I Found Out I Have PMR*.

I came upon a great quote from the Dalai Lama —  "There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called yesterday and the other is called tomorrow, so today is the right day to love, believe, do, and mostly live."

How often do we feel disappointed/guilty about yesterday and anxious/fearful about tomorrow? Probably a lot.

How do we live in 'today' increments? How do we focus on what needs to happen right now without letting the past and future hold us back?

I use a simple acronym - P M R:

P = Plan — Take 5 minutes to Plan your day. Get real, assess exactly what needs to get accomplished, and write it down. Just the stuff that needs to be done today. Add time increments to estimate how long each will take, prioritize each one, and then plug them into your day calendar.

M = Meditate — Take 5 minutes to Meditate. Clean the cobwebs! Sit back, close your eyes, and clear your thoughts. Start by taking a few deep breaths then use the exhalation to sigh and release the tension. Do it again. And again. I promise you will feel better and energized.

R = Reflect — Take 5 minutes to Reflect on all the good things in your life. Gratitude is an important part of staying in the present. We tend to focus and think of all the bad things, worry, forget, and then start the whole process again. Try to focus on the positive this time — your accomplishments, your family, etc.

Take the rest of the time and get stuff done! Don't be afraid of diving in and accomplishing your action items — in fact, you will feel invigorated. Trust me!

*Just found out there is a disease with the same acronym (there always is) - I do not have it nor am I at all using the acronym lightly.

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?

3 Ways To Make This Monday Rock.

I have this problem. When I wake up Monday morning (around 4:15 AM), I don’t feel the happy, energized, and focused self most of my clients, colleagues, and friends see when they encounter me later in the morning. At least not until I’ve taken my meds. : ) A lot of people I know feel this way in the morning and unfortunately, it extends into most of the day and it is especially more intense on a Monday.

It could be for many reasons, you had too much fun on the weekend, you hate your job, you hate your commute . . . a myriad of rationales.

Mondays suck. So what do I do to immediately turn them around?

1. I Say To Myself: “It’s not going to last.”  Usually when I am up and taking a shower in the morning, I start thinking of all the BAD things about my business, career and life.

For me, I call it the ‘Morning Seritonin Slump’. It’s my initial body chemistry starting to rev up and it’s going to take a little while to get my car into 5th gear. So I let the bad thoughts wash over me and say “It’s not going to last.” — and guess what — it goes away as fast as it came.

2. I Plan Ahead.  I usually make a list of things I need to get done the night before. Not a huge checklist which would choke a horse, but a simple list of 3-5 items I know need to be attacked first thing in the morning. This immediately give me purpose and focus, two things I desperately need in the morning.

Also — dive right into work. Take action and stop obsessing how bad the day is or will be. Once you start attacking your to-do list, you begin to feel better immediately.

3. I Stretch and Smile.  The physical affects the mental. If you are feeling down, don’t focus on the stinking thinking zipping in your head, get physical. Even if it’s five minutes of stretching in your bedroom, a run outside, or a quick trip to the gym, physical activity gets the blood flowing and the mental malaise changing.

In addition, make yourself smile — we tend to go through life with a flat or angry look on our face and candidly, it affects our mood. Try to make yourself smile, hum, move your head to music, sing in the shower! You’ll feel a major sea-change in your mood immediately.

How do you make your Monday ROCK?

Our Favorite Four-Letter Word Starts With An 'F'.

We all have some sort of fear at some level at some time in our life. It might be a very present fear staring us in the face or it might be a background fear hiding in the attic — but it's still there doing it's dirty work.

A Goal Without A Plan Is Just A Wish.

A powerful quote and image (a la Mad Men) to start off your Friday. Next steps to be the person you could have become:

  1. Take a piece of paper and pen.
  2. Write down what you have right now — relationship, career, possessions, friends, worth, etc. Keep it general.
  3. Now write down your dreams — relationship, career, possessions, friends, worth, etc. Keep it general, but THINK BIG.
  4. Compare the two.
  5. Start developing paths with steps from your current state to your desired state.
  6. Start moving forward. Today.

"A goal without a plan is just a wish." - Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Two Secrets From Leonardo da Vinci That Will Rock Your World.

"I have been impressed with the urgency of doing.Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do." — Leonardo da Vinci

That da Vinci character was a pretty smart guy. These words, uttered over five hundred years ago, are still true today.

How To Start Fresh In 2011.

We humans are a wily bunch nervous animals. We sometimes let our thinking and facts guide us and sometimes we let our gut and emotions guide us. At this time of the year, many of us look back at the preceding year and become very critical of our status, behaviors, actions, and results. We kneel and shake our fists to the sky and promise we will change for the better.

How Do You Coach Your Team?

I'm a coach. I've been working with executives and business owners for over 10 years. Prior to that, I managed large teams in Fortune 500 companies throughout the nation. I found early in my career that it was easier to motivate my staff with carrots rather than the stick. Get them to see the big picture, how they are contributing to it, and how together, we can best leverage their strengths and talents.