Monday, July 24, 2017

Pay Attention to What’s Killing Productivity

killing productivity

Distractions. They’re everywhere. And for a lot of employers – they are killing productivity. A study done recently by CareerBuilder shared the top productivity roadblocks in the workplace.




  1. Cellphones/texting
  2. The Internet
  3. Gossip
  4. Social media
  5. Email
  6. Co-workers dropping by
  7. Meetings
  8. Smoke breaks/snack breaks
  9. Noisy co-workers
  10. Sitting in a cubicle


If you’re ready to increase your value in your workplace, reduce your stress level and knock your numbers out of the park production wise? Pay attention to these five strategies to stop killing productivity:


  1. Own it. That is, take a look at this list and determine where you fall in terms of what’s keeping you from accomplishing your daily goals. If you think your phone might be a contender, try the Moment app. It tracks just how much you are on your device and allows you to set limits for yourself so that you start to step away from the 24/7 phone attachment and step into a lot more being present and productivity.
  2. Be hyper-conscious to what is on your task list this week and prioritize, prioritize, prioritize. What five things absolutely have to get done first? What can you delegate? What is just a time-waster and not vital to your vision? Knock those first things out first.
  3. Nix the Internet. Not for work-related productivity, but take a look at the Freedom app which blocks certain websites (including time-draining social media) and allows you to set controls so you can stay on task.
  4. Time-Block. The top producers are careful time managers. They purposely create space for tasks such as email review, for meetings, for social media, and even personal time. They set time (or as I like to say, fold time, so that they can work at their highest potential. Learn more about folding time here.
  5. Be clear. In some of the most productive workspaces I know of, team members get creative about sharing when they are in focus mode. Clearly communicating (without being rude, of course) when you are in “do not disturb” mode is vital. Some have signs up when they are on prospecting calls for example. Others use headsets to buffer the noise around them and signal they are “in the zone”. What are some ways you can communicate that you’re paying total attention to the task in front of you?
  6. Be mindful. Getting caught in a trap of office politics or gossip is bad for productivity, bad for business, and bad for your mindset. Make your workspace a no drama zone. Know that even if you’re not spreading the gossip, just participating makes you part of the unhealthy problem.


Pay attention to what’s pulling at you. What’s taking you away from bringing your best and brightest self to the workplace – and at home as well. Don’t let the deal-breakers get the better of you. Which of these strategies can you put in place today to change how you deal with distractions? I’d love to hear from you!


Want to teach your team how to effectively fold time and avoid distractions? Call me today to see how I can help!


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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Summer Fun Out of the Office = Focused Attention in the Office

summer funDo you want to get more focused in the summer?

Is your family outside playing and your friends are having fabulous summer fun while you’re stuck in the office?

Here’s a tip. If you really want to increase your productivity in the summer, consider booking in time — just for you and for play. That means, not working sometimes on a weekend. It means leaving your smartphone turned off over a weekend. Use the time for those you care about for true recovery time. That way when you are at the office you work really hard.


Often when I work with clients in the summer, they would rather be outside than inside. Can you consider closing the office earlier on a Friday or establish a flexible summer schedule? Maybe leaving a little earlier if you work in an office with others. Do this throughout the summer and encourage others to do the same. Everyone’s productivity will increase as a result of the extra time off to pay attention to fun, friends and family. You’d be ah-mazed to see how morale increases and focus skyrockets.


When you are home, on vacation or simply away from the office enjoying summer weather, don’t contaminate your relaxation. Put away distractions and encourage your team to do the same. Discourage leaders, peers and employees from emailing, or messaging after hours, allowing everyone to step away, both physically and mentally from work.


Lastly, when you’re out of the office, reduce the anticipatory anxiety that comes with returning to too much email. So often my my clients complain that they have way too much email and it discourages them from unplugging and truly stepping away from work. The reality is, email is part of doing the job. It’s not the job. So during the summer, if you want to increase the productivity of your email, use your ‘Out of Office’ function. If you are going to be out of your office for summer hours or if you are going to a conference or if you have long meetings for the day,  I encourage you to put an ‘Out of Office’ message on. This will increase your productivity is it will manage the expectations of people who get a bounce back from you.


Need ideas for how you can enjoy summer fun while maximizing productivity and focus in your office? Give me a call! I’d be happy to help.


Happy Summer!

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Put a STOP Sign on Speakers Going Overtime – (FAIR WARNING: Rant Ahead)

allotted speaking timeRecently I sat in the audience of professional speakers in Orlando to watch a talented speaker (and friend) deliver a fantastic speech called ‘Be Re-memorable’.

He’d worked on this speech for nine months. How do I know that? Because I was there the day he got the call and he’s been working on that material ever since. And he absolutely blew the audience away! He owned the stage because of his creative and carefully crafted content and the customized songs that he wrote for the occasion. He made us laugh and he made us cry.


He was the fifth speaker that morning (way too many—right?) after a Presidential handover. Then there were three speakers all with a fifteen-minute window to speak. So, what happened to my friend? He didn’t start… until he was supposed to finish.  That’s crazy. What frustrated me most was that as professional speakers — we KNOW better, but our audience doesn’t know how much time each person is allocated.


