Keep calm and boost productivity

This is an article I wrote for

When was the last time you felt like your day was productive, I mean really productive? If you are struggling to remember then you may be just like so many others in going through each day just hoping to make it rather than really being able to accomplish what you want and need to.

Replacing your actions by changing the words that may define your day will have an incredibly awesome impact on your day. See the truth of the matter is that when we are productive we are happier; we feel better about ourselves; we treat others with more respect; we desire to achieve our goals; we have more energy; and we see life differently.

However, the opposite is true as well. When we are not productive we do not see ourselves in a positive light; we feel down; we are less patient; we are not as fun to be around; and we just do not enjoy life as much.

So how can one become more productive each day? Try replacing key words that start with the letter ‘P’ each day and see what happens.

Replace panic with preparation. How many times do we get to the end of the day and realize that we have not done one or more things that we had to get done? We feel our heart rate increase, maybe our anxiety and/or anger levels begin to rise and it seems almost impossible to go to sleep. This happens when panic sets in and it can happen often.Is-It-Time-to-Replace-My-Water-Heater-300x300

If you take just a couple of minutes each morning and night to prepare for what is ahead, you will see that feeling of panic go away. When you prepare, you are creating a plan of what needs to be done. You may use an app on your smartphone, you may write things down, but the key is to prepare so you don’t panic.

Replace pretend with purpose. We have all pretended in our life. For some it is pretending to be someone else, for others it maybe that they pretend to be somewhere when they are actually somewhere else and for others it maybe that they pretend to accomplish things. They may go throughout their day pretending everything is great when it is not. They may pretend that life is full of nothing but beauty but when they close their front door, the fall into isolation, depression and sadness. When there is no real purpose, then the default is to pretend.

To be more productive each day, wake-up with a purpose. Look at what you created during your preparation time and make things happen. Purpose empowers us where as there is no power in pretending.

Replace problems with priorities. Whether we realize it or not, we are always prioritizing. The reality is, we have gotten so good at prioritizing we often don’t even have to think twice. This may be good at times but often it can cause more problems, especially when you are trying to be more productive.

As you prepare for your day, set priorities to help keep you on track so that you minimize the potential for problems. Decide what are the tasks that must be done, they are vital and cannot wait until tomorrow. Stay focused and get those done without distraction. Then move on to your next prioritized tasks. If you do not prioritize, you will encounter problems.

Replace pain with positivity. No one really enjoys pain but we do like it when things are going our way and when there is positivity in our life. The more we are focused on staying positive the less time or energy we have to be focused on the pain of not being productive.

The pain spoken of is often emotional as we tend to be hard on ourselves when we are not living up to our potential. Thus, the more we can focus our energy on staying positive, the more we will see our pain minimized. Staying positive is not always easy but as you train yourself to focus on what is going well and you focus on what it will be like to accomplish your goals for the day, you will increase your motivation and not allow anything to stop you.

Replace punishment with prizes. Don’t forget to reward yourself when you are productive. Set up some type of prize that you will give yourself once you have achieved your goals for the day.

We are always so quick to punish ourselves when we do not achieve what we wanted or if we fall short. We have no problem allowing ourselves to feel down and frustrated but we are not quick to reward ourselves.

It is amazing how easy it is to fall into the procrastination tornado. Whether it is sitting down just to watch that one show or to update your social media, if you have not prepared for the day and set your priorities, you will encounter the problem of procrastination that leads to serious pain, punishment and panic.

Setting up small prizes can do wonders in helping you be more productive each day. For example, if you are someone who loves a great smoothie, don’t keep buying them just to buy them, use that as a reward. If you fall short, don’t buy a smoothie, save it as a prize for reaching your daily goal. It may sound small but in order to change habits, you must change the trigger.

Replace procrastination with productivity. Finally, the more productive you make each day, the less time you have to procrastinate. It is amazing how easy it is to fall into the procrastination tornado. Whether it is sitting down just to watch that one show or to update your social media, if you have not prepared for the day and set your priorities, you will encounter the problem of procrastination that leads to serious pain, punishment and panic.

It is very difficult to be productive when we are in panic mode. What we end up being is reactive rather than proactive. Focus on the things that you know will help you be productive. Every person is different so there is no one size fits all so try new things to see what works for you.

Now, keep calm and boost productivity. If you do the things listed here you will stay in control and that is key to achieving success. Don’t get so frustrated that you throw in the towel. Reset if you need to but don’t allow another day to go by that you do not increase your productivity. You are the only one that can control this so own it and make something great happen. You can do it.





Quotes-Do they really mean anything?

