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April 2010

Unproductive Thoughts: Thoughtful Thursday

We lose productivity in a lot of ways, but have you ever thought about how your thoughts consume time and energy? Today's Thoughtful Thursday post continues with our last post's theme of productivity:

This constant, unproductive preoccupation with all the things we have to do is the single largest consumer of time and energy. - Kerry Gleeson

  • How do you track the things you have to do?
  • What do you think is the biggest consumer of time and energy in your life?
  • What could you do today to eliminate this energy drain?

For more thoughts on productivity, check out my previous post entitled "The Art of Efficiency".

The Art of Efficiency

Even the most outwardly neat individuals may still have cluttered minds. That's because most people haven't mastered how to consistently capture all of the incomplete items in their lives and plan how to handle them. How consistently organized are your thoughts?  What system do you have for managing all you do?
One of the best books I've found on developing a complete system for personal productivity is "Getting Things Done" (aka GTD) by David Allen. In fact, I would probably say that I'm an informal GTD groupee. I love his process and like my coach did with me, I often suggest to my clients with time management or organizational woes to check out GTD.
In his book, "Getting Things Done", personal productivity guru David Allen stresses that "only when our minds are clear and our thoughts are organized can we achieve effective results and unleash our creative potential." Stress-free productivity is indeed an art.
Clear minds allow our ideas to bounce around freely without getting squelched by the clutter of the undone items we are trying not to forget. Additionally clear minds help us efficiently focus on the task at hand.

David Allen teaches the following core process for mastering workflow in any context, home or office:
  1. Collect the "stuff" representing your "to do's"
  2. Process what you collect
  3. Organize results of processing
  4. Review results as options "to do"
  5. Do

When completely integrated, this process will alleviate stress because everything will be in its place, even our thoughts.  Are you ready to learn the art of efficiency? I can give you an appetizer and whet your appetite for more while you learn some practical tips. If you want the main course, check out all David Allen has to offer.

What do you do for an organizational system? Share your thoughts in a comment!
Connecting learning to living and leading

Throughout your day, be aware of how many times you think of something you need to do but still haven't done.  How many times did you have that same thought in your day?  How much energy is this costing you?  What can you do about it?
NEXT POST... Collecting the "stuff".

Are you overwhelmed with all you have to do? Contact me for a complimentary consultation today to get started on the path to stress-free productivity!

The Upside of Anger: Thoughtful Thursday

Some of the greatest moments and inventions in history began because someone got so fed up with the status quo they had to do something about it. Frustration causes either a chain reaction of apathy or action. Effective leaders choose action.

Today's Thoughtful Thursday quote mentions what I believe fuels a leader's passion to make things better...discontent.

Were there none who were discontented with what they have, the world would never reach for anything better. - Florence Nightengale

  • How would the world look if no one ever reached for anything better?
  • What brings the most discontent to your life? What would it be worth to you to find a solution?
  • What one thing could you do this week to start eliminating your discontent?

Care to share your thoughts and challenge the rest of us? Leave a comment below.

Time Management 101: Start with Reality

No one has enough time to do all the things they want to do. No one. Don't believe me? Take a few minutes to list all the things on your mind you want to do or have to do. Think about your list and consider the fact that your list will grow today and tomorrow and the next day. Your list is a snapshot, not a movie.

Great leaders know the importance of time, that every moment in time is unrepeatable.

Time doesn't stop for us to complete our lists and once it is gone we can never get it back. Yet, time is fair. Each of us get the same amount of time to work with - 24 hours a day, 168 hours a week. Do you know where your time goes? Are you investing or spending it?  

Today I'd like to challenge you to participate in an exercise I propose to nearly all of my clients interested in better time management.  Excellent time management starts with a harsh examination of reality.

Step #1. Monitor your time in 10 minute increments for a two week period.

Step #2. Summarize your findings. Create a list of categories that describe your daily activities.

Step #3. Assess your results. What did you discover about yourself? What would you like to change? How does the way you spend your time align with your core values or top priorities?

Once you honestly complete this exercise you will know your current reality. It is what it is. Then you can diagnose inefficiencies in your schedule and make changes to open up space for what really matters most to you. This could be the start of something amazing in your life. Are you ready for it?

If you try the exercise, come back and share your findings with us. If you've done this before, feel free to share your experiences in a comment. We love to hear from you!


