What George Washington Can Teach Us About Productivity

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Biographer Ron Chernow, discussing his outstanding life of George Washington, recently mentioned how important “focus” was for our first president. Chernow said that at the beginning of his presidency, “[Washington] couldn’t seem to sit down for dinner without 20 people being there—strangers sponging off his generosity, eating his food, drinking his wine. Washington had to create barricades if he was going to be able to function as president. . . . He saw that he needed to

Why You Probably Can’t Change Your Boss

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Have you ever worked for an organization you knew had a bad leader, but you thought you could change him or her? I’ve talked to countless frustrated employees who have attempted just that, and I can tell you, it doesn’t work. By the time a pastor, CEO, or other leader reaches that place in his or her career, they’ve been at it a long time and developed a routine. So for anyone to think they can turn on a dime is

Be Careful of People Who Constantly Complain About their Job

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Work is hard. It’s hard for me, it’s hard for you, and pretty much everybody else. So when I encounter someone who’s constantly complaining about their job, how difficult life is, or how busy they are, I tend to start ignoring them. It’s not that I’m a jerk, it’s that I find far too many people who try to impress us with how many balls they’re juggling, how difficult their job is, and how their schedule is just crammed too full. Novelist Richard Ford said something similar about writers:

Be Cautious When Hiring Your Family

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Although nearly every church, ministry, or non-profit client I’ve ever known hires their family, I always urge caution when doing it.  Sure – there’s nothing we’d all like better than to hire our spouse, children, or other relatives.  The idea of a “family company” sounds great.  But in truth, it doesn’t work as well as you think.  Entrepreneur Guy Kawasaki is direct and too the point, but worth listening to when he says: 

Struggling With Distraction Is Older Than We Think

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In 1925, apparently there were so many distractions in the typical workplace, that Hugo Gernsback – a writer, inventor, publisher, and member of the American Physical Society decided to do something about it. Gernsback was called by some the “Father of Science Fiction.” His writing was well known, and he created the first science fiction magazine. The result of his work on the distraction issue was called

Are You Actually Working Or Just Checking?

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A few years ago, I had a friend who was always “working.” He constantly talked about how busy he was, and how much work he had to do. He never had time to see movies, go out to dinner, or do much else because he told everyone he was always “working.” So one day, I started watching him. I managed to get myself into a position to actually see what he was doing on the computer. I didn’t invade his privacy. I couldn’t see his actual messages or what he wrote, but I could get an idea of his daily routine. Here’s what I learned:

Is It Time To Say No To The Cult of Productivity?

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I was drafted into the productivity cult a long time ago. I have 3 different To-Do List apps on my computer, iPhone and iPad. I have about 6 different calendar apps. I’ve experimented with roughly 20 different online productivity suites for our Cooke Pictures team. I’ve read David Allen’s books (the holy scriptures of the productivity movement) and plenty of others. And the truth is,

Why Who You Work With Matters

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Changing the organizational chart of an organization has a limited impact.  But changing where people sit, has a massive effect.  That’s from Ben Waber, CEO of Sociometric Solutions, who uses sensors to track communication patterns in the workplace.  He says a worker’s immediate neighbors account for 40-60% of interactions a worker faces during the workday.  If you’re two rows away, it’s reduced to 5-10%.  The fact is,

Five Steps To Overcoming the “Jolts” of Life

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When disaster strikes our life, we’re often simply overwhelmed.  As we saw during the 2011 tsunami in Japan, entire towns were wiped off the map, and all these years later, we’re still seeing news reports of problems with the clean up. When a country like that is in chaos, where do we begin when problems happen? Even more important, how do we deal with the “meltdowns” we face in our lives? In my book “Jolt! Get the Jump on a World That’s Constantly Changing” I show you how to weather the storms of change, and actually use it to your advantage. After being fired, going through a divorce, losing a loved one or experiencing other traumatic life events, how do you start over?  Here’s 5 ways to move forward with purpose: