Category Archives: Productivity

Mick Jagger has daily habits. What are yours?

Secrets for insurance and real estate agents to skyrocket their sales.

Every real estate agent and insurance agent wants more and better clients to make more and better sales.

This is not a secret.

What is a secret are the lies some agents tell themselves as to why they don’t have more and better clients that lead to more and better sales.

People in sales who are struggling always have a list of excuses as to why they are not doing better. These excuses help them rationalize and reinforce what they are doing, even though it is wrong.

Excuses are their way of not holding themselves accountable.

Excuses are how they blame others for their failures.

Excuses are often lies they use to avoid doing the real work involved with being successful.

Lots of people believe their own excuses.  Excuses absolve us from responsibility.

That is why they are excuses and not actual reasons.

Here is the difference:

Excuse: “I did not sell any cars this month because no one has financing.”

Response: “Ha!  You mean from all of the people who walked into your showroom in the past month, not ONE had financing options? Statistically, that is improbable.”

An actual reason is a legitimate explanation.

Reason: “I did not sell any cars this month because I tested positive for COVID and was too sick to work.”

Response: “I hope you and the people around you are healthy soon.”

Many people confuse excuses and reasons.

The secret to consistently good sales is consistency.  Every day, the best agents and sales people, in their given field, are consistent with three things:

  1. Their outreach
  2. Their follow-up
  3. Their excellence in serving their customers

Sales strategies need to be done every day.

My friend, Meridith Elliott-Powell, author of the brilliant new book, Thrive: Turning Uncertainty Into Competitive Advantage has a daily routine, regardless of late night travel, early morning keynotes, or book deadlines.

Every morning she exercises, reviews her goals, and makes 2 client calls.  Every morning.  She never misses a day.  The habit of reaching out to her clients is as routine as brushing her teeth.  She does it consistently and it works.

Is it easy?  No.  Especially when the flight the night before was 7 hours late and Meridith lands at 2:47 AM. It would be easy for her to make excuses: “The flight was delayed by 7 hours so I am going to skip the calls today.”

But Meridith doesn’t make excuses.  As a result, she is recognized as one of the world’s top sales thought leaders.

1. Outreach

What are you doing on a daily basis to find new and better customers and clients?

Where are you looking?

How are you attracting people on a daily basis to buy from you?

Where are your buyers online? In-person?

Where do you have to go, either online or in-person to connect with your buyers?

Where do they want to connect with you?

2. Follow-up

One of the questions I ask sales people during sales programs is whether they could do a better job following up with their customers and clients.  Practically everyone says they could do a better job with follow-up.

The follow-on question is “what can you do to follow-up with your people?”  Sales people always have a great list of things they could do to follow-up with clients.

They just don’t take the action.

So why don’t we follow-up the way we should?

Some people think they are bothering their customer and clients.  If you are providing valuable information, you are not bothering them.  You are staying top of mind.

Others make excuses that it is the wrong time of day, they don’t have new information, or that they are waiting for a better time.

Let’s focus on the follow-up.  The time is now.  Make the call.  Send the email.  Show up.

Do it every day.  Be consistent.

If you need ideas on follow-up, the 5-Minute Follow-Up Plan is free here.

3. Serve

Agents who get into sales for the quick buck usually don’t last very long.  When certain markets are hot, they attract more agents.  The bad agents get washed out fairly fast.

Great real estate agents know that for most people, buying a home is the single largest investment their clients will ever make.  We need great real estate agents.  A car is the second largest investment most people will ever make.  We need great car experts.  Protecting homes and cars and the people inside them is why we need great insurance agents.

Clients want their agents to be knowledgeable about their unique situations, have solved similar problems, and be able to make the complex processes a little easier.

Customers want a good quality product.  They want great advice and guidance.

They want interactions with salespeople to be pleasant.  They want the process to be easy, with trustworthy communication every step of the way.

Great agents work for their clients.  They watch out for what is best for their clients.  In real estate, they do not encourage them to buy a more expensive house even though their commission is usually based on the purchase price of the house.

Great agents of all kinds serve their clients in a way that is best for the clients.  And they serve consistently.

Mary Kelly-PhD, is a US Naval Academy Graduate, an Internationally known Economist and Award-winning Leadership Expert and Keynote Speaker, Best-selling Author, and a retired US Navy Commander! Mary has spent over 25 years teaching and training more than 40,000 military and civilian personnel. She is now on a mission to spread her message of success with audiences worldwide, sharing with them the secrets to being a true leader in today’s workplace. Call 888-766-3155 to book Mary for your upcoming events.

Virtual is Here to Stay!

I will be honest, never thought as the CEO of Remarkable! A Speakers Bureau I would be saying or writing this post; but virtual is here to stay! Especially in the event services industry, of which I have been a part of for longer than many of you reading this have been alive!

Virtual communication is not going away! Speakers, celebrities, entertainers, and music artists are seeing the advantages of this fast-growing technology and embracing it. 

Remember or heard about when computers were first introduced in Corporate America? Many executives and leaders thought it would not last, and they would soon be back to using paper and fax machines. Sounds like stone age living, doesn’t it? At least I did grow up with color television and movies! 

Once everyone experienced what computers could offer, they embraced it, trained hard, and saw the advantages of the technology. It became a reality for the best future! 

A few years later the same situation happened with cellular technology. The corporate executives who created the technology, and brought it to the marketplace began to think, it was too expensive, not everyone would want it or be able to afford it. After all, who would want to see pictures on a phone? They sold the technology, thinking they would be going back to landlines and leasing telephones and cellular would soon just fade away! 

The early models of cell phones were expensive, big, bulky, heavy, carried in a bag, or installed in a car; but they sold well! The needs of customers changed and cellular was advancing and people saw the need to accept and embrace it! Think of things today, could you live without your cell phone or computer? 

In 2008 when the recession hit remember what happened to the events industry? No longer were events seen as a necessity, but as a luxury that companies, associations, universities, and nonprofits could no longer afford or justify hosting. It was the end of a successful career for some speakers. 

But what about those who did not quit? It was a time of learning what clients and audiences really wanted and how it could be presented in a more engaging and value based experience that people would be willing to pay for. Gone were the lectures, podiums, and marketing and your presence on social media became important! Many of you reading this were a product of those times, and until March of 2020 everything had recovered and was going well! 

Now comes the Virtual World created out of necessity and developing fast! Everyone thought it was only going to be temporary, and would soon be going back to just like it was in February 2020! 

One of our speakers, Award-winning Kenyon Salo was just like you in thinking it would not be long before audiences would be so excited about being back with others and learning in-person, and we would be going back soon to like it used to be. As time passed, he realized that he needed to venture into seeing what doing virtual professionally was all about!

Once Kenyon learned what it would take, he and his team expanded and now he shares: “Live events will bring you virtual events, & virtual events will bring you live events.” But to be a major player in our industry you are going to need to do both professionally to have your message heard!

Others also saw the technology was expanding quickly, the workplace was changing, and they wanted to meet the needs of new audiences all over the world, as travel was being impacted too; and still make the income they and their families counted on. They also had the vision to see that even when they were able to appear in-person it was not going to be the same.

There would still be a virtual audience and not only would you need to be a speaker, entertainer, and music artist for the in-person audience you were going to need the technical skills to either do virtual by itself, and also handle the new hybrid events being created, which combined both.

You might be wondering, how did this happen? What is driving companies, associations, universities, nonprofits, and the entertainment world to embrace virtual and create hybrid events for the audiences of today?

Here is what we found: 

  • Cost– with a large majority of the workforce working from home, (and many will not be returning to offices), the cost savings has been such that virtual is seen as the solution to business recovery. 
  • Time– virtual saves time attending in-person events and being away from work and personal time. 
  • Productivity– studies show that working remotely located is proving to be more productive than ever, so that is where a large percentage of the workforce will be doing everything including meetings, conventions and conferences, virtually.  
  • Travel– virtual saves time, expenses, safety requirements, for the attendees, planners, and for speakers, entertainers, and music artists. A lot of global travel is so restricted that virtual is proving to be the best investment for the world to be involved in.  
  • Safety– with the extra cost of having to provide so many more health and safety requirements, virtual is the answer. 
  • Fear– it will take a long time for a lot of audiences to feel safe, no matter what venues and planners do to attract the large numbers we have seen in the past. Virtual will be the answer for them and our industry.
  • Technology rapid advances– the virtual technology, unlike the computer and cellular technology, is doing such quick innovations that it makes it easier to host, and attend virtual events vs in-person. However we know, it is much harder to learn to do virtual vs in-person, there is an investment to doing virtual professionally and successfully, and the learning curve is much shorter and always changing!  

Now the choice is yours! Are you going to embrace the technology of virtual and do what it will take to include virtual in your total offerings as a speaker, entertainer, and music artist, and be the best at it, or not? Here at Remarkable! A Speakers Bureau, we know Virtual is here to stay, and we are ready to “Book Outside the Box!”

#virtualevents #speakers #entertainers #musicartists #eventplanners #meetingplanners #conferences #business meetings #future #success #embracevirtual

Sue Falcone, CEO of Remarkable! A Speakers Bureau is a visionary and has some BIG News coming soon for her bureau! She features here Kenyon Salo who is a Top International Motivational and Inspirational Keynote Speaker, Corporate Trainer, Emcee, and Facilitator. He is a high-energy speaker with the elements of a James Bond character and Master of Virtual and Hybrid Events! Kenyon takes the stage carrying confidence, paying close attention to detail, dominating technology, dressing to kill, and always striving to connect deeply with his audiences. He stays cool under pressure while bringing attendees through an immersive experience of what it means to live a Bucket List Life. Call Sue and her staff at 888-766-3155 to book Kenyon for your next event.

