All Posts in Category: Productivity


It was mid-morning on a dreary day in Tallmadge, Ohio. It was early in my career and I was struggling to get my business going. I hadn’t made one phone call that morning even though my goal was to make twenty by 9:00 a.m.

The phone rang and fellow franchisee Howard Tangler greeted me with, “What are you doing?” I told him, “Howard, I’m not going to lie to you; I’m sitting here shuffling prospect cards feeling sorry for myself.” He asked me if I had at least five prospect cards and I told him I had several hundred. He told me to call any five and call him back in 10 minutes. I called him back in less than 10 minutes and he asked me how it went. I said, “Fantastic!” He said, “Tell me about it.” I had called five random prospects, talked with three of them, and scheduled an appointment with one of them. And, as a result, went from feeling sorry for myself to feeling on top of the world.

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Blueprint for Achievement

Is there anybody left in the country who doesn’t know that things are bad right now? Really bad. And going to get worse. Much worse. We’re all going down with the sinking ship. All of us. At least, that’s what the media wants us to believe. They’re sellers of the sensational and peddlers of panic.
This constant barrage of doom and gloom has convinced the masses that they are tumbling in an avalanche and about to be buried alive. It’s just a matter of time until their company will fail, they will lose their job, and they will be left penniless. And since some things are out of our control, that is in the realm of possibility.

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  1. Decide what is really important to you, regardless of what others think, and focus all your energy on achieving it.
  2. Invest your time wisely. Give top priority to activities that you enjoy and that will help you achieve your goals.
  3. Identify your strengths, determine how they will help you be productive, and spend as much time in these areas as possible.
  4. Don’t be afraid to say no to requests which might distract you from what’s important to you.
  5. Keep track of how much time you spend on various activities. This will help you avoid time-wasters and focus on your goals.
  6. Practice “staying in the moment.” Concentrating on the person you are talking with and focusing on the task at hand will pay big dividends. Thinking about what you are going to do next while engaged with a person or task is a major deterrent to being productive.
  7. Don’t dwell on past failures or future problems. Take things one day at a time. Whenever possible, finish one task before beginning another.
  8. When you do fail, learn from the experience.
  9. Do it now. Procrastination can become a bad habit.
  10. At the end of each day, prepare a general schedule for the next day; approach each day in a relaxed way, letting things evolve naturally.
  11. Find your own solutions for handling stress.
  12. Learn something new each day; read, listen to a business CD, call your coach or mentor, ask a question, etc.
  13. Don’t worry about “having a relationship” with another person. Find a common goal or activity and your relationship will grow naturally.
  14. Ultimately, what you accomplish results from your willingness to be true to yourself. Stick to what you find most rewarding and your life will be more rewarding.

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How Productive Are You?

The areas listed in the High Value column below will help you be more productive and the areas listed in the Low Value column will get in the way of being productive. During any activity ask: “Is what I am doing right now leading me toward or away from my goals and helping me be more or less productive?”

High Value

Quality time with direct reports
Quality time with customers
Setting goals and planning
Personal development reading
Improving job knowledge
Listening to educational CD’s
Focusing on high payoff activities
Maintaining a positive attitude
Developing and practicing new skills
Making and keeping commitments
Being and staying organized
Keeping score on a daily basis
Giving quality feedback
Closing communication loops
Delegating appropriate tasks

Low Value

Criticizing employees
Frivolous conversations
Bustling around without planning
Responding to every interruption
Making excuses
Unproductive or unnecessary meetings
Thinking unproductive thoughts
Trying to remember unwritten commitments
Living with clutter
Embracing fear and associated emotions
Giving little or inappropriate feedback
Assuming communication has taken place
Trying to do everything yourself

Perfection is not the goal; excellence is. Improving how you use your time in order to be more productive will be crucial in your pursuit of excellence.
Invest a little time each day to assess how you are using your time. Then take action to eliminate low value activities and bolster the high value investments you make daily.

Things that matter most should not be at the mercy of things which matter least.

Johann Goethe

Doing the right thing is more important than doing things right.

Peter Drucker

In any moment of decision the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.

Theodore Roosevelt

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