Fit To Lead – Assess Yourself

Fresh off of work and full of vigor, Darren cruised into the locker room, found an open day use locker, changed, and made a b-line for the nearest treadmill.  He started off with a slow walk, then built up speed as his legs would handle it.

5 minutes in and he was huffing.  7 minutes in and he was on the floor!  Embarrassed and shaken, Darren picked himself up and slowly made his way to the locker room, changed, and drove home.  “What in the world had happened?” he wondered.

Darren had exhausted himself in only 7 minutes.  How long would it take for you to completely exhaust yourself?  When was the last time you exercised?  Getting fit is a main priority for millions of people every year but most miss the most critical step.  How much can your body handle?  Here is what you need before you head out the door and off to the gym.

  1. See a Doctor – Have your vitals checked and make sure you’re healthy enough for physical activity
  2. Build into it – Start off with an afternoon walk.  Don’t rush into heavy exercise.  Because of diminishing returns, people who regularly work out, must increase the length of time and intensity to achieve the same results.  For someone who is just getting started, a little effort will take you a long way.
  3. MED – Minimum effective dose – how much working out do you really need to do to achieve your results?  Tim Ferriss uses the sunburn example.  If 15 minutes of sun per day is all it takes for you to achieve your desired tan in 1 month, then do 15 minutes.  But what if you do 30?  Well, you burn.  Then you can’t tan the rest of the week.  Your skin peels and on Monday morning, you’re back to square one.  Whereas, someone who had the discipline to follow the MED would now be 7 tans ahead of you and have a lower risk of skin cancer.  Have the discipline to follow the MED.  Do only what you need to and nothing more.  Don’t over do it!
  4. Realistic goals – I’m going to eat nothing but Chicken and rice and work out 3 hours a day…yeah right!  How’s this one, I’ll lose 5 pounds of fat this month?  You can do that, and maybe a little more.  Don’t go after chicken and rice, how about just cutting out soda?  Start small.  It will make huge differences, trust me.
  5. Invest in a good scale – They make scales now that can tell you your body fat percentage, muscle percentage, water weight, ect.  I recommend surfing amazon to find a good one.  What happens when you start working out and your body starts to retain water?  All of a sudden you’re up 5 pounds in a week and so discouraged you quit working out.  But if you only knew it was water weight and that you actually had lost 2 lbs of fat.  This is where traditional scales fail.  You don’t want to lose weight, you want to lose fat or gain muscle!  Get a scale that can tell you what you really need to know.

4 Hour Body – Day 1

4 Hour Body Day 1

Date:  Monday  January 30, 2012

Weight: 180.4 lbs

BF%:  15.1

Fat:  27.24 lbs

 

Breakfast: 300 cals

12 oz Cold Water

Egg Whites, Black Beans, Spinach

EC Stack (waiting for sups from Amazon)

2 Cups of coffee

 

Lunch: 500 Cals

Chicken, Black Beans with Salsa

12 oz cold water

EC Stack

12oz cold Yerba Matte

 

Snack: 150 Cals

Peanuts

 

Workout:

3 sets of Russian Kettlebells (25 reps per set) 50 lbs

10 Mystatic Crunches

10 Cat Vomit Crunches

 

Dinner: 600 Cals

Pork Loin, Black Beans with Salsa, Salad with balsamic vinagarette

12 oz cold water

 

Ice Therepy at 8:00 PM

Cold Shower at 9:00 PM

Pre Bed Meal: 200 Cals

Miscellar Casein in 8oz cold water.

 

Total water intake for day: 1.5 Gallons (includes sipping)

Supps:  Animal pack, ZMA, Aminos

 

Day went well.  Never felt hungry.  Still reading the rest of the 4 hour body but it’s going well.  I pre-made all my breakfasts so I could eat within 30 minutes of waking.

Fit To Lead – Planning Ahead

This is the first of ten in my series about getting yourself into shape and staying in shape.  I’m not just talking about bulging muscles and ripped abs.   I’m talking about the fitness needed to lead.  To lead a long life, to lead you co-workers, to lead your family, to lead nonbelievers to Christ.  I’m talking about the type of whole mind, body, and spirit fitness it takes to be the best leader you can be.

 

Step 1 is the first step for a reason.  Drop this one and you’ve blown the whole thing.  Step 1 is about planning ahead.  If you fail to plan, then you have planned to fail, it’s just that simple.  You can’t “wing it” when it comes to the most important things in life, and believe me, your health is at the top of that list.  Your family needs you to live a long and active life.  Your friends, co-workers, admirers, followers, all need you to live a long and active life.  So what are you going to do to ensure that you’re here for many decades to come and that you’re running on all cylinders so that you can be at your best every single day?

