A Real World Example of David Allen’s Getting Things Done

Let me set the scene for the first time I knew I needed help with my office. It was 8:00 pm on a Tuesday. My wife and son were out of town and I decided I’d stick around the office to play catch up. Piles of paper had stacked up on my desk, my conference table, and the floor around me.

Getting Things Done

Sticky notes are great for jotting down an idea or a person’s phone number. They do not, however, offer much benefit as one’s only means for tracking what needs to be done. As I sifted through the papers I’d discover yet another note scribbles on a sticky note. “Crap, I never got back to him on this” I’d think, as I read the note. Then I’d write down, on yet another sticky note, that I needed to finish the project and get back to Dave.

This is not what an efficient office looks like, nor is this a good way to go about getting things done. The rest of the evening, early morning, and next day, were spent not catching up on work, but completely restructuring how I operate.

Imagine an office with a clean and neat desk. Desk drawers are organized and well stocked with the necessary tools of the trade. Paper is hidden and seems to be non-existent. Productivity is oozing from the walls and work is being turned out at an incredible rate. No task is forgotten, no meetings missed, no projects late. At the helm of it all is the Wizard of Oz, you!

This isn’t a dream – this is reality. This is the office you can have. It isn’t easy, but it is worth it.

The Process
Performing what David Allen calls, “knowledge work” requires first that we can define the following:
What is the desired outcome?
What needs to be done to achieve this outcome?
What is the next step to get it done?

In this process, we must have defined In, Outs, and In-betweens.

What is In – Everything that enters your office must be placed into “In”.  For this, I have two inboxes only. One inbox is on my desk; the other is in the form of email. If something enters the office on foot (delivered by a coworker) it is placed into in. If something enters the office via the telephone, it is written down, then placed into in. This is only allowed to happen twice a day. If something is emailed, it sits in the inbox until it is processed. Email is only processed twice daily as well.

You can tell already that not much time is spent talking on the phone or emailing. These two necessary evils will kill your productivity if you allow them constant access. I’ll share more on how to limit the interaction of telephone and email later in the productivity section. You’re going to love it.

Processing In – The actual processing of in depends on your day. I personally prefer to process “In” twice daily. I do this after lunch and before leaving for the day. Processing simply means you take the notes, papers, reports, files, or whatever, out of your inbox and make a decision on it. Making a decision on everything in your inbox can seem like a chore. To make it easier, we limit ourselves to only two decisions:
1 – Will this take less than two minutes to complete? If yes, do it. If no, put it into Nozbe.
2 – Can someone else do this at least 80% as well as I can? If yes, delegate it. If no, put it into Nozbe.

Email processing – Treat your email the exact same way as your physical inbox. I prefer to process my physical inbox and my email inbox one right after the other. This way, I completely empty “In” twice a day. Ask yourself the same two questions as you did while processing your physical inbox.

What to do with items once you’ve made a decision:

For everything physical – Scan papers into Evernote or Dropbox, and then trash them. For this, I use the Fujitsu SmartScan, which syncs directly with Evernote and Dropbox. In the rare event that the item is something physical someone else will need later, I file it. For example, we have job folders at my office. They are in my inbox for my approval. Once I approve them, they are taken to our A/R department. For items such as these, I don’t scan them.

I scan items that I need to save as a reference into my Dropbox. This way I can access it anywhere on any device. This keeps me free from the office. For items that pertain to a project or that I delegate, I sync to Evernote. Evernote then automatically syncs them to my project on Nozbe – more on this in this post.

For everything digital – meaning emailed, I apply the same two questions first. If I need to save the information, I place it into a project folder in my email client. Let’s say you receive an email asking you to plan an event. You decide it would be best to delegate this to your assistant. Simply use Nozbe short codes in the email. Automatically the information in the email will be added to your project and context on Nozbe. If I want to save specific information, I use the Evernote Extension in Outlook to save it as a note on the project action in Nozbe. More on these amazing integrations later.

Schedule – If the two minute drill doesn’t apply to something and you can’t delegate, you have no choice but to do it yourself. But right now is not the time. Instead, schedule time to do it. Add the item to your project list on Nozbe. If you’re going to need to be alone to finish the work, schedule a meeting with yourself. The times at which you schedule these tasks will depend on where they fit into your ideal week.

Delegate – When you’ve delegated a task you must track it. What gets tracked gets done. Explain as thoroughly as possible in an email what you want done, what your timeframe is, what your expected outcome is, and how much autonomy you’re giving your chosen delegee. Track this with Nozbe shortcodes. Be certain to track it by context. Personally, I have a context for every employee. Before I meet with them, I just check their context on Nozbe and I instantly know what they’re responsible for.

