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Leaders Read and Readers Lead. Let Me Help You Get Started.

I got my hands dirty today.

I t’s been a long time since my fingers were almost black. It felt good, though, to get my hands back in it.

pug dog reading the newspaper and having breakfast in bed

It felt good to rummage around in there, traversing rather methodically, sometimes bouncing around without a real plan but enjoying the motion and the smell.

What is he doing anyway?

I was reading the newspaper.

Yes, it was newsprint all over my hands and fingers.

It’s been a longtime since I’ve read a newspaper … on paper.

I subscribe to 3 daily newspapers and countless magazines, all of which I read for years … on paper.

Since the E-revolution and my first kindle in 2007, I’ve converted to the paperless versions.

Keep reading to receive a simple 7 Step precess to help you develop and manage your reading program.

But, I kinda miss the paper

I’m fully committed to the paperless approach to the world and am almost 100% of the way there.

Keep reading to learn the 7 steps to jumpstart this process

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Turbocharge Your Resources with these 6 Pivot Points of Leverage

Car jack. Nail clippers. Claw Hammer. Teeter-totter. Tweezers. Nutcracker. Scissors.

W hat do these devices all have in common? They create leverage, a simple but extraordinary force that increases the power of everything to which it is applied. (Whenever a word is underlined with a dotted line, there is an accompanying definition when you click on the word. Most of them are used to explain specific financial terms, like leverage in this case.)

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Engineers and financial analysts use more specific definitions, but in simple terms, you need at least three things to create leverage:

1. A fulcrum, or pivot point,

2. A load being moved, and

3. A force that’s moving it.

Leverage has never been more important for a leader.

Leverage is even more invaluable in a demanding economy. Most of us have fewer resources to solve the problems we face every day … so we need as much leverage as we can muster to turbocharge the resources at our command.

Financial leverage may be one the first things that come to mind, but I want to talk about at least six pivot points that can drive your business to greater success.

1. Delegation

Are you doing everything possible to leverage your time? It not only empowers others to learn and grow, but it increases the chance the most important things won’t get overlooked.

Continue reading to learn the 6 Pivot Points to Gain More Leverage

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Happy Birthday, Winston | How Did You Get It All Done?

Today, November 30, is the birthday of Winston Churchill.

H e was born 136 years ago in 1874 … and died 50 years ago in 1965 … yet his talent and prodigious output remains striking to this day.

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Winston Churchill has always been one of my favorite historical characters … and for many reasons. His oratorical wit, style and passion was without peer.

An optimist sees an opportunity in every calamity, a pessimist sees a calamity in every opportunity. ~Winston Churchill

He had a spine of steel … with discipline and resilience to match, albeit the certainty of his convictions often triggered an abject stubbornness that wasn’t always welcome. It also created no small amount of turmoil.

I suppose some of these attributes can be found among many of us, so by themselves, they may not be so distinctive.

Prime Minister during WWII is only part of his record

To believe is to be strong … Doubt cramps energy … Belief is power. ~Winston Churchill

For me, his greatest distinction is the enormity of his accomplishments.

In most lifetimes, we’d be fortunate to accomplish a fraction of what Churchill got done.

Most notably, he served as the Prime Minister for Great Britain (and for 40+ years in the House of Commons, holding many other cabinet-level positions previously), leading the Allies to victory against the Axis forces during World War II … by most standards, enough to earn eternal praise and approbation.

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The Nobel Prize for Literature

Yet, who else in that same lifetime wrote 43 book-length works in 72 volumes?

Keep reading to learn of Churchill’s extraordinary accomplishments

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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.

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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

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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.

Why?

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

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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?

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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

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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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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.

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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

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