Don’t Leave Your BIG Goals to Chance! Reliably Achieve BIG Goals Faster

Don’t Leave Your BIG Goals to Chance! Reliably Achieve BIG Goals Faster

By Carl Loop

Do you hear people state a BIG goal that makes you inwardly (or outwardly) just shake your head in disbelief? As in, you have about as much chance of accomplishing that as a New Years resolution (which has about 8% chance of being accomplished on average).
And yet, people do accomplish goals, they even accomplish BIG goals that they (and often everyone else) once thought were impossible!
• 7 and 8 Figure Business Growth at Record Speed
• Owning 200 Investment Property Homes
• 1st Female NFL Coach and Hall of Fame
• Feeding 10’s of Thousands of People
• Winning the Nobel Prize
• Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro with No Arms and No Legs (Kyle Maynard)

Leaving your BIG Goals to Chance risks having them downsized or discarded! Reliably Achieve BIG Goals Faster from these 5 Steps!
5 Steps to Reliably Achieve BIG Goals Faster!

The Power of Vision.

“Without Vision the Past Predicts the Future.”
The future is predictable without a Vision. A Vision uses your Belief System to creates new access to something greater. A Vision is your “come from” place and communicates your BOLD Stand. It’s the secret weapon that pulls you through tough times and boosts you to a higher place.
Having only a resource and task focus develops survival/safety concerns which bring survival results and create interactions of force, competition, self-interest and disconnection. Vision focus develops aliveness, power, collaboration, community and connection, all of which reliably drive you higher.

Don’t Go it Alone.

Individually, we are self-limiting, less accountable and less reliable. One of my BIG successful clients says: “we have that little voice in our head that doesn’t want us to be anything.”  When we are aware of others knowing and supporting what we are up to, or being aware that others expect our greatness, it pulls us higher and more reliably forward. The best version of ourselves comes when we contribute to others and others contribute to us.

Performance on Purpose.

“If you’re just performing to lifeless goals, you’ll be lifeless about achieving them.”
The greatest version of you, the version that has and can achieve the impossible, comes from connecting to a purpose (rooted in your Vision) that moves you. Performance on Purpose comes from seeing your life as a movie where you are the hero having victory over undesirable forces, and where you are helping to free others from those undesirable forces.
A goal driven by purpose has a much higher reliability to be achieved.
Also, we must continuously renew ourselves with our purpose so we can maintain performance at our extraordinary personal best.


“Businesses that Plan Together Pull Together.”
Create a unified Roadmap of Prioritized Goals, Plan, Action. Clarity catapults results.
It’s only a lofty dream until you know the steps for achieving it.
Often, in the patterns and chaos of daily doing, we miss the BIG pieces unless we have the Vision, Goals, Plan, Action roadmap.

Set “Control Points” So You Maintain Progress.

Communicate frequently at specific, committed times. Committed communication greatly increases Reliably Achieving BIG Goals Faster.
Develop and Commit to an Escalation process when things go off track. Have a “By When” date on when you will complete something.
Define and Accept an accountability process and have discipline to hold yourself -and accept having others- hold you to it.

Don’t leave your BIG Goals to chance.  Schedule a 15 minutes conversation today!

Carl Loop says the most amazing thing about what he does is to help people “See the Unseen” to LEAP opportunities.  His various award-winning corporate, entrepreneurial, creative, technical and leadership background and experiences enable him to bring a new perspective so you see the unseen to “Achieve The LEAP.”

Carl is passionate about helping people “Achieve The LEAP.”  To date, he has helped businesses profit by 10’s of Millions of dollars…and counting!  When Carl was very young, he could jump really far, and became a bit of a celebrity in schoolyard competitions. People started calling Carl “Leaping Loop” and it has stuck ever since! Call 888-766-3155 to book Carl for your next event!

How To Ruin Your Event

How To Ruin Your Event

By David Deeble

There’s lots of ways to ruin an event. Let’s talk about ruining the entertainment portion, especially if you have gone with comedy.

With any type of live entertainment there is a relationship between the audience and the performer. Nowhere is this more pronounced than with comedy entertainment which, when performed at the highest level, is much more like a dialogue than a monologue. The audience might be able to chat amongst themselves and still enjoy a rock band, but not so with, say stand-up: to be successful the craft requires an audience that is totally engaged.

A professional, experienced and talented comedian knows when an audience isn’t with her and will prattle, prod and engage an audience until she knows they are focused and only then will he get to the heart of her act and the business of making them laugh.

But how, you may ask, can I make a comedy entertainer’s job as difficult as possible?

Let’s say you’re a professional event planner or someone who is otherwise responsible for planning an event for your company. You’ve done your homework and found a comedian who is accomplished, a pleasure to work with and perfectly suits your needs. Now the question is, what can you do to thwart this his remarkable talents and years of experience and make everyone in attendance uncomfortable at the same time?

Here are a few simple things you can do to ensure that the delicate, essential bond between an audience and a comedian is tenuous at best or, better yet, never established in the first place.

