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GTD: Getting Things Done Library

Fun Friday | Why don’t people return phone calls?

It’s remarkable that so few people return their phone calls on a timely basis. Why is that?

Are we just lazy? Too busy? Did I mention lazy? Don’t give a rip? “If it’s important, they’ll call back?”

 

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Are you eyeballin’ me? Of course not … not you. You return all your calls. Right?

Wanna think about all the time we invest in phone tag? Nah, me neither.

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Ok, let’s do it anyway. Talk about a time sink … keeping track of all those who …

  • don’t return the call,
  • are out of the office,
  • traveling,
  • on vacation,
  • sick,
  • already on the phone …

… what a bother, huh?

If you’re like me, you’ve probably got dozens of these floating around at any one time.

What if they don’t return phone calls at all?

Keep reading if you need a few more reasons to NOT return phone calls

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The 8 Most Powerful Letters in Your Productivity Toolkit | Video

Just when I thought we had covered the waterfront with respect to accountability, I’m reminded of the linchpin of true accountability – the very simple concept of FOLLOW UP.

During my conversations with CEOs, I’m repeatedly reminded of how remarkably little attention is paid to this simple concept.

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Why do we ignore follow up?

It seems so obvious I wonder why I’m writing about it … and yet, routine follow up is often ignored in the hustle for the next opportunity or when there just isn’t another finger to put in the dike.

This isn’t a new problem and it stretches across all of the aspects of our lives. Five years ago, the New York Times even lamented about the lapse in our social manners reflected by people’s failure to respond to RSVP invitations, much of which I’d chalk up to this follow up laxity.

It’s a process that is halfheartedly pursued by so many that it’s no wonder so few things get done on time – or at all.

We expect the other person to get it done

There are a number of reasons for this you may recognize in yourself.

Don’t miss the video & the 7 Simple Steps to create a powerful Follow Up routine

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Starting Today – The 5 Tools I Can’t Live Without

I’m old enough to remember how awesome it was to have several female friends who would help me sneak into the girls’ dormitory after curfew.

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It was a bit tricky to traipse though the bushes with a small flashlight to find the back door … you prayed none of the “dorm mothers” were hovering … but it was exhilarating when you found the door slightly ajar and no adult supervision in sight.

It was a risky gambit because you knew those dorm mothers were particularly vigilant and relished nothing more than trapping a male intruder and banishing him to the Dean’s office the next morning. It wasn’t a visit you wanted to make, particularly because the Dean’s first call would be to your Mom.

We persisted nonetheless.

I know what you’re thinking … what could be more exhilarating than a late night tryst? Lucky guys, you guys.

Keep reading so you don’t miss our FREE mini-course, 5 Tools I Can’t Live Without

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Leadership Insight | What are we doing to help you?

“There is nothing more exhilarating than to be shot at without result.

Winston Churchill

Why do you have your own business?

Winston Churchill could have been an entrepreneur to have so eloquently dramatized the thrill associated with building a business.

Whether you own it yourself or share it with partners, it’s yours to build, to mold according to your dreams and values.

You may be building it from scratch or seeking new opportunities to jumpstart a mature company. In either case, I hope this will help you on your journey.

Want to build your own boat?

Why do you have your own business?

Independence, many will say, the chance to run my own show?

Be my own boss?

Do things my way – maybe because you’ve seen them done the wrong way and you can do better? (more…)

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Personal Productivity: Capture all of the randomness

A Weekly Personal Productivity series to help you get more done!

Every Thursday, I’m sharing a new Personal Productivity Tip to help you get more done. Each Productivity Tip is a remarkably simple tool or concept that can be quickly implemented to make a real difference in your personal productivity. When you apply many of them together, they’ll make a big difference in improving productivity, achieving accountability and staying focused on the things that matter the most in your life.

You may want to check out some of the posts in this Productivity series, including the the value of checklists; the importance of getting rid of the crappy stuff;  the nightmare of the cluttered mind; and that feeling of being buried all the time. You can also leverage your resources and apply the lessons of the ARCI chart and the S.M.A.R.T. goals to boost the accountability of your entire organization.

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What are you doing with all the random information you get?

One thing’s for sure.

The amount of random bits of information heading our way every day is truly mind-boggling.

Some days more than others but collectively, we receive and try to retain thousands of pieces of data that we’d like to store and recall on a moment’s notice.

It happens in all part of our life, too.

