Tag Archives | Positivity & Well-Being

Don’t Manage Time – Manage Your Values, Priorities, & Habits

Sunrise running womanHow well do you manage your time? Do the things you spend time on each day align with your values and priorities? Or, is your time spent “doing things,” even if they’re not priorities to you?

Best-selling author Kevin Kruse’s new book, 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management features the best productivity habits of entrepreneurs, straight-A students, and a few billionaires.

Kevin conducted original research and interviewed over 250 productive people to hone in on how these people manage their time. What he found was that they don’t think in terms of time – they think in terms of values, priorities, and consistent habits.

I love learning. It excites me to try new approaches or applications or tools. I’ve read a number of time management books and taken more than one time management course over the years. I have, of course, crafted an approach that works pretty well for me. I keep nearly all my commitments, which is a huge value of mine. My system isn’t perfect, but it works, mostly.

The problem is that my approach is cemented in my habits. The more embedded my habits, the harder it is for me to change or adapt my approach!

My habits are really embedded. I use a to-do list, religiously. Nozbe is a terrific cloud-based task management system. I also use Evernote, a brilliant cloud-based note system, to track notes, details, and working drafts of my writing projects – books, posts, etc. Evernote and Nozbe interact beautifully together. Both sync tasks and notes on my Macs and iDevices (so long as I have an internet connection).

Kevin’s book provides proof that systems used by many people – including me – need revision if they’re not helping you stay productive and stress-free.

My system’s main flaw is that a to-do item can be easily moved to a different day. Even if I prioritize the task, it’s a simple matter to shift it. But if I move a to-do item, it must not be a priority that day.

Here’s a perfect example. I am a heart patient (I had a myocardial infarction in December 1993). I take meds daily. To be my healthiest self, I have to watch my weight and food intake. I have to exercise daily. And, I still suffer from blood pressure that’s higher than I and my doctor like.

I need to check my blood pressure weekly. It’s best to do it in the morning, before I’ve eaten breakfast, taken any meds, or started drinking coffee. Yet if I didn’t check my to-do list upon awaking (which I don’t do very often), I’d eat, drink my coffee, take my meds – and then see my to-to item to check my blood pressure before all that. Rats.

I didn’t test my blood pressure for weeks at a time, because I saw the to-do item too late in my morning.

Then I learned one of Kevin’s 15 secrets – to work from a calendar, not a to-do list. In other words, when highly productive people want to get something done, they schedule time for it.

So, I scheduled my blood pressure testing for Friday mornings at 7:30am. I’ve missed only a few over the last two months, entirely because I was traveling.

That tip shifted me from “meaning to do something important” to consistently doing that important thing.

I think that I’m on the right track to improving my effectiveness and productivity by embracing some of the 15 secrets Kevin shares. You might, as well.

What is your basic time management approach? Do you use to-do lists or calendarize key activities? Does your system keep you productive and stress-free? Share your insights on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Photo © Daxiao Productions – Dollar Photo Club. All rights reserved.

Subscribe!Podcast – Listen to this post now with the player below. Subscribe via RSS or iTunes.

The music heard on my podcasts is from one of my songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © 2005-2015 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I play all instruments on these recordings.


YT_subscribeDon’t miss a single video segment in Chris’ new “Culture Leadership Charge” series or any of his video clips. Subscribe to Chris’ YouTube channel.


podcast_subscribeListen to over 300 of Chris’ Culture Leadership Podcasts on Libsyn or subscribe via RSS.


itunes_subscribeListen to over 300 of Chris’ Culture Leadership Podcasts on iTunes or subscribe via iTunes.


The music heard on Chris’ podcasts is from one of his songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © 2005-2016 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). He played all instruments, recorded all tracks, and mastered the final product for your listening pleasure.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, Chris will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, Chris only recommend products or services he uses personally and believes will add value to his readers. Chris is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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To Stop Bullying, Stand Up and Show Up

Business group in a row. leader with open handBella is a 5th grader who is battling a life-threatening blood disorder. Last year – as part of Team Impact which pairs children with serious illnesses with college athletic teams – Bella signed a “letter of intent” with the Denver University Division 1 women’s volleyball team. Bella helps out at volleyball practice, has a locker with her name on it, and is the team’s biggest cheerleader.

One symptom of Bella’s illness is hearing loss. She wears hearing aids. At her elementary school recently, a few classmates began bullying her about it.

Her “big sisters” on the DU volleyball team heard about the bullying and decided that “no one was going to mess with one of our family,” one player said. Nine of the college players showed up at Bella’s classroom the next day. Their unexpected visit cheered Bella up – and their presentation to Bella’s class emphasized that different is good, bullying is not.

