Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Achieve Maximum Output – Learn the Best Times of Day to Pay Attention

Maximize OutputNeed to maximize output each day? Start by identifying the times of day it might be easier for your brain to make decisions, maximize output and be more productive by leveraging your undivided attention.




In our book Folding Time™, we share people have premium productivity work times. For morning birds you are most productive between 7 am – 1 pm, for hummingbirds you are 10.30 am – 3 pm and for night owls 2 pm – 8 pm. See there’s a really a time for everyone to focus their attention and maximize output!


Strategize in your most productive time – if you have decisions to make choose your most productive time. If you have a big project to do or a presentation to prepare for, choose the time your brain is most engaged.


Do routine activities in your least productive time – do you have maintenance type activities i.e. returning email, updating status reports that don’t require as much strategic thought? Leave those for another time of day.


Make your big decisions earlier in the day – Michael Breus, author of The Power of When, suggests saving big choices for one to three hours after you wake up. By then, you have shaken off any sleep inertia you might have. A study by Shai Danziger summarizes the results of 1,112 parole decisions heard over a 10 month period resulted in 65% more successfully paroled in the morning hours. Choose your best time to make important decisions.


Convert sales calls before the weekend and holidays – if you are working with a buyer to get decisions made on important deals consider Friday afternoons and also before major holidays. I have found the week before Thanksgiving is a great time to finalize outstanding speaking engagements for the following year and people pick up the phone on Friday afternoons. Hustle when others are relaxing.


We all get 1,440 minutes in a day. There is no such thing as time-management. It’s not about time management; it’s about attention management and strategizing ways to maximize output.


If you are a leader in your organization, provide employees an agile work environment that allows them to maximize output by working during the times of day they are able to focus most. Need ideas on how to create an effective, focused workforce? Watch this video and learn:

  • How to give employees freedom to create their workday structure
  • Allow employees to work in their most productive spaces and places
  • Provide flexibility to employees to work during their most productive hours


Know your best time of day to pay attention to what really matters.

The post Achieve Maximum Output – Learn the Best Times of Day to Pay Attention appeared first on Neen James.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Maximize Joy in Others Giving Attention When it Counts

maximize joy


On Air with Ella is an ah-mazing podcast full of ideas to maximize joy in life by paying attention to what matters most. An inspiration for fitness, happiness and well-being, Ella interviews many professionals and uncovers the secret to success in business and life. Listen in to our interview and subscribe to her podcast. You won’t be disappointed.

Champagne Wishes,


What’s 4’10”, Australian, fiery in pink heels? My friend Neen James, most days.

We first heard from Neen in episode 008 where she shared work/life productivity strategies from her Folding Time series with us. She’s back in this bonus episode to share more quick, actionable tips to create connections that matter, deepen our relationships, maximize joy and make the most out of the limited time that we have.

In This Episode:

  • Click Here to Download the Life Balance Wheel Worksheet
  • Neen’s tips for “systemized thoughtfulness” and how we can associate activities with time blocks
  • Simple but powerful tips for letting people know you care – and that you’re PAYING ATTENTION! including…
    • hand written thank you notes
    • making eye contact
    • using people’s names
    • leaving notes for your loved ones
    • hanging up the phone before you walk into your home
    • “listening with your eyes”
    • weekly round-ups for your boss that promote you and your team
    • finding an accountability partner for any habit you’re trying to develop / improve
  • Neen’s been happily married for 27 years. She shares some of her secrets for making it work amidst a busy lifestyle
  • FREE DOWNLOAD! Get a sneak peek at Neen’s upcoming book content: Attention Pays! by Neen James

Additional Resources

  • I mention (again) Gretchen Rubin‘s fabulous book “Better Than Before” for finding out what style works best for you when you’re trying to form new habits
  • Want to work with Neen? She’s a powerful keynote speaker – you can learn more here
  • Neen has a book coming out in 2018! For now, you can get her best strategies on NeenTV

The post Maximize Joy in Others Giving Attention When it Counts appeared first on Neen James.

Monday, September 04, 2017

Stop and Give Yourself 30 – Maximize Productivity with Early Morning Focused Attention

Maximize ProductivityHow do you set the tone and maximize productivity at the beginning of each day? Do you give yourself space to map things out or are you more of a wing-it kind of person? I believe how you START your day, sets the intention and momentum for how the rest of the day’s will transpire. When you begin with 30-minutes of focused attention to what really matters most –  that time will pay generous dividends by the end of the day.  


