset with your bluetooth-enabled cell phone and begin placing and receiving phone calls while using the headset.

While I’m in my office, I use this lightweight headset to easily participate in conference calls with my iPhone.

No more sore “cell phone cradle neck” from contorting my neck and shoulders to hold my phone while I free up my hands to type or write.

It also allows more freedom than a speaker phone because I slip my iPhone in my pocket and easily walk around while on a call.

The unit has a talk time of about 10 hours which allows for extended use throughout the day. It charges back up in two to three hours and is ready to go again.

When I’m out of the office, I use the LG HBS-700 to make and receive calls when I’m in my truck. It’s easier and safer than trying to juggle my phone while on the go. It has a few simple buttons that allow me to answer calls and adjust the earbud volume.

Another way I use the LG headset is to listen to podcast recordings. I subscribe to multiple podcasts and always have several episodes queued up and ready in my phone. The headset makes it easy to catch up on those podcasts that I enjoy but have a hard time making time for. This one use of the headset helps me to redeem the time on road trips and even during short errands. A button on the headset allows me to easily start and stop the audio playback.

I also enjoy using the headset to listen to music or podcasts while I exercise. It’s the ultimate “kill two birds with one stone” scenario when you can exercise AND listen to an informational or motivational audio at the same time! Since the headset is wireless, I don’t have to contend with “cord management” issues inherent with corded earbuds.

As you plan for the new year, if increasing your efficiency is on your mind, think about trying the LG HBS-700.

Bigstock Business man putting cellphone 43337023

How often do you feed a document into your multi-function printer in order to scan a few pages into a pdf file that you will keep and/or send to others as an attachment via email?

Am I the only one feels frustrated with this whole process? It seems to take way too long to scan a page into a pdf document and then share or store the newly created pdf.

A successful scan requires:

  • Me to be physically present in my office and near my desktop computer
  • My multifunction printer powered up and set to scan mode
  • Several minutes of my time to feed the document into the scanner, invoke the scanning software, make the actual scan, wait for the computer to process the scanned file, name the file, pull up my mail software and attach and send the file to a new email

What if you could essentially carry a high speed scanner in your pocket?

For the past several weeks, I have used an app on my smart phone that provides a great alternative to more traditional scanning and has definitely boosted my productivity – and I’ll bet it will help you, too!

The name of the app is TurboScan. It cost me $1.99 in the Apple App Store.

TurboScan turns the camera in your iPhone into a ‘scanner’. You simply open the app, press the Camera button on the main screen, and snap a picture of a sheet of paper. Then you can email the file as a pdf attachment.

I use this app to better-serve my coaching clients, often scanning and emailing documents immediately following the end of the coaching session.

The app even lets you scan multiple pages into one pdf document by simply pressing the “+” button in the app to add each additional page.

TurboScan allows me to save and share important documents on the go. Sometimes, I send TurboScanned documents to myself for later review and storage. It is also easy to send the scanned pdf files to Evernote.

An app like this allows you to scan virtually anywhere, so you are no longer bound to your office workstation when scanning. Also, the speed-to-finished-scan is faster compared to my old scanning workflow. I haven’t timed it, but using TurboScan to scan a sheet of paper and email the resulting pdf document is probably twice as fast as the more traditional desktop/office scanning solutions.

If you want to learn more, here is a link to the iTunes preview of TurboScan. click here

If you even occasionally scan documents with a desktop or flatbed scanner, then consider giving TurboScan (or a similar app) a try. It is sure to streamline the effectiveness of your communication. Let me know how it goes.

Persistence

May 17, 2013 — Leave a comment

Bigstock Runner feet running on road cl 33686375

Persistence. It is the engine that drives all substantial progress.

The triathlete must train daily to even dream of competing.

The student must attend today’s class – must complete this semester’s requirements – and then do it again and again to obtain the diploma.

The business must serve today’s customers well, and prepare to serve tomorrow’s.

Overnight success is a myth. Success is the result of focused persistence.

Leadership is the culmination of daily decisions and habits – it is today’s intentional moves stacked upon tomorrow’s.

How will you persist today?

 

hourglass

Many of us have the flexibility to hand-craft our daily schedule. We have the freedom to determine how our next hour will be invested. Even if you have a more  regimented schedule, you still have some precious hours before and after work that bend to your intentions.

