Sunday, September 18, 2016

Attention is a Drug. Are You Addicted?

attention drug addicted“Attention is a drug,” said my brilliant friend.  His profound insight literally STOPPING our conversation. He was right.  (He usually is.) It IS a drug, and people are ADDICTED.


It started when discussing what feels like a landslide of over-sharing on Facebook. Every intimate, sometimes tragic, often graphic detail of people’s lives are being spilled out onto browsers and into minds of friends and not-so-friends all over the world. Why?  Attention can be like cocaine. People get manic for a hit of likes, comments, shares and messages. And that? Needs to change.


The truth? All humans require attention. But here’s the deal: It’s not a character flaw to crave attention; our brains are wired that way. Babies cry out for food and safety and so begins the ultimate early lessons of cause and effect. It’s only when that need for attention careens dangerously over the edge that people begin to see it as a problem.


Psychology Today states “extreme attention seekers go to unhealthy lengths driven by emotional desperation”. Is that it? Is that why people are pouring themselves out on social media or worse? Upending relationships or spiraling into food, alcohol or drugs?  As leaders we have a responsibility to manage our attention to create significance.


As a keynote speaker for corporate audiences and associations around the globe, I am often asked to share leadership strategies on how to accelerate productivity, increase sales or drive client experiences. My tip? It comes down to ATTENTION. Teams want to be seen and heard, and families want to feel valued.


In my keynotes we prescribe the following for this attention addiction:


See People.  We all want and need to be heard.  My 5-year-old friend Donovan reminded me of this when he grabbed my cheeks in both little hands and demanded, “Neen, listen with your eyes!” How’s that for insight? Are you SEEING people in your life?  Does your team get your complete attention when they walk into your office or do you stay disengaged? Does your family get your undivided attention when you get home or are you checking today’s Facebook posts? Bottom line? If the people we care about don’t feel seen, they’ll seek attention somewhere else. Seek out a true friend who will be honest with you. My best friend and I always say, “she’s my person”. It means we see and hear each other deeply, at our best, and at our worst. It’s an understanding, truth and commitment. Who is your person?


Stop the Drama.  I am allergic to drama. I don’t engage in it or tolerate it. The running joke? Is how BORING my life is compared to those online. It’s also healthier.  Make your life, work and home – a no drama zone. It’s a powerful way to better see and hear the people that matter the most to you.


Create significant moments.  Every day explore ways to help people feel that they matter. A handwritten note. A smile for a stranger. Compliment your barista. Thank your security guard. Shout out to a team member on email or thank a client with a gift. Personal attention gets results. Look for ways to help people feel significant.  Who needs reminding they matter to you?


My friend Jon Petz, keynote speaker and author of the book Significance in Simple Moments shares, “People have a false sense of social significance when living their lives online.” We discussed some people’s personalities crave the recognition from others as they don’t get it at home or from their relationships with people they love, so they seek it from strangers online.


I’ve been guilty of over-sharing online. Posting a picture of a meal on Instagram, texting a friend for a late night conversation when traveling, feeling lonely at the airport, and re-tweeting online compliments. Not my proudest moments, but human ones. Let’s all just make to look at those attention cravings and ensure we haven’t crossed that addictive line.


Today, be ah-amazing. Use your ATTENTION for good. Like making a connection with the people around you.  When you do?  Attention pays you back – in the best possible ways.

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Monday, September 12, 2016

10 Things to Make Travel Super Productive

airplane-travelMany of us travel for work and I thought you might enjoy this article published in MeetingsNet magazine on ways to be super-productive when you travel! Enjoy.

When you tell people that you travel the globe organizing, planning, and facilitating events for your super-cool clients, do they say, “Wow, that sounds so glamorous”? Little do they know just how much work that entails—not to mention airport delays, weather, confusing airport hubs, mechanical breakdowns, crying babies…

As a productivity and attention expert, I am constantly on the road like you—it’s just part of our chosen professions. And it can be hard to get everything done that needs doing.

Here are 10 strategies to help you be more productive before you hop aboard your next plane:

1. Buy the tools and the apps—you need music, noise-cancelling headphones (expensive I know, but worth it), and your smart phone. Load your phone with apps to make your travel life easier: Pzizz (one of my fave power-napping apps), Evernote,Expedia, Gate Guru, Seat Guru … the list is endless. What is your fave app for traveling? Please share it in the comments below.

