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GTD: Getting Things Done Library

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…


The Power of Checklists | One Simple Tool to Overcome Brain Freeze

Checklists? You mean those lists I prepare each day that don’t do anything to help my productivity?

No, it’s not that kind of checklist I’m talking about.


Are those the Checklists you mean?

Or … do you mean those checklists airline pilots use to keep me from getting killed?

Now, those I like. I like the ones that keep doctors from getting me killed, too.

Checklists are invaluable

In the Value of Checklists, I discussed The Checklist Manifesto, a book by Atul Gwande inspired by issues found in operating rooms, but expanded to the many areas where simple checklists enhance productivity and eliminate errors and oversights.

Keep reading so you don’t miss 4 ways to make yours work without fail…


The 4 Do-or-Die Principles of a Leakproof Productivity System

When you look at this image, do you see your Personal Productivity system at work?

You can fix this leaky bucket. It’s not that hard if you faithfully and relentlessly apply these basic principles.


Over the last several years working with Bay Area CEOs and with members of the Exkalibur Leadership Forum, I’ve learned that personal productivity improvements are one of the most important ways in which every CEO and business executive can Become a More Effective Leader.


Two Major Reasons … but many more.

First, it allows you to devote more time to the things only you can uniquely do … whether as a business leader, CEO, mother/father or spouse.

That’s why they’re paying you the big bucks – to do the things only you can uniquely do. If you don’t what only you can do, why do they need you?

Keep reading for the 4 Do-or-Die Principles of a Leakproof Productivity system


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?”


fri blog one ringy dingy

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


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.


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


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.

businesswoman retro secretary office vintage


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


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…)


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.


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.