 

  1. Create a plan – Get out some paper and a pencil and start writing this all down.  Set dates to accomplish each step and hold yourself to them.
  2. Set a start date – Choose a day to begin this program.  Make that day your “starting day” for every week.  I start on Sundays.  On Sunday plan.  By Sunday I usually know what my up-coming week will look like, so it makes it easy for me to plan out when I’ll work out, what type of workout I’ll do, and what I’ll eat.
  3. Plan your meals – Choose what you’ll eat and when.  Make sure you’re being fair to yourself and you eat within the calories you want to eat, but are eating something you can tolerated.  Don’t go fish and rice from day one.  It may be too hard for you to stick to.
  4. Go Shopping – Once you know which day’s you’ll be eating at home and which day’s you have to go out, make a menu that fits your goals and go buy all the food you’ll need to eat for the week.  Don’t forget, you’ll be eating 6 times a day in small portions.
  5. Plan your workouts – What exercises will you do?  You may want to start out slow, especially if you haven’t worked out in a while or haven’t gone to your doctor to get your vitals tested.  Write down exactly what you’ll do.  For example, you may just want to start off walking for 20 minutes.  If you’re more advanced you might write down all the exercises and number of sets you want to do.
  6. Tie your shoes – I got this one from Matthew McConaughey.  He says the most important step in exercising is tying his shoes.  After that, the ball is rolling and the next logical step is to go outside and run.  For me it’s my gym bag.  I pack it up an set it by the door.  Maybe for you it’s setting out your work out cloths.  Whatever step one is before you work out, get it ready to roll.  Make it easy on yourself to get the ball rolling, after that it’s easy.

Staying Fit To Lead

Staying in shape can be very difficult for a leader to do.  We see ourselves as examples to those we lead and typically strive to be the first one in, last one out, hardest worker of the group.  But what follows this lifestyle can often be deadly to the team, and more importantly, to you.

Leadership fitness

I’ll show you how to juggle your time and resources to get fit and stay fit to lead.  I’ve read time and time again about leaders who run themselves ragged and wind up in the hospital with an ulcer, stress related illnesses, and even heart attacks.  Leaders are like adults on an airplane, you have to put the oxygen mask on yourself first.  If you’re not taking care of you, your team will suffer.

I’ve experienced this first hand, and as a result, set out to defeat the leadership killer.  Through years of research, and self-trial, I have compiled a list of the 10 most important things you can do as a leader to keep yourself fit to lead.

  1. Plan ahead – It’s often said, if you fail to plan, you’ve planned to fail.  This is true with your fitness goals.  You can’t just go out on a whim and decide you get fit, you have to intentionally create this change within yourself.  It’s not a hobby, it’s a lifestyle.
  2. Assess yourself honestly – Where are you now?  Make the appointment today, to go see a doctor and have your vitals checked.  As a leader you may be stressed and on the verge of heart failure.  Get your butt on a treadmill and go all out, and you’ll put yourself over the edge.  You can’t know where you’re headed until you know where you are.
  3. Follow my series of posts – I’ll show you how to find out what you need to eat, how much to eat, what type of workouts to do.  It’s all too much for one post so I’ll spread it out over several posts.
  4. Pick an hour – If the President of the United States of America can work out an hour a day, so can you.  It’ll take some trial and error but you’ll find an hour in your day that works well.  Mine is 10:30 to 11:30am.  It’s enough time for me to get to work and get the ball rolling, then duck out and head to the gym.  I work out for an hour, then I have lunch.  You’re going to need to eat after you work out so plan for that too.
  5. Break up your meals – You should eat 6 times a day.  Wait, what?!  That’s right.  Break your 3 big meals into 6 smaller meals.  It will rev your metabolism to be eating so often, and you feel less hungry throughout the day.  I eat at, 6, 9, noon, 3, 6, and 9.
  6. Make your meals ahead of time – this also helps out with the hour of working out.  If your meals are premade, you just have to warm them up and eat.  No more going out, sitting down, ordering, the whole lunch time routine.  You no longer need to “go to lunch” unless you have a meeting.  And then, you’re working so it’s not really a break.  This is also important because as leaders we typically work, work, work, until our stomach tells us we have to stop and eat. Then we grab the closest hamburger to the office, gorge ourselves, and then resume working.  Making your meals ahead of time will ensure that there is a healthy meal handy.
  7. Drink more water – you hear it all the time but it’s true.  Water replenishes you muscles, lubes your joints, and carries off all the toxins.  Drink enough water so that your pee is clear.  No color in your pee means that your toxins are all out, for now.  I use a 44oz cup at my office and refill it throughout the day.  Trust me, a gallon a day, isn’t that hard.  Moreover, you’ll like the way you feel.
  8. Learn to maximize your workout time – I’ll show you what to do in the gym to get the most out of your workouts.  Just keep checking back in.
  9. Have patience – you won’t look like a bodybuilder anytime soon.  But you will be healthy and fit and ready to lead your team.  This isn’t about instant results, if it were easy, everyone would be in shape.  This is a long road, but once you’ve committed yourself to you, and made it a part of your life, it will serve you for the rest of it.
  10. Hold yourself accountable – if you can’t lead yourself to fitness, how can you lead a company?  Seriously?  Your body works just like a business.  If you’re too lazy to take care of your body, how can you be trusted to take care of your business?  You’re an example to others, show them what you’d expect of them, don’t let them down.