2. Create a travel outfit—put together an outfit that you can easily wear through security without totally getting undressed! Try slip-on shoes, minimum jewelry, and fabulous non-creasing fabric.

This video will provide you more tips for traveling and answer the following questions: 

  • How not to fall behind on work and clients while on the road traveling?
  • What are the best apps and systems to use to manage the details of the trip?
  • What’s the best, most durable luggage for frequent travelers?

3. Pre-pack Ziploc bags to include travel-sized everything! You just know that the day you try to sneak through a larger size is going to be the day TSA decides to check your bag.

4. Create a survival kit—Stow the things you know you’ll need in your carry on. I always include earphones, lip balm, an eye mask (for longer flights), pen, eye drops, travel-sized toothbrush and toothpaste, a pashmina throw (in case it’s chilly), and breath mints (yes, please do everyone a favor and use mints!).

5. Get a Platinum Amex card—yes, it’s expensive, but, because it often gives you access to U.S. airline lounges, it’s cheaper than joining all the airline clubs. Their Centurion Lounge access is so worth it, and they are opening more around the U.S.

6. Create fun out-of-office messages—manage the email and voicemail expectations of those who want your attention. Make it a fun message that you can share with clients about what you are doing and when you will return. Think about how you can surprise and delight your callers with your out-of-office message.

7. Plan to work one way—I use the trip away for the client and the trip home for myself. So I might work on a presentation or read notes on the way over, but on the trip home I often have a little nap or read for pleasure. Can you divide up your trip?

8. Allow an extra 30 minutes—add a half-hour to the amount of time you think it will take you to get to the airport or station. It will save you a stressful race to the gate if you find yourself stuck in traffic or the security line is longer than you expected. You may not need it, but you can always use it for something else!

9. Bring a list of clients to call—airport down time is a brilliant time to catch up on your business development activities, so always carry a list of people you can call. Even though it’s noisy, it’s a great way to make travel time more productive. Make the most of those extra minutes.

10. Bring thank-you note materials—carry stamped stationery with you (yes that’s right, the old-fashioned kind), and use some of your travel down time to write thank-you notes. No one send notes anymore, so this is a great way to stand out in a digital communication world—you’ll be the exception whose personal touch will get attention!

Bonus tip: If you want to be even more productive when you get to your destination … go to the bar! I know that sounds crazy, but if you are an extrovert you might work better around people and noise.

How do you make your travel time more productive?


This article was first published on and be found here.

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Tuesday, September 06, 2016

How to Have a Productive Fourth Quarter

Watch video on YouTube here:

Attention Goal Setters: How to Have an Extraordinary Fourth Quarter

End of Year Fourth Quarter Fiscal Goals PrioritiesFourth quarter? What happened? We blinked. That’s it.  Summer’s in the wind, and autumn is in already heading into full swing.  Calendars are changing. Plans are being made. And eyes are on the end of the year prize. Did you do what you wanted to do?  Did you reach milestones? Or do you still have miles to go?

It’s about that time.  Leaders are in full scale acceleration mode to pull out the stops and screech into the new year with kudos all around.  I’ve got you covered to help make it AH-Mazing – with a side order of fun.


First, do yourself and your team a favor:  Watch this (old) interview with the fabulous News at Sunrise Anchor Eve Tannery where we shared strategies on her show. It’s on the money.


Second, take a few minutes to watch my video on the 10 ways you can make the most of the remainder of the year.


This video will help answer:

  • How do I make my Fourth quarter the most productive of the year?
  • How can I reach my annual goals with only a few months left?
  • How do I keep my team focused during Fourth quarter?


Lastly, implement these steps to ensure absolute focus and attention is paid to those goals and priorities you wish to accomplish throughout the remainder of the year.


1. Monday Makeover: Give yourself a 15-minute head start on this week’s activities, so your I’s are dotted and T’s are crossed and you’re absolutely ready for anything. Meetings?  Totally cool.  Performance reviews? You’ve got this. Appointments?  Locked and focused.  Deadlines and deliverables?  You’re a master.  Next take a glance at the month ahead and prioritize your pipeline.  Might it take more than 15 minutes? Maybe. Once this is a habit?  You’ll breeze through with ease.


