How to Double Your Productivity

I’m reading Change Anything: The New Science of Personal Success by Kerry Patterson, Al Switzler, Ron McMillan and Joseph Grenny. So far it’s an encouraging book. Much of it appears to me as common sense, but it’s always good to reinforce concepts you think you know. I’m hoping to test these theories with some change in my own life.

Here’s an excerpt from Change Anything:

Consider the following rather startling discovery. A team of researchers from New York University worked with students whose grades suffered because they procrastinated studying. They gave half of the procrastinators information on how to improve their study habits. The other half were given the same information—plus pencil and paper. They were told, “Decide now where and at what times you will study in the next week, and write it down.” Those who recorded their plan studied more than twice as many hours as those who didn’t.”

Did you catch that? How do you double your chance of being productive? Apparently you write it down. Schedule it. Make a plan.

I love it when the experts agree with me. :)

I suggest to people all the time that they should schedule everything. For years people have asked how I accomplish as much as I do. One “secret” is that I schedule my week. If you want more specifics, I wrote about it HERE.

Start the week off right. Calendar the things you want to accomplish.

Working the plan is much easier when you have one.

What tips do you have for being more productive?

How to Revitalize a Dying Project

In less than one minute, this video from Scott Belsky is brilliant. Watch him explain how to revitalize a project that has plateaued.

Can you put this idea to work?

Reminds me of a Jesus principle I Tweeted about yesterday:

Thanks to Catalyst for pointing me to this video. BTW, will I see you at Catalyst East this year?

4 Ways to Guarantee I Follow You Back on Twitter

I have lots of Twitter followers. I love the connections I’ve made on Twitter and always open to new connections. I decided early in my Tweeting days to follow every legitimate person who follows me. That allows for direct messages, which, to keep down the amount of Tweets I send per day, is how I mostly communicate on Twitter.

With the addition of Google+ (You can find me HERE.) to the social media world, my Twitter follower growth seems to have slowed, but I’ve noticed more followers who appear to be Spammers. It’s hard to “check out” each one of them, so I end up not following some of them back in the case that they aren’t real people.

Here is how you can ensure I’ll follow you back on Twitter:

Don’t make me open your profile page – I use Tweetdeck, so I don’t always go to your page to follow your Tweets.

Use a real name – Most of the Spammers now have learned this secret, but it’s still a good step to have a name that makes you seem like a real person.

Have a person picture – Again, I’m trying to find real people. I’m glad you love your car or have a nice logo, but if I can’t identify you as a real person, I’m less likely to follow you back.

Have a clear bio – The most certain way to ensure you’re followed is to give me your best explanation in 140 characters or less of who you are and what you’re about.

If you’re a real person…I really do want to follow you back. Really! If I’ve missed following you, please let me know.

How do you decide whether to follow someone back?

New Ideas Come From Doing…

In my experience, many of the new ideas for our organization…and for my life…have come while I was doing something else.

Usually when we are working on planning a service it’s when the best ideas for a service develop…

Often when I’m working on a blog post, I get several new ideas for a blog post…

Look at most great inventions and they were discovered while doing something…many times while doing something totally unrelated to what was discovered…

That’s because…

New ideas come from doing…

If you want to learn to innovate…if your organization needs changes…if you need some new ideas…

Do more and you’ll discover more…

Try more…Experiment more…Test more…Take more risks…

You’ll find some new ideas…

What’s something new your church (or you personally) are trying these days?

How I Lost 10 Pounds in Less than 2 Months using LoseIt

I believe physical health is important for the leader. I have written about this before HERE. I know there are times a leader can’t do anything about his or her health, but if there is an option, the leader should strive to be healthy. It makes me more productive when I feel better physically.

Recently I lost 10 pounds to get in even better shape.

A short history:

I’m 47…I feel good…and I’m in good shape physically. I run almost everyday. I monitor my weight and I eat semi-healthy. In my mid thirties I got slightly overweight, about 15 pounds, and decided to do something about it. I worked hard to reach my ideal weight and stay there consistently for almost 10 years. In the last 18 months, due to stressful, fast-paced living, and lots of traveling, I added back another 10 pounds. I tried what had worked before to lose the weight, but nothing seemed to work.

Some call it a middle-aged spread.