• Schedule The Entertainer Immediately After A Break

The room is pumped. The most-popular, hardest-working guy or gal in the company has just received his well-deserved award from the CEO and the energy in the room is at its peak. Whatever you do, don’t harness the audience’s energy by immediately introducing to the stage the entertainer you’ve budgeted a sizable sum to procure. Instead, have the CEO, emcee or whoever has the floor to announce a break “of about 15 minutes”. That should be enough time for the room to deflate, the energy vanish and allow the stragglers to head back into the room and settle into their seats while chatting with their fellow fellow employees about golf plans for the following weekend.

• Seat The Audience At Round Banquet Tables

For the love of God, you’re not going to ensure that all the seats in the audience are facing the stage, are you? No, no, no. When an entertainer walks on stage you want roughly half the audience facing the back of the room. That way more people will be able to tell when the line for the open bar is down to only a few people. You might also consider leaving the doors in the back of the room open, allowing those seated with their backs to the stage to “people watch” the smokers, stragglers and maybe even catch a glimpse of that woman from the coat check with the ineffable aura about her. Ideally, you want these people who face the back of the room to be completely unaware of what is going on on the stage. Think muzak.

• Serve Food During The Show

When a world-class comedy entertainer and a mediocre salad go head to head, the salad wins every time. Anything requiring utensils is best – after all, people are capable of enjoying a comedian with finger food like popcorn just as they are capable of enjoying a movie. Of course, it never hurts to have hard-working servers bustling from table to table pouring water, grinding pepper and sending that steak back to the kitchen until it’s done right.

• Arrange For A Large, Empty Space Between The Stage And The Front Row

Nothing is more conducive to an attentive, engaged audience like seating them as close to the stage as possible. There’s an intimacy to this seating arrangement that mimics the openness and rapport of an private conversation. This is why you want a large empty space surrounding the stage. Many venues place a small stage against the wall of a large banquet hall and surround it with a large, empty dance floor: this is the ideal way to ensure your money and reputation go to waste. Nothing sends the the audience the signal “You have nothing to do with this performance” quite like seating everyone no less than a metric mile of the edge of the stage. This way audience members can chat with each other throughout the show while feeling – wrongly – that it has no impact on the overall performance.

The above are just a few basic, feng-shui examples of how to ruin the entertainment portion of your event. The truth is, there are almost as many ways to ruin it as there are second-rate entertainers to ruin it for you.

Do you know other ways to ensure that entertaining at your event is as uphill a battle as possible?

David Deeble’s career in comedy began at the age of 8 when he joined the Long Beach Mystics, a now-legendary magic club in Long Beach, California. There, he was schooled relentless
ly in the importance of being a polished entertainer – not just a magic act. After opening for such comedians as Ray Romano and Kevin James, David made his debut as the variety star in “Bare Essence” at Harrah’s, Lake Tahoe. From there, he began making numerous appearances on American television including “America’s Got Talent,” “Last Comic Standing,” and “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” on which he performed his trademark grocery-sack juggling routine. To Hire David as your next Entertainer, click here or call 888-766-3155 to book him!

The Strategic Fit – Building Relationships with Speakers’ Bureaus

The Strategic Fit – Building Relationships with Speakers’ Bureaus

By Christy Lamagna, CMP, CMM, CTSM

This is the final piece in a three-part series recapping a conversation I had with Sue Falcone, Founder and CEO of Remarkable! A Speakers Bureau on how planners can strategically build relationships with speaker’s bureaus. The Strategic Fit - Building Relationships with Speakers' Bureaus

This is the final piece in a three-part series recapping a conversation I had with Sue Falcone, Founder and CEO of Remarkable! A Speakers Bureau on how planners can strategically build relationships with speaker’s bureaus. Part one introduces the value of the speakers’ bureau, and part two talks about event speaker trends.

Christy: What do you do about speakers who speak from scripts and are reluctant or unwilling to adapt the message to an audience?

Sue: It’s essential to make sure every client gets a unique and custom experience. Audiences will not accept “canned” presentations, although once that was the norm.  Every speaker search I do starts with a thorough questionnaire for the speaker and the planner so that I know exactly what is expected from and needed from both sides.  It doesn’t matter how many times I have worked with a client; every piece of business must be earned.  Fresh, relevant material is a must and that means adapting to the audience.

Christy: What do you say to those who think they can’t afford to hire a speaker or to those who would prefer to simply book directly?

Sue: I focus on creating an experience from the initial contact, so fees are not the first thing we discuss. I want to know what the client is looking for and what the goal is for bringing in the speaker. From there, it’s my job to find solutions and secure a speaker they like and need.

As for being able to afford my services, there are a few key points to keep in mind. Always ask if the bureau’s fees are paid for by the client or the speaker as it varies by organization. At Remarkable Speakers! the speaker pays for the booking, so there is no cost to the client for utilizing my services. It is also important to know that the speaker fees we quote are not marked up to cover the fees the speaker pays us.

