Be Productive, Not Busy

…being productive leaves you with more energy and mental bandwidth.

Everyone is busy. The question is, are you productive?

You are productive if you accomplish your goals, complete projects, and ship your work. If not, you have substituted the urgent for the important, allowing busyness to hijack your efforts.
Your work is essential, don’t let busyness rob you.

“Never confuse motion with action.”

Benjamin Franklin

So, let’s try to become less busy and more productive.

What’s the difference, you ask?

Busy is hurried, frazzled, fast, careless, exhausting, jam-packed, overwhelmed, and fueled by perfectionism and multitasking. You can be busy all day yet still feel like you are behind by the end of your day, never having accomplished your goals.

On the other hand, productivity is filled with focus, purpose, intent, working more intelligent, and goal-oriented. Productive people move closer to their goals each day. They know their strengths and can focus their efforts on what they do best, one task at a time. When you are productive, you move closer to your goals every day.

Some tactics to shift from busy to productive:

· Focus on one task at a time.
· Be present for your work by eliminating distractions.
· Learn to say “No” to the unimportant.
· Do the “hardest” work first, don’t procrastinate.

Give these a try. You may find that being productive leaves you with more energy and mental bandwidth. With this, you can be more present for yourself and those around you.


Skip the New Year’s Resolutions and Try this Instead

…the only time we have to accomplish anything is TODAY!


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I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions!

There, I said it!

If making New Year’s Resolutions were so effective, we would find ourselves constantly making new ones as we conquered the old ones. Unfortunately, less than 10% of those making New Year’s Resolutions successfully achieve lasting Change; 90% fail. Not very good odds. Not a very good plan to start the New Year.

The problem is that the same things keep recurring on our list of Resolutions; lose weight, spend more time with family and friends, spend less time on our devices, save more, spend less, etc. At times our goals are too vague; other times, they may be specific yet unattainable. Either way, you are set up for failure before you even start.

I suggest a different approach beginning with the fact that there is nothing magical about January 1st.

Consider this, the only time we have to accomplish anything is TODAY!

“The best time to do something significant is between Yesterday and Tomorrow. ”     

Zig Ziglar

Let’s learn from YESTERDAY and PLAN for Tomorrow, but TODAY choose to ACT!

ACTION is the only path to achieving Change.

“There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called Yesterday and the other is called Tomorrow. Today is the right day to Love, Believe, Do and mostly Live.”           

Dalai Lama XIV

Think, if you had to relive Yesterday, what would you do differently? What time was wasted? What could have been done better? What did Yesterday teach you that you can use to improve your Today? The slightest improvement from Yesterday is a better you Today! Repeat that cycle every day, and over time you will have achieved the Change you desire. You begin Coaching yourself, finding the minor blemishes, flaws, and defects that can be improved over time.

Enjoy the journey; it is with you every day.

“The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction, not a destination.”

Carl Rogers

Start small; you will quickly achieve success by doing so, reinforcing your new habit. 

If you are stuck, consider the following:

  • Engage your brain and body every day.
  • Focus and finish what you start.
  • Learn to say “No” more.
  • Be more present when in the company of others.
  • Live Strategically rather than reactively. 
  • Avoid Regret.
  • Make better decisions by studying the outcomes of prior decisions.

What did your Yesterday teach you that you would do differently and improve on Today?

Start NOW!



Going Slow in the Fast Lane

Are we or someone we know Driving Slow in the Fast Lane? Is this slowing others up or hindering their progress?


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I drive the interstate frequently during my daily commute.

At times it can become a monotonous and hypnotizing experience. I spend the drive time listening to music, podcasts, books on tape, along with thinking and planning my day. Finally, you look around and realize that you don’t remember all the exits you just passed or how long you were deep in thought. It’s crazy how that happens.

It’s like you are on autopilot.

It must happen to others, too, because I encounter a driver going Slow in the Fast Lane, the passing lane every day. And it’s not just cars; trucks are even worse offenders. How could a tractor-trailer driver think they could go “fast” uphill, in the passing lane, yet never do?

The question is, how do I get back up to speed?

So, this got me thinking, having noticed similar scenarios in business with co-workers and employees. They, too, can end up, somehow, going Slow in the Fast lane, hindering the progress of those around them.

The way I see it, there are three possible solutions to remove this obstacle.

The Selfish Way: speed up, swerve around them and leave them behind. In the workplace, this might show itself as manipulation, micromanaging, drama and gossip.

The Get-Out-of-My-Way Way: ride their bumper, flash your high beams and wait for them to change lanes. Highly critical co-workers who exclude and ignore others are demonstrating a Get-Out-of-My-Way mindset.

The Awareness Way: the individual realizes they are hindering others and either speeds up or switches lanes. At work, this is a growth mindset, open to learning, coaching, changing, and helping others achieve their goals.