The devil is in the details. Now that you’ve gotten everything in your office to “In” status and have decided what to do with it, you’re poised for success. But you’re not guaranteed success. Processing “In” is like a sprinter getting into the blocks. He knows what needs to be done and how he’s going to do it. Now he must act on his desires.

Are you ready for that starting gun to fire?

Get Things Done Using These Tricks

Have you ever had a day where you ran around all day doing and doing and doing but at the end of the day you felt as though you’d accomplished nothing? This happened to me the other day. As the end of the day approached I had a chance to reflex on the day and I felt that I had failed to get things done at all.

getting things done

I found myself completely worn out, yet my to do list was still going strong. How could I have failed to get things done so badly? I sat down and tried to deconstruct my day. I found some interesting things.

While I was very busy no doubt, I didn’t get things done because of my approach, not my effort. I found that I was multi-tasking to my detriment. I also had no direction. My mind chose what it wanted to do rather than being told what it needed to do. Here is what I did to change my approach and get things done.

Big Actions – If you could only accomplish one thing each day, what would it be? I ask myself this every day. This one action is the first thing I do when I start my work day. This way, even if the rest of the day goes horribly wrong, I will still have completed at least one very important task.

Nozbe – I use Nozbe as my to do list. I am able to make projects and track each action within the projects. I can also mark items as “next action” so I know what to do next. I have it on my computer, iPad, and iPhone. I typically work on my computer but have Nozbe open on my iPad, checking off items as I get things done.

Big Rocks – If you haven’t heard the story of the Big Rocks, I’ll make a post about it soon. The jist of it is that big rocks are important things in your life while the sand is the less important tasks. If you fill your glass with sand you won’t be able to fit in any big rocks. If you place the big rocks in first however, you can fill in the cracks with sand. The take away is this. Do the important things first, then fill in your day with the less important stuff to get things done.

Block Your Day – Make a schedule and fill it with blocks of time for different types of tasks. This will help you to focus your energies on different and new things. For example I spend 30 minutes socializing when I arrive at the office. I then have a 3 hour block of time dedicated to certain types of projects. I have a 1 hour block allocated to reading. I have 1 hour of flex time to spend on side projects after lunch. Another 2 hour block in the afternooon is dedicated to meetings. This forces me to continually change gears.

Following these steps will mix up your day and keep it fresh. It also keeps you focused and gives you direction. All this is what you’re going to need to do to get things done. Now say goodbye to tiresome and unproductive days.

 

Question: Do you feel like you’re in a rut at work? How might these suggestions help you escape?

 

How Massage Can Improve Your Productivity

 

This guest post is provided by the creative team at Pingup. Pingup is an online booking application that allows users to make appointments and book reservations at all types of businesses across the country, from San Francisco spas to Boston salons.

 

Everyone knows that getting a massage feels good, and on top of that can relieve the aches and pains brought on by the stresses of daily life. In this regard, many consider the act of getting a massage to be a way of pampering themselves or as an indulgence, a fun activity when they’re on vacation in a tropical climate. Although this is true, as massages can definitely fulfill some of our hedonistic desires, they are also beneficial in many other ways. One way that you may not have considered – improving your productivity.

How Massage Can Improve Productivity

 

Do you ever feel stressed out at work? Of course you do; not only are there deadlines to meet and demanding bosses to please, but also anxiety-producing details from your personal life that can creep into your work day. All this stress is not only unhealthy; it can also detract from the quality of your work. One way to combat the negative influence of stress is to get a massage. Studies have shown that massage reduces the stress hormone cortisol in your body, thereby helping you to relax and focus on your daily tasks.

 

 

Another factor that can contribute in detracting from your job performance is lack of sleep. If you’ve ever spent the night trying to count sheep, only to walk into work the next day on five hours of sleep feeling like a zombie, then you know what I’m talking about. Massage can actually help you to get enough Zs, as it promotes healthy sleep patterns due to its positive effect on delta waves – the type of brain waves required for deep sleep.

 

 

One of the most debilitating factors on your productivity is illness. When you are struggling through a bout with the flu, you are either at home in bed accomplishing nothing other than regaining your health, or suffering through a miserable unproductive day at your desk. Unsurprisingly, massage can help with this as well. Remember how I told you earlier that getting a massage can help curb your production of the stress hormone cortisol? Well it turns out cortisol is doubly bad for us, as it destroys cells that ward off invading bugs. By going for a massage and decreasing the amount of cortisol in your body, you can ensure that your immune system is up to the challenge of keeping you in good health and on the path to productivity.

