Forbes Magazine interviewed over 200 ultra-productive people including seven billionaires, 13 Olympians, 20 straight-A students and over 200 successful entrepreneurs. They were asked a simple, open-ended question, “What is your number one secret to productivity?” After analyzing all of their responses, their answers were coded into 15 unique ideas:
•ENERGY IS EVERYTHING
Food, sleep, breaks
•CONSISTENT MORNING ROUTINE
Nurture the mind & body (exercise, journal, meditation)
•AVOID MEETINGS AT ALL COST
Get out of meetings whenever you can, hold fewer of them yourself, and if you do run a meeting, keep it short.
•PROCESS EMAIL ONLY A FEW TIMES A DAY
Schedule time to process email quickly and efficiently.
•USE A NOTEBOOK
Write everything down, it frees the mind...That is a million dollar lesson they don’t teach you in business school.
•MAKE IT HOME FOR DINNER
Values of the successful include: family time, exercise, giving back
•BEAT PROCRASTINATION WITH TIME TRAVEL
People buy veggies for the week, only to throw them out later. What can you do now to make sure your future self does the right thing?
•DON’T USE TO-DO LISTS
Use a calendar and schedule your entire day into 15-minute blocks. “It sounds like a pain, but this will set you up in the 95th percentile…”
•FOCUS ONLY ON ONE THING
Know your most important task and work on it without interruptions.
•FOCUS ON MINUTES, NOT HOURS
Keep a schedule that is almost minute by minute. You must master your minutes to master your life.
•TOUCH THINGS ONLY ONCE
Deal with it right then and there
•THEME DAYS OF THE WEEK
Batch your work to maximize your efficiency and effectiveness. Monday’s for team building, Friday for financials, etc.
•DELEGATE ALMOST EVERYTHING
Successful people don’t have control issues, aren’t micro-managers . Don’t ask, “How can I do this task?” Instead ask, “How can this task get done?”
•FOLLOW THE 80/20 RULE
80% of outcomes come from only 20% of activities
•SAY “NO” TO ALMOST EVERYTHING
You only have 1,440 minutes in every day. Don’t give them away easily.
•TYING IT ALL TOGETHER
These secrets just might help you to get more done in less time, and help you to stop feeling so overworked and overwhelmed.
I had struggled for years, not even sure how long, because it's been so long, to receive compliments from my wife Jenn. She would go out of her way to thank me, encourage me, build me up, yet I wouldn't receive it with appreciation or with the happiness I should have. I would often ignore her text message or blow her off, instead of accepting her blessing and thanking her.
What I've discovered through my "Celebrate Recovery" program (http://www.celebraterecovery.com/) is when we don't love ourselves---it's hard to accept genuine compliments from others, and to love them deeply.
I've heard many times that I'm to love my neighbor as I love myself. This was so important to Jesus, it's quoted in the books of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. When Jesus said, "love your neighbor as you love yourself", the key here, first and foremost is we must love ourselves first---before we can love our neighbor.
Due to my unresolved hurts, habits and hang ups, I didn't love myself. Although I was selfish and self-centered as us humans are--I didn't love myself. I often didn't believe the words my wife and others said about me. Not that I didn't appreciate or need them, deep down I just didn't believe the words. Since I didn't love myself, I could rarely accept compliments, and I failed miserably to love others the way I can now.
Maybe you find common ground with how I felt. Do you not believe good thoughts showered over you? Do you blow them off? What do you believe about yourself?
Until we deal with unresolved pain, we may find it difficult to accept compliments and/or to love others deeply. Christine Cain taught this truth and challenged me to stay focused on recovery when she said: "When we walk through life with unresolved pain, we will see life through a lens of pain."
If a ignorant child or foreigner asked you the question: What does it mean to be "blessed", how would you answer?
Admittedly, this question: "What does it mean to be blessed", is one of those questions that can be tricky to answer. It's up there with "What's the American Dream?". The answer not only can vary person to person, it most certainly will. If you grabbed a mic and a video camera and asked people walking the streets of any city what it means to be blessed, there would be a wide range of answers thrown at you. You may hear: married to my best friend, a home, seven grandchildren, good health, lots of wealth, a good job, fun friends, or debt free. Good answers, and these answers can add to a person's overall feeling of blessed, but what if I don't have either of these things? Am I not blessed? See how it's a tricky question?! Or how about this answer: I am alive, so I'm blessed. Is that true? It is for someone, but maybe you aren't in agreement with that thought right now. Wouldn't it be rather difficult to convenience the world to believe and live out that statement?
How do we get to true north on this question? Can we get to true north? I can show you a picture of a car and we can convince 99% of sane people to agree, "yes, that's a car". However, we can't do that with blessing. How can I show you a blessing and get 99% of the people to agree, "yes, that's a blessing"? I could show you a picture of a car or a picture of a thousand other items and it's pretty likely that not 90%+ of the people are going to agree, "yes, that's a blessing".
My friend John had a great perspective to this question. John said "...Anything and everything you are given is a blessing. My three DUI's were some of the hardest, most awful times in my life, but I realize they were a blessing...they can come in the form of pain and suffering, and it takes you going through the pain to recognize the blessing it can become." I wholeheartedly agree with John's beautiful reminder. I wonder how many times you and I have had that perspective? Not as often as we should, I bet. Maybe we can try to make it a new habit though. I believe there's a positive to every situation, every. Yes, even in death. God works ALL things together for good, and He gives us the promise that He will do so.
The blessed life isn't about our circumstances. Those change day by day, hour by hour, sometimes minute to minute. I have been fortunate to know people in their final days of life that were living and proclaiming a blessed life. And I likely know others that wouldn't claim "the blessed life" due to some small frustration or circumstance. Those happy, uplifting people you see and hear whistling have bad days too. They just may not speak about it or let their bad circumstances and bad days impact them. I believe without a doubt: somewhere, someone is without a home, job, spouse, friends, and yet they claim "I have a blessed life." That picture may not equal a blessed life for you and me, but that doesn't mean someone else can't proclaim it.
Pastor and author Greg Laurie gave a definition of The Blessed Life that I personally appreciate, "Blessed Life: happy or blissful, but with a self-contained happiness. Self-contained, meaning that regardless what is happening to us externally, we can be truly happy internally."
Thats all the blessed life is. Maybe right now we can't all agree on that's what the blessed life is, but I bet we can all agree that is something we want.
Chris & Jenn live in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. They were high school sweethearts, marrying in 2001. They are parents to one son, Luke (born November 1999) and two loving pups: Miley & Elsie.