The additional thing to keep in mind is the expertise offered by the bureau. After listening to what the client wants, I make initial recommendations, factoring in not just the speaker’s content but their style. It has to be a good fit at every level. No one has time to waste, so working with a pro means only seeing speakers who meet your needs, style and budget. Watching clips on You Tube and searching the net for speakers can take hours and may not lead you anywhere.

Christy:  Planners are so often in ‘go’ mode that they forget to stop and consult the experts. It’s a good reminder that help is available and that the service providers will likely do a better job than we could. Thanks for that quick reality check!

Sue: I think we can all fall into that trap sometimes! To continue: as for budget: I never apologize or shy away from the cost to book a speaker. Some of the best advice ever given to me that I live by was: “when quoting fees you should be able to do it without blinking an eye. Do it with confidence, facts, and commitments.”

That doesn’t mean there isn’t room for negotiation.  Both sides need to walk away feeling good about the partnership. I can work with both parties to create mutually agreeable terms.  I love the “thrill of the hunt” and closing deals. After booking thousands of speakers I have tons of creative ways clients and speakers can find middle ground.

Christy: My friend is a speaker. Why do I need one of yours?

Sue:  Now, more than ever, everyone thinks they are a speaker, or knows someone who is! I always thank my clients for the opportunity to “earn their business.” Often, when looking for a speaker, initially, people do not know what they want. Even if they have a friend or colleague in mind, it’s a good possibility they still are looking for suggestions. I find that many times after a few questions, the client is not quite as sold on their friend as it might have first appeared.

Knowing the speaker has advantages but does not guarantee it’s the right fit. I ask questions about what they are looking for in their speaker, and does their friend have all need to have a successful event. I share key things to look at; great video clips, an active and engaged social media presence where you can see reviews and testimonials, and what their marketing materials look like to see how fresh, current, and relevant their speaker is. I make sure they think through the ‘why’ around choosing their friend as the speaker.  It’s important to remember that the impact of choosing the best speaker reflects on them.  I want my clients and potential clients to be seen as “rock stars” for choosing the perfect speaker and having a successful event. Sometimes their friend may be their speaker of choice.

To me it’s about helping people make good decisions so even if we don’t book a speaker, I am still thankful for creating a relationship that can be developed for future business. The other opportunity is for me to add a new speaker to my roster as we are always looking for Remarkable Speakers!

A huge thanks to Sue for her time, expertise, buoyant personality and wisdom. I speak to many people each day and few have Sue’s remarkable spirit, candor and enthusiasm. I hope you all enjoyed reading this as much as I had speaking to her. To continue the conversation, leave a note in the comments section below, find me on Twitter: @SMEChristy or email me:

CEO, Sue Falcone, recognized the need for a speakers bureau that would represent professional speakers, and provide the perfect speaker for clients who sought the best for their events with a personal “hands on” custom touch.

From a former corporate executive, to becoming a professional speaker and author being hired, and creating a distinctive and unique speakers bureau representing speakers for hire, she gained the experience and expertise needed to give a full service experience.


Are You Getting Enough Rest to Be Productive?

work and enjoy lifeI chose to take time off over the Memorial Day week-end, and though I had things that needed to be done it was time to take a rest! My husband was celebrating his birthday week, and as a gift I rewarded both of us with a mini in-house vacation!

We decided each day to do fun things we had been putting off doing together, and went out and accomplished them! We visited historic places around our city, spent time at the zoo, walked, ate out at restaurants we had not visited before, and caught up on some reading. We let the normal routines be interrupted and at the end of the 3 days we were renewed, refreshed, and ready to be back in the routine of our life together!

I recently read a blog post by Camilla Hallstrom about 29 Essential Time Management Tips to Optimize Your Work Productivity and found out some interesting information about rest and productivity!

Some of the tips she shared to be most productive are to:
get 6.5-7.5 hours of sleep- she also shares tips on how to sleep to get the most rest
start our work early as our brains are most productive the first 2.5-4 hours after waking up
plan to take at least one day a week to completely rest
eat healthy- fruits and vegetables are best for being more productive and help us to get the rest we need
exercise regularly- planned it will help us be more productive and rested
take a vacation- without working
disconnect from technology at times you are not working
learn to quit multi-tasking
learn to say no

I am sure we have all heard these before; but the key is are you relating them to productivity by staying on purpose and enjoying life?

I want to live an abundant life that I know we can, how about you? As a recovering workaholic, perfectionist, and “queen of multi-tasking” I know when I choose to do some of these tips, I am at my best and in “my zone!”

I plan on making some needed permanent changes in my personal and professional life to rest and enjoy life; and still be productive and have a successful company and meet our business goals!  Want to join me? It is possible!

Have a great restful and productive week!

