Archive | February 2014

7 Things Highly Productive People Do #PersonalEffectiveness #Attitude

You have more important things to focus on than, um, focusing. Get back on track with these tips.

You probably don’t want to admit it but you love distractions. In fact, just like monkeys, you get a shot of dopamine every time something pulls you in another direction. Why do you think you check your email so much?

Want to be more productive and get your focus back? There are no secret tricks here… do one thing at a time. Stop multitasking—it’s just another form of distraction.

Easier said than done, I know.

Recently I sat down with Tony Wong, a project management blackbelt whose client list includes Toyota, Honda, and Disney, to name a few. He’s an expert in keeping people on task, so I thought he’d be a good person to ask.

Here are his tips for staying productive:

  1. Work backwards from goals to milestones to tasks. Writing “launch company website” at the top of your to-do list is a sure way to make sure you never get it done. Break down the work into smaller and smaller chunks until you have specific tasks that can be accomplished in a few hours or less: Sketch a wireframe, outline an introduction for the homepage video, etc. That’s how you set goals and actually succeed in crossing them off your list.
  2. Stop multi-tasking. No, seriously—stop. Switching from task to task quickly does not work. In fact, changing tasks more than 10 times in a day makes you dumber than being stoned. When you’re stoned, your IQ drops by five points. When you multitask, it drops by an average of 10 points, 15 for men, five for women (yes, men are three times as bad at multitasking than women). 
  3. Be militant about eliminating distractions. Lock your door, put a sign up, turn off your phone, texts, email, and instant messaging. In fact, if you know you may sneak a peek at your email, set it to offline mode, or even turn off your Internet connection. Go to a quiet area and focus on completing one task.
  4. Schedule your email. Pick two or three times during the day when you’re going to use your email. Checking your email constantly throughout the day creates a ton of noise and kills your productivity.
  5. Use the phone. Email isn’t meant for conversations. Don’t reply more than twice to an email. Pick up the phone instead. 
  6. Work on your own agenda. Don’t let something else set your day. Most people go right to their emails and start freaking out. You will end up at inbox-zero, but accomplish nothing. After you wake up, drink water so you rehydrate, eat a good breakfast to replenish your glucose, then set prioritized goals for the rest of your day. 
  7. Work in 60 to 90 minute intervals. Your brain uses up more glucose than any other bodily activity. Typically you will have spent most of it after 60-90 minutes. (That’s why you feel so burned out after super long meetings.) So take a break: Get up, go for a walk, have a snack, do something completely different to recharge. And yes, that means you need an extra hour for breaks, not including lunch, so if you’re required to get eight hours of work done each day, plan to be there for 9.5-10 hours.


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Hiring Motivated And Engaged Employees #PersonalEffectiveness #HappyFriday

By Matt Collins – Fri 7th Feb 2014

Regardless, building just such a team is a crucial factor in your company’s ability to operate smoothly and navigate the changing business landscape. To increase productivity and motivation, the steps below can help you make the right difference in the way your firm approaches business.

It Starts With Recruiting the Right Talent

By recruiting the right individuals, your company can have a much easier time motivating, retaining and engaging all your employees.  When hiring, look for candidates with the following traits:

  1. Passion – Recruit employees who are genuinely excited about their work, and they’ll remain driven.
  2. Work Ethic – Employees with a strong work ethic thrive in competitive environments and see hurdles as challenges to overcome, rather than roadblocks.
  3. Integrity – An employee can have all the motivation in the world, but without a solid reputation, that work will go unrewarded.
  4. Resiliency – Without the ability to recover from mistakes, motivation and engagement goes out the window.
  5. Positive Energy – Hire employees who thrive on action and relish change.

Develop Proper Leadership Tactics

It could be said that the true measure of leadership is influence. If you displaystrong leadership skills, and employees will respond and produce in a heightened manner.  Conversely, a lack of direction from senior team members can have devastating effects on employee motivation and work engagement.

There are three key effective leaders share that motivate and engage employees. Consider these elements when assessing the senior members of your firm and ask yourself how you can create alignment.

  1. Leaders are trustworthy. Leaders are consistent in their word and go out of their way to maintain trust with subordinates.
  2. Leaders relentlessly upgrade their team and make each and every employee see their vision for the organization.
  3. Leaders exude positive energy and instill a “can do” attitude that naturally motivates and engages the employees.

Motivation Factors Most People Miss

When you hire and motivate the right people, the right work gets done in the right way. In other words, the machine functions smoothly. The company becomes defined by their continuous productivity improvements, widespread innovation and ability to adapt to the changing business environment.