The team reacted promptly to hearing about Bella’s mistreatment. They stood up and showed up to support their young “team mate” and to persuade Bella’s peers to be kind to everyone.

The Workplace Bullying Institute’s 2014 USA survey found that over 27 percent of respondents have experienced bullying in the workplace. Respondents said that 56 percent of workplace bullying is initiated by bosses.

Worse, the study found that 72 percent of employers deny, discount, rationalize, encourage, or defend bullying.

The instituted offers solutions and resources for targets of abuse and for employers.

Others are standing up against bullying. A recent report in Sports Illustrated examined the prevalence of abuses of power by college coaches of their athletes. Bullying by coaches has been documented for decades. The difference today? The power of social media.

Last May, one football player shared his story of bullying by his coach on Twitter. His experience led to other athletes – current and former players of this coach – to add their experiences. “We had the exact same issues! Thanks for standing up!” one former player tweeted. The groundswell caused the college chancellor to initiate an investigation by outside attorneys. Within weeks, the report validated the abuse of players by the coach – and he was fired one week before the team’s opener.

Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, author of Positivity, has studied positive emotions for decades. In looking at bullying by college coaches, she explains, “in terms of bonding, loyalty, commitment to a team and personal development over time, negativity doesn’t work as well as positivity.”

Ohio State’s Dr. Ben Tepper has made studying abusive leadership in the workplace his specialty. When asked by the NCAA to compare coach-athlete relationships to his database of boss-employee relationships, Tepper found that abusive leadership is two to three times as prevalent in college sports as it is in workplaces.

Tepper explains, “the studies all say that there’s no incremental benefit to being hostile. Hostility always produces diminishing returns.”

When abusive treatment happens, when bullying happens, don’t look the other way. Stand up and show up. Point out the abusive behavior. Ask that it stop.

You may not fix the bullying behavior – but you’ll raise awareness that it’s happening. If enough of us stand up and show up, maybe we can reduce abusive leadership.

Have you experienced bullying in the workplace? How have your proactive organizations responded to quash bullying? Share your insights on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Photo © FotolEdhar – Dollar Photo Club. All rights reserved.

Subscribe!Podcast – Listen to this post now with the player below. Subscribe via RSS or iTunes.

The music heard on my podcasts is from one of my songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © 2005-2015 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I play all instruments on these recordings.


YT_subscribeDon’t miss a single video segment in Chris’ new “Culture Leadership Charge” series or any of his video clips. Subscribe to Chris’ YouTube channel.


podcast_subscribeListen to over 300 of Chris’ Culture Leadership Podcasts on Libsyn or subscribe via RSS.


itunes_subscribeListen to over 300 of Chris’ Culture Leadership Podcasts on iTunes or subscribe via iTunes.


The music heard on Chris’ podcasts is from one of his songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © 2005-2016 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). He played all instruments, recorded all tracks, and mastered the final product for your listening pleasure.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, Chris will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, Chris only recommend products or services he uses personally and believes will add value to his readers. Chris is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Delightful Decluttering

PapierstapelMy storeroom was packed to the gills. My office closet was worse. It was time to clear some of my stuff out.

Today’s venture started with gathering and testing my old photo studio lights so my daughter-in-law can have an easier time taking pictures of products for her cool Etsy shop.

I’ve got a set of terrific soft-box, daylight studio lights that work beautifully. My old lights work fine and will serve her well.

Pulling out those cases required making room to get at those cases – then realizing the stuff blocking those cases was, well, more stuff.

I hadn’t touched a lot of that stuff in years. We’d moved this stuff across state lines multiple times – but I hadn’t referred to it or used it in a long, long time.

Clearing space in the storeroom prompted clearing books and materials from my office closet. Some of the storeroom stuff really belonged in my office closet. My wife needed more space in the storeroom. She helped pack boxes of college textbooks and course materials for the library, for the charity store, and for the dump. Her help made the work go quickly.

In two hours we got space cleared for her needs and for my needs – and we are donating things that others will benefit from immediately.

And, there’s much more stuff that needs to go. It’s plain to see that I keep stuff way beyond it’s potential value.

The problem with having all that stuff is that it requires energy to manage it. If I need something, I look through shelves of books and drawers of files. It slows me down – I have to stop writing (and creating) to sift through my stuff. Too often, I don’t find what I thought was going to be helpful. And, my train of thought, so strong just minutes before, is now derailed.

What clutter gets in the way of your clear thinking, clear creating, clear service, and clear contribution? Some clutter is literal – old files and books and boxes of stuff. Some clutter is figurative – but it disturbs our efforts just the same.

For example, do you rely on dusty, maybe even rusty knowledge or skills to get work done today? Have new, more efficient ways to contribute passed you by?

