Archive for August, 2012

I visited my GP on Wednesday to see if he could help me get rid of a persistent cough but he gave me a much more valuable “prescription” than for cough medicine …

He asked me if I was going the way the “long” weekend.  I said that I initially planned to, but for various reasons decided not to, and would take time off later.

His immediate “prescription” was: “Don’t postpone your life!”

His son recently gave him the book “The 4 hour workweek” by Tim Ferriss.  Tim says about his book: “This book is for anyone who is sick of the deferred-life plan and wants to live life large instead of postpone it.

What is the “deferred life plan”?  Tim describes it succinctly as slave, save, retire. ”

Here’s the web site:  www.fourhourworkweek.com/ 

So I decided to just have a nice chill-out weekend and even though I stayed at home it was different.

Thanks, Dr. Bisset!

(You may ask why I am writing this note to you if I decided to chill?  Because I enjoy doing it…it’s not work but play…and I think the topic is topical…)

Picking up on the same theme:  It’s been said that 20 years from now we will regret the things we did not do more than the things that we did.

My father (he passed away many years ago at age 86) used to say that he wanted to write a book, the title of which would  be “The Regrets Of My Life”.

What must have been going through his mind all the years…  “I should have… I could have…”

So I have now added a step in my weekly review-and-preview and ask the question “Is there anything that came my way this past week that I said “no” to that I now feel differently about?

This is not to put myself on a guilt trip but to reflect, learn and be more aware of similar opportunities in future so I don’t find my life included as a paragraph in my father’s book.

I want to go on and  live a life with no regrets.

If you like this possibility, here are two resources:



I’d like to share the following poem with you.  It was first published in the Reader’s Digest, October 1953 issue with the title “I’d pick more daisies”, where it was attributed to Don Herold (1889-1966).  Another version has been attributed to Nadine Stair.

If I had my life to live over again, I’d not be afraid of

more mistakes, next time.

In fact, I’d relax a lot more.

I’d limber up, I’d be sillier than I had been on this trip.

In fact I know very few things that I’d take so seriously.

I’d take more chances, I’d take more trips,

I’d climb more mountains.

I’d  go more places than I’d ever been before

I’d have more actual troubles and fewer imaginary ones.

You see I was one of those people that lived prophylactically

and sanely and sensibly hour after hour, day after day.

Oh I’ve had my moments

and if I had to live all over again

I’d try to have more of those moments.

In fact I would try to have nothing else but wonderful moments,

side by side by side,

instead of living so many years ahead of my time.

I was one of those people who never went anywhere without a

thermometer, a hot-water bottle, a gargle, a raincoat and a parachute.

If I had it to do all over again, I’d travel lighter next time.

If I had my life to live over again, I’d play with more children

I’d pick more daisies.

I’d love more.

If I had my life to live over again.

But you see I don’t.

We’re given only one.


Spring is the season of new beginnings.

But we don’t have to wait for 1 September to live and enjoy life now and not postpone it!

Have fun…and enjoy this “productivity pit stop”!


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As I was watching the 100m heat in which Usain Bolt ran at the Olympics on Saturday, the commentator made a remark that prompted this note to you.

He said that Bolt was going through the last steps of his routine before the race.

The trigger word for me was “routine”.

During my  Productivity Mastery Programme, of which the last one for the year starts on 21 August, participants develop a “start-up routine” or “morning routine” at the office and a “shut down” or “afternoon routine”.

I also had a look at the routines of Michael Phelps who, as you may have seen, has now won 18 gold medals during his Olympic career and has been hailed as the greatest Olympian ever.

I was curious to learn more about his routines and saw the heading “How good habits can win gold medals“.   Here are some passages from the book The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg, published by Doubleday Canada.

  • Bowman (Michael’s coach)  believed that for swimmers, the key to victory was creating the right routines.
  • What Bowman could give Phelps, however – what would set him apart from other competitors – were habits that would make him the strongest mental swimmer in the pool.
  • All he needed to do was target a few specific habits that had nothing to do with swimming and everything to do with creating the right mindset. (GC: These were visualization and relaxation.)
  • At the core of why those habits were so effective, why they acted as keystone habits, was something known within academic literature as a “small win”.
  • A huge body of research has shown that small wins have enormous power, an influence disproportionate to the accomplishments of the victories themselves. “Small wins are a steady application of a small advantage,” one Cornell University professor wrote in 1984. “Once a small win has been accomplished, forces are set in motion that favour another small win.” Small wins fuel transformative changes by leveraging tiny advantages into patterns that convince people that bigger achievements are within reach. Eventually we figured out it was best to concentrate on these tiny moments of success and build them into mental triggers. We worked them into a routine.
  • There’s a series of things we do before every race that are designed to give Michael a sense of building victory.
  • If you were to ask Michael what’s going on in his head before competition, he would say he’s not really thinking about anything. He’s just following the program. But that’s not right. It’s more like his habits have taken over. When the race arrives, he’s more than halfway through his plan and he’s been victorious at every step. All the stretches went like he planned. The warm-up laps were just like he visualized. His headphones are playing exactly what he expected. The actual race is just another step in a pattern that started earlier that day and has been nothing but victories. Winning is a natural extension.

If gold medals at the Olympics can be won by working on routines and establishing habits, is it not fair to say that we can win a “gold medal” every day at the office by establishing and following a few simple routines that will give us daily “small wins” and increase our productivity?

Everyone’s routine will be different.

Here are some thoughts for a daily “morning routine” (from various sources):

  • Read something inspirational.
  • Watch something that I enjoy at www.ted.com .
  • Review personal and business values.
  • Review top goals you are working towards.
  • Choose the three most important things to do today.
  • Preview the day’s calendar and make sure I am ready for meetings and other activities.
  • Review action lists and sense priorities for the day.
  • Internalise relevant affirmations (positive self talk).
  • Jot down three things I am grateful for.
  • Write a positive message to someone in my social support network.
  • Take two minutes to describe in a journal the most meaningful experience of the past 24 hours.
  • Do a “mind dump”.

Charles C. Noble said: “First we make our habits, then our habits make us.”

To which someone added: “…or break us.”

Let me know what your morning routine at the office is and I will collect and share a few next time around.

And…have fun!

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