Here are strategies maximize productivity and ensure a successful day in the first 30 minutes:

  1. Turn OFF your phonesIt’s all right. That magical device that is glued to hands seemingly every waking minute of the day, delivering phone calls, chats, text messages and emails at an often-alarming rate does turn off. So does the desk phone! Take 30 minutes to create space for focus. It will all be there when you turn it back on. It’s just an hour. And there’s voicemail! If it’s important, they’ll leave a message or call back.  If you want to maximize productivity – turn off your phones. 
  2. Close your door. If you’ve got one. This sends a signal to your team (or your family if you are a work-from-home entrepreneur) that you are unavailable unless there is an emergency. If you are new to the practice, educate your team what procedures you want to have in place when your door is closed. Once everyone is on board that this is your time to create, get strategic, work a business plan, and map out your day, they’ll recognize the importance. Especially when they see the RESULTS.  If you are forced to work in an open environment, consider headphones. I used this technique in one organization, and people eventually got the idea that when your headphones are in, it’s the equivalent of a do-not-disturb sign.  
  3. Use smart time-blocking. My recommendations? Book all meetings to start after 9.00 am. If you’ve always had early morning meetings, this might be a tough change, but if needed, can you start your “clock” an hour earlier to ensure that you have a full 30 minutes to complete your planning?  
  4. Start off-site if possible.  Can you complete your 30-minute mindset and strategy session BEFORE you walk through your office doors? That way when you are actually in office – you hit the ground running. Once you’ve mastered this, teach your team. Once they’ve mastered it – your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) will go through the roof. A study done by Ctrip shared that remote workers are able to complete 13.5% more than their comparable office workers. How’s that for food for thought. 
  5. Quit the clutter. Seriously. Inboxes. Coffee cups. Paperwork piles. These distractions are stealing brain bandwidth and steering your attention away from streamlining your day. Out with them!  Maximize productivity by decreasing visual distractions.
  6. Check off that early morning workout. If you can muster it, get your exercise out of the way first thing. Start small if you have (15-30-minute increments) but do start. You’ll feel like you’ve already checked one big daily goal off your to-do list! Cheers!  
  7. Nix the gossip in the bud. Honestly, gossip is one of the biggest time, energy, and productivity drains an organization can have. We Aussies call a gossip a “flibbertigibbet”. Studies show that 39% of workers admit that gossip and workplace chat are their biggest productivity killers. Another study conducted by Equisys also shared that the average employee spends 65 hours a year gossiping in the workplace! Cull this invasive “thief” from your company if you truly want to maximize productivity.  


Starting your day in planning mode will help you stay focused, on track, and set the right tone for not just your day – but that of those around you. Lead by example. Pay ATTENTION to the INTENTION you set for each day. Your productivity, profitability, and bottom-line results will reflect your efforts!  


Want to learn more about doing more in less time? Using time more efficiently? Boosting the productivity of your team? Invite me in to share some game-changing strategies, or take a look at my book Folding Time for more inspiration!

The post Stop and Give Yourself 30 – Maximize Productivity with Early Morning Focused Attention appeared first on Neen James.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Achieve Peak Performance – Pay Attention to YOUR Well-Being

Peak PerformanceSome of the smartest and most successful people I know understand in order to have the ability to work at peak performance levels requires incredible energy and stamina. To have that consistently, one has to schedule recovery time. It’s as important to your bottom line as landing that big client or making the next sale. Let this sink in:  According to SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management, 85% of talent managers agree employees who use most (or all) of their vacation time are more productive and focused.  


See, part of taking care of yourself is being a champion for your own physical and mental well-being. That’s why you’ll see extraordinary leaders plan and take vacation down time. That means disconnection from responsibility, technology, and even emails! (That last one scared you a little, didn’t it? Studies show that over 50% of employees check work-related emails after hours, on vacation and during holidays. STOP.) While it’s not always possible to completely “unplug”, it should be a goal to use your down time as true time away. To replenish the mind and spirit. To shake out the cobwebs. Find new perspective. Renew energy levels. And make quality time to pay ATTENTION to loved ones the top priority.  


I read an article not long ago in Fortune Magazine that shared how Europeans think Americans are crazy because while they take up to six weeks of vacation per year, statistics show that US employees leave 429 million vacation days on the table annually. Interestingly 40% of executives think employees would be more productive if they took vacations. Yet among those same senior managers, 72% said if offered unlimited vacation time they wouldn’t take it! What’ THAT about?  


If what you REALLY want is to be better at what you do, and have a better life while you’re doing it – try these three strategies for scheduling recovery and downtime:  


Plan early: One thing we do as a team, is review calendars at the first part of the year and plan a variety of trips during that year and might include cars, bikes, pool time or trips back to Australia to see family and friends. It’s a practice we have followed for many years to ensure the majority of vacations are scheduled to give us experiences to look forward to. Can you review your calendar and book time to enjoy something that you love to do with people you love being with? 


Create varietyLook for ways you can mix it up – with a variety of destinations, adventures and times of year based on your needs and budgets. I’m not a stay-cation kind of gal. My office is in my home (maybe you have one there too.) That means I would just work the whole time, so that doesn’t work for me. For some people, it works. Consider visiting a new spot, driving instead of flying, build in adventure, art galleries visits, or a walking tour of a city. With so many online tools to help plan your visit, you can leverage community events, support local initiatives and experience cities and towns in a completely new way. We often use the site HomeAway.com, as I prefer an apartment or a house than a hotel when traveling for extended stays. We have used this service around the world and have loved it every time. My career allows me the luxury of travel to incredible places staying in lovely hotels and yet some vacations the idea of getting on another plane or staying in another hotel. Can you and your family choose a new adventure in the next twelve months that everyone can help plan to enjoy a trip together? 