Sue Falcone
Sue Falcone



Work Smarter, Not Harder: 21 Time Management Tips to Hack Productivity

Post ReBlogged Via

iStock_000000350369Small_610_300_s_c1_center_centerA lot of folks in our society try to be hyper-productive.

You know — the people who scurry from task to task, always checking e-mail, organizing something, making a call, running an errand, etc.

The people who do this often subscribe to the idea that “staying busy” means you’re working hard and are going to be more successful.

While this belief may be true to an extent, it often leads to mindless “productivity” — a constant need to do something and a tendency to waste time on menial tasks.

Instead of behaving in this way, I choose to do things differently.

Working Smarter, Not Harder

The old adage, “work smarter, not harder” has become a staple in the way I go about work of any kind.

Instead of being robotic in how I approach tasks, I try to be thoughtful and always ask myself if something can be done more efficiently or eliminated altogether.

Managing my time isn’t about squeezing as many tasks into my day as possible. It’s about simplifying how I work, doing things faster, and relieving stress.

It’s about clearing away space in my life to make time for people, play, and rest.

I promise you — there really are enough hours in a day for everything you’d like to do, but it may take a bit of rearranging and re-imagining to find them.

21 Time Management Tips

I compiled this list of 21 tips to hopefully nudge you in the right direction.

Remember: There are innumerable hacks and tricks to manage your time effectively. These are some tips that I find helpful, but everyone is different.

Let this list be a catalyst to get you thinking regularly about how to refine your own practices.

1. Complete most important tasks first.

This is the golden rule of time management. Each day, identify the two or three tasks that are the most crucial to complete, and do those first.

Once you’re done, the day has already been a success. You can move on to other things, or you can let them wait until tomorrow. You’ve finished the essential.

2. Learn to say “no”.

Making a lot of time commitments can teach us how to juggle various engagements and manage our time. This can be a great thing.

However, you can easily take it too far. At some point, you need to learn to decline opportunities. Your objective should be to take on only those commitments that you know you have time for and that you truly care about.

3. Sleep at least 7-8 hours.

Some people think sacrificing sleep is a good way to hack productivity and wring a couple extra hours out of the day. This is not the case.

Most people need 7-8 hours of sleep for their bodies and minds to function optimally. You know if you’re getting enough. Listen to your body, and don’t underestimate the value of sleep.

4. Devote your entire focus to the task at hand.

Close out all other browser windows. Put your phone away, out of sight and on silent. Find a quiet place to work, or listen to some music if that helps you (I enjoy listening to classical or ambient music while writing sometimes).

Concentrate on this one task. Nothing else should exist. Immerse yourself in it.

5. Get an early start.

Nearly all of us are plagued by the impulse to procrastinate. It seems so easy, and you always manage to get it done eventually, so why not?

Take it from a recovering chronic procrastinator — it’s so much nicer and less stressful to get an earlier start on something. It isn’t that difficult either, if you just decide firmly to do it.

6. Don’t allow unimportant details to drag you down.

We often allow projects to take much, much longer than they could by getting too hung up on small details. I’m guilty of this. I’ve always been a perfectionist.

What I’ve found, though, is that it is possible to push past the desire to constantly examine what I’ve done so far. I’m much better off pressing onward, getting the bulk completed, and revising things afterward.

7. Turn key tasks into habits.

Writing is a regular task for me. I have to write all the time — for school, work, my student organization, my blog, etc. I probably write 5,000 – 7,000 words per week.

The amount of writing I do may seem like a lot to most people, but it’s very manageable for me, because it’s habitual. I’ve made it a point to write something every day for a long time.

I rarely break this routine. Because of this, my mind is in the habit of doing the work of writing. It has become quite natural and enjoyable. Could you do something similar? (Read “The Simple, Powerful Guide to Forming Any New Habit“)

8. Be conscientious of amount of TV/Internet/gaming time.

Time spent browsing Twitter or gaming or watching TV and movies can be one of the biggest drains on productivity.

I suggest becoming more aware of how much time you spend on these activities. Simply by noticing how they’re sucking up your time you’ll begin to do them less.

9. Delineate a time limit in which to complete task.

Instead of just sitting down to work on a project and thinking, “I’m going to be here until this is done,” try thinking, “I’m going to work on this for three hours”.

The time constraint will push you to focus and be more efficient, even if you end up having to go back and add a bit more later.

10. Leave a buffer-time between tasks.

When we rush from task to task, it’s difficult to appreciate what we’re doing and to stay focused and motivated.

Allowing ourselves down-time between tasks can be a breath of fresh air for our brains. While taking a break, go for a short walk, meditate, or perform some other mind-clearing exercise.

11. Don’t think of the totality of your to-do list.

One of the fastest ways to overwhelm yourself is to think about your massive to-do list. Realize that no amount of thought will make it any shorter.

At this point in time, all you can do is focus on the one task before you. This one, single, solitary task. One step at a time. Breathe.

12. Exercise and eat healthily.

Numerous studies have linked a healthy lifestyle with work productivity. Similar to getting enough sleep, exercising and eating healthily boost energy levels, clear your mind, and allow you to focus more easily.

