How to Love Your Job

AND improve the whole company

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Are you disengaged at your job or are your employees? Gallup says between 60-70% of employees are. Why? Because the old ways of controlling people with salary, benefits, and threats of being fired don’t work. They certainly don’t get you the kind of team member you want.

What if there was something you could do that leads to more engagement, creativity, productivity, and yes – even happiness – for everyone in your organization? Research has proven there is.

The new trend is the desire for “Purpose” and it will soon be THE most important driver of employee AND customer engagement.  Research already shows that when people believe in the purpose of their company and their job they are more engaged, more loyal and much more willing to give extra effort, but recently this idea of purpose has become paramount in a growing group of employees and consumers.

It all starts with purpose. What is your company’s reason for being? What does it stand for? What difference does it want to make in the world? How does it change the lives of its customers, clients, and team members?

If this is sounding kind of touchy-feely to you, I get it. But, research from Gallup, Deloitte and others is proving that companies that have a strong sense of purpose have more engaged employees and evangelical customers. This is good for everyone, and your bottom line.

This requires a commitment from the CEO on down to the idea that purpose matters – that every job includes tasks, but every calling includes a passionate purpose.

The most important thing I learned  in grad school for my counseling psychology degree was from legendary family therapist, Virginia Satir. She said we need to look at every person we meet and imagine they have a sign around their neck that says, “I just want to count.” Every single human being on earth has that desire.

No one wants to go to work to be a cog in a machine, or just to punch a clock to get a paycheck, or just make widgets. Everyone wants to count, to make a difference, to live a life of purpose and meaning. If you can find that in your job and life and help other people find that as well, the sky is the limit.

When I started to see one of the purposes in my counseling job as letting people know they count, I knew I was making a difference in people’s lives.

When I was doing my daily radio show, I had signs up in the studio reminding me of my purpose. Talk to one person and make sure he knows he counts. Talk to him like the friend that he is. Entertain and inform him. Laugh with him. Lift him up. When I did that, everything else fell into place and I felt like I was doing what I was put on this earth to do. I did better radio. I was more creative, engaged, productive and happy!

When I use that philosophy in my coaching and podcasting it motivates and inspires people.

If you own a company, what is your purpose for your business? How will you make a difference with it? If you’re a team member, what is your purpose in your job? How does what you do serve that purpose? How do you get meaning out of it? If you look for it, you can find it in any job. The same goes for every part of your life. What is your purpose? How do you serve that purpose? It always leads to serving others as well.

Steve Jobs’ mission statement for Apple in 1980 was, “To make a contribution to the world by making tools for the mind that advance humankind.” He didn’t talk about computers, or phones, or tablets. He talked about his purpose – his WHY.

Are you just working a job and completing a task – or are you following a calling to be part of an important purpose bigger than yourself?

My mom worked at Disney World for 15 years. Do you know what the purpose of each person’s job at Disney is? To “spread happiness.” Wow. From the street sweeper, to the ticket taker, to the Characters, to the Princess actresses to the CEO. They all have different tasks, but they all have the same purpose. To spread happiness.

That’s how you count.

Here’s a simple exercise for everyone in your company. Imagine you are the customer. What are you hiring the company, product or service to do? If you were the customer, what would make a difference in your life? What would the company need to do to serve its purpose in your life? What would make you a loyal, evangelical customer? What beyond price? We don’t want to get into a price war. We want to over serve the customer to the point that price isn’t the primary motivator.

What is the purpose of each person that works for you?

What do they see as the higher purpose of their job, not just the task?

Does your purpose for your business inspire, elevate, and drive those who work with you?

Do you tell great purpose success stories that resonate with your customers and team members?

Are you providing ways for your customers, clients, and team members to tell their purpose stories so they feel even more connected and able to see how they are making a difference?

If I worked for you would my daily experience align with how I’m told my work serves the purpose of the business?

Are you leading by living out your purpose story in your daily work and not just paying lip service to it?

Whose life are you going to make a difference in today? How many moments of purpose will you experience today? How many might you miss because you don’t know what your purpose in this moment is?

Let’s GO!

