How to Make Integrity Day More Valuable

June 5, 2012

A client and frequent Integrity Day participant (you may recognize his voice) recently shared with me an insight he had about how he gets the most value out of his Integrity Days.

You can listen to him explain in his own words (the audio clip is about 1 minute long):

Another way to increase the value of your Integrity Day is to complete the Pre-Call Exercise worksheet before the first call.

My mission is to help you take your productivity to the next level! To help you SOAR!

I hope to see you in an Integrity Day soon! Click here for the full June schedule of Integrity Days.

Peace & Passion,
Curtis

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Time Management is a Lie

August 25, 2011

We see and hear the words “time management” everywhere we go. But time management is a misnomer. To be blunt, it’s total B.S.

Time management would tell us that our productivity is measured by the results we get in a given time period. But if that’s true, how is it that a salesperson, for example, can make the same exact number of sales on two different days (the same amount of results in the same amount of time), yet feel extremely productive one day and totally unproductive the next?

The answer is only found when we stop believing the lie of so-called “time management.”

What exactly is the lie of time management? The lie is that we can increase our productivity by shortening the time it takes to produce a specific result. There are two flaws in this logic.

First, time is not a variable in the equation of productivity. You can choose to do something in a way that takes less clock time than the alternative, but time did not change; your choice changed. You chose a different process, and the duration of that process was less.

If you’re not quite understanding this important distinction, then think of a clock like a ruler. You can cut an object shorter in length, but the ruler did not change. Those whose job it is to make things smaller don’t focus on “ruler management,” do they? Choice, not time, is the relevant variable.

Second, this traditional objective understanding of productivity, though useful in evaluating the efficiency of assembly lines, doesn’t address your subjective feeling of productivity.

Validate this from your own experience: Think of a specific time when you were very busy and felt frustrated because you “didn’t have the time” to focus on what you really wanted to do. All of the results of that busy-ness didn’t make you feel productive, did they? Now think back to a time when you finally followed through on something important that you’d wanted to do for several weeks or even months. That one result made you feel very productive, didn’t it?

How is that possible? Many results = not productive. One result = productive. That doesn’t make sense in the traditional paradigm of “time management.”

In my experience helping people with their productivity challenges, I’ve never found the time-centered concept of productivity to describe accurately anyone’s actual experience of productivity. When a concept does not fit actual experience, it’s time for a new concept. So let’s redefine productivity to make it more meaningful and useful to us.

PRODUCTIVITY: The feeling you get from making progress on the things that are most important to you

Results by themselves never create a feeling of productivity. It’s your relationship to those results—how important they are to you—that determines how productive you feel. When you feel unproductive, it’s not that you didn’t produce results, it’s that you didn’t produce the results that were most important to you.

This begs a question that many people under the spell of “time management” forget to ask themselves: “What’s important to me?”

You may be thinking, “Of course I know what’s important to me.” But do you? Do you really know what’s most important to you? Do you know why it’s so important? And maybe most sobering of all, can you explain—if it is indeed so important to you—why you so often choose to focus on things that are less important?

Anytime you feel busy, but not productive, you’re neglecting what’s most important to you and focusing on what isn’t. This all too common “busy, not productive” feeling is a natural consequence of focusing on how much you can do and how fast you can do it.

So instead of trying to “manage time,” focus on making more effective choices:

  1. Identify what’s most important to you, and then…
  2. Choose as often as possible to focus on what’s most important to you, while you…
  3. Work to understand and overcome the obstacles that prevent or distract you from focusing on what’s most important to you.

Each of these steps can be challenging; they are skills that must be developed. But the good news is, they are just skills—learnable skills that you can master.

And yes, on a balance sheet or annual report, objective results matter. But in your personal experience of life, your relationship to the results you produce, not simply the results themselves, determines how productive you feel. When you understand that difference, and you learn to view productivity as a feeling, you open yourself to real and lasting solutions to your so-called “time management” problems.

(Adapted from Peaceful Productivity Now by Curtis G. Schmitt.)


Want to master the process of making powerful and effective choices?

Click here to download a free 10-page excerpt from Peaceful Productivity Now: The Busy Person’s Guide to Getting Things Done & Loving Life.