Avoiding Personal Interruptions And Increasing Productivity

This is an extension of yesterday’s post about keeping the phone from interrupting you.  Equally as interruptive, are employees.  I don’t want this to sound bad but too many leaders become crutches for their employees.

I was sitting in my office trying to crunch numbers on a new project we were considering taking on.  What would be the required cash flow?  What was the expected revenue?  What type of internal supports would we have to invest in to be able to handle the new work load?  As I tried to figure this all out I noticed that the whole day had gone by and I had barely figured anything out.  I thought about my day and realized I had spent too much time with my employees.  There needed to be a balance.

But how could I really get people to lend me more time?  I could set a time block where my door is closed, but that would seem impersonal.  I could tell them not to bother me, but that would stifle production because they’d be afraid to ask.  I decided, I’d just have to make it easier on them to not interrupt me.  This is how I do it now.

 

  1. Circulate in the morning – take a trip around the office at about the same time every day.  Check in on people, this is the perfect time for them to ask you a question, because you’re available.  Also, people will learn your pattern and if they have a question or concern, they’ll wait for you to come around.  It’s human nature to take the path of least resistance and it’s easier for them to wait on you, then to come find you.
  2. Let them figure it out on their own – It was amazing to me when I started doing this, how many problems went away.  When there is someone there who can do it for you, you let them, when there isn’t, you tend to figure it out.  In comes the disappearing act.  I often leave the office with my peers to have our big meetings.  This way, the only interruption would be your cell phone.  If you were listening yesterday, then you’d know if your cell rings, it’s an emergency.
  3. Create lines of communication – Consider before you start a project who will be in charge of what.  Try to consider what people will struggle with and create a liaison for that.  This way employees tend to go to that person instead of you.  Many executives want to be the person with all the answers.  Don’t get into that trap.  Your job is to facilitate and monitor.  Let those who are capable, do.
  4. Stay on top of things – When you make time every day to communicate with your employees and take care of problems as they arise you’ll find that, after a little while, the backlog of problems is gone and you’ll be back to sanity.  Some days there will be lots of questions, other days, none.

 

Avoiding Phone Interruptions And Increasing Productivity

What’s your office like? If it’s like the majority of offices, your executives are too easy to find. While this may not seem like a bad thing, it most definitely is. This is because it tends to be a huge time waster for the leaders of your company to be made available for anyone to bother with questions and problems.

The executives of your company need to have time for their selves to focus on the bigger picture for the company and to come up with big ideas to take them to the next level. Thankfully, there are ways for the leaders of your company to be both personable and effective at their work.

 

  1. Don’t give out your cell phone – This is step one to maintaining some sort of privacy and limiting your interruptions so you can spend time on the big picture.
  2. Learn to use your receptionist – This is an extension of number 1.   Receptionists can screen your calls for you and decide if the call is important enough to interrupt you, or if they should just take a message.  If the call is an emergency, or family, use the cell number.

With the help of receptionists, executives will have more time to work with the leaders of their company to come up with new ideas. Utilizing two phones works wonders for productivity. Use the office phone for daily business, that way your receptionist can screen the calls and take notes and forward the call as needed. When taking notes, your receptionist should take detailed notes, rather just saying so and so called. He/she should ask the caller questions to find out why so and so called, that way the leaders of your company can prepare for the callback.  Often times my receptionist can run down a list of calls and what the person needed.  I answer them to her and she sends them an email from my account.  If the call requires more detail, I’ll call during my calling time.  Yes, I bulk my calls like I bulk my emails.