Kid’s classroom schedules, swim meets, volleyball games … and pictures of furniture we like … books and music we don’t want to forget … room measurements that we’ve just taken for the 4th time or wish we remembered when we were looking for a new sofa … or the type of printer ink we need because we always forget which model we have … the list is truly endless.

How many web sites have you visited where you’d like to keep that information … read that article later … keep that software tip handy … gifts we don’t want to forget for our anniversary, the kid’s birthdays, Mother’s Day … this is another endless list by itself.

I love Evernote to collect every tidbit of information

I’ve become pretty attuned to capturing every single minor detail in my trusted system.

Since I’m on the Mac platform, I use Daylite, a great productivity suite.

Let me know if you want me to share more details about their dashboard and how to adapt it using GTD principles.

I’ve also jumped into the deep end of the pool with Evernote.

I’ve had the Premium version for about 3 years but I never used it as much as I do now.

I’ve come to see it as a more important part of my workflow because it serves as a very handy database for random bits of information.

It easily syncs across all of your platforms … laptop or desktop, iPhone, iPad and other devices …. seamlessly and quickly. That part is truly a no-brainer.

The elephant logo of Evernote is just that … your personal memory bank for all things that stumble across your path everyday.

Just this week so far, I’ve added 66 notes to my Evernote database.

If you want to know more about how to integrate this wonderful program into your workflow, let me know and I’ll expand upon it in an upcoming article.

 

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Productivity Tip | Work Smarter or Take a Nap? Hmmm ….

A Weekly Personal Productivity series to help you get more done!

Every Thursday, I’m sharing a new Personal Productivity Tip to help you get more done. Each Productivity Tip is a remarkably simple tool or concept that can be quickly implemented to make a real difference in your personal productivity. When you apply many of them together, they’ll make a big difference in improving productivity, achieving accountability and staying focused on the things that matter the most in your life.

You may want to check out some of the posts in this Productivity series, including the the value of checklists; the importance of getting rid of the crappy stuff;  the nightmare of the cluttered mind; and that feeling of being buried all the time. You can also leverage your resources and apply the lessons of the ARCI chart and the S.M.A.R.T. goals to boost the accountability of your entire organization.

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Good Question – How DO you get more done?

By now, some of you have seen the latest Harvard Business Review with this cover.

I don’t think a day goes by when we’re not pondering how to get more done.

The Being More Productive article is an interview with David Allen of GTD fame and Tony Schwartz at The Energy Project, who leads a growing movement concentrating on optimizing and renewing our energy to become more productive.

In fact, the first thing you see when you visit the home page of The Energy Project is a statistic that we all know: 72% of people have trouble focusing on one thing at a time, something we covered in Are Distractions Destroying Your Brain?

I doubt that it’s really that low.

There are several articles in this guide, as you can see from the quick snapshot.

Take a look at some of these articles and let me know what you think? Any tips there that are  working for you … or is it all just old news?

I’d answer that question myself … but I think I’m a little overdue for my nap.

 

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Personal Productivity | Don’t overlook the “Elapsed Time Effect”

A Weekly Personal Productivity series to help you get more done!

Every Thursday, I’m sharing a new Personal Productivity Tip to help you get more done. Each Productivity Tip is a remarkably simple tool or concept that can be quickly implemented to make a real difference in your personal productivity. When you apply many of them together, they’ll make a big difference in improving productivity, achieving accountability and staying focused on the things that matter the most in your life.

You may want to check out some of the posts in this Productivity series, including the the value of checklists; the importance of getting rid of the crappy stuff;  the nightmare of the cluttered mind; and that feeling of being buried all the time. You can also leverage your resources and apply the lessons of the ARCI chart and the S.M.A.R.T. goals to boost the accountability of your entire organization.

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Which stuff are you working on first?

Don’t we all know there are many tasks or projects that require us to wait for something else to get done first … or for someone else to get something done before we can continue?

We know that “waiting for” stuff is a critical piece of our personal productivity program because it’s the linchpin of the critical “follow up” that we must always be doing.

So, that part is pretty obvious.

But, have you ever prioritized your tasks to make sure that you’re taking account of the “elapsed time” that something requires?

Here’s the simple hierarchy I try to use. See if it makes sense to you.

1. The 2 Minute Rule

If you can get it done in 2 minutes, do it, get it over with, move on. I think we all know this one.

2. The “Elapsed Time” Effect

Here’s a simple example of how this works. (more…)

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Productivity Tip | Who doesn’t love a home-cooked meal?

