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GTD: Getting Things Done Library

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.


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


There’s a simple one-word formula to Achieve Excellence

PREPARE to Win … or get ready to get your butt kicked!

I n our travels, we’ve seen plenty of obstacles to success, from making the tough decisions to staying focused on execution.

As if all that isn’t enough, there are still a few more barricades around the corner.

Lack of preparation is one of them.


How many people have the will to lose?

How many of us have the will to lose?

Few, I’d guess, probably between zero and none.

How about the will to prepare?

The determination to do the unrelenting hard work to prepare to win … maybe not a lot more … and yet that’s exactly where the rubber mallet hits the lobster claw. Keep reading to embrace the key to success


Do You Follow a Routine – Or Just Full Speed Ahead and Hope It All Gets Done?

If you’re like me, you realize that there are a lot of “little things” you need to do every day that often “leak out” in the maelstrom that surrounds your normal routine.

A re you diligent about keeping track or have you just given up?

imageIf you’re like me, you realize that there are a lot of “little things” you need to do every day that often “leak out” in the maelstrom that surrounds your normal routine.

It’s usually those things we’ve promised someone we would do that day FOR SURE … a small thing, easily done … but then, in the firestorm at the office, we completely forget about it until we hit home and are gently reminded about our oversight … again.

Yes, it could be very minor but it’s often one of those nagging little nuggets that keep you from getting a good night’s sleep.

What is a Routines List?

what should be on your routines list? Keep reading …


Accountability | What Does It Really Mean?

Accountability comes up as one of the top 3 issues on the minds of CEOs in almost every conversation I have with them.

T hey know, deep in their bones, that unless they build an organization that embeds this elusive concept into its DNA, the chances of achieving their goals will be equally elusive.


When does Accountability begin?

“When is it no longer my responsibility to get people to complete their assignments … and where does their responsibility to perform begin?” a North Bay CEO asked me recently.

“Your responsibility never ends … and neither does theirs,” I said.

“Your job is to work tirelessly to build accountability into the organization so that your team understands that being held accountable is the cornerstone of a strong, successful organization. It is not punitive.”

Recently, we’ve discussed personal accountability as the “singular touchstone of professional success over which we have the greatest control.”

We’ve also discussed the After Action Review a valuable teaching tool that reinforces accountability and inspires a culture of continuous improvement.

An organization focused on accountability might be seen as the thread that connects our personal accountability

–talking the talk, and, the After Action Review as …

walking the walk.

But what is it, really?

What is Accountability … Really?

In simple terms, accountability is a willingness to accept responsibility for our actions.

It’s being reliable and making certain that the commitments we make, from the perspective of others, have been kept. For a responsible culture to prevail, each of us must make certain that those commitments are honest – and honored.

At the core of accountability is the requirement to set clear expectations.

Keep reading to make sure you understand what Accountability really means


The Power of Personal Accountability

The Power of One concept is not new — it’s the bedrock of everything from motivational speeches to Army One.

S o, why not begin by setting an example of personal accountability that can be emulated throughout your organization?

the power of personal accountability

There’s an entire industry devoted to the power we have over our destiny.

In the context of Becoming a More Effective Leader, you can view the Power of One as a series of concentric circles that ripple outward from the center … from where you stand as a business leader.

God grant me the courage to change the things I can, the serenity to accept the things I can’t and the wisdom to know the difference. ~ Reinhold Nieburh

With a jittery economy and an historical presidential election on the horizon, we’ve been inundated with economic data, shards of doubt and glimmers of hope. While we can’t ignore these external forces, we can’t allow them to deter our commitment to reclaiming control of our agenda.

It all starts with Personal Accountability

As a result, there’s no better topic with which to start than Personal Accountability, the singular touchstone of professional success over which we have the greatest control.

Keep reading to learn more about the Power of One ….


Aren’t You Getting Tired of Always Feeling Buried?

“I’m swamped.” “I’m buried.” “I’m getting killed.”