Using these methods, the leaders and executives of your company will not only be available to others, but they will have more time to come up with big ideas, making everyone happy in the long run.

Minimize Your Time Lost With Outlook

You’ve been there before. Your email inbox is cluttered, and hard to navigate. The affects that has on your time management are detrimental to your overall productivity. Leaders of organizations need to be efficient at what they do above everything else. Time is money, as the saying goes. Thankfully, there are some ways to make Outlook much more productive for you.

The first way for you to do this is with email batching. Basically, this method involves grouping all of the similar tasks you have together and then doing them all at once. In terms of productivity, it can’t really get any better than that. It can be easy to get distracted during your work day, so using email batching allows the leaders of your company to do what they do best.  A lot of people lose time in between tasks, so it’s important for you to keep moving right onto the next one. You will get much more accomplish this way.

Using Xobni along with email batching will get you the best results. Xobni is an Outlook add-on that goes through emails and creates an automatic address book. What this does is show conversation threads and attachments you’ve shared with every single person you’ve contacted. It creates a miniature profile of the person by displaying that persons phone numbers, Facebook accounts, and more. The Xobni add-on for Outlook is a must have tool for leaders and regular employees alike. It is a faster way to read your conversations and find information about someone.

Here are my tips for digging your way out of the email black hole:

  1.  Download Xobni and install it along with your Outlook.  Xobni is just inbox backwards if you didn’t catch that yet.  Go to Xobni.com for the download.
  2. Navigate to the Xobni tab in your Outlook once you’ve installed it and run “Xobni Analytics.”  There are multiple reports that range from how long it takes certain people to respond to you, who you email the most, how long you take to usually respond, ect.  The most important report here is “Mail Traffic.”  Navigate to this one and change the view to “Hourly Average”
  3. I have attached an image below so you can see my email traffic.  I receive most of my emails around 9-11 am and 2-4 pm.
  4. Set one or two times a day when you will “do” email.  I email at 11:30am and 4:30pm.  This way I have waited for my box to fill up, then I empty it.  Wait again, empty again.  The times I do this at maximize my response time so it seems to the people receiving my emails that I’m on Outlook all day.  In actuality, I’m barely on it.
  5. Review your response time by running the same report every month but make sure you click “sent” as well.  Make sure your sent emails are close to your peak “receive” times.

With the amount of emailing we do now a days, nothing is more tedious and interruptive than your inbox.  To increase your productivity, decrease your interruptions.  Be strong and don’t check your email or even have it open, other than the times you have decided you need to in order to seem responsive.

As a side note: many emails will prompt an action.  For example a customer needs to know when an item will ship, if you can delegate this, then forward their email on.  If you can’t, then respond telling them that you are looking into it, then add it to your to do list for tomorrow.  If I get an email like this at 4:30pm, I respond, so they know I care, but honestly I’m not going to do it today, so I add it to tomorrow’s to do list.  I try to bust out the things already on my list when I arrive at the office.  Then it’s mostly cleared up for the next time I check my email, so I can add the new tasks, and so on.

Avoiding Work For Work Sake

Have you ever found it odd that it takes exactly 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week, for the world’s economy to survive?  I sat in the big black leather backed chair, my coffee in hand, the USA Today on my lap.  People shuffled by me, some in a hurry, some with time to kill. 

 

 I reached over to the brown oval table to my right and snatched up my iPhone.  I flicked the top, no new emails.  I checked Facebook.  No new stories.  I glanced back down at the newspaper, but I knew I’d find nothing.  I had read all the articles that interested me.  That was it, nothing to do.  I had no emails, no calls, nothing.

I mulled over the idea of doing something big at the office.  Shake things up, start a new project.  But again I knew the answer.  The ball was rolling.  We were meeting our goals and milestones.  There was nothing to do.  Success is boring.  It was 10:30 am.  I had six and a half hours left and the boredom was starting to get to me. 

Just a few months ago I was a young buck shouting out orders and scrambling to get projects off the ground.  My stress levels were through the roof and I hardly slept at night.  But all those battles were over, and successful.  Now what do I do? 

The answer for most of us, work for work sake.  We’ve got to fill 8 hours with something.  So we spread out our responsibilities and tasks with worthless web surfing breaks in between.  The trick is to take a heap of work you could accomplish in 4 hours and make it last 8.  Admit it, you’ve done this. We’re all used to it.  What did they do to the smart kids in school who finished first?  Let us run to the play ground? No, they gave us “busy work.” Oh how fun.  Here are my top 4 tips for avoiding work for work sake.