Are you searching for your Passionate Purpose? Start with my free gift, 5 Steps to Finding Your Passionate Purpose.

 

One Habit You Must Have to Develop a Successful Mindset

and an interview with Tom Ziglar on my podcast

 

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I had Tom Ziglar (proud son of Zig Ziglar) on my podcast this week, and he quoted his dad about how to achieve the successful mindset. I can’t stop thinking about it.

It really stuck with me because of all the negativity in our society and how easy it is to feed on that every day. The news on the Internet, TV, and radio is almost all negative. The content of most movies and TV/streaming shows is negative. The conversation we hear at work – and even with our friends – is often negative. We are being fed a steady diet of mental poison. Is it any wonder most of us have a negative mindset? And how much harder is it to achieve your goals with a negative mindset?

The number one habit to achieving a successful mindset is to feed your mind with the good, the clean, the pure, the powerful, and the positive. Not just about the world, but about you. That helps motivate, encourage, and push you to keep doing the things you know you need to do to reach your goals.

Zig also said this:

“You are what you are and you are where you are because of what has gone into your mind. You change what you are and you change where you are by changing what goes into your mind.”

What you read, watch, listen to, and tell yourself can be toxic. It can suck the life-force right out of you if you let it. Are you seeing, hearing, and reading things like this?

“You can never be successful.”

“You don’t deserve that.”

“Rich people are greedy and exploit others.”

“The game is rigged against you.”

“Things are changing so fast, you can’t keep up.”

“You’re too old.”

“It’s too late for you to make money doing that.”

“Just keep your head down and do what they expect.”

“Other people can do that, but you can’t.”

“It’s just too hard.”

You can also choose to see, read, hear, and watch things that will create a positive loop in your brain. It will make it easier to think thoughts like these:

“You were created for a fantastic reason.”

“You are worthy of the extraordinary life of your dreams.”

“You can get everything you want in this life if you help enough other people get what they want.” (Zig Ziglar)

“Your hard work is paying off.”

“If someone else can do it, you can do it.”

The real question is: Are you eating mental food that builds you up, or tears you down?

Beware all types of mental poison. Avoid it the way you avoid drinking bleach. Feast on the most positive stuff you can find.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” — Philippians 4:8(NIV)

Let’s GO!

Are you searching for your Passionate Purpose? Start with my free gift, 5 Steps to Finding Your Passionate Purpose.

How to use your self-talk to your advantage

 

We ask ourselves questions every day, and our brain always answers. Sometimes it’s consciously and sometimes it’s unconsciously, but it always answers. Are you asking the right questions and getting the right answers?

Have you ever asked yourself questions like these?

“Why does this always happen to me?”

“Why am I so stupid?”

If you realize how your emotions are controlling you, and stop to think logically, you know that nothing always happens to you and you aren’t stupid. You’re smart. But, if you ask yourself these questions, your brain will make up an answer. Do you really want to hear it?

So, you need to start with better questions like:

“What is my purpose?”

“What are my passions?”

“How can I start my own business?”

“What do people tell me I’m really good at?”

“What do I do when time seems to fly?”

“What can I do to serve people that will cause them to line up to give me their money?”

“What can I do to make a difference?”

“How can I have more freedom in my life?”

What are some questions you need to stop asking yourself? Write them down and then burn them.

What are some questions you need to start asking yourself? Write them down on post-it notes and put them on your mirror. Write them done on index cards and put them in your wallet. Read them every day and work on the answers.

When you ask yourself a question that really matters to you, here are three answers you should never give yourself:

1) “I don’t know.” The correct answer is, “I don’t know…yet, but I know how to find out.” Think about all the things in your business and life you didn’t use to know how to do. Not too long ago I had no idea how to write and publish a book, or how to create a blog, or how to simultaneously post on 3 social media sites, or create an automated email campaign. But, I learned how and you can learn anything you need to know.

It’s never been easier to find out how to do something. Type in “how to _____” into Google or YouTube and you have incredible information at your fingertips. From blogs, books, online courses, videos, podcasts, ebooks, and more, there is a way to find your answers.

