Do You Own Your Day?

I often ask the question “are you controlling your day or is it controlling you?” IMG_5191 It’s an interesting concept to ponder as many of us get behind to start off the day and spend the rest of it vainly trying to catch up. For many, days like this string together into weeks or even months until we feel it is impossible to get ahead, our lives are out of balance and we feel out of control. It’s not a happy place to be.

In today’s technology driven world of the Internet, email, smartphones, tablets and the demands of social media it is easy to get caught up in and lost by the 24/7 interconnectedness.  It is easy to blow valuable time on the web or Facebook, email and Twitter and have nothing to show for it but a serious gap in available hours to get the important stuff done.  Technology can be a help or a hindrance depending on how you master it.  Technology should be a tool that brings value and contributes to personal and professional goals and dreams.

As a continuous improvement guy, I am always looking for ways to improve my processes and tweak my routines so I can accomplish my goals.  This year I changed my morning routine.  But I didn’t wake up on New Year’s Day armed with an ill-conceived resolution.  No, I started working on it about 7 months ago by reading up on the best practices and effective leadership traits that aligns one with one’s goals.  Below are just a few of the things I read, listened to and did before altering my routine.

Audio Books:

Podcasts:

Videos/Templates:

Is Your Mind Like Water – Free to Respond?

Is your attention being grabbed? Do you have thoughts or tasks pop up that immediately put you into panic or a higher stress state because you forgot about something? When your attention is being grabbed you are not in a free place where you can do what you want to do or what is important. We all have moments like this where we are trying to remember things in our mind vs. have a trusted system in place where we can let go of tasks.

I am getting ready to teach a Getting Things Done (GTD) course for Executive Forums in October so I am listening to the latest version of David Allen’s book Getting Things Done. I read his first book and used the Secret Weapon concepts to organize my priorities which has been working well for me for a few years. I am surprised however by the reminders that I potentially forgot or just didn’t absorb on round 1.

One of the big concepts was having a “Mind Like Water” which refers to a mental and emotional state in which your head is clear and you are able to create and respond freely without distraction and split focus. Here is an example.

  • Situation: Imagine throwing a pebble into a still pond.
  • Question: How does the water respond?
  • Answer: Totally appropriately to the force and mass of the input; then it returns to calm.
  • Comment: It doesn’t overreact or underreact.

How Diligent Are You?

I am in the process of recovering from a torn bicep tendon and super ready to get back in the saddle of working out. IMG_5294I had to be patient during the process of surgery, wearing a splint, and now the final stages of physical therapy. As I reflect on this past 11 weeks, I am realizing the importance of being diligent in everything that you can control.

Diligence is steadfast application, assiduousness and industry; the virtue of hard work. It is one of the seven heavenly virtues.

  • Diligent behavior is indicative of a work ethic; a belief that work is good in itself.[1]
  • A zealous and careful nature in one’s actions and work; decisive work ethic, steadfastness in belief, fortitude, and the capability of not giving up.
  • Budgeting one’s time; monitoring one’s own activities to guard against laziness.

How Diligent are you being with yourself, your time, your energy?

“Excellence = Diligence Over Time”

Are You Getting Real Feedback About You?

The more you know about yourself the better you can become. Part of this process is to solicit regular feedback from you closest friends. This can be a tough thing because listening to someone give you both good and bad feedback can be a challenge. We all want to think we are doing well and doing the right things, but the real people get validation.

If you haven’t done this or haven’t done it in a while, I highly suggest you do. We all fall in the “slow fade” syndrome where you don’t realize something. This could be really bad if someone doesn’t call attention to it before you have a really big issue. The boiling frog scenario is a perfect analogy of us just not living the way we want to.

God vs. Ministry

I was talking with a friend and I noticed he was looking burned out. I started asking him about it and he said he was filling in a lot as a volunteer at church because lots of people were on vacation – and he really wasn’t getting the rest or the activities he needed to refuel himself. I talked to him further and discovered that he felt compelled to help more and step up to keep his relationship with God.

We ended up having a longer discussion about this but what I learned in getting my life plan certification is that you need to have balance in your life domains, know your priorities, and know what refuels you. There is more, but those 3 are pretty big. I started talking to him about his priorities and separated God from Ministry and he looked at me weird. I talked through my priorities which are:

  • God
  • Me (Health, Growth, Rest) – I can’t help anyone if I am dead
  • Wife
  • Daughters/Family
  • Friends
  • Extended Family
  • Career
  • Finances
  • Ministry

Are You Protecting Your Time?