 

 

 

While people are certainly unproductive when they are sick, the same can be said about them when they are in a foul mood. In addition to all the things massage does for your body, it also can have a powerful effect on your mind. Studies have shown that massage can improve your overall mood, even if you are only going for a brief 15-minute session each week. This is a fact that is not lost on business owners, as many businesses have begun offering their employees massages during the day in order to improve both morale and performance.

 

 

 

In essence, massage can provide a multitude of benefits to your well-being. In addition to improving your overall health and mood, you can also expect to see an increase in your productivity and performance. If you are considering getting a massage for pleasure, make sure you are also thinking about all the ways it may be able to help you in your quest for productivity.

 

Have you thought of getting a massage to help improve your productivity?

 

 

 

Finding Peace in Struggle

Life seems to be full of difficulty at times.  Finding peace in struggle is a hard thing to do.  I’ve been struggling with this lately.

Finding Peace in Struggle

Finding a way to balance family, work, health, and personal goals seems like a never ending practice in failure.  Despite our best intentions, plans, and execution, the world finds a sneaky way to trip us up and leave us short of living up to our expectations.

Such has been my experience for a while.  Achiever is in my top 5 strengths, so I naturally feel an urge to always get everything marked off my To Do List.  But finding peace in struggle, until recently, has never been an item that needed to be marked off.

Finding peace in struggle is sometimes seen as the opposite of getting things done.  Sitting still for me seemed like a missed opportunity to accomplish my goals.  That is until my wife forced me to practice stillness.

Finding peace in struggle is the only way to regain control of the situation, nourish your soul, provide you the rest you need, and keep you mentally sharp as you try to defend your dreams for the world’s inevitable folly.

This is my short list of steps to find peace in struggle:

1. Take 5 – I have to credit my wife with this one.  When I’m fighting the day too hard, she puts me in time out.  She’s a mom and a certified counselor so she knows what she’s doing.  It’s hard to sit still for 5 minutes.  I have to actually focus on not doing anything.  After 5 minutes, I’m oddly refreshed, focused, and seeing the world with a new perspective.

2. Get Some Sun – There is something therapeutic about the sun.  I force myself to bask in it at least a few times a day.  The pink wash the sun provides in the morning is better than any coffee kick.  The bright warmth of the midday sun provides vitamin D and refreshes the soul.  The evening orange on my skin has a calming and reassuring affect.  As Matthew Mcconaughey once said “I’m solar powered.”

3.  Set Your Standards Low – IBM became a global giant by giving their salespeople low daily quotas.  Tim Ferriss’s writing goal is only two crappy pages a day.  Stephen King only aims for 2,000 words a day (about 2 hours),  These low standards also lower our natural resistance to achievement.  Once you start, you often exceed your own expectations.

4. Focus on the Important – The important things are what moves the needle in our lives, not the urgent.  For me, the important things fall into one of only four categories.  These are Faith, Family, Fitness, and Finance, in that order.  If I tend to these matters first, the rest seems to work itself out.

5. Be Present – It’s very easy to lose yourself in your to do list and busy schedule.  But to find peace in struggle you must understand that what is happening right now, is the most important thing you can be doing in that exact moment.  Clear your mind of everything else, you’ll get to it in due time.  Trust me, work will be there tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day.

6. Trust in God – One of the largest themes of the Bible is to cast your worries to God. “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” – Matthew 6:26.

Finding peace in struggle is an essential ability to keep you in control of your situation.  It is a daily struggle, something that require intervention by my wife at times.  But with out slowing down and harnessing the peace that comes in rest, you’ll quickly burn out.

What is happing in your life that require you to find peace in struggle?

Change The Way You Think About Work

Working 9 to 5 makes you hold on to busy work so you have something to do and prevents you from being truly free to focus on your passions.  To achieve your corporate goals, you must change the way you think about work.  You feel like you’re cheating your employer if you’re not 100% fully engaged in an active activity.  This is termed Work For Work’s Sake.

Change the Way You Think About Work

The truth is that you were hired to accomplish certain goals.  Use your team and your own productivity to achieve those goals faster.  In order to do this, you must change the way you think about work.

 

Some companies and even leaders struggle with this idea.  The status quo is to have a to-do list that never ends.  So as long as you’re “actively” working on some to-do item, you feel like you’re providing the company with quality work.  The truth is, this way of thinking cheats everyone of grown and achievement.