 

  1. Read – There is never a bad time for you as an executive to sharpen the ax.  I have a bookshelf in my office and if I have 2 hours at the end of the day, I’ll read a management book or brush up on some reading I felt was important.  I subscribe to several industry magazines too.
  2. Make sure your team knows how to get a hold of you – to avoid the 9-5 humbugs, I get out of the office.  I might go hit some golf balls or run some errands I need to do.  My job as an executive is to keep the train on the tracks.  Whether you’re in charge of a whole company, or a division of, or just a team, it is your job to keep it on track.  But if it’s on track, don’t mess with it.  On the other hand, when it gets off the track, you better spend all your time putting it back on.
  3. Don’t fill your schedule – I once read a letter from George Bush about how he’d be spending 6 hours a day in meetings concerning one thing.  I thought, how does he have time for that.  Then I realized he was a better leader than me.  I had filled my plate with tasks.  I was in charge of a team of 61 people, me being the 1.  I need to delegate that work out and open up time for crisis management.
  4. Avoid out of sight, out of mind – You may be the best leader in the world and your train is on the tracks, which means you’re doing a good job, but if you’re always out of the office, others will forget about you.  It’s sort of the old homage about walking around with a stack of papers and talking on your Bluetooth all day.  You may be carrying the same papers and talking to time and temperature, but you’ll look like the hardest worker in the room.  Too often, that’s true.  Learn the patterns of your company so you know when you’re usually needed, and when you’re not.  Then balance your time so you’re in the office when you need to be, but don’t fall into the wfws trap.

You’re the executive.  If the train falls off the track, no one else is going to put it back on.  Don’t feel bad about hitting the golf course if you have time.  But if you get a call in the middle of it, you better take it.  And if it’s bad news, head back to the office, you’re the only one who will have the power to fix it.  But don’t fall into the wfws trap.  It makes work un-fun sitting around with nothing important or interesting to do.  You’re the brains of the operation.  Don’t waste them on worthless tasks, preserve them so they’re ready to be used when the time comes.

Creating A More Productive Routine

Harvey woke at 7:30 am, his usual time.  He headed straight to the restroom for a shower, just as he had done for the last 47 years.  After his shower, he dressed himself.  He’d worn this shirt before, maybe 100 times.  He had owned it for 9 years now.  The slacks were a little newer, they were only 5 years old. 

Harvey headed down the stairs to his coffee maker he had filled the night before, just as he had done for the last 47 years, and pressed the “brew” button.  He ate the same Raisin Bran, he poured his coffee into the same mug, and left the house at the same time he had for the last 47 years.

When Harvey arrived at the office, he parked in the same spot, walked in the same door, headed to the same office.  He’d occupied this office now for 15 years, ever since he won Dale Murphy’s old position after Dale left the company to go out on his own.  But today things seemed a little off in his quaint little mid-hall office. 

Barry, a Senior Executive, stopped by Harvey’s office and asked him to join Barry and Murphy, the CEO, in Murphy’s office.  They were letting Harvey go.  His numbers were stagnant they said, he had always been a good employee but never great.  Management was making room for some up and coming youngsters in the company who’s numbers were steadily growing.  It turns out Daltyne would rather employ people with lower numbers, but showed a pattern of growth, than an old Clydesdale who showed no signs of improvement.  Even if, in the near term, the company’s numbers would be down, in a few years they’d be higher than they’d ever been.  Harvey was out.  His same old same old had killed him.

You don’t sound like Harvey do you?  Many of us probably do, and in many aspects of our lives I’m sure we could find patterns of behavior similar to Harvey’s.  The problem with routines is that they get stagnant.  Think of a pond. You may never want it to always be smooth and pristine, that way you can take your sailboat out on it whenever you want, but if the water doesn’t get tossed around by the wind every once in a while, it will grow stagnant.  Have you ever seen a stagnant pond?  They’re covered with green moss, mosquitos, and stench.  What was once a beautiful paradise will become a stinky wasteland of poison.  The same is true about us.  We must change, we must grow, we must improve, or we’ll become a poison to society, worthless to others, and enter a dull existence.  Here are my five steps for breaking your routine and discovering new growth:

  1. Insanity – I know you’ve heard this but the definition of insanity is … “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”  If you’re not 100% happy with your output as is, you’ve got to change.  There is no other way.
  2. Resolve – Have the resolve to make yourself uncomfortable.  We tend to slide into routines because humans desire order, it makes us feel good.  Have the resolve to break free of this and create waves in the pond of your soul.
  3. 21 Days – research has shown that, on average, it takes 21 days for an individual to create a habit.  The same is true for breaking one.  Clear your calendar and start marking off the days.  Give yourself 21 days with no routine.  If you eat the same cereal like Harvey, buy something different.  Take a different route to work. Buy some new clothes.  For 21 days, do things differently.
  4. Training Day – your mind works like a muscle.  It is a muscle.  You have to challenge it.  Once you stop exercising your brain, your body starts destroying the portions you don’t need.  Your body is efficient and knows to get rid of anything it’s not using.  On the flip side, it knows to build more to take care of the new work load.  To break the mold and really experience growth and success you’ll have to challenge yourself every day.  Push the limits, wear yourself out trying to get away from the confines of your routine.
  5. Create a New Routine– Routines aren’t always bad.  Create a new routine of mixing it up.  You’ll find comfort after a while in this new style.  Once you’ve locked it in and made the routine-less your routine, change and growth can happen inside you organically.

 

Checking Off Your To Do List

 Yesterday I wrote the following about To-Do Lists : “ The To-Do List – the bigger it gets the less I want to tackle it.  The to do list is full of TASKS!  What’s fun about a task?  But often times when my wife asks when I get home “how was your day?” I respond with “well I did a lot, but I didn’t actually achieve much.”  Is your to do list taking up all your time on medial tasks? 

 

As an executive your job is to steer the company in the right direction, and to do that, you need to have time to day dream, research the industry, and most important, have a little fun while you’re doing it.”

I have nothing against To-Do Lists, in fact, I make mine digitally so that it’s on my iPad, iPhone, and computer so I’m literally never without it.  If something comes up that I need to take care of later I just type it out on my list and it updates it everywhere.   If you’re wondering how I do this, I use Awesome Note.  When I’ve got my To-Do List ready, I email it to myself so it’s in my Outlook.  Without this list I’d be lost.  But with this list, I’m often overwhelmed.  Below are a few things I have found that make the To-Do list more tolerable and easier to work with.

  1. Set yourself up to win– Don’t put every little thing on your list.  I made this mistake very early in using To-Do Lists.  After a while the list gets so big there is actually no possible way to do everything.  Then it’s just discouraging.  When you feel overwhelmed by the list you will begin to feel devastated.  However, if you make it sort of easy, understanding that more things will come as the day grows on, you’ll set yourself up for a win.  You’ll feel good about the dint you put into it and that will motivate you even more.
  2. Tasks that you can do right now, you should do –  As they say, there is no better time than the present.  Lets be honest, you could probably finish the task by the time you finish writing it down anyway, so just do it.  Don’t use your To-Do List as a crutch.  Writing “Do Such and Such” isn’t the same as doing it, so don’t let it.
  3. Only put things on that you’ll forget – Don’t put “take kids to school” on your list.  Do you really need to be reminded to do that?
  4. Limit your list to 7 things – Sounds crazy I know but it’s a good way to allow yourself to only focus on the important stuff.  If you could only do 7 things today, what would they be?  Obviously you’re going to choose things that will make the biggest impact.  This is 80/20ing your To-Do List.  Do the 20% of the things that achieve 80% of your results, save the rest for later.
  5. Put small things on reminders– Pick up water at the store is not To-Do worthy.  But it is important.  If you’re like me and use an iPhone, it now comes with a cool reminders app.  You can set it to remind you at a specific time or when you leave/arrive somewhere.  Now when you leave the office “pick up water at the store” will pop up on your iPhone.  These little tasks are meant to be performed in transition.  They are not To-Do Tasks. 
  6. Add at least 1 fun thing – I picked this up from Matthew McConaughey. “I’ll put fun things on my list to give me more things to cross off,” he says. “Like, ‘surf for an hour.’ When you get to one near the bottom and it says, ‘Watch Monday Night Football,’ it’s like, yeah!”
  7. Try to clump it up – If you can, you should tackle tasks on your list in clumps.  I like to focus on busting out 3 items.  Then I do something fun, or I’ll work on something else, maybe even take a stroll through the shop and look at production.  By clumping your list, you can achieve great productivity in a focused surge, but you can also allow some recovery time an pace yourself.  It’s not a race to finish the list, but you do have to finish it.