2) “I can’t.” The correct answer is “I can figure out how to do it,” or “I can get someone else to do that for me,” or “I can do something similar instead.”

What good has “can’t” ever brought you?

3) “I don’t care.” You do care, or you wouldn’t consistently be asking yourself the same question. So why are you using that as your answer when you don’t mean it? Is it fear? Is it a belief that you can’t do it, so acting like you don’t care makes that easier to swallow? You need to figure that out so you can get to the answer you want.

Action Steps:

  1. Start asking yourself questions that will get you what you want. Write them down. Ask yourself these questions every day.
  2. When you get an answer that resonates with you, take action immediately.
  3. Don’t accept the answers: I don’t know. I can’t. I don’t care.

Let’s GO!

Are you searching for your Passionate Purpose? Start with my free gift, 5 Steps to Finding Your Passionate Purpose.

How to Have the Successful Mindset

And Episode 6 of my podcast is now up!

 

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A large part of how successful you are, or will become, is determined by how you think about yourself.

Do you think you can be successful? Do you think you’re smart enough, talented enough, or connected enough? Do you think you deserve to be successful? Do you think as if you’re an employee or as if you’re the owner?

Um, Greg, I am an employee, I’m not the owner.

Maybe…

But, if you want owner salary, benefits, and results – think like the owner.

How?

Have you heard of Richard Montañez? He was a Mexican immigrant who didn’t speak English well. He had trouble figuring out his purpose and dropped out of school. He was a janitor at a Frito-Lay plant in California.

One day he saw a video where the Frito-Lay CEO told all the employees that they should be thinking like owners of the business. They should be looking for ways to improve the company and make it more competitive. Richard took that to heart.

He liked spicy foods. One day, thinking like the owner, inspiration hit.

“I see the corn man adding butter, cheese and chile to the corn and thought, what if I add chile to a Cheeto?”

He went home and experimented. His friends and family loved the spicy Cheetos. Richard could have stopped right there, but he didn’t.

He kept thinking like an owner. He called the CEO and got an appointment to pitch the executives on his new product. He bought his first tie, got a marketing strategy book from the library, and went for it.

The CEO loved his concoction and “Flaming Hot Cheetos” were born.

Richard is now Executive VP, Multicultural Sales and Community Activation, for PepsiCo North America. He serves on several boards, has spoken at the United Nations and has even met presidents.

He says it’s all the result of his Ph.D. (poor, hungry and determined) and thinking like the owner.

It doesn’t matter what your title is or where you work, you really are your own boss. You get to decide if you work, where you work, what type of work you do, how to increase the value you provide, how and if you continue to grow, and where you’re going to work next. You get to decide to be happy or miserable, or to do something about how you feel.

Of course there are consequences to choices, but you get to make these choices. Don’t give your power to decide to someone else, circumstances, or society. If it feels like someone else is making these decisions for you, reclaim your power. Do what it takes to make the choices you want to make. Use your power to pursue your Passionate Purpose.

No matter where you work, or what you do, no one can stop you from thinking like the owner except you.

You may need to keep working somewhere that isn’t your ideal choice in order to pay the bills. That’s ok. While you’re there, do your best, think like the owner, and keep working to make the right choices to create your extraordinary life.

I’ve had to do that multiple times in my life. I worked as a ditch digger and construction worker as I was pursuing my job as a mental health counselor. I worked overnights at a mental health facility while beginning my radio career. I kept working on the radio, and even sold insurance, while I worked on my speaking, coaching, and podcasting business.

Keep learning and developing your skills wherever you are right now. You will use them all as you make the choices to get where you want to be.

Questions for comment: What can you do to think like the owner? What new idea or way of doing things could make a big difference?

LET’S GO!

Are you searching for your Passionate Purpose? Start with my free gift, 5 Steps to Finding Your Passionate Purpose.

 

How to Succeed? Find or Refocus on Your Why

It's how Eddie the Eagle Flew

 

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The reason I focus so much on your purpose is because I’ve found it to be the biggest predictor of your success. Yes, there are lots of factors that go into the equation, but from my research, coaching, counseling, interviews, and personal experience, nothing is more important than having a strong purpose.