The story:

On March 30th of this year, I had lunch with my friend Michael Hyatt. I hadn’t seen Michael in a couple months and instantly recognized how well he looked. He had obviously lost weight. He is slightly older than me, so I knew he would probably struggle as I had, so I asked him for his secret. Always a teacher, Michael shared with me that he had been closely monitoring what he eats using the LoseIt application. I had tried this application, but never disciplined myself to actually use it. Michael is one of the most intentional guys I know and a tremendous mentor, so I knew if he was recommending it I should do this!

This time I was determined. It worked!

Here’s how the LoseIt application worked for me:

I loaded the application on my iPhone, iPad, and laptop. I wanted it easily accessible and thankfully it cloud syncs with all three.

I set a goal in the application of where I want to get to in weight. Based on my age and height, the program figures an estimated calories I can eat per day to lose the amount of weight per week I say I want to lose. Right now I’m set at 1.5 pounds per week. You could do 1 pound or 2 pounds. I took the middle number. This gives me an estimated date to reach my target.

Before every meal I look up the foods I’m about to eat. I also use the MyFitnessPal app, which seems to have more foods available, but they are not always as accurate. This decision alone saves me hundreds of calories a day simply in awareness.

After each meal I enter in the foods I have eaten. LoseIt has many of them pre-loaded and once I save them I can always go back to that food easily. Most of us repeat meals and foods we like, which makes this feature helpful. By the way, the picture is a stock photo, not mine. I actually cut out most sodas and junk food too. This process makes me think healthier to save calories.

Following any exercise I add the time spent, which figures a calorie lost value and adds that number to my daily calorie allowance. This is huge motivation to exercise more, even if it’s simply walking.

Everyday I add my weight for the day and it shows me my progress towards my goal. You can choose to add your weight whenever you want. Some want to do this daily, but some want to do it weekly.

In less than 2 months, I’m at my desired weight again. I’ve actually set a lower than desired weight gaol I’m working on now so that when I fluctuate I gain towards my desired weight, not above it.

People say they don’t want to be that strict with their eating habits. I agree, and I don’t intend to be forever either. I like to eat what I want to eat, but I do plan to be smarter about what I eat and this process has helped me form healthier habits. I would, however, remind you that if you went to Dave Ramsey for money advice, he would first have them write down everything they spend. It’s the same with what we eat. If we don’t know, we are likely to overeat, eat the wrong foods, and will struggle to remain a healthy weight.

Want to accept a challenge to get healthier? Are you serious about this process?

Join the fun!

Challenge: Let’s Make It A Great Week!

This is a random Sunday afternoon post…

I want to encourage us to have a great week this next week…

I believe and strive for continual improvement…

In my experience, this happens best when we make intentional changes…

That’s the point of this post…

This next week, I want to encourage…challenge…even dare you to make an intentional change to improve something in your life

I’ll go first…

This week, I plan to pray more specifically…

I frequently use a prayer list, but I seldom follow it…

This week I want that to change…

Now your turn…

It can be anything…about any subject…just so it’s an intentional change to improve your life…

What intentional change are you going to make this week to make things better in your life?

GO!

Megabus: Innovation in Bus Transportation

There is a fairly new player in the transportation industry that I knew nothing about until recently. I love innovation and change, so I find this company encouraging in numerous ways.

It’s called Megabus.

Have you seen them?

Megabus is basically an updated Greyhound. When I was young, people didn’t fly as much as they do today. Instead, many people used the Greyhound bus system (and others) to get from city to city. I bus transportation is still popular traveling from big city to big city, but I see far less of them on the roads these days. I once rode a Greyhound bus from my home in Tennessee to visit family in Kansas. It was a long trip, but I enjoyed keeping a record of every city we in which we stopped along the way. Over the years, as airline competition made prices more reasonable, bus transportation seems to have become less popular. That may change with companies like Megabus.

Last week, while traveling to Chicago to pick up my son Nate from college, I saw several Megabuses on the road. I wasn’t familiar with them, so I asked my son. He knew all about them. Apparently, many students from his school use them to get to and from home.

What makes Megabus different from Greyhound? Well, the good looking modern fleet, double decker buses come equipped with comfortable reclining seats, courteous drivers and free Wi-Fi. Each seat is equipped with outlets to charge your phone or plug in a DVD player. Tickets must be purchased online in advance, which means most customers are often students or professionals. I passed numerous Megabuses on my trip and they were neatly painted, attractive and easy to spot. The couple Greyhound buses I passed honestly needed a paint job. Megabus is able to provide their services at a very reasonable rate, certainly cheaper than air travel and some seats starting at less than $5.00 if bought far enough in advance.