Here’s the thing: As a professional speaker I know how important the allotted speaking time is. I have offered MANY meeting planners in my career the option of shortening my presentation to offer to bring their agenda back on time. Everyone appreciates that and some have asked me to take the full time.


This poor audience were tired, biology reminding them they needed a break, and their attention spans were potentially fried. Little did they know he wasn’t the speaker who was going late, but he was the last speaker of the day, it would be easy to blame him for blowing past his allotted speaking time. No one told them.


It’s easy to blame the speaker. It’s easy to blame the meeting planner. It’s easy to blame the lack of emcee. The blame is with all of us.


Hosting events is a partnership. It’s an agreement between meeting professionals, main-stage speakers, AV crew, audience members, emcees, break out speakers, and hotel staff. EVERYONE needs to be in it together to create a memorable experience that keeps audiences coming back year after year.

  • The emcee’s major responsibility is to keep the event flowing (and warn your speakers what you will do to them if they go over).
  • The event organizer needs contingency plans communicated if your event runs late.
  • The speaker needs to know it is NEVER OK to go overtime. Period. End of story. It’s unprofessional, selfish, and arrogant.
  • If the meeting planner tells their speaker to take the original allocated time it is their responsibility to tell the audience.
  • The audience needs to complete surveys to share feedback with meeting planners about their experiences.


We are all in this together.

What can you do if your speakers go overtime? I asked a group of other professional speakers and they had great solutions.

If you aren’t allowed to use a big hook (I am in favor of this) then the following are worth considering:

  1. Use a professional emcee that is responsible for meeting flow and timing.
  2. Ask the emcee to brief every speaker and let them know what will happen if they go overtime.
  3. Brief the AV crew to silence the microphones if someone goes over their allocated time.
  4. Ask the AV crew to start playing music… hey it works at the Oscars!
  5. Use a timer the speaker can see.
  6. Use a timer the audience can see. (This is controversial and powerful for short talks.)
  7. Meeting professionals – walk on stage and ask your audience to give them a round of applause … yes even if they aren’t finished.


I implore meeting professionals to reconsider scheduling so many speakers in a row and to better understand that audiences need that biology break. Their attention spans and desire to get up and move makes a less is more approach a better event plan.


An idea to put into play: Before you finalize your next speaker contract, can you add a clause about sticking to time?  Can you empower your emcee to remove someone if necessary? Can you help create a partnership that ultimately benefits your audience in a better way? Can you brief your AV crew of what you want them to do if instructed by you or the emcee when a speaker goes overtime? Let’s keep all our events on time and stop stealing minutes from each other.


Time is one of the most valuable commodities we have. When we pay ATTENTION to that importance and honor it at the highest level? Everyone wins.


All right. Rant over.

If you’d like to learn more about how paying ATTENTION to time, the details – both big and small, and what audiences today need and want, contact me. I’m happy to share how to make your next even AH-mazing!

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Monday, July 10, 2017

Intentional Attention: Tips for Today’s Leaders

intentional attentionAs leaders, it’s important to not just listen to the words people say, but to really pay attention to the intent behind them as well. When we do, we can get a more in-depth perception of what our team members are really trying to communicate.


People, your team members, want to be seen and heard, but sometimes what we SEE doesn’t quite line up with what we HEAR. Other times, we’re not SEEING at all, or really hearing. And that’s what has to change if you want to be the best possible leader you can be.


Truly paying attention is being intentional. It’s holding our own agenda at bay. It’s quieting the noise. It’s looking someone in the eye. It’s leaning in, and showing them that you are fully and absolutely present.


As a leader, has anyone ever walked into your office, and wanted (or needed) your attention, but you stayed engaged in something ELSE (email, laptop, phone, etc.) while they were talking?


Have you ever been in a conversation with someone, and you know they couldn’t wait for you to finish so they can add their two cents? Or finish your sentence for you? Have you ever been in a meeting and looked around and can absolutely tell that some team members are mentally a million miles away?


Here’s the deal We all need attention. To get work done. To succeed. To feel like, even if we don’t want to be the center of everybody’s attention, that we’re the center of SOMEBODY’S attention. At least some of the time.


Your team members need that too. As do your customers. Because we, especially in business, need attention to pay. When it comes to making attention pay, you have to make choices and be intentional with your time, your attention and your energy.


My challenge to you?  Can you look people in the eye and give them your undivided attention more? Can you be more deliberate, personally and professionally to who you want and what you need to pay attention to?


Just with those two things settled, you are going to figure out what to say NO to, so you can YES to what really matters. It’s when you say NO to something that allows you to say YES to others – that’s when you know you’re really succeeding and investing in intentional attention.


Intentional attention is the BIG secret to being a successful leader. If you’d like to learn more about creating new ways for attention to PAY you big dividends in your business and life, share your thoughts here, or contact me today to learn how I can share this message with your team.


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