I’ve seen smart, talented, connected people without purpose just muddle through life. They do “fine,” but they aren’t thriving and living to their full potential.

I’ve also seen people who are considered “average,” but have a strong, driving purpose achieve more than anyone thought they could and create the extraordinary life of their dreams.

I thought about this when we had family movie night at the Knapp house. We watched Eddie the Eagle. It’s a feel-good comedy based on the true story of Michael Eddie Edwards.

What I loved about the film was the message on the importance of having a passionate purpose in your life.

Eddie had knee problems as a child and had to wear a leg brace. The doctors told him he should give up on sports. His father told him he would never be an athlete.

But when Eddie was little, he read a book about great moments in Olympic history. From that point on he was determined to become an Olympian, have his moment, and prove everyone wrong.

He had a passionate purpose and he had a strong why that supported it.

He tried a lot of different sports and none seemed promising. He had spent years trying to get on the British Olympic team in downhill skiing, but couldn’t quite make it. Most people would have given up.

His passionate purpose continued to drive him.

Eddie figured out that no one had been a ski jumper for Britain since 1929 and there were no qualifying distances to make the team. (However, the Brits decided to rewrite the rules and set up a qualifying distance.)

He convinced an old, drunk ski jumper to coach him. Using his own money, and any he could borrow, Eddie trained for a year and made the Olympic team.

Not only had his passionate purpose turned him into a decent ski jumper it also gave his coach a purpose to get sober and do something with his life.

What strong purpose is motivating you to great things in your life? If you don’t have one right now, it’s time to find one.

A great way to start is with my free eBook — 5 Steps to Finding Your Passionate Purpose.

What is your purpose? What is the “why” driving that purpose? Are you passionate about it?

Let’s GO!

Go Big or Go Home is Terrible Advice

(And a new episode of my podcast is up!)

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Sometimes we aim too high, too fast, and then should all over ourselves. You start saying to yourself, I should have gotten more done. I should have been smarter. I should have achieved my goal already. I shouldn’t have eaten that entire pizza and pint of ice cream by myself. (Wait, is that just me?)

A new episode of my podcast is up. Please subscribe, rate it, and share with friends. I have a free gift for everyone who does. Just email me for it. BIG THANKS!

Two things happened to me this week to remind me how destructive all that is. (Except for the don’t eat a whole pizza thing. I should really stop doing that.)

First, I heard an interview where a world class, female athlete was asked how she accomplished so much. Her reply was awesome.

“I didn’t really have lofty goals when I started. I just wanted to get good enough and make enough money to feed my dog. Once I did that, I set higher goals. Now I set goals I couldn’t have dreamed of before.”

Yes! She created a goal, achieved it, and then created momentum. She has so much confidence now that her goals are enormous.

She didn’t live by the t-shirt slogan, “Go Big or Go Home.” She went small, won, went bigger, won, and now she goes LARGE!

One way to keep momentum going is to have constantly greater goals.
–Michael Korda

Don’t get me wrong. Setting big goals is an awesome thing to do. Just don’t let the size of them paralyze you from taking action. Don’t become discouraged because you didn’t change the world in a day.

Instead, take your big goal and break it down. Create smaller goals to get there and action plans for the next day, week, month, six months, year, and five years. Take action every day and watch your small steps turn into something BIG. But get started today!

The second thing that happened to me was a new friend of mine spoke eloquently to me about Grace. He reminded me that we are all flawed. No matter how much we try, we make mistakes. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

It’s ok.

Give yourself some Grace.

Give your friends and family some Grace.

Take a breath.

If you’ve had a tough time or two, budget some time for a pity party if necessary (not for long, though).

Regroup.

Then, GO!

Question for comments: What small goal led to something you didn’t think you could accomplish?

Are you searching for your Passionate Purpose? Start with my free gift, 5 Steps to Finding Your Passionate Purpose.

The Way To Get More Clients Is To Be LESS Popular

popular

We all want to be popular. We want as many people as possible to like us and to love our work. But what if that desire stops us from attracting our best clients? What if we allow it to change how we act and what we do? What if that desire stops us from getting the most out of our talents and turning our ordinary work into spectacular art?

