Tag Archive: investing time

Italian spaghetti and vegetablesWhat you eat impacts the results you get with your to-do list. Being productive takes more than the right tools and supportive habits. This is one reason why my approach to helping people get things done is a holistic one. I look at things on all levels, one of them being physical. The others are mental, emotional and spiritual.

Here, I’m talking about the physical level of productivity, which encompasses more than having your environment structured in a way that serves you. That is one of the things that first comes to mind when you think about being able to get it done along with tools and other things. One other necessary component on this level is diet. What you eat will either fuel or hinder your productivity. How many times have you stopped working to eat lunch, come back to what you were working on and just not had the energy or capacity to continue with the same focus or to continue at all? You might also find that there are times in the day when you lose concentration or it’s hard for you to be present. Then there are those times when you’re on the go all day so you either miss out on meals or end up eating things that you know you shouldn’t eat, but you do because it’s what’s available, giving in to the horrors of fast food. What’s convenient isn’t necessarily what’s good for you.

Look at what you’re eating that diminishes your productivity and make a shift to fueling your productivity. Your energy level drops off after you eat lunch, or eat particular things is because you’re consuming high-fat or large meals that divert the blood supply to the digestive tract and away from the brain, causing sluggishness and fatigue or you’re consuming things that lack nutrients. Another popular go-to are sugary foods which can make you feel like you’re spaced out, weak, confused or even nervous.

Making that shift in what you eat can contribute to increasing your productivity by 20%. Food impacts how clearly you think and concentrate, your intelligence level, memory and reaction time, and even how quickly your brain ages. Your brain is hungry tissue and even burns fuel even while you sleep, so eating breakfast is the best way to restock fuel stores and prevent a mental fog later in the day.  Consciously choose what you’re eating, especially for breakfast and lunch and snacking. Nuts and seeds have vitamin E and antioxidants; whole grains give you fiber, vitamins and magnesium; dark leafy greens are loaded with vitamins and minerals like iron which brings more oxygen to the body and the brain. All of these support cognitive function. Get plenty of fruits and vegetables along with plant based protein to fuel your body and keep your physical energy up.

Plan what you’re eating just as you plan your weeks and days. Create your menu for the week and think about some of the things I’ve mentioned that will help you get through your day and your to-do list. Leave out the heavy stuff and stay away from the high fat content. When it comes to snacks this is where it’s easy to just lose it so think about what you can eat to fuel instead of sucking the life out of your productivity. Make sure you get fruits in the mix; prepare a snack mix with nuts and dried fruit, prep fresh veggies and have them ready so all you have to do is grab them and keep things moving.

Fueling your productivity starts with awareness. Seeing what you’re eating that’s not supporting you and shifting to things that will support you. Planning is a big part of the puzzle and don’t get discouraged when it comes to planning. It really does benefit you and it’s definitely an investment of time, not a waste of it.


Planning On Glass BoardWith just a few weeks lift in the year, the air is buzzing with end of the year activities. Sadly, though most people don’t think about the year ahead. If you haven’t already laid out your plan for next year, you’re way behind and it’s time to catch up. I know that some people cringe when they hear the word “plan” or at the thought of having to create one.  I’ve heard so many people say that planning takes too much time or even that it’s a waste of time.  The truth is that planning will actually save you time, guide your actions and help you accomplish what you set out to do.  There is power in the process.

When you don’t plan, the time that you give to execution will take much longer and decrease your productivity level.  Without going through the planning process, unexpected things happen that you didn’t think about and they derail your efforts.  You spend time dealing with the unexpected, looking for solutions to put the fire out and get things going again while work is stagnated.

It only takes about 10-12 minutes to plan your day.  That small investment will save you about two hours every day, which translates to about a 25 percent increase in your level of productivity.  Regular planning has you spend more time on activities of higher value, which in turn increases your effectiveness and your efficiency. Planning will facilitate achievement of your goals, and helps you to make good decisions, define opportunities and possible threats and can even help reduce risk and prevent loss.  Inside of the process you are able to see the resources that you need, map your route and determine how you will deal with any bumps in the road, should you hit them.  All of this becomes possible simply because you make the investment of your time and energy to create the plan.