 

Think of a board member.  They get paid to be on that board but they don’t do any of the day to day work.  This is how executives should operate.  They serve two purposes:

 

1.  To create and cast vision

2.  To serve others by directing the work and keeping the company on track toward that vision

 

It is not an executives job to do the daily tasks.  When you start doing the daily tasks, you tie up the physics bandwidth needed to create vision.  You also lose yourself in the work and lose site of where the company is headed.  This is why you must change the way you think about work.

 

I’ve experienced this and our company has grown but we have achieved very few of the goals I set out to achieve this year.  This is because I have no time to pursue those goals or move the company towards my vision.  Instead, all my time and mental energy is spent doing things others could and should be trained to do.

 

When I first began attending a small group at my church, it was run by one of our pastors.  He scheduled the meetings, prepared the lessons and took attendance.  A few weeks later, he approached me about running the group because he was leaving it. “What will you do if you’re not leading the group?” I asked.

 

“I’ll lead a different group.” he replied.  This should be how we approach our work as executives.  Lead the charge and focus on setting up a successful group.  Once it is running, hand it off and move on to the next goal.

 

These are 5 things you can do right now to correct your behavior and create the company you’ve always wanted.

 

GTD –  Start processing and delegating.  Use David Allen’s Getting Things Done book.  Identify tasks that need to happen, do the ones you can do in 2 minutes, delegate anything someone else can do 80% as well as you can and schedule the items only you can do.

 

Create your ideal work week.  The key is to design your ideal week with your goals in mind.  In this way,you’ll set aside time to accomplish them.  By sticking to this schedule, you’ll force yourself to have to shed the busy work you do for work’s sake and focus on goal setting, vision casting and company monitoring.

 

Give time for creative release.  This is when I write, it’s work related because what I write is my ideas about how I can make Allied better. These ideas are fully developed only when I think it through and blog on it.  Without allowing myself this time, I won’t fully understand my thoughts and goals.

 

Get your delegation organized.  I like to use Nozbe. I can assign tasks to my employees and track their progress.  As I process “IN,” I delegate anything I can.  I am then able to see things completed in real time.

 

Schedule meetings with yourself.  I can’t stress the importance of this enough.  Setting aside an hour or two to revisit your business plan, the goals you want to achieve and your current progress will be the single most important thing most leaders do. Unfortunately, most leaders can’t peal away from their inbox of their staff long enough to do this.  Block off a few hours on your schedule, close your door and get to work.  Everyone will benefit in the end.

 

If your business is anything like mine, you’ve probably failed to live up to your own expectations this year.  I almost always do.  Implementing these 5 simple things will help you to change the way you think about work and grow your business to what it should be.

 

Do you struggle with delegating so you can focus on higher level problems?

 

 

 

Fall Asleep Quickly Without The Use Of Drugs

As a busy person, I take my sleep seriously.  Unfortunately, I don’t always get enough.  More often than not, the reason for lack of sleep is the inability to fall asleep quickly.

fall asleep quickly

Without enough sleep, my energy levels are low and I tend to take a negative outlook on my day.  My inability to fall asleep quickly impacts my entire day’s productivity.  Without enough sleep, you’re not the best version or you.

Top 5 Tips For Researching iPhone App Ideas

The launch date for my new iPhone App is rapidly approaching.  It has been a long and difficult journey.  In fact, the journey has been too long.  If we had done better in researching for iPhone app development and procedures, we could have saved ourselves time and hassle.

iPhone App

The idea for our app came about like most brilliant ideas, by mistake.  My partners and I agreed that the idea was fantastic and we had a unique value proposition that no other iPhone app had.  We then began to research iPhone app ideas that had succeeded and failed.  We’ve done our best to model our app after the more successful apps and avoid the mistakes of the failed apps.

I remember the first time I tried to ride a bicycle.  As soon as I thought I had it, I’d fall.  I’d watched my brother ride his bike for over a year and I thought I knew what to do and what not to do.  The truth is, until you actually immerse yourself in the experience, everything else is just make believe.  So too was our experience when we began to develop our iPhone app.

Just when we thought we had it all figured out, we’d be hit with a bombshell that would shut the whole project down for weeks while we tried to find a solution.  Better research and more information about building an iPhone app would have helped us speed up our time to market.  These are my top 5 suggestions for anyone looking to develop an iPhone app.

App Store – Spend hours combing through the iPhone app store.  We had an iPhone app idea that we thought was unique.  Then we found out that there were at least 5 apps that were just like ours.  It gave us the chance to download these apps and discover where they had failed.