In just the first 10 pages, you’ll discover:

  • The source of your personal power
  • The most useful and effective way to understand time
  • The two different “types” of time, and why one causes stress but the other doesn’t
  • What you’re actually managing when you think you’re “managing time”
  • And, most importantly, how to once and for all solve your “time-related” problems

You can continue to scapegoat “time” as the source of your stress, or you can learn how to…

Transform Stressful Productivity into PEACEFUL Productivity NOW!



More Joy, Peace, Happiness, Abundance, Love, and Freedom

February 25, 2011

If you want to experience more of something in your life (joy, peace, happiness, abundance, gratitude, love, freedom, etc.), the key is to focus on it.

“Great, Curtis, but how do I do that?”

I will share the most powerful tool in guiding your focus and revealing unseen opportunities or blocks, a tool you’ve been using (whether you knew it or not) your whole life: Questions.

Questions are difficult to ignore. If you’ve ever been nagged by a child asking the same question over and over again, then you know what I mean. Questions create a space that your mind wants (almost needs) to fill. In other words, questions beg answers.

Here’s a list of 10 questions you can start with to consciously create more of the experiences you desire in life. I’ve used “play” in the example, but you can substitute anything else you might want to experience more of, like joy, peace, happiness, etc.

(Note that in these questions, you’re personifying the experience to shift your perspective. It may feel different at first, but that’s the point.)

  1. What’s most important to Play?
  2. What’s unimportant to Play?
  3. What environments does Play feel most comfortable in?
  4. What environments does Play feel most uncomfortable in?
  5. What does Play believe?
  6. What words does Play use when it speaks?
  7. What words would Play never use?
  8. Where in your body does Play feel most at home?
  9. What scares Play?
  10. What inspires Play?

You can take your answers to these questions and use them to make some new choices. For example, if Play likes being outside and doesn’t like being inside, you can now use this insight to schedule more time for yourself outside.

I invite you to share your answers, insights, and experiences by commenting below.


Learning to focus on what’s most important to you is one of the key steps in effective and peaceful productivity. If you tend to feel stressed and overwhelmed, you’re spending too much of your time on things that are not important.

Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Work Week and The 4-Hour Body has achieved tremendous happiness and success living by this fundamental principle: “I have more than enough time to do everything that’s truly important.”

If you’d like to learn a simple and effective 6-step planning process that keeps you focused on what’s most important, click here. Trade your stress for success!



Introduction to Peaceful Productivity

November 26, 2009

Email me to schedule your free introductory session.


The End of Time Management

April 14, 2009

Discover why your biggest “time management” challenge is not time, and find out what you can do to increase your productivity and effectiveness in any area of your life.

Part 1:

Part 2:


Hope & Fear (5/5): Shape Your Child’s Future

November 19, 2008

No matter what you think you can DO for your kids or GIVE to your kids, the best thing for them (for anyone in your life) is for you to be peaceful and happy and have a passion for what you do. This may sound like a paradox, and that’s good. There’s lots of wisdom in paradoxes. The reason you experience something as a paradox is because it challenges your old way of seeing things. It’s a sign to look deeper — there’s probably something for you to learn.

Let me confess that I am not a parent. So you might be wondering how in the world am I qualified to tell a parent what’s best for their kids? First, I was a child of two parents, one who was happy and peaceful and loved what she did, and the other who wasn’t.

Guess who I felt loved me more? Guess who I felt safe to be myself around? Guess who encouraged me to try new things? Guess who I have a closer relationship with today?

Guess who criticized me? Guess who discouraged me from pursuing interests he didn’t understand? Guess who I was afraid of? Guess who I hardly speak to today?

It’s obvious, isn’t it? My life was served best by the parent who was peaceful and happy and loved what she did. Now understand, both of my parents loved me. I know that. Yet my relationship with each of them is like night and day. Because love gets distorted by stress and unhappiness.

I see it in other parents, too. And this is the second reason I’m qualified to speak on this subject. I’m an informal student of parenting. I love to observe how parents relate to their children.

I see the parents who are stressed and don’t like what they do snap at their kids over the smallest things. They hurry them impatiently from here to there. In that state, they literally cannot see the wonder and beauty of their children. I see parents who are peaceful and love what they do take time to listen to their kids, to understand what’s important to them, and even — can you believe it? — LEARN from their children.