  1. Keep your promises. Studies have shown that for employees to be motivated, sales recruiting minimums must be upheld. These include pay, working conditions and job security. Without these, headhunting even the best employees will yield undesired performance results.
  2. Don’t use fear as a factor. The attempt to motivate employees by making them fear that they will lose their jobs will have the opposite effect – resulting in less energy and lower morale.
  3. Tap into their creativity. Contrary to popular belief, money is not the most motivating factor for many employees. Studies have shown that the strongest and most pervasive driver of productivity is how creative an employee feels when working on a project. If you want to motivate employees, give them projects that allow them to use their creatively.
  4. Challenge them. The most sought-after employees have a tendency to seek out challenges, to extend and exercise their capabilities, to explore and to learn.
  5. Relax on the rules. Imposing too many rules and formal processes can impede your ability to motivate your staff. The more set a process is, the less likely it is going to get done correctly. (That said, it is still important to set clear standards and adhere to them fairly and consistently.)

In the End…

Regardless of whether your employees are introverted or outgoing, quiet or loud, the proper leadership foundation will keep them motivated and engaged – thus increasing your company’s competitive advantage and heightening the effectiveness of your recruiting efforts.

A Checklist for Personal Efficiency #PersonalEffectiveness #Stratergy


By Matt Collins – 6th Feb 2014

At the end of the day, there are two ways to excel in business: Right strategy and personal effectiveness. Strategy is often a complex matter, and personal effectiveness is simpler, but very few do it well.

Yet the potential gains when you maximize how efficiently you perform can be astronomical. There are people who are quite literally achieving 3 times what others are getting done, every single week. After 5 years of performing at high efficiency they end up leaving the others in the dust. As a high performance coach for business leaders, I am constantly working on improving their personal effectiveness.

In my experience there are seven important areas to focus on. Print this list out and keep it on your desk, then monitor yourself on it daily. I can assure you, your personal efficiency will skyrocket.

1. Plan your day in advance.

Don’t just start work. Take 15 minutes to carefully go through what your tasks are, get them all down on paper.  Next , decide when you will do each item throughout the day. Only then should you begin your day’s work.  Such planning may look like a waste of time, but it usually doubles the speed at which your To Do list gets done.

As Abraham Lincoln said, ” If I had six hours to cut down a tree I’d spend the first four hours sharpening the axe.”

2. Do the most important tasks first.

Let’s face it, these days there is simply not enough time to get all your To Do’s done.  So if you don’t do your most crucial jobs first, many days you will find they never get done at all.

3. Rush unimportant tasks.

This is a rarely mentioned technique of efficiency. You can unlock huge amounts of time by rushing jobs that don’t matter much. As Warren Buffettput it, “Whats’ not worth doing is not worth doing well.”

4. Work in uninterrupted blocks.

Interruptions destroy efficiency. The more you can find a quiet place to work uninterrupted on your To Do’s, the more you’ll get done. Consider working two mornings a week at a nearby coffee shop.  Or book a meeting room at your office and post a big ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign on the door.

5. Don’t do emails until 11am.

When you start work, glance at your emails for anything truly urgent. (This should take no more than ten minutes). Then forget about email until mid morning. Don’t be one of those people that puts everyone else’s priorities before your own.

6. Pick one key job for the day.

What’s the one task that would help your business the most? Get clear on this, each and every day. If all you did was achieve your single most important task daily, in 3 months your business would be powering. But most people have never identified what their key daily task is.

7. Have a finishing time.

Everyone has a start time, but few have a time they must leave at the end of the day. You’d be amazed how much more efficient you become when you do. When you know there’s a certain time you must finish work, it forces you to work quickly all through the day so you can make the deadline. But when your work day is open ended, there’s no real need to work fast. Remember  Parkinson’s Law: “Work expands to fill the time allotted for it.”

So that’s your personal efficiency checklist. Keep it nearby as you work through your day.

If you can stick to this list daily you will find you will radically change how much you achieve. You’ll be able to work less and earn more. Your stress will go down and your confidence will go up.

NOT SUCCESSFUL AS YOU SHOULD BE . . . #Success #PersonalEffectiveness

By Matt Collins Posted on 05/02/2014

Success 2So with January behind you, how are those 2014 Goals coming along? Feeling down about your business these days? Is the broken economy hurting your sales and keeping you up at night? Need some motivation and tough love to help you stop pitying yourself? Well, here you go, here are 13 reasons you might have in your head about why you’re not as successful as you should be.

#1 Reason You Are Not As Successful As You Should Be – LAZINESS!!