Go offline: This is the toughest ask for many of our clients (and me) but it’s not impossible! Can you create an out of office message that bounces back to manage email providing an alternative person to help while you are away? Can you stay off social media and instead focus all that time and attention on creating memories with those you love? I am a huge fan of a digital detox; your vacation is a great time to do that. 


Get outside.There’s something incredibly life-affirming about getting outdoors in beautiful new space. Think mountain hikes, a walk on a nature path, collecting shells on a beach, or catching fish on a lake. Have you ever noticed how much better you feel, how much deeper you sleep and how much healthier you feel on vacation when you invest time to be active while you are relaxing? 


Create memories: Truly, isn’t one of the biggest reasons we work so hard is to create a lifestyle for our loved ones? Keep this in mind – recovery time is not always just about your taking a break, it’s about taking the time to create special experiences with family and friends. It’s about connection. It’s also NOT negotiable for any leader who wants to excel. If you want to accelerate your leadership and be a productive contributor on your team? Take time off. You will be more fun to work with, more focused and energized and you will create memories with people you care about, and isn’t that the reason many of us work? 


Here’s my challenge to you: Pay attention to what matters. You, your health, and your loved ones all benefit from scheduled recovery, book yours today.  Need more convincing or ideas how you can achieve peak performance through regularly scheduled recovery time? Check out this video and learn how professionals can achieve maximum productivity results, focus and dedicated attention to goals and priorities through recovery time. 


Want to learn more about making the most of your time? Take a look at my book Folding Time. It’s a game changer!  

The post Achieve Peak Performance – Pay Attention to YOUR Well-Being appeared first on Neen James.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Multitasking is a Productivity Lie - How to Boost Productivity by Paying Attention

Watch video on YouTube here: https://youtu.be/oIBrLdC3Gfs

Multitasking is a Productivity Lie - How to Boost Productivity by Paying Attention

Watch video on YouTube here: https://youtu.be/oIBrLdC3Gfs

Book Review: HR on Purpose – 4 Ideas to Implement Immediately for Human Resources

Human ResourcesSHRM (Society for Human Resource Management), a brilliant organization contributing to the training and development of Human Resources, is fortunate to have Steve Browne in their membership. He is one of their most beloved members, generous, knowledgeable, and welcoming to anyone. If you have ever met him, you will agree with me.



Imagine my delight when I found his book, HR on Purpose: Developing Deliberate People Passion in the SHRM bookstore while speaking at their annual eventHuman Resources


If you are in Human Resources, or manage people, this is a must-read. In it, Steve makes the powerful point that most companies struggle with communication and training. That’s SO true. In my work with media companies, credit unions, hospitals, pharmaceutical organizations and corporations of all sizes, I have seen and heard firsthand how these two elements can create chaos. Steve expertly addresses both and shares ah-mazing strategies for handling them and more.


It was a page-turner! Filled with funny stories, great examples, and practical solutions. I promise you will find it an easy read. If you are like me, you will probably dog-ear the pages so you can reference to come back later.


He makes so many great points it’s hard to list them all! Here a few of my favorites that are in line with our thinking about paying attention to what REALLY matters. See if you agree.


  • Culture is the number one reason employees stay or leave your company. He’s absolutely right.  To attract and keep great talent, you’ve got to get the culture part of the equation right.


  • Stop being transactional and start being strategic. This is one of my favorite Human Resources strategies. You have heard me often share that leaders to focus on strategy and help define a road map for their team to implement tactics. Sometimes tactics are more fun. Easier. Quicker to feel like you are crossing something off your list. Leaders need to focus on strategy first.


  • Surround yourself with positive people. In our book Folding Time we talk about VIPs (very inspiring people) versus VDPs (very draining people). We all need more VIPs in our life to help inspire and motivate us, especially on those hard days.  Leadership is lonely, having your own cheer squad or people that inspire you can make your days more productive.


  • Don’t say you are busy. I hate that phrase, so does Steve. Hate is a strong word (mine, not his). When I ask people how they are and they reply, “So busy”… they often don’t see my massive eyeroll. Everyone is busy. That’s life. That’s adult-ing. When I am asked that question I’d rather say, “Life is very full”. The brilliant Steve Browne agrees, he says, “I’m full”! I love that.

Need more convincing: watch my video to learn how this book can elevate your Human Resources organization or personal interaction with people in your department.


Human ResourcesIf you want to be more purposeful in the way you manage people, or if you are in Human Resources in any responsibility in any size company, this is a great resource for you. Buy it. Enjoy it and share it with your team.  Follow Steve and his great advice on Twitter.


I’d love to hear your thoughts! Share them with me here on the blog, or find me on social media as well.

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