Planning our work so it pleases the largest number of people possible often has us censor ourselves, and usually stops us from doing something amazing. –Greg Knapp

But, Greg, I need people to buy my work. I need to make money.

Hey, I feel you, bro. You’re in business to make money. Absolutely. And you do need to make sure there’s a market for what you’re producing. But, here’s the irony. When we try to make our work popular with everybody we usually end up earning less than when we follow our passion, be authentic, allow our personality to shine through, and do inspired work.

Sure, we’ll be less popular with everyone. But the people who love us, will really love us. They will keep coming back and buying what we have to offer. They will tell all their friends about us.

Because we connected with them. Because they know, like, and trust us.

When you do what moves you, you move others and the money will follow. Plus, it’s a lot more fun than trying to do what you think people want!

It’s why I put my stupid jokes and GIFs in my blog. If you think that’s unprofessional and so you don’t want to work with me, that’s ok. We probably wouldn’t work well together anyway.

If you like my blog posts, we’ll probably get along great! Let’s talk!

Why try to make everyone a client and deal with the hassles of the people you don’t really jibe with? That’s how you end up with 20% of your clients taking up 80% of your time and driving you crazy in the process.

Pablo Picasso was an excellent artist from a young age. But did you know he was classically trained and painted landscapes early in his career? He could have stuck with that and made a good living. But he was inspired to experiment and helped create the Cubism movement.

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Not everyone liked his abstract paintings. You could say they were “less popular.” But he was doing the work he really cared about and the people who did like them really liked them. In fact, at the time of his death, Picasso’s net worth was estimated to be $50 million. (He was an artist who didn’t have to wait until he died to make money!)

Not bad for being less popular, eh?

When you keep doing your best work your way you will start attracting clients who love you.

When you’re authentic in your interactions with others (real and virutal) you will start attracting clients who love you.

Questions for comment: Where have you been pulling back on the type of work you really want to do because you’re worried you will lose customers? Could it be that’s what’s holding you back from bigger success?

I want to give as many people as possible my free eBook, 5 Steps to Finding Your Purpose. Please forward this to a friend who needs it. If they click here, they can get the free eBook.

How to Get Started in 15 Minutes Or Less – For Real

(4 Quick Wins!)

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You have big ideas, big plans, huge goals! But, first you have to check your email…again. Hey, your daughter needs help with her homework. The lawn isn’t going to mow itself, you know. Your desk is so disorganized, you won’t be able to get anything done until you fix that. Hey, it’s time to update your LinkedIn profile…and check Facebook.

Why do we procrastinate from the things we know will make our lives so much better? Why is it so hard to get started on something we really want to do? What can we do about it?

1) Make sure you really want it.

The first thing to do is make sure this is something you really want to do. Are you procrastinating because this idea/plan/project/goal doesn’t line up with your values? Is it really your Passionate Purpose? If it isn’t, why are you planning to do it?

(Of course, sometimes you just have to get something done – whether you want to or not – whether you like the task or not.)

If you know this is what you really want, then what is stopping you? Is it a physical, emotional, or mental reason? You need to drill down and ask the question behind the question on what’s getting in your way.

Once you’ve decided you definitely want to do this, move to step two.

2) Only work on it for 15 minutes.

What? I won’t get anything important done in 15 minutes. That makes no sense!

Hey, I used to think that. But then I thought to myself, “Self, I can get a lot more done in 15 minutes than I can get done in zero minutes.” (Sometimes I’m really smart when I talk to myself.)

Sometimes we have trouble getting started because it just seems like too big of a task. Research shows our minds tend to focus on all the difficulties and complexities of a project or task before we start to do it. So, we tend to avoid starting big projects.

Last week my youngest daughter was a perfect example of this. She was having a self-pity party over all the homework, projects, and studying for finals she had to do. She went on for several minutes and even began to cry.

We then acknowledged she had a lot of work to do, but that getting started is the hardest part. We then organized her work, decided what to do when, and came up with a manageable plan. Then we decided she would work on her first project for 15 minutes and take a break. The idea was to just get started, then she would see it wasn’t as hard as she thought.