Interview developers – Find app development companies and begin to dive into different aspects of your app.  Do not divulge all your information about your app to anyone, but do give out small nuggets to many different developers.  One problem for us has been the pause button in a video.  It is an essential part of our iPhone app idea but a very difficult thing to do development wise. If we had asked more questions, we would have discovered this problem much sooner.

Create an alternative – Most iPhone app inventors don’t know if what they’ve come up with is useful at all until they’ve finished building their iPhone app and no one downloads it.  Don’t waste your time on a bad idea.  Find another way to give people a similar experience.  We used multiple iPhones, slips of paper, and a group of friends to test our idea.  Luckily, everyone loved it.

Find your niche – When you look through the iPhone app store, look for similar apps to yours.  Then check the popularity of these types of apps.  Go through the top charts in the iPhone app store and look at what is selling in your niche.  If you’re creating an educational app, know what type of look and feel the top performing apps share.  Try to mimic these with your iPhone app design.

Know your budget – It makes sense for Facebook to spend millions on the development of their iPhone app.  The economics probably don’t scale for you.  Know your budget and what kind of quality and depth it will buy.  Don’t expect to build a dynamic app on a low budget.  Each page costs more money and each feature takes time.

Just like the first time I successfully rode my bicycle around the block, the first time I created an iPhone app was thrilling.  This new technology is a booming market place full of dreamers and achievers.  If you’re considering building an iPhone app I suggest you begin today.  Welcome to the iPhone app empire.

Do you think an iPhone app could be a good extension of your personal brand?

How To Exceed Expectations And Earn A Promotion

The better we do at our jobs, the more we’ll succeed at life.  The secret sauce to advancing in your career is exceeding expectations.  I recently lost 20 pounds of fat.  Nobody noticed.  My fat friend lost 10 pounds.  Everyone was elated.

Exceed expectations

To gain attention, you must shock people.  Just doing the right thing all the time is not good enough anymore.  You must exceed expectations to stand out among the crowd.  Nobody cared that I lost 20 pounds because it was just normal for me to take care of my body.  When my fat friend lost 10 pounds, it was a shock that he was being proactive about his weight.

So how does this apply to the workplace?  If you’re going to be promoted or given a bonus, someone is going to decide that you deserve it.  When they make the decision to hire you or cut you that big check, they’ll first spend a minute thinking about their general opinions of your performance.  The only way to win at this game is to exceed expectations.

If you are a hard worker and always do your job well, you’re probably doomed because high performance is just normal.  Here are a few ways you can easily exceed expectations and earn the reward you deserve.

Be crazy organized – My best advice is to follow David Allen’s Getting Things Done program.  My favorite feature of the GTD program is that by processing in, you’re keeping information at your fingertips. Everything is neatly filed and easily accessible.  This has helped me exceed expectations many times.

Delegate – Keep yourself free to focus on what will get you noticed.  You’re not going to get that promotion because you are excellent at filing financial statements or addressing letters.  Delegate as much as you can and give your employees a chance to exceed expectations you’ve set for them.  You should be focused on the big win.

Be Prepared – Always try to have the answer. If you don’t, find it quickly.  The key to exceed expectations here is to take time to prepare before attending meetings.  Also, take time at the end of every day to review.

AnticipateDennis Rodman used to watch the ball out of the shooter’s hand.  Based on where they shot from and the angle of their shot, Rodman knew where the ball would be when it ricocheted off the glass.  Learn to anticipate your bosses next move and be there before the ball.  You’ll exceed expectations every time he goes to look through the new contract and you’ve already reviewed it, marked important information and made notes.

Prioritize – Jack Welch once said that the quickest way to advance your career is to “find out what your boss wants, then over-deliver”. If you’re going to exceed expectations in your boss’s eyes you’ll need to over-deliver on what he wants.  Use Nozbe to prioritize your projects based on what your boss wants the most.

In order to exceed expectations and advance your career, you’ll need to break away from the comfort of doing what you’ve always done and shift to doing what is uncommon for you.  You are in charge of getting yourself noticed.  Earn that promotion or bonus by exceeding everyone’s expectations and surprising them.

Any other ideas about how to exceed expectations?  Please leave them in the comments below.