Often times we see people share quotes. It seems to be all the craze with Social Media right now and I am one who has made a regular part of communication and touch points with different audiences. So what do these quotes really mean? Well, I wanted to share some of my favorite quotes and why I like them so much. Let’s get started:quotemarks


“The credit belongs to those who are actually in the arena, who strive valiantly; who know the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spend themselves in a worthy cause; who at the best, know the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if they fail, fail while daring greatly, so that their place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.” Theodore Roosevelt

thinking questin markMy thoughts:

To me there is so much within these profound words of the great president Theodore Roosevelt. I guess one main reason I like this quote so much is that it can be applied in almost every situation. I know that having spent quite a bit of time in leadership roles professionally, religiously and in other areas of my life, this quote has always come to my mind. At the end of the day, the credit truly does need to go to those who are making great things happen every day. Whether you are a parent, teacher, leader, professor, whatever role you want to list, think about how this quote might change the way you see others. For parents, your teenagers are in a serious battle, every day, they are in the arena trying their hardest to do good, are you giving them the credit for their efforts or are you always looking for what’s wrong? Just something to think about. I know as a parent I can lose sight of just how blessed I am to have teenagers who strive every day to do good. This quote helps me remember that and do all I can to be there should the slip and fall.

Quote #2

“Life is about adding value to other people’s lives.” Lou Holtz

My thoughts:

I love these short but sweet quotes. There is a ton of meaning in these few words. I was actually attending an event where Coach Holtz was speaking and heard him share this and it pierced my heart. I can remember the feelings I had about how this had been my goal throughout my life but he stated it in such an effective way. I can honestly say that this quote was truly a turning point for me. It has helped me to push forward in trying to set myself up to truly add value to other people’s lives. So what do you think about his quote? It is important that this not be applied just to one’s professional life. Think about what your life is made up of, now how does this quote relate to you? The last thing that made such a profound impact on me was that these words of a college football player who truly believed and lives these words. He wanted to add value to the young men he coached. He walked the talk. I am trying every day to do the same.

So there are just two examples of how quotes can be used for more than just nice Tweets, Intsagram pics, Facebook Status, etc. I will share more of these in the future as I liked the exercise of reflecting upon these words.

Time to go add value.

Finding Strength In Times of Adversity

This may be a pretty big assumption but I will make it anyway, we will have times where we will face major adversity in our lives. This adversity will come as a result of losing ones job, death of a family member, financial shortfalls, marriage problems and thousands of others ways. We have also probably all heard that we need to be strong during those times. Well guess what? It’s true.

To make a quick analogy I will put it this way because I am one who actually makes this statement quite often, “if it’s good for you it probably doesn’t test good.” Now, I know this is not 100% true but stay with me on this. Let’s say it does not taste good but it does make you healthier, it does give you energy to exercise, it does provide the right nutrients to help your muscles recover and so on. So what is actually happening is while I am “forcing” myself to eat this healthy food (adversity), I am actually providing much needed strength to my body.

So it finding strength in times of adversity is so critical, how does one go about doing it? Here are some quick ways that have helped me:

  1. Take a step back and see the bigger picture. Too many times when a challenge or trial enters our life we react in ways that can often make things worse. It is crucial to be able to try and see the challenge within a larger picture. This will help provide perspective and can even help you to see that maybe things are not as bad as they have initially appeared.
  2. Be positive. There is a difference between being positive and happy. Being positive means you are focused on seeing the good in things and pushing forward. Being positive means you refuse to sit and talk about all the bad things that led to this specific trial or adversity. Being positive means you put into action a plan to make things better.
  3. Find a go to partner. You will need to talk with someone. This person maybe different based on the type of challenge but be sure you have a trusted person you can speak with. It maybe your wife, a close friend, a past boss, a sibling or your church leaders. The key is, you need to find someone so you do not feel so alone.
  4. Note the lessons learned. Be sure and grab a pen and paper and write down your feelings. Within those writings, be sure and note what you have learned about the adversity you are facing. This can be so helpful as there will be times in the future where you will face a similar challenge or someone you know will. These writings can be key in helping you or them through the situation.

I will be the first to admit that finding strength during times of adversity is actually a lot easier to say than do. However, I have found that there is so much peace, comfort and joy that comes as I apply the four points above. There is nothing wrong when we are faced with adversity, in fact it is a sign we are normal.

As crazy as this may sound, I am thankful for those times in my life when I struggle as it brings me to my knees and reminds me that I am human. It reminds me to swallow my pride and look to others for support. I will always be thankful for those who have been there for me and hope I am someone that others can lean in their times of need. Leaders find way to turn times of challenge into learning and teaching opportunities. Most likely because this is an area where more people can relate unfortunately.

One last thought, as you learn to find strength in times of adversity, you will feel more empowered  When you feel empowered, there are no limits to what you can achieve so do all you can to find that strength so you can feel empowered.

Now, it is time to pump some adversity.