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Time Management Library

Multitasking: The Nightmare of a Cluttered Mind

Multitasking is our answer to getting more done.

U nfortunately, the research is incontrovertible. That technique means we get even less done. I’ve got one idea you should consider.


It’s not the clutter of the desktop or inbox … but the clutter of the mind that scuttles our personal productivity plans and leads us into unproductive habits and wasted time.

Yes, I know, our inbox is spawning new life forms, ending the paper flood has been about as successful as ending world hunger and our mobility means that we have to juggle all of this like we’re riding a unicycle.

We’re all too often infected with the attention span of a mosquito.

We’re moving fast … but we aren’t getting anywhere.

Keep reading for a solution to the multitasking illusion


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


Why You Should Implement the 2 Minute Rule … and When You Shouldn’t

Many of us follow an informal rule about doing something now if it takes just a few minutes.

It’s a useful rule of thumb, but what if you can’t get it done in 2 minutes? What then?

Gold Clock Face_1024

Here’s the short version. If you can get it done in 2 minutes, don’t add it to your task list.

Let me explain … and elaborate on why you should also do the opposite.

Try This Experiment

How long is 2 Minutes?

It’s about what it takes for a race car to get around the 2.5 mile Indy 500 track … 4 times. If that seems like a lot, then you’re on your way to understanding that 2 minutes may seem short, but it’s a lot longer than you think.

Try this simple experiment.

Stop doing anything.
Set a timer for 2 minutes.
How long does that feel?

Feel like you could get something done in that period of time?

Learn why you also need to do the opposite of the 2 Minute Rule


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


Productivity: The Single Powerful Feature That Makes Evernote Indispensable

We’re good at saving paper, aren’t we? Too bad we’re lousy at finding them again right when we need them.

Evernote is used by 300 million people to keep track of those thousands of pieces of paper, yet so many have missed the most powerful reason to be using it.

Tired businesswoman with telephones and pen in her mouth sitting

Another Powerful Feature from Evernote. It’s my favorite!


How often have you struggled to find a file?

Probably more often now than ever?

Digital Storage and Going Paperless

We have more ways than ever to file, store and backup the countless pieces of our digital lives.

That part’s good.

But, we have a zillion more files. There’s a ton of stuff we want to keep for reference … share with others … more stuff we’re holding onto “just in case’ … and there is no end in sight.

Going paperless is a dream of many and I’ve worked pretty hard to get there.

Where we really struggle isn’t just saving stuff. We save a bunch of everything.

Finding it again just when we need it? Not so much.

Don’t miss these details about Evernote’s most powerful feature


8 Concepts for Leaders to Gain Focus & Get More Done Without Working 8 Days a Week

Getting focused, not to mention staying focused, is almost impossible these days.

Try one or all of these 8 Ideas to Get More Done Without Working 8 Days/Week

Weapons of Mass Distraction

Over time, you’ve probably seen a lot articles comparing orchestra conductors to leaders. It’s a great metaphor with a lot of embedded wisdom and insight.

Michael Hyatt provides a nice summary in his podcast, Leadership Lessons from a Symphony Conductor. (For a slightly different take on this metaphor, take a look at a brief article I wrote many years ago, Leading by Listening? What a concept!)

How are orchestra conductors and pilots alike?

What about the intense focus that consumes a conductor during an orchestra concert?

Keep reading so you don’t miss the 8 Concepts to Gain More Focus & Get More Done


7 Steps to Build Flexibility into Your Company’s DNA

If you can embed Flexibility into your company’s DNA, you’ll have the greatest possible chance to overcome the obstacles that bring companies to their knees. 

Too often we haven’t prepared for the unexpected. Here are 7 proven ways for leaders to make sure that Flexibility is embedded in your organization to help you conquer uncertainty and get the results you need.

You’ve probably seen some of the makeover shows over the years?

The 60 Minute MakeoverGet GorgeousHow Do I Look? … RemodeledStyle by Jury … it’s a pretty darn long list, and no, I haven’t seen any on this list. 

Then there’s the Ambush Makeover show that aired in 2004 – 2005. In that show, stylists descended upon an unsuspecting soul whose hairdo, clothing, fashion in general was a disaster they were determined to fix.

Extreme Makeover, Home Edition was probably one of the most popular at one point.

If you saw that one, you may have thought,

That’s kinda cool. I wish they’d come to my house. I’ve got some stuff I’d like them to do.

And, I’ll bet you didn’t give a moment’s thought to what it might cost.

Who cares? Those people are getting their makeover for “free”.

Mulligans are free. Do Overs? Not so much

Keep Reading to get the 7 Steps to Build Flexibility into Your Company’s DNA


5 Powerful Leadership Lessons from the Indianapolis 500

Our leadership prowess is always on the line but nowhere more powerfully than on the starting line at the Indy 500.

You’re all in, 24/7 for 365 days … with victory in a 33 car lineup about 3 hours away. Do you understand the leadership requirements to achieve victory in such a short period of time?


Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades

On Sunday, May 24, 2015 … and with a spread of only .1046 seconds – yes, that’s about 1/10 of one second – Juan Pablo Montoya overtook Will Power – (yup, that’s his real name, a good one for this stuff, huh?) – to win the 4th closest race in Indy 500 history.

(Last year was the 2nd closest when Ryan Hunter-Reay overtook Helio Castroneves to become the first American to win it since 2006.)

I’ve been following this race for more than 50 years

For over 50+ years, I have listened to … and starting with the first live, same-day telecast in 1971 … watched the Indianapolis 500.

Every year.

Without fail.

What do I know about cars?


Really, I should say Absolutely Nothing!
Keep reading to learn the 5 Powerful Leadership Lessons from the Indy 500