Do you rely on antiquated systems or processes to stay in touch with internal and external customers? Have new means to engage and connect with peers and customers not made an impression on you, yet?

Have you made assumptions about others’ skills or agendas that inhibit effective teaming and prompt resolution of issues?

In my work with leaders at all levels of organizations, I see this all the time.

If we’re not evolving, we’re eroding. Take the time regularly to clean the lenses, clear the clutter, and start a bit fresher than we were before.

What clutter gets in the way of your best work and your best self? Share your comments and insights on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google +.

How healthy is your team or company’s culture? Don’t guess – get the data with my online Culture Effectiveness Assessment.

Want hands-on guidance for building a safe, inspiring workplace? Join me in Denver for my Culture Leadership Roundtable. This one-morning-a-month series, based on my book, The Culture Engine, starts in March 2015 and ends in September.

Photo © hd-design – Dollar Photo Club. All rights reserved.

Subscribe!Podcast – Listen to this post now with the player below. Subscribe via RSS or iTunes.

The music heard on these podcasts is from one of my songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © 2005 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I play all instruments on these recordings.


YT_subscribeDon’t miss a single video segment in Chris’ new “Culture Leadership Charge” series or any of his video clips. Subscribe to Chris’ YouTube channel.


podcast_subscribeListen to over 300 of Chris’ Culture Leadership Podcasts on Libsyn or subscribe via RSS.


itunes_subscribeListen to over 300 of Chris’ Culture Leadership Podcasts on iTunes or subscribe via iTunes.


The music heard on Chris’ podcasts is from one of his songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © 2005-2016 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). He played all instruments, recorded all tracks, and mastered the final product for your listening pleasure.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, Chris will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, Chris only recommend products or services he uses personally and believes will add value to his readers. Chris is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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5 Tips from Lee Sklar

10308554_10152120369101430_3067860134782587280_nI’m a working musician on the side. I’m blessed to be a part of a talented, values aligned band that loves making music that makes people dance and smile!

I see (and have written about) a lot of parallels between music teams and business teams. A recent MusicRadar interview by one of the finest musicians on the planet, Leland Sklar, really rang true for me.

Lee has played bass on over 2500 albums for artists as varied as BB King, Phil Collins, James Taylor, Hall & Oates, and Lyle Lovett. He’s a sought-after studio and tour musician. And, he’s a genuinely nice guy. His world view is interesting & entertaining, and he engages willingly with fans on social media.

What’s Lee’s approach? What does he do – to get hired again and again – that countless other musicians don’t do? Lee says, “It’s not about bringing your chops (skills) to the date – it’s what kind of energy and professionalism you bring with you and how you improve the creative process.”

By tweaking Lee’s language a little for business application (with his permission – thank you, Lee), let’s apply his insights to the question, “How do you make yourself a valuable, sought-after business team member?”

Learn As Much As You Can
“It behooves you to bring as much facility and versatility” to your work opportunities as you can. Refine your skills constantly. Toss rusty, less valuable skills while building needed skills nimbly. Be proactive – don’t wait to be asked.

Learn The Language & The Tools
In the music world, musicians that can sight-read sheet music have a huge advantage over musicians that can’t. Every business has frameworks, systems, and approaches that it prefers. Be adept at your company’s language and tools. Study. Speak up with suggestions. Inquire why. Be skilled at your company’s foundational methodologies.

Personality Counts
“Be somebody that people get along with.” Be nice. Be a positive person in every interaction. Be engaged – if the team is reviewing progress and performance, don’t text or email; be present & offer insights. Be enthusiastic! Be the person that moves things forward, nicely. “Be the person you’d hire if it was your business.”

Stay Healthy
You can’t effectively serve anyone else if you’re not 100% healthy – spiritually, mentally, and physically. Take good care of yourself so you can contribute genuinely, happily, and consistently. Drugs and alcohol incapacitate you. “If you go on stage and you’re messed up, you’re disrespecting your fellow musicians and audience members.” Eat right. Sleep right. Exercise. Repeat daily!

See the World
“Anything you can do that makes you a better person will be reflected” in the work you do. Don’t sequester yourself! Take advantage of opportunities to see different companies. Go to customer sites to learn how they use your company’s products and services. Talk with people. What you learn, see, and hear can help you see the world from their eyes . . . and adapt to serve better.

What is your experience? What tips would you add to this list? Please share your insights, comments, and questions in the comments section below.

Add your experiences to two fast & free research projects I have underway: the Great Boss Assessment and the Performance-Values Assessment. Results and analysis are available on my research page.

My new book from Wiley, The Culture Engine, guides leaders to create workplace inspiration with an organizational constitution. Get your free sample chapter here.

Photo © Courtesy of Leland Sklar. All rights reserved.