Statistics show us that every minute that you plan saves you ten in the execution of the plan.  That translates into the time that you make to plan giving you a return of ten times, which is 1,000 percent on the investment of your time and personal energy.  That is huge!  Where else can you make an investment and get this kind of return?

Without planning you don’t know exactly what you’re working on from day to day, every week and over longer periods of time so you play the guessing game on a regular basis or you get in the middle of doing a particular thing and notice that there’s something that you forgot to do—something that should have been done before you started working on your current task.  You also get to points in your process when you realize you don’t have something that you need. Not a good scenario when you’re trying to make things happen and complete the projects on your agenda or reach your goals. You want to know what that next step is. If you don’t it will cost you.

With a plan you’ve done the work that has you already halfway there. Your plan is your map that gives you what you need to move forward and a great chance of success. So, the next time you hear the word “plan”, don’t cringe, embrace the power that the process gives you.  Get prepared for 2015. Plan your work, and work your plan!


WomanSuitBoxingGlovesThere never seems to be enough time in any given day to get to all of your to-do items.  The day begins and you’re off to a good start, and then, before you know it, times up.  You stop and wonder, “Where did the day go?”  Now we’re at the end of another year and you might be wondering where the whole year went and how it went by so quickly.  It’s safe to say that people find themselves here because they don’t know how they relate to time, don’t plan for what they want to accomplish, or the plan is in their head, they fall prey to procrastination and interruptions and have no clue as to where their time is going.  The scary thing about this is that it can be a pattern, and it probably is if you’re sitting here at the end of the year wondering where it all went.   It’s not too late to get a handle on it all and make some progress toward some of the things on your plate right now and finish the year powerfully.

Look at the things that you’d like to accomplish before the end of the year and prioritize them. Once you’ve determined the priority of each item, you can move forward.  Do you have time to get to all of the things before year’s end?  If not, determine what you can complete in the time that’s left and schedule time to work on those pieces of the project between now and the end of the year then schedule time to finish the remaining pieces in early January.  Get the blocks of time scheduled in your calendar now and commit to them.

The next step to finishing your year strong is to think about next year before it gets here.  Start with a list of things you want to accomplish and turn them into goals.  Once you’ve got S.M.A.R.T. goals, you can create your road map to accomplishing them and know exactly how you’re going to get there and when you’re working on each.  The year might fly by, but you’ll be getting things done instead of wondering where all that time went and why you have nothing to show for it.

As you look forward to the next year, think about what you have to do differently.  What did you do this year that just didn’t work?  What do you want to do differently?  Be conscious of how you’re relating to time, pull together systems and tools to support you, create a plan and above all, look at where your time is going.  Be sure that you’re investing it, not simply spending it.  Give your time to things that are worthy, things related to your values and goals and let the rest go.  Doing so will keep you productive and getting to the end of the year with things accomplished, ready to celebrate and plan for the year ahead.


Making Time

SpiralClock-Smaller2Time!  There never seems to be enough of it to get in all of the things we want or need to do. That’s the thought or conclusion on everyone’s mind. Well, here’s a news flash for you…YOU AREN’T GOING TO GET ANY MORE TIME! What you have is what you get.  That’s it; no more!  You get the same amount of time as I or anyone else and no matter how hard you wish, want, complain, or ask, more time is something that is not coming your way.  The thing about time is that it’s elusive and intangible, which makes it pretty slippery, so you have to learn to work with what you’ve got.

So now that I’ve given you that rude awakening, let me clue you in.  No matter what stage your business is in—start up, just starting to fly or one that’s been established for quite some time, the thing that you must do is manage your business appropriately.  That means understanding not just what it takes, but the amount of time that it takes to do so and planning accordingly.  You can have everything set up, have the knowledge to run your business under your belt, and be ready to rock and roll, but none of it means anything without you being in action.  Before you take action you’ve got to make the time to consider what needs to be done, how and when it’s getting done and who’s doing it.

