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Entries in productivity (38)


Sleeping Your Way To Success

Hopefully none of you got the wrong idea about that title. Sleep is one of the daily requirements most all of us try to cheat. We use caffeine, exercise, cold showers, sugar, slaps to the face, or any number of things to avoid the real issue-we just aren't getting enough sleep or the right type of sleep.

As the ringmaster of a circus you would never want to get caught napping when you were supposed to be leading an act into a ring or making sure the line up was going well. Even a sluggish response would be frowned upon by the audience and your fellow performers.

Daily Infographic has a fantastic resource to better understand the value of sleep and what happens when we don't get enough of it. You can see it by clicking here.

In the meantime, maybe it is time to start thinking in terms of how you can sleep your way to the top!


Satisfy The Audience In Your Head

As a member of an audience you don't like to wait, do you? The longer you have to wait, the more anxious you get about the start of the performance.

You have an audience inside your head-it is called the pituitary gland and hypothalamus. They are waiting to send out cheers called endorphins when you accomplish something of value to you. The longer you wait to perform a difficult task, the longer you deny the audience the chance to give you much needed applause.

For that reason, consider accomplishing the task you are most dreading earlier in the day. That way, you have this audience clapping and cheering you on all day long.


One Of Most Visited Place On Our Training Midway

As you can imagine, one of the workplace distractions that gets the most attention from the participants is around the elephant of email. We are frequently amazed that people see the strategy of "Turning off email notification" or "set specific times to check email" as strong options in handling email. They are a beneficial step on the receiving side of email.

There are also practical steps we can take on the sending side of the equation to help manage the flow and improve response from others. They include:

  • If the message is short, put it in the subject line
  • Put deadlines in the subject line
  • Put action needed in the subject line. Include phrases like "FYI," "Action requested," "No reply needed" or even "Call after reading"
  • In the text, start with the action you want them to take-and when. The content following it should provide information to help them choose the course of action to take.

We always welcome your best practices too. Send them to us at


Clear The Ring!

You go to a circus and when each act is over, something used in the act is left behind. Mid-way through the circus performance they would have to stop the action to clean out the stuff lying around in the wing.

We do something very similar when we leave read emails in our inbox. Each time we go to manage our inbox, a portion of our focus or attention is always drawn back to those emails sitting idly by. We mentally trip over them while trying to really focus on our new acts.

Why not create some rules for incoming emails or better yet, create some rules for what you do with an email once you read it? An old acronym to guide management of pieces of paper still works for handling email. It is:





Remember, the goal is to have your mental "ring" clear to be able to focus on the act at hand-and not trip over it.


To Be Happy Be In The Right Ring-Right Now!

A study undertaken by two Harvard researchers found that 47% of the time, people are thinking about something else other than what they are doing-and that this wandering of the mind makes them unhappy. That's probably not news to you with all the distractions that infiltrate every moment of our day, but the source of the biggest distraction might surprise you-it's our emotions.

Frustration about something that happened yesterday with a co-worker or family member or simply worrying about the task in front of you was found to be the most significant reason for this wandering of the mind.

The "aha" for all of us should be that if we feel the emotional drain pulling at us, we should find the source, and when the opportunity is created to address it, we should do everything possible to work through it. Failing to do so is like trying to be in two rings of your circus at once-and we know that doesn't create stellar results in either one.

You can read more about the study discussed in the USA Today by clicking here.