13. Do less.

This is a tactic recommended by one of my favorite bloggers, Leo Babauta. Basically, do less is another way of saying do the things that really matter.

Slow down, notice what needs to be done, and concentrate on those things. Do less things that create more value, rather than more things that are mostly empty.

14. Utilize weekends, just a little bit.

One of my favorite memes depicts a gentleman casting his work aside, declaring, “It’s Friday! F#%$88u this shit.” The following image reads “Monday”, and the man is stooping to pick up the papers he’d tossed to the ground.

This is comical, but I’ve found that it’s amazing how doing just a little bit on weekends can really lessen the workload during the week. Aim for 2-4 hours per day. You’ll still leave yourself plenty of free time for activities.

15. Create organizing systems.

Being organized saves tons of time, and you don’t have to be the most ultra-organized person in the world either. Systems aren’t complicated to implement.

Create a filing system for documents. Make sure all items have a place to be stored in your dwelling. Unsubscribe from e-mail lists if you don’t want to receive their content. Streamline, streamline, streamline.

16. Do something during waiting time.

We tend to have a lot of down-time where we don’t try to do much. Waiting rooms, lines at the store, time on the subway, on the elliptical at the gym, etc.

Find things to do during this time. I tend to have a lot of reading for classes, so I bring some of it almost everywhere I go and read during waiting time.

17. Lock yourself in.

No distractions, no excuses. Sometimes, the only way I’m going to get something done is if I’m under lock and key, alone in a room. If you’re like me, realize it, and act accordingly.

18. Commit to your plan to do something.

I kind of mentioned this already, but it’s worth repeating. Don’t flake on your own plan to do something!

Be resolute. Be committed. Be professional about it, and follow through. A firm will to accomplish what you decide to accomplish will take you anywhere.

19. Batch related tasks together.

Let’s say that over a given weekend you need to do two programming assignments, write three essays, and make two videos. Rather than approaching this work in whatever order you feel, group the like tasks and do them consecutively.

Different tasks demand different types of thinking, so it makes sense to allow your mind to continue to flow with its current zone rather than switching unnecessarily to something that’s going to require you to re-orient.

20. Find time for stillness.

In our go, go, go world, too many people don’t find time to just be still. Yet, it’s extraordinary what a stillness practice can do. Action and inaction should both play key roles in our lives.

Discovering time in your life for silence and non-motion reduces anxiety and shows you that there is no need to constantly rush. It also makes it easier to find your work pleasurable.

21. Eliminate the non-essential.

I know this one has been mentioned in one capacity or another already, but it’s one of the most useful tips you can take away from this post.

Our lives are full of excess. When we can identify that excess and remove it, we become more and more in touch with what is significant and what deserves our time.

One Last Tip (The Best One)

There’s one final tip I want to mention. If you remember one thing from this post, remember this:

Enjoyment should always be the goal. Work can be play.

We get so caught up in busyness that we forget to enjoy what we’re doing. Even when we focus on working smarter, we’re still often too focused on getting things done.

This should never be the point. Always ask yourself: What can I do to spend more time enjoying what I’m doing?

The goal should be to arrange your commitments in a way that you’re happy living out the details of your daily life, even while you’re working.

This may sound like a pipe dream, but it’s more possible than ever in today’s world. Be curious. Be open to opportunity. Know yourself. Embrace your passions.

Wonderful things will happen. Best of luck implementing these tips, and let me know if I can do anything else to help you.

Your Friend,
Jordan Bates

P.S. ‘Like’ Refine The Mind on Facebook here to stay in the know.

“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.”
― H. Jackson Brown Jr.

This article originally appeared at Refine The Mind

The Key to Success Starts With Failure

ReBlogged via

you-learn-more-from-failure-quoteOne major hurdle that many entrepreneurs face is the fear of failure. Will my product sell? Will I be able to pay my investors? Will I be a good leader? If you are an entrepreneur, I’m sure these are just a few of the many questions that have come to mind while running your business.

That fear of failure is often what makes aspiring young entrepreneurs head back to their warm and cozy corporate jobs. So, how do we push past this fear?

With the glass-half-full mentality, we should look at failures as learning opportunities. This realization hit me hard while crafting my monthly public newsletter this past Thanksgiving. While writing, I kept thinking, “what am I most grateful for in my enterprise?”

After pondering this question for a while, I discovered that my most memorable (and cherished) moments in my first couple years at The Global Good Fund came from the ashes of our team’s multiple failures.

It took me a while to reach this point, but I am incredibly thankful that I’m now at the place in my career (and with my enterprise) where I can laugh in the face of failure… well, almost!