I don’t think there’s an easy way to put this. I have to assume that you’re lazy. Every single successful person works their butts off to get where they are. It’s ok to be lazy. Just admit it. But don’t whine about not being rich and successful, Ok?

#2 Reason You Are Not As Successful As You Should Be – ENTITLEMENT!!

Only a few people in the world are part of the lucky ‘Reproduction Club’, neither You and me. We have to work to get what we want. Quit thinking you are owed something. You’re not. Get to work Now!

#3 Reason You Are Not As Successful As You Should Be – FEAR!!

You are afraid, plain and simple and afraid of looking silly. Afraid of what your friends and family will say. Are you afraid of everything? Look, you’re either going to stop being afraid, or you’re not. Nobody can convince you to stop. Imagine though… what awaits you when you stop with the fear excuses?

#4 Reason You Are Not As Successful As You Should Be – NEGATVITY!!

You may not realize it, but the people you associate with might be negative. They could be soul-sucking beings who don’t want anyone to be successful. Get rid of them, now! Surround yourself with successful people. People you want to be like.

#5 Reason You Are Not As Successful As You Should Be – STOP THINKING, START DOING!!

How much do you want to bet you have Analysis Paralysis? You think way too much about what you could or should do. Doers get what they want, and everyone else gets what they get. Stop Analyzing and start Doing.

#6 Reason You Are Not As Successful As You Should Be – NO GOALS!!

You plan nothing. You believe that someway, somehow, everything you always wanted will just magically happen. So you “play it by ear” and wait. You need goals to shoot for. Otherwise, you’re just treading water.

#7 Reason You Are Not As Successful As You Should Be – “THEY”!!

There’s no “They”. There’s no secret group of people who controls your success or failure. You’ve made that up to make you feel better about yourself. The truth is you, and you alone, control your success in life/business/everything. It’s easy to blame “Them” though, isn’t it? Don’t be Weak.

#8 Reason You Are Not As Successful As You Should Be – THERE IS NO “X” FACTOR!!

You can’t do it because you’re not pretty or smart enough. Or don’t have a strong personality? You don’t have the “X” factor? Wow, what an unbelievably lame excuse. The truth is that even jerks, idiots and boring people can be just as successful as anyone else. Your problem is you don’t believe it yet.

#9 Reason You Are Not As Successful As You Should Be – ARE YOU A TIME WASTER?

You’re a classic time-waster. You spend hours and hours every day working on not-working. You do things that aren’t productive. How are you ever going to get anything done, or reach any goal if you keep wasting time? You’re not. So you might as well give up now if you’re going to keep this path.

#10 Reason You Are Not As Successful As You Should Be – SOCIAL MEDIA IS B.S.!!

You spend way too much time in social media land.  You waste probably about 50% of your productive hours of the day doing this. The sad part is, you know it, but you can’t Stop. So, you can’t get anything done that matters.

#11 Reason You Are Not As Successful As You Should Be – YOU ARE THINKING TOO SMALL!!

You think way too small. You are constantly looking only a day or a week ahead instead of years ahead. Because of this, you never get anywhere, and you never lead; you always follow.

#12 Reason You Are Not As Successful As You Should Be – YOU DON’T WANT IT BAD ENOUGH!!

You don’t really want to be successful. Sure, you like to dream about it like everyone else. But in your heart you are afraid of what might happen if you really get it. That’s B.S. fear your brain is feeding you. Success is change, and it feels really, really good. Tell your brain to shut the [foolishness] up.

#13 Reason You Are Not As Successful As You Should Be – YOU DON’T BELIEVE!!

You never believed that it’s possible. Society taught you that only a few “exceptional” people get what they want. Everyone else should just settle. If you really want to believe that, go ahead. The rest of us will be at the front of the line because we believe.


Motivate Your Customer-Experience Team #Managementtips #PersonalEffectiveness

By Matt Collins February 4th, 2014

Outstanding customer experience requires motivated, empowered frontline employees. To engage your customer-experience team and motivate them to provide an exceptional customer experience:

• Hire for attitude, not aptitude — and then reinforce attitude. To get friendly service, hire friendly people. Recruit frontline staff with a natural service bent by conducting group interviews. Seeing how applicants interact with one another will help you assess their communication and people skills.

• Focus on purpose, not rules. Rules are necessary, but they go only so far. To motivate employees and give meaning to their work, define your company’s purpose: a succinct explanation of the intended customer experience that resonates at an emotional level. When you set clear expectations and trust your people to do their jobs, they’ll feel valued and empowered – and they’ll go that extra mile through passion, not compliance.