Why I’m Scrapping My Excel To Do List for Nozbe

Years ago in college I finally caved in and realized a to do list might not be as evil as my middle school English teacher made it sound. So I began to use an excel to do list to track what needed to be done each day. A few years ago I switched to Nozbe and I haven’t looked back.

excel_to_do_list_nozbe

David Allen wrote a book that I’ve used for years as my go to guide on getting things done. The book is aptly named Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity.  At first, I tried to use my excel to do list to track everything I needed to do. I soon found excel too bulky and rigid.

That is when I found Nozbe. One time through “processing in” and I was hooked. My excel to do list was out the window. Nozbe is the perfect companion to high productivity individuals and anyone looking to implement GTD. It is a must have for leaders and a leadership tool I use daily.

Mobile – I have Nozbe downloaded on my iPhone, iPad, Macbook, and my Office PC. In a pinch, I access it on the web as well. It syncs across all my devices so no matter where I am or what I’m doing, I have my to do list with me.

Project Driven – In Nozbe everything is driven by each project you have. It allows me to seperate things I have to do at work, on my blog, and at home. This enables me to focus on what needs to be done now, where I am.

Next Actions – With every to do, there is an action that must first be accomplished. Doing the next physical action to mark something off your to do list is how you get the productivity ball rolling. Nozbe aligns this next action at the top of each project. I can look at a project and instantly know exactly what I need to do at that very instant.

Context – Context tracking in Nozbe is something I never could achieve with my excel to do list. By clumping things together by context I can “bulk process” items together. Have a phone call to make? Why not sit down and make all your phone calls in one sitting? Context tracking also allows me to remember what I’ve assigned to my employees. For instance, my awesome VA Wendy has her own context. When I send something to her to do, I track it in her context. This way I always remember what I’m waiting for from her, or most often, what she’s waiting for from me.

Intregation – Something Nozbe will do that an Excel to do list is incapable of is integrating with other softwares. When I make a note in Evernote, it can autosync to a project in Nozbe. I can also email to do items to myself. Additionally, Nozbe just announced integration with Google Calendar! The integration is seamingly endless.

Knowledge work hinges on a leader’s capability to recognize what needs to be done next. An Excel to do list just falls short of the functionality today’s leaders need. If you’re curious to try out Nozbe, you can download the free software by clicking on the box in the right sidebar, or you can use this link: Download Nozbe Free. 

What is your default To Do List?

The Positive Power of Escape

My wife and I recently traveled to Georgia for an awards banquet hosted by one of Allied Equipment’s best customers. The trip turned out to be a much needed escape. I learned why escaping from your normal life is a critical and essential step for leaders.

The Positive Power of Escape

I had been working for nine months straight without a full day of vacation. During this time, the company had grown significantly. I had built a new team, taken on new responsibilities, sold our home, built a new one, and all the while had a 2-year old running around. I didn’t know it, but I was stressed out.

The body can only take so much stress before it starts to break down. Like a stick that is being bent over someone’s leg, it begins to bow, and then splinter, until finally, it is snapped in two. Your mind and body react similarly to stress.

In order to prevent burn out and revitalize your results, you must escape.

 

  1. Get Far Away – We have a ranch that is three hours from home. One of my father’s favorite things about the ranch is that if you’d forgotten to do something or were worried about something at the office, you were too far away to do anything about it. Travel far enough away that the travel is just a big enough hassle to keep you from going home too early.
  2. Take A Book – With laptops and clouds, work is always with you. I frequently try to use any and all free time to accomplish something. I’m always producing. But on an escape, the goal is to accomplish a full system reset. Opt for a fiction novel and leave your work and hobbies behind.
  3. Sleep – A full night’s rest is hard for everyone. Resist the urge to fill your schedule with things to do. Plan only three or four things and leave plenty of time in between for a full night’s rest and at least one power nap a day. When you head home, your body and mind will be fully rested.
  4. Turn off – Social networks, laptops, smartphones, and televisions keep you plugged into the fast-paced world. Instead, opt for a walk through the woods, a peaceful moment on the beach, or just a quiet game of checkers in the lobby. It is amazing how much mental capacity technology requires. Try going back in time to a “simpler” time when technology wasn’t at your beck and call.
  5. Reflect – This is a safe time to reflect on the last several months. Take a physical inventory of where you are, where you wanted to be, and where you’re going in the future. This is a safe time for an in-depth reflection. But remember, you’re too far away to do anything about most of the things that will pop in your head, so write them down to be processed later.

Setting the reset button in life works just as well for clearing up minor problems as it does with an iPhone. Learn to use escapes as a way to relax, reflect, and refresh. Resist the urge to do too much and you’ll come home ready to do more than ever.

Where is your favorite place to escape to?