We suffer potential loss from the un-calculated status quo. Hours can be gobbled up with video games, TV, movies, web surfing (ouch).

At the end of this day, will you, or anyone else, know what you did for the next hour? Will you brainstorm? Create? Learn? Deliver? Perfect? Ship?

Or,

Will you squander, waste, drift, fritter?

The decision is yours.

How will you choose to spend your next hour?

Today I Will…

April 25, 2013 — Leave a comment

Bigstock Football Field 1987413

 

 

Today I will…

 

Step onto the field. The Coach is waving me off the bench.

I have a position to play in this game called life – and oh, by the way, I can play any position that I chose.

 

Start.  Any journey remains just a dream until the first step.

 

Do. Doing is essential. Plans on paper are usless without action.

 

Learn. The best and deepest learning comes from doing. Reasearch and reading are important,

but they take on a life of meaning and purpose when we take action.

 

Today I will _______. How will you fill in the blank?

 

 

The number of usernames and passwords that we have to keep up with is crazy. We have passwords for our online banking, investment accounts, retail shopping sites, health insurance, college payments and services, hobby forums, Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, — the list goes on and on.

Bigstock plate safe lock combination 17669243

It is challenging to keep everything straight when it comes to the area of passwords. Some people handle this issue by simply choosing one password for all accounts and services. Initially, this sounds like a good idea. Choose your mother’s middle name and append your high school graduation year to it and, wah lah, you’ve got yourself one killer, alphanumeric, easy to remember password!

This solution, however, is like taping a “kick me” sign to the back of your shirt in middle school. You are asking for trouble. Once a hacker cracks the code on your simplistic password, he can quickly gain access to all of your other accounts using the same password.

How can we tame the beast of password management?

I have found a solution for my username/password needs and I think it would help you too. I use the software program  “LastPass” to generate and store my passwords for everything online in one place. (click here to go to their website)

With LastPass, I can store all of my passwords and private information in one place. I log into LastPass once, and then I have easy access to my stored usernames and passwords as I use my browser and log into various sites. LastPass even recognizes when I go to a previously visited site and automatically fills in my unique username and password for that site.

LastPass has a password generator function that can generate a strong password each time you need to choose a new password. This enables you to get away from your simple and repeated mother’s middle name plus graduation date.

You can even store unique sets of contact and purchasing information in the profiles section of LastPass. This comes in handy when you are filling in a form and it asks you if you want to use, say, your home profile to auto-populate the fields in the form that’s currently displayed on your computer screen. One click of the mouse and your name, address, phone number, and email address are automatically populated into the blank entry form.

LastPass is free for use on macs and pcs alike, and you can easily access your password database from both platforms. If you want access to your stored password data while using an iPhone or iPad, you are required to upgrade to their paid version.

Since moving to LastPass, my passwords have become more unique, more secure, and I have saved many hours of work through more efficient password management practices.

There are other password managers available, and some may be better than LastPass for your needs. Of course no single piece of software or password manager can guarantee that you won’t fall victim to identify theft. LastPass has decreased the likelihood of identity theft of my online information and increased my efficiency at home and work.

What system  do you use to store and recall you usernames and passwords?

 

Ruler_tapemeasure

I stepped on the bathroom scale this morning and blinked in disbelief. The number staring back at me did not represent the trim, svelte image that I hold of myself. WOW – I need to make some changes. I immediately began to form an action plan to reduce the number on that rude little digital display.

It’s been said “You cannot manage what you cannot measure”. I pondered what I could measure to bring about the changes I desired in my weight. I thought of two broad types of measurement that applied to this and other challenges.

The first is a measure of process. I set some goals for the number of times I exercise in a week and the number of desserts that I consume. I can break it down further by specifying the types of exercise and my average daily caloric intake. These metrics gauge my daily routines and activities. I call them process metrics.

The second type of measure is an end-result measure. This is my target weight and represents a simple number of pounds. I can further refine this goal by assigning a date by which said weight will be achieved. I call these end-goal metrics.

Most any desire or goal that we have can be assessed using these two types of measures. End-goal metrics force us to envision a desired future and quantify what it looks like.

Process metrics help us develop daily habits and processes that, when faithfully performed, will lead us to the end goal metric.

Both types of measurement are essential to choose and reach meaningful goals.

What do you do to set and accomplish your goals?