2. Money talks: Here’s to conquering the Achilles’s heel of many business professionals. Watch those financial targets and keep them in your sites to remind yourself weekly of the last quarter results that are your responsibility. Mine are printed above my desk and on my phone for daily accountability!


3. Gaps & Goals: Now’s the perfect time to rock a gap analysis of where you are vs. where your GOALS said you’d be at this time. Deep dive to see and understand what’s necessary to bridge that gap if your revenue, productivity, prospecting or sales aren’t where you want or need them to be.  THAT will become the foundation of your plan of action for the next three months.


4. Hustle & Grit. Ever hear that saying, “No grit—no pearl?” Now’s the time to hunker in and fire up your internal urgency to close deals, follow up on proposals, add value to clients and make hit the phones and connect with that client base.  Watch goals daily, weekly and monthly and monitor them like your business depends on it.  Because it does.


5. Less is MORE.  Meetings are necessary, check! But time? Is of the absolute essence. So pare down. Make sure they are time-efficient team meetings that are NO longer than 20-40 minutes, tops, with agendas and clear objectives.


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How to Have a Productive Fourth Quarter

Watch video on YouTube here:

Monday, August 29, 2016

Amazing Business Radio Podcast interview with Shep Hyken

480x270_81061Join me in an interview by the legendary Shep Hyken as we discuss the importance of paying attention, and how paying the right amount of attention to the right things can actually save both time and money. Learn how to disconnect when necessary and apply your attention appropriately to succeed in both your business and personal life. So stop multitasking and pay attention to this show!

Shep Hyken knows how to pay attention. As a speaker on amazing customer service he is often highlighting how companies can pay attention to their customers and provide a competitive advantage. I loved being interviewed on his show – hope you enjoy it too!

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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Take Charge of Your Personal Life – Guest Blog by Jon Petz

No matter how much you try to keep your personal and professional lives separate, they both have a great impact on each other. Even for some, their professional life is the reflection of their personal life. When you are happy, stable, and content in your personal life,you may redirect your optimal energy to your work which may directly affect your productivity and professional growth.

Step Back and AssessIt’s no wonder that most employers prefer hiring people who have more stable personal lives. This is because those who are emotionally healthier and satisfied tend to be more focused and efficient at even the complex of tasks.

So, if you have been putting your personal life on hold, read through to take charge.

Step Back and Assess

Unwind and assess yourself to find out the things you have been missing in life.Be honest with yourself and think more clearly about the adversities and setbacks.Discover the things that are working and those that are not working in your life. This allows you to see problems you have been avoiding as well as the things you have been submitting to against your will.

Once you know your problems, you can work to make a change. Rather than letting your fears set in, you need to acknowledge them and try moving past them to embrace things that bring happiness and contentment.

Maintain a Healthy Body and Mind

The health and fitness of your mind and body plays a crucial role in the overall satisfaction and happiness in your life. In order for this, eat healthy food, exercise regularly, and take good sleep to feel better about your body. Besides helping you achieve a well-balanced body, these may help you reduce anxiety, control anger, and ease depression to help you achieve overall wellness. A Harvard study that studies a group of men for over 70 years found that maintaining a healthy mind and body is among the top secrets to a good life.

Set Short-Term Goals

Set Short-Term GoalsMaking a drastic change requires a lot of time, energy, and commitment. It may not be possible for you to stay motivated and enthusiastic about it along with way. The best way to stay motivated is setting numerous short term goals and acknowledging yourself for every objective you achieve.When you achieve one goal, you may have greater desire to improve and become better at reaching your next milestone.


Connect with Jon directly to learn more about he can great an atmosphere of energy and engagement in your company or association. With his wit and engaging speaking style as motivational speaker and inspirational speaker, Jon has helped thousands of people take charge of their personal and professional lives for good. Call at 614-456-3072 to check availability.

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Friday, August 19, 2016

5 Things to Stop Doing to Be More Productive


Any time means no timeProductivity is all about getting as much done as possible in as little time as we can feasibly manage. Unfortunately, many of our habits and excuses that we believe are making us more productive are actually having the exact opposite effect.

Here are five things you need to stop doing as soon as possible in order to be more productive in both your work and personal life.

1. Staying logged in to social media


It has happened to all of us before. We get one new notification, and stop what we are doing to check to make sure it isn’t urgent (it very rarely is). Then, without even realizing it, we somehow end up on a completely different site, immersed in something that has nothing to do with work or what we originally stopped to check in the first place. Social media can be a good thing. Too much of a good thing, however, is never truly all that good.


Social media destroys any chances you might have at a consistently productive schedule, especially if you can’t go more than an hour or so without checking your notifications. Too much of anything is a productivity killer, when you look close enough. Social media helps us connect with others, it helps us stay informed, but in many cases, it mostly ends up distracting and delaying us.


Unless constant social media surfing is your job, stay off social networks, blogs and video streaming sites. Everyone knows ‘I’ll just watch one more video and then I’ll get back to work’ is never a promise likely fulfilled. They call it the web because it’s very easy, and tempting, to get lost in a constant sea of articles and comment sections.


2. Procrastinating


We have all procrastinated on a major project or deadline at least once. That rushed, frantic feeling in the pit of your stomach just sits there agonizing you until you finally hit that submit button. We often procrastinate because we are avoiding something. Sometimes we even procrastinate on accident.


While it may help in some cases to kick yourself into gear, doing a lot of work in a short period of time consistently is going to send you straight into burnout mode. If you think your productivity levels are suffering now, just wait until you’re left feeling so overwhelmed and overworked that not even caffeine can wake you up.


If you can’t get your procrastination habit completely under control, at least learn to manage your to do list in a way that makes sure you are still getting the most important things done first. Figuring out how to manage a bad habit, and gradually replacing that bad habit with a better one, is much more effective than doing nothing at all.


3. Giving up sleep to do more work


It seems logical at first, thinking that by doing more work and cutting into your sleep time, you are quickly becoming a productivity mastermind. What’s a few more hours of work in the evening or getting up an hour earlier in the morning if it means you can have more waking hours to get things done? Sleep deprivation does more harm in the short and long term than you might think.


Sleep, adequate and consistent sleep, is a productivity and overall health essential. Better sleep leads to better productivity. Less sleep leads to lower levels of productivity. The more tired you are, the less energy you have to put toward getting your work done. Now that makes much more logical sense, doesn’t it?


Sleep. Even when you don’t feel tired; even when you don’t think you have enough time, or are somehow not going to be able to get as much done because of it. The best thing you can do for yourself is set a sleep and wake time and stick to that schedule, especially in the beginning. This is how you can make sure you are going to get enough sleep in order to be more productive throughout the day.


4. Skipping the gym


This is probably the habit most of us are guilty of out of all the items on this list. You don’t have time to work out, so you simply don’t. Why spend 30 minutes walking on a treadmill when you could spend that time answering emails or making phone calls? You’ll exercise tomorrow. Or the next day. Or the next day.


Regular exercise – 150 minutes or more of moderate physical activity each week – has been shown to improve mental health, boost energy, make us more alert and help prevent physical illness. Even though you might think giving up exercise makes you more productive, you would probably have much more energy and motivation if you spent just a little time increasing your heart rate.


5. Doing less important tasks first


One reason many of us end up procrastinating and messing up our productivity is because there are things on our to do lists we are desperately trying to avoid. Even when we finally do sit down and start working, we often fall into the habit of picking out less important things to do first simply because they seem easier or less cringe worthy.


Find the task on your to do list you are dreading the most, likely the most important thing, and tackle that first. It will seem hard and unpleasant at first, but in reality, you are doing yourself a favor. If you get the most important task out of the way first, you will feel much less pressured and stressed to continue on and complete more tasks.


If you are a list maker or you use a to do list app, order or number your tasks so that you can clearly see which things you absolutely need to get done first. You will feel energized and relieved after finishing it, and will end up getting more done throughout the day because of it.


Kick those bad habits, replace them with better ones and watch your productivity levels skyrocket.


This blog originally posted to – stop by and visit the site to leave comments on their awesome tips, interviews and strategies to thrive in your life.

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