Protecting your time is probably one of the more important things you do in life – so you have the option of getting things done that you really want to. I have tried many task and priority management systems over the years and for the past few years I been using a system that actually works (for the most part).

A while back I read David Allen’s book Getting Things Done (GTD). It was dated because it talked about paper processing, filing cabinets, etc. I applied most of the techniques using Outlook, but then I found www.thesecretweapon.org and Evernote. It really was a game changer for actively and proactively choosing what to prioritize and get done.

Fast forward to today and now I am going to be teaching the new version of GTD for a Renaissance Executive Forums retreat and am pretty excited about it. I love helping others be better and I believe helping them process their priorities is just a cool thing to do.

Time is a finite thing

Are You Making Emotional Decisions?

Do you make emotional decisions?  Well the truth is, all big decisions involve emotions and can be very difficult to navigate. My wife and I just downsized our house after 16 years of building it, making it our home, and raising our family in it. This was an extremely emotional decision but definitely the right thing to do. During the whole process I had to rely heavily on my wife’s point of view and decision making capabilities because I was simply too close to the situation to see certain things.

A few years back I mentally and outwardly gave her full veto power in our decisions together. She may have always had the majority of it, but I mentality committed to this to protect me from myself and protect us. She actually was the one to negotiate and accept the final offer on our house AND make the decision to purchase the new house. These are big decisions and it’s best to work with someone who can be objective – which means they are seeing it without a bunch of emotions and with a different viewpoint.

I know this may sound weird, but when you are making big decisions other people can see things or see an outcome that

If Not Now, When?

when

Half the year is over and what did you not get done that you thought you should? The quote “if not now, when” actually is part of a bigger quote from Rabbi Hillel Fendel. The whole quote is:

“If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am not for others, what am I? And if not now, when?”

Rabbi Hillel

How do you feel about those 3 questions? Are you for you? Are you taking care of yourself so you can help others in life, and if not, why not? I have talked about formalizing a life plan for quite some time and my next book will be about doing your own life plan as a start. Getting one facilitated would be the step after that or if you just want to jump to that step.

Doing your life plan and knowing your priorities is like putting on your oxygen mask first when you are on a plane so you can help others around you. The quote really rings true about knowing yourself, what you stand for, what your priorities are, and how you can and will influence others.

If you wait for the perfect time to start – you never will. Own your life today, plan for tomorrow and adjust accordingly.

Do You Know How You Are Naturally Wired?

I have this crazy desire to help others live in their sweet spot Protaganist– which is where your natural strengths and passions intersect. I am still working on my second book which will help you assess how you are wired, become more aware of your strengths, and do your own life plan as a first step toward living intentionally.

Colton, who is helping me with projects, ran across this new free assessment and it is scary accurate. I did mine and found out I am “The Protagonist” and it was extremely accurate.  As part of my mission to help you live in your sweet spot, take this free assessment called “16 Personalities”. It is really cool and can help you know more about yourself, be aware of how to maximize your potential and simply be happier.

Good Luck and remember, the more you know about you, the better you can be for yourself and for the world…

Action Item

Are You Continually Improving Yourself?

How do you continually improve yourself? This is something that should be top of mind for everyone.uhaul uhaul2The world is going to keep moving and if you’re standing still, you will just watch life pass you by. There are lots of ways to “work” on yourself so you can have a positive impact on the people around you. Some can be simple and some a longer process.

It’s been a busy few months for me starting in May. Here is the quick rundown:

  • Half Marathon (5/7/16)
  • Daughter Married in Nashville, TN (5/14/16)
  • Speaking on Life Planning for Women in Business at St. Mary’s College
  • Sold our house of 16 years
  • Purchased (downsized) house
  • Moving and Purging Stuff
  • Tore my bicep tendon from the bone and had to have surgery (6/7/16)
  • Oh Yeh – I resigned from my job at Pinnacle after Co-Founding it 20 years ago.

Usually, I watch how much stuff I change at once, but this train of change was coming and my wife and I just had to ride it. With any change you can start to lose your rhythm which

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