Produce – Focus, Deliver, Results

Ideas to refine focus, prepare and deliver results consistently, summarized from monthly posts

February 2020

Before tasks requiring brain-storming or creative work, Take a brain break (5-10-15 mins) to play an observation / recognition puzzle. Prepping your subconscious to fire up the pattern detection hardware will make any work session more effective!

February 2018

Picture your success!

Your brain loves images. Rather than a to-do list, try a photo timeline of your immediate goals.  This could be hand-drawn or images on printed page.  Either way, your picture list will be worth thousands of “to-do” words…

October 2016

Turn off the unread email count badge!

When you begin to feel daunted by a staggering pile of unreads, sometimes ignorance is bliss.  You will feel recharged and motivated to take scheduled bites out of your inbox.

September 2016

Deep Work

Record and monitor the duration of undisrupted practice, planning or work that you are able to achieve  during a week.  For knowledge workers, Cal Newport suggests optimal time split is 50% undisrupted, 50% collaborative.  Are you giving yourself the space to succeed?

July 2016

Follow up – consistently

This applies in all cases: if the plan changes, when a task is completed, if you need more info, in sales.  An active sales/service person I’ve dealt with includes a quote with his email signature, “90% of business is lost because of indifference”

June 2016

Stand up to get more done – the science is in from a Texas A&M study.

May 2016

Set aside a place to record your commitments to others.   Write down, dictaphone, or draw the actions you have to deliver: update for your supervisor, draft report for co-worker, be on-time for meeting family member, pay Visa.  Then regularly review and follow-up with those affected!  Too many lists will leave you running in circles.  No list will have outside of the circle completely.

April 2016

Bullet Journal – become a better note taker.

March 2016

When you hit a mental impasse, step away, engage in conversation, and seek the bigger picture.

That was my take-away after reading “Your brain at work” by David Rock.

His description of the real-time “aha moment” viewed through fMRI was pretty cool. Like a reverse-motion film of a water droplet hitting a pond. Waves of thought subside briefly before the moment of insight erupts!

February 2016

What is a something you regularly forget or that you waste time at everyday?  How can you resolve it?

  • A hook for your missing car keys?
  • A cup beside your bed for morning glass of water?
  • An evening checklist to rest easy knowing all matters are resolved?

January 2016

Review personal one and two year goals daily.

You have written them down, right ? Keeping your goals fresh in memory will allow you to see more opportunities toward achieving them. Never miss a chance to move forward!

December 2015

Select the correct medium of communication for the results you want.

Don’t send an email when a phone call will do.

  • For information sharing: in person, sticky note, email, paper
  • For team coordination: team meeting, status and forecast tracker, resource loaded schedule, FaceTime or video conference, conference call as a last resort
  • For group collaboration: in person meeting with white board or graphics, video-screen sharing, video conference.

This idea came from the podcast: Coaching for Leaders,  Episode 95. Check it out.

November 2015

Capture ideas and save the brain power wasted trying to remember!

Carry a small pocket notebook or pad and pen/pencil to capture ideas, notes, reminders.  Write action or follow up items as you think of them.  Then input them to your self-management system (calendar, weekly planner, to-do list) later. Save your brain power for action planning, not remembering!

October 2015

I finally read “Getting things Done” by David Allen.

My take away,  was page 76 of 291 (in my epub version) The Natural Planning Model.

  1. Define purpose and principles
  2. Visualize outcome (features of success)
  3. Brainstorm open, relevant questions (what, when, how, who?)
  4. Organize (components, priorities, sequence)
  5. Next actions – start executing: pick up the phone, write the letter, build the web-site… etc.

If you haven’t already found a copy, locate the first edition on as a free epub.

September 2015

Ensure any meeting you attend has an agenda.  If you have not seen one, follow up with the organizer. If you are hosting, send a proposed agenda to all attendees at least the day before. A meeting without a road map and schedule will waste valuable time.

August 2015

Set less time to accomplish tasks with which you are familiar – track your results.

This “gaming” will help you to optimize the effort and free more time for new challenges and opportunities.

July 2015

Learn and practice speed reading

There are lots of free video training resources and free ebooks available online.  Absorbing information more quickly will enable you to make decisions faster and spend the time you have on important priorities.


June 2015

Schedule quiet time for strategic activities

  1. Block 60 – 90 minutes to plan actions and timelines on paper
  2. Write your purpose on a piece of paper and refer back to maintain direction
  3. At the end of your block, summarize a path for any additional future planning, for easier future restart

May 2015

Review your work week. Record personal lessons-learned

  1. Schedule 30 minutes in your calendar Friday afternoon.
  2. Print your Outlook calendar or open your Weekly Planner for the current week and the 2 weeks coming.
  3. Make notes in your weekly or daily journal (do you keep one?) of missed opportunities this week. How will you capture these in future?
  4. Look at your schedule for the 2 weeks coming and identify opportunities.

April 2015

Set up daily blocks of time to spend on emails.

  1. During that block sort and file emails that don’t require your action.
  2. Move items requiring attention to an action folder.
  3. Now visit the action folder and prioritize.

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