Subscribe!Podcast – Listen to this post now with the player below. Subscribe via RSS or iTunes.

The music heard on these podcasts is from one of my songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I play all instruments on these recordings.


YT_subscribeDon’t miss a single video segment in Chris’ new “Culture Leadership Charge” series or any of his video clips. Subscribe to Chris’ YouTube channel.


podcast_subscribeListen to over 300 of Chris’ Culture Leadership Podcasts on Libsyn or subscribe via RSS.


itunes_subscribeListen to over 300 of Chris’ Culture Leadership Podcasts on iTunes or subscribe via iTunes.


The music heard on Chris’ podcasts is from one of his songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © 2005-2016 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). He played all instruments, recorded all tracks, and mastered the final product for your listening pleasure.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, Chris will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, Chris only recommend products or services he uses personally and believes will add value to his readers. Chris is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Help them “Run Back to the Barn”

HorseWhat brought our family to Colorado was a wonderful experience in the early ’80’s at a dude ranch in Sedalia, CO (only about an hour from where we live today).

The Lost Valley Ranch is a family owned and operated working ranch. Its Rocky Mountains location is gorgeous – but what makes it special is the guest experience. Programs for all ages, activities of all kinds (including hammock napping, if that floats your boat), fabulous mealtimes with family, and great entertainment by the ranch staff make the experience special.

Our family went three times over six years. These trips helped our daughter fall in love with Colorado. She went to college here, fell in love here, and settled here. The rest of us have followed her lead to end up living in this beautiful state.

At the ranch, each adult was assigned a horse at the beginning of the week. Wranglers would discuss your experience with riding (or lack thereof) and pair you up with a horse that would accommodate your skill level. They wanted us to be safe and have fun on our rides.

I wasn’t an experienced rider. I was assigned a beautiful, big Paint Horse that was steady and sure-footed. As I grew more comfortable with riding those first days, I wanted my horse to gallop a bit. And, my horse wasn’t a galloper. No matter what I tried out on the trail or in the fields, I couldn’t get him to run on command.

However, he did run consistently when we reached sight of the barn, his home. At the end of our trail rides, he’d run back to the barn, every time.

It wasn’t surprising. His barn, his stall, was home. He was fed there. He was lovingly bathed and groomed there. His peers were there (horses are social animals, which I didn’t know). The barn was a cool place to be. So, he ran home – because he loved the barn.

Is your workplace somewhere employees run to? Are they excited to get to work, to serve customers, to solve problems with valued peers, and things like that? Or are they not that enthused about getting to work each day, more listless than inspired?

Leaders, choose to create a workplace that is a cool place for employees to be. If they’re treated consistently with dignity and respect, they’ll thrive there. If they’re given challenging work that makes a difference, they’ll bring their best selves to work. If they’re valued for their efforts as well as their accomplishments, they’ll apply discretionary energy to team goals.

And, if peers also treat them with dignity and respect, that’ll be an even greater draw.

#Workplace Inspiration doesn’t happen naturally. Power plays, politics, and ladder-climbing is what happens in workplaces naturally. If you want #Workplace Inspiration, you must intentionally model it and demand it, of everyone.

That’ll make employees “run back to the barn,” at the start of every workday.

What do you think? How inspiring is your workplace today? What did your #GreatBosses do to craft a work environment where you thrived? Share your thoughts about this post/podcast in the comments section below.

Subscribe to my free weekly blog & podcast updates. Subscribers enjoy two “fabulous gifts:” my Be a GREAT Boss ebook plus an excerpt from my new #GREAT Bosses tweet book.

Add your experiences to two fast & free research projects I have underway. The Great Boss Assessment compares your current boss’ behaviors with those of great bosses. The Performance-Values Assessment compares your organization’s culture practices to those of high performing, values-aligned organizations. Results and analysis are available on my research page.

Photo © istockphoto.com/kyslynskyy. All rights reserved.

Subscribe!Podcast – Listen to this post now with the player below. Subscribe via RSS or iTunes.

The music heard on these podcasts is from one of Chris’ songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). Chris plays all instruments on these recordings.


YT_subscribeDon’t miss a single video segment in Chris’ new “Culture Leadership Charge” series or any of his video clips. Subscribe to Chris’ YouTube channel.


podcast_subscribeListen to over 300 of Chris’ Culture Leadership Podcasts on Libsyn or subscribe via RSS.


itunes_subscribeListen to over 300 of Chris’ Culture Leadership Podcasts on iTunes or subscribe via iTunes.


The music heard on Chris’ podcasts is from one of his songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © 2005-2016 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). He played all instruments, recorded all tracks, and mastered the final product for your listening pleasure.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, Chris will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, Chris only recommend products or services he uses personally and believes will add value to his readers. Chris is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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