In order to do what matters most right now, you need to first know what matters most. That is not always obvious. I use a simple test to see if I’ve got it. I ask, are “should” and “want” and “can” aligned for this action? If they are, this is clearly a valuable step to […]

“I need more time.” That is what a client told me was the solution to his grueling work schedule. We say such things without thinking about it, but it’s worth pausing for a moment to focus on the thought. How could the solution possibly be more time? There is no such thing as getting more […]

It’s easy to fall into a counterproductive pattern. Perhaps you often check email before settling down to work–and then reading the email wipes out your morning work time. Or three days in a row you put off an important call until the afternoon–then forget to make it until it is too late to call. Looking […]

It’s easier to think at your desk than on your feet. Knowing this, you can make it easier to follow through on your own good intentions. Good intentions often fail when “something” comes up. For example, you intend to exercise at lunch, but then at 11:45 you see you won’t finish what you’re doing in […]

If worries never break your concentration, congratulations. Most of us get stuck occasionally in a worry loop. For example, you might be trying to work out some budget numbers, when you start worrying about whether they will be acceptable to your boss. Each number triggers a new version of the worry. When this happens, telling […]

It happens to the best of us. You sit down to work on your top project, but soon you find yourself thinking about how to respond to a contentious email. Or after a solid hour’s work, you step out for a quick break and get waylaid by a co-worker who “just needs five minutes” help. […]

By some estimates, people lose 2 hours of work a day due to interruptions. The time is wasted in two ways: First, when you are interrupted, you often lose your place. You have to go back and redo some of the work to restore your working context. Second, the topic of the interruption is often […]

Don’t be embarrassed if you occasionally feel scattered. It’s a normal transition state. For example, after you’ve finished a major project, you may feel somewhat scattered until you’ve figured out the next big thing to focus on. But don’t let yourself remain feeling scattered for long. A scattered state is an indecisive state. None of […]

In the chaos of battle, military doctors use a system of triage to determine whom to treat. They divide the wounded into three categories: those who will survive without treatment, those who will likely die despite treatment, and those for whom treatment will make the difference between life and death. In desperate battlefield conditions, the […]

Imagine this scenario: Bob is working on manpower estimates for the upcoming year, a big project. Two hours in, when he is deep in the details, his boss drags him away to a meeting with a customer. During the meeting, new ideas for the manpower estimates pop into his head uninvited. He can’t pay attention […]

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