When it comes to business, most owners think of all the logical or practical pieces of the puzzle that have to come together.  What they don’t think about is setting up systems to make things run smoothly and maximize their time and if they do think about business systems, they almost always forget about having one that supports managing their time.  If you don’t learn how to manage time, time and other people will manage you simply because you haven’t made the time to go about setting up that system.  As with the creation of other systems, you have to consider what the process is and determine each of the steps in the process.  After that comes choosing the tool or tools to support the process and finally, the people who will perform the tasks.

Once that system is set up, the focus has to be on implementing it and using it every day if you actually mean to get anything accomplished.  Some argue that planning wastes time, but the opposite is true.  For every minute you spend planning, you save 10 in the execution phase.  As you plan your day to day to-dos, properly estimating the amount of time that things take is key.  If you’re unsure of how long something is going to take, take a realistic guess, then log the amount of time that you spend on that task.  Once it’s complete you’ll know how long it took and will know what amount of time it will take in the future.  Over time you’ll get better at estimating your time so that your days aren’t crazy.

In consideration of what some say about planning, let’s look at the cold, hard facts.  Saving yourself ten minutes in the execution of the plan translates into the time that you make to plan giving you a return of ten times, which is 1,000 percent on the investment of your time and personal energy.  That is huge!  Where else can you make an investment and get this kind of return?  Another fact of the matter is that it only takes about 10-12 minutes to plan your day.  That small investment will save you about two hours every day, which translates to about a 25 percent increase in your level of productivity.  Regular planning has you spend more time on activities of higher value, which increases your effectiveness and your efficiency in everything you do. When you look at the facts you can see the advantages that making time affords you.  It’s a key component when it comes to the foundation of your business and without it sooner or later you end up paying the price.


Most people hustle every day trying to beat the clock, barely getting things done.  This hustle is absolute madness and a vicious cycle to be caught up in.  Although the desire to stop that madness is there, the truth is that once you’re caught up in it, it’s hard to get out, especially if you just don’t know how.

The magic number is 1,440! Wondering what that is? It’s the number of minutes that you get every day. The key is to not spend your time, but to invest your time.  These are two very distinctly different things.  If you’re spending time, you may be getting things done, but the things that are getting done aren’t impacting the future.  When you invest your time, the things that get your time are directly related to their goals and larger projects that help move you forward and accomplish the big picture that you’ve created.  There really is a big difference when it comes to spending and investing your time, just as it is when it comes to money.  When you invest your time, there is a valuable payoff for your investment.

If you’re simply spending your time, you’re not experiencing that larger, more valuable payoff.  When you spend time, you are often busy but not productive.  You spin your wheels instead of getting things done, end up reinventing the wheel many times because certain things aren’t streamlined and you don’t have systems in place to support you.  With all of this going on and more things being added to your plate, it creates a noise that makes it hard to hear anything, and you stay caught up in the vicious cycle.

This daily hustle is a result of taking on too much and jam packing to-do lists and calendars; not having or knowing priorities; the inability to or not knowing when to say “no”; and the lack of tools, systems and habits. When this is happening, there simply cannot be an investment of time because things are set up that way.  Without these things in play, you’re only equipped to spend your time.

To flip the script, step back and take a look at your time investment portfolio. Does it contain things that help support you, or is it reminiscent of someone who’s doing that daily hustle?  What things have you collected in your time investment portfolio and how are those things impacting you?  If it’s full of the things from the daily hustle, you need a new portfolio.  Next, identify your values, then, based upon your values, create S.M.A.R.T. goals and prioritize them.

Define regular blocks of time that you need to accomplish regular tasks then define and implement systems with processes to carry those things out to help streamline those tasks.  Identify tools that will help support you, for instance, determine what tool fits your personality and start using it to manage your time.  This is the foundation of your time management system.  Maximize its use by employing every feature hat it affords you, and then set up the other pieces of your time management system.  Additionally, create any other systems that you need for business (filing, client management, accounting, etc).  To keep things flowing it’s necessary to develop new habits that support you instead of hindering you.   Without new habits in place, the systems and tools won’t work.  Make adjustments to anything that doesn’t work by looking at why it’s not working first, which will make finding a solution easier.  Each of these things is something that you want in your time investment portfolio.  Doing so will have you move from the vicious cycle of spending time to investing your time.

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