It worked great! She ended up working much longer on it and didn’t even realize she had gone past her 15 minutes. It dawned on her that it wasn’t as hard as she thought and that she was getting a lot done.

You aren’t going to finish in 15 minutes, but that’s not the point. We’re just trying to get started. We’re taking action so we can get going. Then we’ll work on the things we need to do to keep going and finish.

3) Use the Zeigarnik Effect

Ah, yes, the Zeigfarkle..the Zeegurn…the what now? the Zeigarnik (zī-ˈgär-nik) Effect. It’s the tendency to remember projects/tasks/goals that you haven’t completed. In fact, research shows your mind keeps coming back to uncompleted tasks. So, once you get started on what you really want to do, your mind has a tendency to keep coming back to it until you complete it.

Isn’t that great? It’s almost like someone designed us to get important things done. Hmm….wonder who might have done that…

So once you get started – even if it’s just for 15 minutes – your brain will keep pulling you back until you finish. Awesome!

I’m using this a lot right now. As I’m ramping up my professional and personal development business I often feel overwhelmed. I have big ideas for my speaking, coaching, and podcasting. I’m working on creating online podcasting and coaching courses. I’m helping small businesses create and edit podcasts to attract their ideal clients and grow their brand. I’m constantly learning new ways to market digiatally and have big plans I need to start implementing.

Each of these ideas will take a lot of work. Many of them will require me to do things I’m not quite sure how to do yet. So, I sometimes find myself doing busywork instead of getting started.

Boo!

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But, once I start, I get on a roll.

Yay!

yay


I’ve found the 15 minute trick I used with my daughter works with me as well. Just do it for 15 minutes. I can do anything for 15 minutes. Then I tend to keep going.

4) Break it Down

Another great technique is to break down the task into smaller bites and just do one bite. Your little successes will lead to big ones.

You don’t need to know how to do it all before you start. Get started and you’ll learn what you need as you go.

Questions for comments:

What do you do to get started?

Which of these techniques have helped you?

I want to give as many people as possible my free eBook, 5 Steps to Finding Your Purpose. Please forward this to a friend who needs it. If they click here, they can get the free eBook.

What To Do With Your Next Great Idea

And what NOT to do with it.

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Have you ever had the perfect idea? What did you do with it? Did it change the world? Did it make you super successful in every meaning of the word? Or, did something else happen?

Last night I had a dream. I came up with a perfect idea. I have a strategy to save these ideas. I keep my phone right next to my bed. When I have an idea in the middle of the night, I record it into my phone. The problem is that when I listen to it in the morning it often sounds like, “Don’t forget to oxenfrter the blktmite and grnxl prkngrp.”

Awesome.

awesome

This time it was even worse. I couldn’t wake myself up enough to make the audio note. Instead, I told myself in my dream/wake state to remember this perfect idea…

And I forgot it.
So I can’t act on it.
So it wasn’t a perfect idea.

What perfect ideas have you gotten that you’ve never acted on? No matter how great they were, they are worth precisely nothing because you didn’t act on them.

It’s not too late. If you had a perfect idea – act on it today. The next time you have a perfect idea, or even just a good one – take action right away! That’s the only time ideas actually count.

You don’t have to know how to get from A to Z on your idea. Don’t let that stop you from taking action. What is ONE thing you can do to get started on your idea today? Do it now! Once you take action, your idea takes on a life of its own. Now you can cultivate it and grow it. Take some kind of action on it every day until you decide if it’s an idea worth pursuing.

Now excuse me while I try to translate my midnight brilliance from my smart phone. (This isn’t going to end well – maybe something like an idea for brussel sprout ice cream. I’ll keep you posted.)

Questions for comments: What great idea have you not acted on that you could start acting on today?

I want to give as many people as possible my free eBook, 5 Steps to Finding Your Purpose. Please forward this to a friend who needs it. If they click here, they can get the free eBook.

How I Lost Two Hours of My Life

(And how to make sure that doesn't happen to you)

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I lost two hours of my life yesterday. How did I let this happen? I give presentations on how to Do Less and Achieve More. I’ve read countless books on personal growth, productivity, and time management. I know how to focus on what’s essential in my life and business…and I wasted two hours of my life yesterday.