S ound familiar? It’s a common refrain everywhere I go these days. CEOs and business leaders are feeling overrun with a myriad of operational details exacerbated by the constant struggle to stay ahead of the information tsunami.


In my work with CEOs across all industries, everyone’s swamped.

Do you feel like you’re barely hanging on, stressed by the fear that you’re missing a lot you should be doing and things might be getting worse?

In an era when we’re all being asked to do more than ever, and with fewer resources than ever, getting control of your personal workflow can provide a significant boost in personal productivity that can make a big difference in your executive and personal performance.

Being Out of Control is Your Real Enemy

As I’ve said here before, the feeling of being overwhelmed is really a matter of being out of control.

The solution is to focus on regaining control. While all of us have various tools we use to manage our personal productivity, many of those tools are dull and inadequate to the task.

Let’s dig a little deeper and suggest some tools to help relieve that feeling of “overwhelm.

Keep reading for some tools to get control back in your life


Want to be more strategic in 2016? Start thinking like a drone.

It’s easy to get stuck trying to find our way out of the wilderness every day.

T ry this approach to gain perspective and think more strategically.


They say more than a million drones were sold over the Christmas holiday.

Some for fun, some for mischief … but many offering innovative solutions for a wide array of challenges.

They’re being used to check ski slopes for snow coverage … to look for cracks and repair requirements at the top of wind turbines … and to accomplish video rooftop inspections to save thousands of hours and complete repairs more quickly.

If you don’t have a drone …

Maybe Santa left your drone off his list? No worries. You can add it to your birthday list when the time comes around.

In the meantime, there is one critical lesson you can take away from all of the hullabaloo around this revolutionary invention.

Keep reading to learn this technique ….


Leadership & Productivity | 4 Ways to Create More Time for Actual Thinking

If you don’t take time to think, someone else will do the thinking for you … maybe your competitors.

L ike every Effective Leader, you need to make time to do the things ONLY YOU can do.


Protect the Castle from the Intruders

From the unusual amount of email I received following It isn’t Technology Creating all the Distractions. It’s us., I realize we share a universal revulsion for the distractions that confound our days.

You’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

Keep reading to learn the 4 Defenses You Need to Get Time to Think


Steve Jobs Got It Right: Get Rid of All the Crappy Stuff

Do you spend too much time juggling projects and tasks you’re unlikely to ever tackle? Maybe it’s because there’s stuff in there not worth doing?

S ome people call it re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. I say, throw ‘em overboard!


In What is the cornerstone of your strategy?, I discussed how important it is to nail down the key elements of your strategy.

When Paul McCartney was feted at the Kennedy Center honors, I shared with you my thoughts on how we become remarkable.

In both cases, I referred to Steve Jobs’ well-known phrase about how Apple is so intensely focused on its products … and how proud he is that the entire product line fits on a single table.

A Single Table?

Everyone always asked Steve Jobs with wonderment,

  • How do you do it?

Keep reading to see why you need a weed-whacker to get more done ….


It isn’t Technology Creating all the Distractions. It’s us.

We’d like to think that technology has become our enemy and is the cause of the distractions that keep us from getting things done.

N ice try, but this is an age-old problem that’s on us, not on the technology that surrounds us. Screaming about distractions and the lack of productivity didn’t help them in ancient Rome, either.


I’m really trying hard to do only one thing at a time, like writing this blog post. I’m trying hard not to glance at the red icon that announces that new e-mail has arrived and how much has arrived since the last time I checked.

In fact, I’m closing down e-mail right now. I’m ignoring all of my social media connections, putting on a little Norman Brown and Ahmad Jamal jazz in the background, a fresh cup of Philz’ Jacob’s Wonderbar dark roast coffee. Life is good … isn’t it?

If I could only focus ….

Oh, if it were only that simple, and I could keep blocking out all those pesky little distractions.

Keep reading to learn about Hamlet’s Blackberry…