Archive for November, 2014

I have recently been likened to a baboon collecting food in a mealie land.

As it moves from one end of the mealie land to the other it picks a cob and puts it under its arm. Then it picks another cob and puts it under its arm – but in the process the one that was there already, falls out.

So when the baboon reaches the other end of the field it has been very busy collecting food but still only has one cob to show for its efforts.

Part of my “mission statement” is to continuously look for new ways in which I can get more of the right things done with less effort, and when I find it, to tell as many people as I can about it.  But can you see the danger ahead unless I tweak it?

I sometimes buy a new book and before I finished reading it, I have already bought another one – and may never finish reading the one I already have!  I try a new methodology before integrating what I already have into my life.

I think the “productivity sound bite” is to “sweat your assets” before rushing after the flavour of the month book, idea or guru.

Maybe this is a good time of the year to ask if we are making the most of the productivity assets – time, money, knowledge, skill, technology, ideas, colleagues, relationships… – we already have.

Why not make a list of your personal productivity assets and rather than looking for something new in the new year, think how you can immediately make better use of what you already have?



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Build trust and save time?

Ever so often I hear people say “I’d better keep this email – just in case….”  Can you imagine how many Terabytes are used all over the world to store these kind of emails and at what cost?

I experienced the wastage that comes low (no) levels of trust over the weekend.  I made a payment using internet banking, and as I usually do, copied and pasted the proof of payment into an email.  But this was not acceptable – “It looks as if you just pasted the bank logo into the email and typed in the details yourself – we will not accept that as proof of payment”.  I had to download a statement showing the actual transactions, blank out the rest and send a PDF to them.  What a time waster!

Just think of it…  If we all trusted each other, the “lock and key” industry would not exist. Terabytes of disk space could be freed up.  We could do business on a handshake rather than reams of legalese. And we would have no difficulty in delegating.

But trust does not just fall from the sky.  It is a result of personal trustworthiness which in turn comes from personal character and competence. I can be the most competent eye surgeon in town but if I suggest a R185 000 procedure and you hear that I sometimes prescribe an operation that is not necessary just so I can make money – will you trust my diagnosis and come for the operation?  No – I am lacking character. Or you hear that I will never operate unless necessary but I am on a cost saving drive and use the same scalpel over and over and operate in semi darkness (low competence) – will you come for the operation?

Think about the people you find it difficult to delegate to. What’s the trust level like? Do they lack competence?  Do they lack character?  And what can you do about it?

This is an important question, because if you are not going to so anything, you will forever be wasting your productive time doing work others should be doing.


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Clarity is such an important productivity principle…

The more I think about it, the clearer (!) this becomes to me.

Just this weekend we were talking about “self management”, and not being to clear about it myself, I asked the others in the conversation what the “self” in “self management” is.  This is quite important because unless you clearly understand “self” how can you manage “self”?

No one knew…

Whatever we do and talk about, get clarity UP FRONT.

This principle transcends cultures and technology.  It’s like gravity – we can have a vote of 12 235 – 1 against “gravity”, but gravity doesn’t care.  It still works.

I invite you to enjoy two fun video clips that illustrate this principle of clarifying up front – no matter who you are, where you are and what technology you use, whether you like it or not, this productivity principle still works.

Video clips are available here.

Have a fun week filled with clarity!

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One night during my stay in Upington last week, there was a bit of thunder and lightning with some rain – nothing of which could have happened if the conditions were not right.

If the conditions in nature are right, things happen.

The same is true for us.  To be productive, our “conditions” have to be right.

It can be simple things like getting enough sleep, exercising and eating well.  Or having a routine you follow in the morning (for planning) or afternoon (for review and learning).  Or saying “no” more often.

Here are some of the things successful people routinely do first thing in the morning.

And here’s a summary:

  • Tony Robbins practices gratitude and visualization.
  • Tim Cook does his email at 4:30 a.m.
  • David Karp checks his email when he arrives at the office.
  • Mark Twain recommended doing the hardest task first.
  • Howard Schultz believes in getting priorities established.
  • Geraldine Laybourne believes in helping the next generation.
  • Laura Vanderkam recommends writing a challenging report or email.
  • John Grisham believes in a strict routine.
  • Todd Smith always greets colleagues appropriately.
  • Benjamin Franklin always wanted to be helpful in the morning.
  • Steve Murphy devotes morning time to planning.
  • Tim Armstrong recommends learning and listening.

Everyone does something different but everyone knows and creates the conditions that get their day off to a great start.

How about you?  Do you know the conditions that make you productive?

Take some time every day this week to write down the things that are “in place” when you are in top gear productivity mode.  Or what is missing when you slump into low productivity.  Then use these insights to create your own conditions for high productivity.

Have fun!

Productivity quote: ”The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine.”  – Mike Murdock

Productivity Survey – make your mark!  I am doing a productivity survey to identify “productivity handbrakes” – the things that hold people back from enjoying happier and more productive lives. Please join in!  Your feedback will assist us to create up to date material based on real needs so we can design our services and products to exactly meet your needs.  Click here to give your opinion.  Thanks

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