Thoughtful Thursday: What Matters Most to You?

Purpose is essential in life and leadership. When we do what we are created to do, everyone benefits and we live and lead more passionately.

Today's Thoughtful Thursday quote comes from my passion of helping people discover what they were born to do and to incorporate that "purpose" or "calling" into their lives. Ponder this one with me:

How different our lives are when we really know what is deeply important to us, and keeping that picture in mind, we manage ourselves each day to be and to know what really matters most. - Stephen Covey

  • What is deeply important to you?
  • If you were to be given a life achievement award, what would be said about you?
  • How are you managing yourself to do the things you are most passionate about?


Care to share or suggest a quote for next time? Email me or leave a comment below. Happy pondering!

Need a Solution? Coaching May Be Your Answer

You probably need a coach but don't realize you do.

Generally speaking, people are more apt to know what they don't want rather than what they do want. If they did, they would spend more time and energy creating their ideal situation than complaining about their reality. This behavioral trait pervades our careers, our relationships and any environment where we find ourselves complaining.

It is a rare individual who knows what he wants and takes steps to get it, especially if the steps require long-term effort. Additionally, a lot of us aren't aware how much our reality differs from THE reality. We all have our own version of how we are the "American Idol" when reality is that the people around us just won't tell us how bad we "sing".

Today I'm providing a checklist for you to consider whether or not you or someone you know needs a coach.  In no particular order, a coach may be the solution if...

  1. You feel stagnated or lack motivation.
  2. You are overworked and overwhelmed.
  3. You consistently face obstacles to achieving your goals.
  4. You just got promoted.
  5. You hate your situation.
  6. You know you are a great leader but others don't seem to think so.
  7. You constantly fight "fires" of interruptions & emergencies.
  8. You need more skills or resources to get the "job" done. 
  9. You have no idea how your today will impact your tomorrow.
  10. You covet someone else's job more than your own.

If you or someone you know is in any of the above situations, coaching might be the solution if there is a willingness to leave the excuses behind and proactively take charge of the situation. Coaching works when we do the work.

Now its your turn to respond. What would you add to my list? If you've used a coach in any way, how has coaching helped you? Leave your comment by clicking the comment link below.

Do you need a coach? I love helping people make changes in their lives! Call me for a complimentary consultation today at 913-219-7844! You'll be glad you did!

Thoughtful Thursday: Does Time Alone Heal?

Taking time to ponder the deeper meaning of life eludes many of us in the fast past culture of our day. To encourage us all (me included) to reflect a little more, I'm starting a new weekly feature here at Purposeful Leadership entitled "Thoughtful Thursday".

Each week will feature a short thought or quote, followed by some questions to promote further thinking. This week's thought comes from a new friend I had coffee with yesterday whom I met via Linked-In.

"Time does not heal, it simply passes. What we do with the time we have determines how and to what extent we heal." -Lucy DelSarto, Wellness Coach


  • What recent hurt still distracts you?
  • What have you done to promote healing in your life with respect to this hurt?
  • What do you need to accept or know to move past the hurt?

Care to share your thoughts? If so, please leave a comment below.

Practical Personal Evaluations

When was the last time you took a few minutes to evaluate how you are doing in your life or work? Every week I ask my clients to do this by way of a Session Preparation Form. I participate in the same process with my own coach.
I love the Session Preparation Form! The process of answering the questions forces me to acknowledge what I've accomplished rather than what didn't get done. It also helps me to objectively and proactively address my challenges and provides me with the focus I need to move forward efficiently. 
Wouldn't you like to experience the same? You can!
I'm inviting you to share in the process I use with my clients each week to encourage forward movement in achieving their goals. If you fully participate, I know you will not be disappointed.  Are you ready to join us? 

If you are, pick a time and day of the week on which for the next four weeks you can allow 30 minutes to write out the answers to the following questions:

  • What went well last week ... forward motion, victories, learning?
  • What was challenging?
  • How could you best use your time this week?
  • What will you commit to doing this week to progress in your life or career?

Date each week's evaluation and at the end of the four weeks look back at the progress you've made. Then, come back to this post at Purposeful Leadership and comment with your success stories.  I'd love to hear them!

NOTE: If you would like to use the actual Session Preparation Form I use with my clients, download it from here. The questions are slightly different, but you can easily change them to match the above questions.