Megabus as a company is encouraging, because I see innovation working to save an industry. I’m not sure I’m up for a long bus ride anytime soon, but I see where it could be an alternative for many people. I don’t think about bus transportation often, but if you had asked me about it a few weeks ago, I would have said the bus industry was not a place where we were likely to see growth or change…almost a dying industry. Megabus reminds me that sometimes you simply have to think outside the norm and do something different and better than others are doing them. My suspicision is that the folks at Greyhound are paying special attention to Megabus and the competition will encourage positive changes that are good for all customers.

Just curious…can you think of any other industries/organizations that could use some “Megabus” innovation?

Did you ever take a Greyhound bus ride? What about a Megabus ride? Share your journey with us!

Let’s Write a Story Together…Two

Let’s write a story together!

We did this last year and it was a lot of fun. You can read our finished story HERE. Several asked if we could repeat it. I’ve picked up a few readers since then, so this is new for some of you.

Here is how this works: (Please read carefully)

  • I will write an opening set up sentence.
  • You add the next line.
  • Read the other comments first, to see how the story is flowing.
  • You can only add one line until someone else adds a line.
  • Please don’t try to write one long sentence that really is a paragraph. The fun is getting the different inputs and imagination to work together.
  • You can add as many lines as you want, but only one at a time, and only with someone else having a line between yours.
  • Please try to keep the story flowing. Your sentence can be light-hearted, funny, or even tragic, but please DO NOT add a sentence that stops the story or takes it in a bizarre direction in an effort to disrupt the story serious that commenters are writing or take it in an awkward direction. (There’s always one like this and I reserve the right to delete the comment if it appears that’s what is happening with the comment.)
  • I will not be able to use crude or vulgar comments. (I realize that will limit some of you from participating, but…)
  • Please add your sentence here on the post as a comment, not on Facebook and Twitter. This is the only way it will be added to the final story.

The goal here is to be creative and see where our imagination and the story takes us, yet write a credible, interesting story. After comments seem to be slowing, I’ll post the entire story in a separate post. If you leave your full name, I’ll give you credit in the excerpts. If you have a blog link when you add your comment, I’ll link to you also.

Have fun!

Here is the first sentence:

Steve chuckled under his breath as he watched the strawberry blonde-haired little girl playing in his backyard.

Go! Your turn!

To make this even more fun, tweet or Facebook share this post to get more involved.

Organizational Learning From Google

I read recently that the creators of Google weren’t looking to create Google when they discovered the complex way of indexing pages. They were working on a research project for their PhD program and stumbled upon the genius of google page ranking, did a little more exploration, and the rest is the incredible history of Google. In fact, I also read where, learning from their history, Google allows employees up to 20% of their time to explore new ideas and innovation.

It made me think about how organizations function. Are we organized to discover the next Google?

Let your team explore and you’ll discover some great stuff. Finding the “next big thing” is certainly more difficult without the exploration.

Plus, it’s damaging long-term for a team to be limited in this area of growth potential. If your team isn’t freed to explore:

  • They grow bored
  • Growth stalls
  • Valuable discoveries are never found.

What new insights is your team discovering?

More importantly perhaps, are they being positioned for discovery? Do they even have the freedom, built into your system?

Helping Tornado Victims in Alabama

My friend Casey Graham is a game changer. When he is passionate about something, he doesn’t just talk about it, he does something. This past week, Casey’s home state of Alabama was devastated by one of the worst tornado disasters in history.  Casey knew that in any disaster, the greatest need is always money, because money allows the team on the ground to do what is necessary to address the greatest needs. Casey went to work. In just 24 hours, this effort has raised over $75,000.   You can read more about it HERE. Casey is working through Cross Point Church in Decatur, Alabama.

Casey has set up a leadership team to oversee this process. He’s asked me to be a part of that team. You can read about that HERE.

He’s challenging churches and others to be a part. Read the latest challenge HERE.

There are many great efforts out there. Americans show their generosity during times like this. Casey is attempting to assist people without insurance or under insured. If you’d like to help, click HERE.

What other ways are people helping? Feel free to point people to those ways to support by leaving a comment.