A Weekly Personal Productivity series to help you get more done!

Every Thursday, I’m sharing a new Personal Productivity Tip to help you get more done. Each Productivity Tip is a remarkably simple tool or concept that can be quickly implemented to make a real difference in your personal productivity. When you apply many of them together, they’ll make a big difference in improving productivity, achieving accountability and staying focused on the things that matter the most in your life.

You may want to check out some of the posts in this Productivity series, including the the value of checklists; the importance of getting rid of the crappy stuff; the nightmare of the cluttered mind; and that feeling of being buried all the time. You can also leverage your resources and apply the lessons of the ARCI chart and the S.M.A.R.T. goals to boost the accountability of your entire organization. One more thing. When in doubt, write it down.

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It’s hard to beat a home-cooked meal!

Is there something more delectable than sitting down to a home-cooked meal … fresh, hot with flavors wafting through the air?

Some of you may be chefs who prefer to cook it yourself, but I suspect that the vast majority of us savor a meal where our only job is to sit down to enjoy it.

Maybe we’ve exerted a little energy to open the Cabernet to go with it, but not much more.

That’s the same feeling we need to create when we sit down to contemplate our Action Dashboard to begin the day.

Ready to Savor (it’s all actionable). Fresh (it’s all up-to-date). Hot (it’s ready to eat as soon as you sit down).

The Weekly Review is where all chopping, cutting, food prep gets done

Even if you don’t love to cook, you’ll still need to help with the food prep that takes place in the Weekly Review. That’s where all the chopping, cutting, shaving … preparation gets done so the meal can be enjoyed. To create a powerful personal productivity system, (more…)

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Personal Productivity | Using the 2 Minute Rule? Do the Opposite!

A Weekly Personal Productivity series to help you get more done!

Every Thursday, I’m sharing a new Personal Productivity Tip to help you get more done. Each Productivity Tip is a remarkably simple tool or concept that can be quickly implemented to make a real difference in your personal productivity. When you apply many of them together, they’ll make a big difference in improving productivity, achieving accountability and staying focused on the things that matter the most in your life.

You may want to check out some of the posts in this Productivity series, including the the value of checklists; the importance of getting rid of the crappy stuff;  the nightmare of the cluttered mind; and that feeling of being buried all the time. You can also leverage your resources and apply the lessons of the ARCI chart and the S.M.A.R.T. goals to boost the accountability of your entire organization.

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Why do I need the 2 Minute Rule?

Most of us follow an informal rule about doing something now if it takes just a few minutes. Most GTD aficionados are familiar with a more specific 2 Minute Rule. The short version? If you can get it done in 2 minutes, don’t add it to your task list. Do it now and be done with it.

That’s about as direct and in-your-face as GTD gets. For me, though, the real power of this rule is to make sure you do the opposite of the rule.

So, what’s the opposite of the 2 Minute Rule? Don’t do it if it takes more than 2 Minutes? Wouldn’t that be nice … but unfortunately, far more things take 2 minutes than not.

What if it takes MORE than 2 minutes? (more…)

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Leadership & Productivity | Just pals – or Sleeping Together?

“Make use of time, let not advantage slip.” ~  William Shakespeare

What Does It Take to be a Great Leader?

As we’ve all learned, most of life’s lessons don’t travel in a neat formation accompanied by bugles and cavalry. They arrive filthy and unkempt, prominent in the mess we’ve made around our foxhole. These lessons are typically the offspring of hubris, naivete and ignorance … or from overlooking the land mines hidden beneath our feet.

Every Tuesday, we’ll share valuable and practical leadership tips and tools to help you BE a better leader so you can BECOME a better leader. Remember … you won’t BECOME a better leader until you start BEING a better leader  … implementing NOW the changes necessary to adopt the proven strategies of successful leaders.

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Protect the Castle from the Intruders

From the unusual amount of email I received following Are Distractions Destroying Your Brain?, I realize we share a universal revulsion for the distractions that confound our days.

We’ve taken the first step to taming the behemoth by trying to understand these forces and how they derail our focus and productivity.

Leadership & Productivity are Sleeping Together

Some of you probably expected this article to appear in our Productivity Tips series, and it certainly fits there as well.

I included it here because I think that as good leader, you absolutely must spend more time devoted to what only you can do, as well as thinking” about what needs to be done.

Some of the techniques that can provide that untethered head space require more than productivity tools. If you can protect yourself from the casual interlopers that eat up your day, (more…)

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