Do you recognize any of these individuals or behaviors in your workplace?

Are we or someone we know Driving Slow in the Fast Lane? Is this slowing others up or hindering their progress? Are our actions, unbeknownst to ourselves, preventing others from accelerating in their lanes?

Awareness is the first step; taking action is next.

What is your plan to accelerate your Team?

I am asking for a friend.

What’s on your “Do-Not-Do” list?

The items on the Do-Not-Do list are ACTions as compared to tASKS on a To-Do List.

What, a Do Not Do List?

We are all “list” makers; after all, that is how we get the important things done. We can’t cross something off our list unless it first makes it onto the list. Our typical list would contain “prompts” and “reminders” of what tasks, chores, duties, along with other items, need to be done. Our minds are so jam-packed and overflowing with information that to ensure these important items are completed, they “live” in a special place; Our “To-Do” list.

Looking at the opposite, the flip side of things can often be more powerful and revealing. In this instance, let’s consider the juxtaposed “Do-Not-Do” list.

Do-Not-Do List.


  • procrastinate…others depend on you.
  • delay decisions…remember, ACTion is the hard part.
  • micromanage…let your people work to their full potential.
  • do what others can do better than you…your time can never be recaptured.
  • make things more complex…

    “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Leonardo da Vinci

  • talk before listening…let others speak; you will be amazed at what they say.
  • put yourself first…because you think you are right does not make it so (HiPPO).
  • spend more than you earn…do this, and you may work for a very long time.
  • solve everyone’s problems…others learn when they solve their problems.
  • break a promise…
    “I Meant what I said and said what I meant.”  Dr. Seuss
  • follow the crowds..rarely are they smarter than you.
  • compare yourself to others…

    “Be yourself; everyone else is taken.” Oscar Wilde

  • add more to your To-Do List…more is not better; better is better.
  • Say “Yes” automatically…remember your Do Not Do List (Saying No).
  • Major in the Minor…it’s the little things that are most distracting.
  • strive for being busy…being productive is a better choice.
  • (add yours here…)
  • (and here…)

There you go, my Do-Not-Do list, at least for now. This list is less task-specific, acting more like a “filter” to your To-Do list.

The items on the Do-Not-Do list are ACTions as compared to tASKS on a To-Do List.

With time, as one becomes better, more productive, more accountable, and more goal-orientated many of the items on this list will become habitual and automatic. Just imagine how your focus, productivity, and time management will soar while the distractions that “clog up” your day will disappear.

So…what’s on your Do-Not-Do List?

Dealing with Difficult Employees: Nip it in the bud!

People rise and fall to meet your level of expectations for them.
John C. Maxwell

It’s human nature to avoid what is painful, regardless if the pain is physical, emotional, financial, or even at work.

Do any of these sound familiar in your workplace?

  • tardiness
  • bickering
  • absenteeism
  • micromanaging
  • backstabbing
  • employee turnover
  • rules are not followed
  • you walk on eggshells
  • cliques have formed
  • employees team up against others
  • fingerpointing
  • the workplace is stressful and chaotic
  • you move or reassign a problematic employee
  • you have a Drama
  • Gossip
  • you are held hostage by employees
  • people say one thing yet do another
  • requests are ignored
  • poor morale
  • Finally, things appear to be getting worse rather than better?
If any of the above are present in your workplace, then it is time for ACTion.

People rise and fall to meet your level of expectations for them.
John C. Maxwell

This dysfunction prevents your organization from achieving its goals. Even worse, if left unchecked, it could create a hostile work environment. Your employees know precisely what is going, who the instigator is, and are watching you! You must ACT.

You have two choices.
1. ACT, quell the dysfunction, unit your Team, improve morale and get back on track to serving your clients and achieving your goals.
2. inACTion shouts even louder, demonstrating to everyone your inability to lead, your favoritism and selfishness, and your disregard for your Team and the Clients you serve.

The cure is ACTion!

Without a doubt, managing your workforce and engaging in difficult conversations are some of the most demanding and most challenging tasks a Leader will face.

To begin, set employee expectations and hold everyone accountable. Yes, this is much easier said than done! These are complex tasks, but delaying them magnifies the dysfunction and makes the “cure” even harder.
To make these conversations easier, stick to the facts. The facts are always more precise and fresher in everyone’s mind when current.

Don’t dig up things from the past.


Use the following formula:
1. State the employee’s defined job duties, your expectations.
2. Review the employee’s present behavior and the adverse effect it has on the business.
3. Coach the employee on the desired behavior and outcome.
4. Schedule a time to monitor their progress, that’s accountability.

Remember: Attitude Reflects Leadership, always!

Once your Team sees you are taking action and holding people accountable, they will take notice. After all, aligning and motivating your workforce is what an effective Leader does.