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Creating a Daily Success Routine
by On April 8, 2008

Dave Meyers

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Before we even begin discussing how to create a daily success routine, I think it makes a lot of sense to define what we consider to be a success. The best definition of success that I’ve ever heard comes from Earl Nightingale who said, “Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.”

What an awesome definition! I’d even add that a worthy ideal can be an external event that’s meaningful to you or to the people in your life. It can also be a level of character that you hope to attain.

So the next question then would be, what do you consider to be a worthy ideal?

Here’s what I do to answer that question. I schedule a good chunk of time, a couple of hours, and I simply write down what’s meaningful to me. I write down what I want to do and who I want to be. I try to come up with as many worthy ideals that I can think of. Then all those ideals give me a picture of what a success looks like. Try to do the same activity for your life and develop your own picture of success. Once you have your picture of success then at the start of each week simply schedule activities that’ll help you achieve those results.

Sounds simply huh? Well it’s not. Actually it can be easy but we often make it much more difficult than it needs to be.

I know that I am personally an expert at coming up with excuses for why I wasn’t able to get something done instead of just doing it. Don’t do the same as me. Make a strong effort to actually do the things that you said that you wanted to do. This is where the difficult part comes in. It takes discipline to actually do those things, but ask yourself this; don’t you have the discipline to show up at work every day? Well use that discipline to work on the things that you want to be doing. Why is that we spend so much energy and time on things that aren’t meaningful to us? Why do we give eight or more hours per day to a job and then fail to dedicate even a couple of hours to the things that are most important to us. I personally have yet to figure it out, but all I’m trying to say is be disciplined about scheduling the activities that will bring you closer to your vision of success.

Also be disciplined about doing those things, and here’s a little tip: Make your success activities the first priority of your day. If you wait until the end of the day, after you’ve already spent eight hours at work, it’s very difficult to come home and start working on the things that you want to be doing. It’s even more difficult to find joy in those things at that time.

One word of caution: Never make your success activities a chore. Remember why you consider the activity that you’re working on to be a success and all the while be present. For instance if you’re able to help your child each night with their homework because that’s important to you, but you do it with a resentful attitude you’re probably not going to feel like a success at the end of the day and that’s because you’re not being the person you want to be.

In essence the basics for creating a daily success routine are simple:
1. Determine what you consider to be a success
2. Schedule time to do those things
3. Be disciplined about doing those activities preferably first.

As you master self control your future possibilities will be endless. I wish you the best in becoming the person you want to be.

Be Free!

David Meyers
COO

Creating Time Freedom
by On March 25, 2008

Eric PlantenbergMany people think of their time management skills in relationship to their time organization device. Yes… your calendar, Outlook, or PDA can be an extremely valuable tool in helping you to organize your time, but those things are not your time, nor do they have any power to determine where you use your time.

Time Management is a mindset. And the way you look at and value the hours and minutes of each day. Today I have several simple ideas that can revolutionize your experience of time freedom.

When you hold onto the mindset that there is a shortage of time, that it is scarce… that is what it becomes. When you consciously choose to look at your time in a state of abundance, it becomes abundant.

Who determines where you spend your time and how you view it? Obviously you do. If you want to break old patterns, you need to reframe some of your beliefs.

While your time is a limited commodity, it is not a scarce one.

Think of it in this way, no-other commodity automatically regenerates itself. If lose your money, it is gone until you earn it again. If you ruin a friendship, it isn’t guaranteed to return. When you health is compromised, it takes an incredible effort to restore it. If your time is not utilized, only that opportunity is gone, not its future value. What other commodity can you waste or abuse and wake up the next morning with a replenished supply?

This is not to say your time isn’t precious. I view my time as one of my most valued resources. That doesn’t mean it has to be limited. Our greatest intangible resources are never limited – they just require focused energy to be harnessed.

Here are my favorite three tips to increase my time freedom:

1. Focus on the present moment.
It never ceases to amaze me how productive and stress free life is when lived in the present moment. It is my experience that all stress lives in the past or future.

2. Clearly define what your priorities for the day are and stick to them.

3. Do not overload your schedule.
Less things on my to-do list often means more gets done.

What are your favorite tips that free up your time? Post a comment below.

Have fun, take control of your life, and…

Be Free!

Eric Plantenberg
President

Schedule Time for Interruptions
by On February 22, 2008

Eric PlantenbergOne of the most challenging situations people face when planning their day is how to stick to their schedule when they are constantly being interrupted. Just when your activities are organized, someone else’s emergency seems to get in the way. A client has a crisis, co-workers are in a jam, your boss is breathing down your neck, a friend calls, or any of the dozens of other interruptions you face on any given day.

So what can you do to keep your day on track?

Schedule time for interruptions.

That’s right, just as you would schedule a meeting with a customer or event with your boss, scheduling a specific time in your day for interruptions is a technique that our students nation wide continually tell us is one of the most powerful time management tips they have ever used.

How does this work?

There are two components.

1. As you are planning your day or week, allot a certain amount of time for the sole purpose of dealing with ‘other people’s emergencies.’

What normally happens when someone calls or comes running into your office with something that they need your immediate help with? You drop whatever you are in the middle of and rush to their attention. Not only is their issue something that may not be of any importance to you, but I recently heard that it takes most people around 20 minutes to return to the level of focus they had before being interrupted.

Wonder where those ‘lost hours’ go each day? Rebounding from all your interruptions!

But we do not want to tell our clients, managers, and co-workers that we aren’t there for them… so now you can have the best of both. You have a specific time predetermined in your day that you are available for ‘scheduled interruptions.’ Instead to denying the requests of others, you can simply say, “I would happy to help at 3:00 pm (or what ever time you have scheduled for interruptions.)” And then stick to that commitment. Interestingly, most of the time, the person will find a solution in the time he or she waits for you to be available.

2. The second component is to stick to your schedule and communicate to others when you are available for them and when you are not.

For instance, you can send an email or leave a note on your office door that says, “I will be working diligently on XYZ from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm, if you have any questions for me, contact me after 3:00 pm.” If this seems unrealistic or impractical, that is because you have never tried it! In the long run, your boss with be impressed that you are getting more done, you will have more quality time to prevent most of your clients’ crises, and your coworkers will learn that you are not at their beck and call.

A frequent question people ask is: “How much interruption time do I need to schedule and when should I schedule it?”

That, of course, is going to vary from person to person, but as a general rule, I say as much as you need and when it is convenient for you. If you are the manager of a large group of people, you are going to have more people knocking on your door for help with their challenges than if you are just getting started with a company.

Try out the amount you think will be adequate and you will quickly realize if it’s the right amount for your needs. Most people find that right before or after lunch makes sense, as that is an easy breaking time in the middle of the day.

After you have tried this technique of a week or so, share your experience by posting a comment below.

Feel free post any questions regarding handling interruptions as well.

Be Free!

Eric Plantenberg
President