To help you get past your fears as a young entrepreneur, here are some tips for embracing fear:

Fail fast

Don’t take years to evaluate whether or not you have failed in a particular area of your business. Always be taking risks and quickly evaluating the outcomes, ideally on a quarterly basis, if not more frequently. When our enterprise first launched, we investigated various IT systems to track and align our internal processes. Unsure which IT system was best suited to the needs of running a social business, we piloted our first IT system for several weeks, evaluated the product as it fit with our needs, and found the system was too advanced for our stage of existence.  We nixed the first IT system and turned to our next option, which has been a great fit for our enterprise ever since.  Our lesson was to fail early and fail fast. This failure resulted in my colleagues taking calculated risks that consistently push the envelope.

Make your failures public

Whether it is in a team or board meeting, a public-facing communication, or even social media, share with your team and others when you have failed. I decided to seize the meaningful opportunity to express gratitude for our enterprise’s failures in our Thanksgiving newsletter. Some may think a formal newsletter is a bizarre platform to highlight your enterprise’s failures. However, if others see that you embrace failure and grow from it, they will have more confidence that your enterprise listens to the concerns of its customers, stakeholders, and employees – and they will have more confidence that your business will succeed in the long-run. Our transparency at The Global Good Fund has strengthened our relationship with our stakeholders.

Map out what you learned

How exactly did you fail and WHY? Take into practice the 5 Whys” iterative question-asking technique to understand the cause-and-effect relationships underlying your failure. By doing this, you will understand what exactly went wrong and how you can learn from mistakes so they don’t happen again.

Map out how you plan to grow from your failures

You failed fast, you shared your failure with others, and you learned from this failure. Now, take the next step and map out how you are going to grow from your failure to change future outcomes. What is your next immediate step to move forward from this failure? And to hold you and your team accountable, tell others how you are going to change your processes in the future for greater chances of success!

End on a high note

After you own up to your failures and map a future growth plan for your organization, be thankful for your failures. By staying positive, you demonstrate to your team that it’s OKAY to take calculated risks and fail in the process. I personally remain thankful and humbled that my organization is a safe space surrounded by colleagues, board members, coaches, advisors and investors who are not afraid to fail together. As a result, we are empowered to grow and learn collectively.

Being comfortable with failing is the key to success in any startup. Experiencing failure in a positive light will help you and your team achieve renewed emphasis and focus on your brand and for your long term goals as an enterprise.

Your turn: How do you currently face failure as a young entrepreneur?  What will you do differently to face failure in 2014? Please share your tips with us!

Carrie Rich is the co-founder and CEO of The Global Good Fund, an organization dedicated to investing in the leadership development of high potential young entrepreneurs committed to social impact.  Carrie enjoys photography, other people’s cooking and jogging, on occasion.

Stop Wasting Your Time and Learn to Delegate

Article Reblogged from

stop-wasting-time-learn-delegateWhen you’re an entrepreneur, your business is like your baby. Delegating or outsourcing tasks can sometimes be difficult because no one can do things as well as you. Right?

Wrong, says Jordan Cohen, a productivity expert at PA Consulting Group, a London-based management consulting firm: “At some point, every entrepreneur will hit a point where they can’t do any more and do it well,” he says.

In a study for Harvard Business Review, Cohen and Julian Birkinshaw, a professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at London Business School, interviewed executives at 39 companies in the United States and Europe and found that 41precent of their day was filled with activities that could be competently handled by others.

“We’ve been socialized with the idea that completing a task is an accomplishment,” says Cohen. “But in today’s business world, an entrepreneur’s time can be better served by doing the tasks that matter most to the success of their business and delegating the rest.”

Finding the right people and trusting them with your brand can feel risky. Cohen offers these three easy steps to become a better delegator:

1. Put outsourcing infrastructure in place before it’s needed. 
Entrepreneurs often look for help when they’re time crunched or overwhelmed, but this is not the best time to find an outsourcing option, says Cohen. Instead of making decisions under stress, research good alternatives for delegating or outsourcing before you need them. For example, train staff members to take over new tasks, or find and interview consultants that you can call upon when needed.

“The more time you are able to invest in setting up your options, the more robust the solution will be,” says Cohen.

2. Put delegating on your calendar. 
When you review your calendar and to do list, Cohen says to look at meetings and tasks with a critical eye.

“What tasks do you have to do yourself and what could you have others do?” asks Cohen. Tasks that have low value for your customers and are time-consuming — such as bookkeeping or administrative tasks — are ideal tasks to outsource.

“You are in the best position to determine what you have to do,” says Cohen. “Use good judgment, but don’t get caught up in a way of working that isn’t productive.”

3.Then test the waters. 
Once you identify tasks that are good for outsourcing, start small. Cohen suggests starting with something that isn’t complex or urgent. Instead, experiment with low importance things. For example, hire a graphic design firm to turn your presentation into a PowerPoint presentation — but don’t start with your most important sales pitch.

“Things rarely work perfectly the first time,” he says. “The idea is to get comfortable with delegating. It takes practice, but it gets easier over time.”


Stephanie Vozza is a freelance writer who has written about business, real estate and lifestyle for more than 20 years.

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