I work from home in the mornings and I had great plans on important things to do. But, first I decided I needed to merge my domain email with my Gmail account — 40 minutes gone.

Next, I decided I needed to upload the video of my daughter’s theatre performance to YouTube. My phone didn’t sync with my Mac, so I had to download a program – 30 minutes gone.

Then I noticed a few hundred photos on my phone that were taking up space so I decided I needed to upload select photos from my phone to my Mac – another 20 minutes gone.

And so it went:

  • Send YouTube video I created to a contact (and watch some of my old ones) – 30 minutes
  • Check and reply to FB messages and notifications – 10 minutes
  • Check my LinkedIn account and reply to messages – 10 minutes
  • Renew my library books online – 5 minutes

I finally shook myself and realized that although I felt like I was working I had spent almost 2 hours doing absolutely no work on my most important thing. Not good. I felt like the Office Space stapler guy mumbling about stuff no one cares about.

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I hadn’t planned well, and I wasn’t even sticking to my not so great plan. It wasn’t that the things I was doing were bad, it’s just that they were taking me away from the essential things I really wanted to get done.

Focus, Grasshopper, focus.

At the end of the day we’re usually tired. If we’ve run around all day chasing our tail, putting out fires and just doing “work” we will experience an empty, dissatisfied, frustrated kind of tired.

If we focus on what’s essential and make great progress on that, we will experience a job well done, life is good, now I’ve earned some relaxation time kind of tired.

Here’s how to make sure you don’t lose hours from your life every day:

“Most of what we say and do is not essential. If you can eliminate it, you’ll have more time, and more tranquillity. Ask yourself at every moment, ‘Is this necessary?'”
— Marcus Aurelius

Focus on your most important thing:

At the end of your work day plan out what you’re going to do tomorrow. Ask yourself, “What is the most important thing I can do today that will have the biggest impact on my life and work?”

Focusing on the most important thing we need to do is the key to a productive, rewarding day.

In the book, The One Thing, Garry Keller talks about setting aside time every day for your most important work. I call it your Concentrated Focus Time.

The best time to do this is first thing in the morning. Even is you’re not a morning person, the best time to get uninterrupted alone time is the morning. Most successful people do their best work in the morning.

Imagine getting up at 5am and having two hours to focus on your most important thing for the day. You don’t even have to feel guilty that you aren’t with you family because they’re still asleep! If that doesn’t work for you, can you get to work a little early and set up the first two hours there to focus on your most important work?

You might think this is nuts, but once you try it and see the results you are going to wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.

Rules for CF time

Explain to your manager and coworkers why you’re creating this special time. Let them know it’s so you can work more effectivley and efficiently at your most essential work, that it’s only for two hours each morning, that (except for emergencies) you won’t take any calls/emails/meetings during this time, and that you will immediately check in and be available again when the two hours are up.

Ask yourself, “What is the most important thing I can do today that will have the biggest impact on my life and work?”

Do that first.

I know sometimes, “things come up.” But you need to schedule time for your most  important activities or something will always “come up.”

During these 2 hours there are no interruptions.

• Close your door if you have one.
• Put a “Deep in concentrated focus time out at ______ (time)” Post-it note outside your office or cubicle.
• Close all email programs.
• Mute all chimes, ringers, and pings.
• Turn off visual alerts and social media messaging.

Set a timer for one hour.

Do nothing else except your most important thing. When the timer goes off, take a break to stretch, walk around the building (or up and down the stairs),  and just clear your mind and think for 10 minutes.

Then repeat the process. Do it for 2 hours of each morning.

We all work hard and it seems like there’s always more work to be done. Focusing for a limited period of time on our most essential work leads to amazing results. Just give it a try for two weeks and email me how it goes.

Let’s GO!

Questions for comments: How do you stay focused on your plan?

I want to give as many people as possible my free eBook, 5 Steps to Finding Your Purpose. Please forward this to a friend who needs it. If they click here, they can get the free eBook.