How To Be More Productive When You Work From Home.

I live in Connecticut and this season has to be the hottest on record. I have two sons — one home from college and another home from high school. They both worked over the summer at different jobs, but they are now enjoying the remnants of the summer at home. Even though they are older — they still want attention (or at least I think they do). They can watch TV, read a book, play Steam on their PC's, swim, or stand outside and roast in our yard. I am also working from home today.

Maybe you do too. You have to deliver a number of items today. You have to be on emergency conference calls. You have to manage your team remotely. You might even have to handle weather-related emergencies.

But it’s tough when you’re in a non-work environment. Everything is beckoning to you — the TV, the couch, the kitchen, the kids, surfing the web, your spouse/partner . . . EVERYTHING.

So here are some tips to help you focus, accelerate, and get more done at home than you do at work:

1. Sequester yourself. If you don’t have a home office, find a room with a door and close it. Set a rule — if the door is closed, you are “not in the house”. If the door is open, feel free to come in and say hello.

2. Develop an ‘express’ plan. Get a piece of paper and list all the things you need to do on it in 60 seconds. Then prioritize your list in 60 seconds. Don’t worry, you can add additional things later, but for now, speed is of the essence. Now you have a plan for the day.

3. Work 50 minute hours. Start at the top of the hour and focus on one (or more) items on your list. At the 50 minute mark, stand up, open the door to your office, and go say hello to the family. Or grab a glass of cool ice tea. Or surf the web. Just separate yourself from your work for 5-10 minutes so you can recharge.

4. Reach out to your team strategically. You should call your team at three stages of the day — in the morning, at 1 PM and at 5 PM. Since you’re not in close proximity, you still need to give them the sense you are working together and you’re watching. It’s not a vacation day.

5. Use technology. If you have Skype and a webcam, use it! Leverage email, IM, Outlook, GoToMeeting, etc. to better communicate with your team, your boss, and your clients. Ask your family to stay off the phone (if you only have one line) — and mix communicating with your cell phone — but remember to charge it when not in use. Some places are choosing to use app integrations to make communications between other coworkers and clients much easier and efficient. Things like Slack integration from Salesforce are rising in popularity.

6. Have a virtual lunch meeting. Get your client, your vendor or your staff together and all get on a conference call to get a status, charm the client or direct a vendor. But adding the fun of a virtual lunch makes it much more informal and fun.

If you stick to these tips, you’ll find you will be much more productive, stay in touch with your team, and still have time for yourself to practice watching your electric bill rise due to your AC use.

What do you do when you work at home to be more productive?

Every Weekend Is A 3-Day Weekend!

One of my favorite authors is Tim Ferriss, who wrote "The Four Hour Workweek", "The Four Hour Body", and "The Four Hour Chef". As I was speaking to one of my clients the other day, we started to discuss how much time is wasted on the job with superfluous meetings, emails, and antiquated projects. I then said, "Wouldn't it be great to cut down on all the days we work and squeeze 5 days into 4?" Could we work faster, more efficiently and effectively? Do we really need to move the 8 hours from a Friday and distribute 2 hours to Monday-Thursday? What would happen if we said we'd get the same job done in 32 instead of 40 hours?

I know — your reflexive/debate mind is clicking in: "Not everyone can do this. There are some workers who are paid hourly and many businesses who need to be open 5, 6, and 7 days a week." I agree, but stick with me for a moment.

Let's amend the hourly discussion and still maintain a 40 hour workweek, but you might work 10 hours a day? With those businesses who need to remain open, they can schedule their associates to spread out over the "3 day weekend". Instead of 9-5, we would work 8-6 (or 7-5, or like me 6-4) - ensuring 10 hours every day.

Families can spend more time together, workers are more productive while they're on the job, less impact to commuting congestion, and everyone will enjoy 72 hours of vacation each week. I know it would make even the worst job more bearable.

Schools might still be on a 5 day schedule, but parents might be integrated in their kids learning and help out at school. Maybe that 'free' day is a volunteer day to help out the less fortunate, clean up a park, or assist a senior with their shopping.

I still think we can do the 32 hour week — rarely do people work 8 hours a day full out, using every fiber of their time.

What would the world be like if we took one day a week and spent it helping one another?

I would LOVE your feedback. Tell me how you feel — and how you would do it!

Hey CEO, Are You Killing Yourself At Work?

You work hard. You come in early, stay late, and work over the weekends. Of course . . . you're the CEO (or the President, CFO, CMO, CIO, you get the idea). You constantly think about work, even in your sleep.

But you have the primo position, the unbelievable pay, the power to move mountains, and your future already written in stone.

But it's not enough. So you do more. And more. And more.

But what falls by the wayside? Your health? Your spouse or partner? Your kids? Your close relationships?

Yes, you might allocate an hour or two for them a week — but is it enough?

When is work enough when you keep moving the bar upwards every time you reach it?

Let's check out California-based Mohamed El-Erian, when he shocked the financial world when he announced his resignation as chief executive of PIMCO earlier this year:

"The 56-year-old said the "wake-up call" happened when he was arguing with his daughter about brushing her teeth and she left to fetch a piece of paper from her room. "It was a list that she had compiled of her important events and activities that I had missed due to work commitments," he wrote. "The list contained 22 items, from her first day at school and first soccer match of the season to a parent-teacher meeting and a Halloween parade. "I felt awful and got defensive: I had a good excuse for each missed event! Travel, important meetings, an urgent phone call, sudden to-do. "But it dawned on me that I was missing an infinitely more important point ... I was not making nearly enough time for her." (read more here)

Is money enough? How much do you really have to make? Is there a figure you're striving for? Are you reaching for the 'Rockefeller' stratosphere in wealth, power, and influence? Is it worth it?

Or let's see what billionaire Agit Agarwal did:

"He and his family decided to donate 75% of their wealth to charity after meeting Bill Gates, the world’s richest person. Agarwal has a fortune of $3.3 billion, where Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft Corp., has a fortune valued at $84.7 billion. “What we earn must be returned for the greater good of society,” the 62-year-old said at an event yesterday. “Life is not only about wealth.” (read more here).

Many times in life, one needs to step back, re-assess and prioritize the important things in life.


"Because we get so caught up in the race, we forget there's a finish line, and miss all the fun of running."

So take time out today (or even take a day off this week) to better understand the REAL important things in your life. Start putting them at the top of your list.

I work with many C-Level and Executive leaders to re-orient their lives and focus on what's really important. Drop me a line and I'll show you how.

Are You Crushing It Every Day?

“Love your family, work super hard, live your passion.” - Gary Vaynerchuk, from Crush It! Great words from Gary in one of my favorite books (I require all of my clients to read). He is spot on with this one.

See how he constructs the quote — Family — Work — Passion. Not the other way around.

Unfortunately, many of the C-Level clients I coach work it the other way and find they're not happy, they have a shitty marriage, they never see their kids or their kids hate them, and their only passion in life is putting in mucho hours on the job. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

Yes — you've got the three M's — Money, Mansion, Mercedes (or Maserati) — but deep down, you're not happy. Something is missing and time is running out.

So here goes — you can have all three — it's just how you look at them AND how you prioritize them. I am currently working with the CEO/Owner of a top engineering firm and we're currently spinning the sequence around to help him enjoy the benefits of his labor. He's built the organization from the ground up and now it's time to enjoy life!

NUMBER ONE RULE — Family Comes First. No exceptions.

I'm not saying to fill up your calendar with family-oriented activities and let work suffer. Within reason, try to start your workweek by making time for your wife/partner, kids, friends, etc. If there is a baseball game, a romantic dinner, a morning run, hiking at the park — make sure it is recorded and blocked off on your calendar FIRST.

Again, within reason — I understand you work for a living. But taking a vacation day once in awhile is fine, even encouraged. Leave work early to catch your son's or daughter's soccer game. Come in late because you took your family to an early breakfast at your favorite diner. You know, the one where you all sit together with no TV, no smartphones and just eat and talk.

ACTION: Get your assistant in your office right now and start blocking off your calendar. TODAY.

NUMBER TWO RULE — Work Super Hard. But work smart.

I know you work hard. That's how you got to your position in the first place. But what got you to the captain's chair probably won't help you stay happy there. You worked hard, put in the thousands of hours of blood, sweat and tears. You made all the right decisions (and a few stinkers). You made the right connections with the right people. YOU HUSTLED.

Now it's time to sit in the captain's chair and start delegating even more. Don't act like Captain Kirk and accompany the away team on every mission, stay on-board the Enterprise and direct your resources in strategic ways. What got you here isn't going to keep you here for very long without compromising your home life, your happiness, and your health. You're not getting any younger either.

ACTION: Look at all your meetings and start culling them down by 10%. Stop reading every email/text that comes in. Have your assistant monitor your information flow and decide what get priority. They're the gatekeeper — ensure they guard the gate.

Cut down on one-on-ones with everyone — start to develop a sharper pyramid reporting structure with very few people touching you (no more than 5-7) Remember the Godfather? He had three direct reports — his Consigliere (who died - morte), and two Capos — Clemenza and Tessio. That's it.

NUMBER THREE RULE — Live Your Passion. But find what your REAL passion is.

Too many C-Level executives hit the big show and start to abuse the passion that got them there. They forget the fun, innovation, excitement and give in to boredom, politics, and hitting the targets for their buddies on the board. The world becomes pedantic and the passion flows out of them.

They try to make safe decisions and safe moves, and impact their business, their organization, and their customers. They prioritize their bonus, their safety, and their reputation over what's really important. I know it's hard, but sometimes you have to sacrifice the temporary pleasures to fully engage with what really matters. It's not all money (and if you believe it is - READ THIS - another mandatory book I recommend to C-Level clients).

ACTION: Sit down and assess what your real passions are right at this moment. What gets your motor running? What gets you excited about life? What motivates you to do GREAT work? You need to re-establish a connection with your passion and make sure you fill up your enthusiasm gas tank every day.

Are you crushing it every day?

"No excuses. Make it happen." - Rich Gee


Top 3 Mistakes Made In Family Businesses.

I run Multi-Generational Peer Review Groups — and boy do we have fun discussing many issues inherent with family businesses — especially ones where the younger sons/daughters work for the older parents. And the parents have one foot out the door into retirement, yet they feel they need to keep active and still make decisions. Or they are still working 60-70 hours a week and never delegate key responsibilities to their sons/daughters.