That’s why it’s so important for YOU to be peaceful and passionate.

Parenting in Uncertain Times

Besides the relationship you create, there’s another reason why you being peaceful and passionate is so healthy for your children. You will teach them (by example) how to be peaceful and passionate themselves.

They will learn that their happiness is not controlled by what’s going on in the world. They will learn that they can choose their state of being regardless of circumstances. They will learn that peace comes from the inside, it’s a choice. And they will learn that productivity — choosing what’s important to them and then making progress in that area — is within their control, too.

They will be empowered to face whatever future they encounter. What better gift can you give your child?

Focus on You

If you need to use your children’s future as an excuse to be good to yourself, that’s totally cool with me. 🙂

Cultivate your inner peace. If it means your child spends an extra half an hour in daycare, or with a family member, or watching Sesame Street, take some time each day for yourself. And increase your productivity. Now that doesn’t mean doing more of what you don’t want to do. That would be self-defeating.

Productivity means making progress on the things that are most important to you. Sometimes that requires some big changes (like a career change) that may take time to implement. Those are changes worth making, but you can also focus on some shorter-term changes that you can feel right away.

Focus on the areas of your life where you can make some changes quickly. Most parents give so much of themselves away to others that’s it’s relatively easy to find something you can take back for yourself. Resign from the PTA or the board of some community organization, or cut your volunteer work in half. Yes, those things are important. But your happiness is more important. Your health is more important. Use that time instead for joyful and revitalizing activities like hobbies or exercise.

(If your life is so maxed out that you can’t find anything to cut back on, then your path is to cultivate peace in WHATEVER you do. Surrender to fact that this is the way life is right now. And when you surrender, that’s when you’re more likely to see opportunities to change your life circumstances — another paradox!)

There’s a reason they instruct you on airplanes to put your oxygen mask on first before you help your child with theirs. Self-care is a prerequisite for caring for others.

Learn more about creating greater passion and peace of mind in this week’s free teleseminar called “Productivity & Peace of Mind — You Don’t Have to Sacrifice One for the Other.”

In addition to being a feel-good hour of self-care, you’ll learn:

  • The 3 steps to increase your productivity
  • The 3 steps to greater peace of mind
  • The 2 paths to Peaceful Productivity
  • And lots more…

The choices you make in your own life play a huge part in shaping your child’s future. Help them prepare for the challenges of life by being the happiest and most peaceful person they know. It’s the best thing for them…and what do you know, it’s good for you too!

Find out more about this free teleseminar, and sign up today:

http://www.PeacefulProductivityNow.com

©2008 Curtis G. Schmitt

This is the fifth in a daily series of five posts on how to respond to this mixture of hope and fear in the world today. Here’s the full list:

  1. Commit to Change
  2. Keep Your Job and Prosper (for busy professionals)
  3. Grow Your Business in a Bad Economy (for entrepreneurs)
  4. Avoid Layoffs and Down-sizing (for business owners & executives)
  5. Shape Your Child’s Future (for working parents)

Hope & Fear (4/5): Avoid Layoffs & Down-sizing

November 18, 2008

As a business owner or top executive, your priority is the survival and growth of your business. Sometimes you have to make tough choices. In a bad economy those choices may include scaling your business back. Of course, things like layoffs and down-sizing are not your first choice. You’ll make that choice if it’s your only option. But you’d prefer to GROW your way out of tough times, right?

My intention today is to give you some tools to help you avoid layoffs and down-sizing in a bad economy. I can’t PROMISE these tools will work — the choices you’ve made up to this point play a big part in what’s possible for your business. But these tools give you the best chance. It’s like this: if you’re lost in the woods at night, having a flashlight and compass doesn’t guarantee you’ll find your way out. But without them, you’re doomed!

Assess the Situation

Anthony Robbins says it best: See the situation AS it is, not WORSE than it is. But to do that, you need to have a clear perspective. Your vision can’t be clouded by stress and worry. In other words, you must be peaceful.

I’m sure you’ve had the experience where someone close to you was very worried about something, to the point where they were reacting foolishly in ways that only made the situation worse. But you were calm, so you could see quite clearly what the best, rational course of action was. That’s the power of a clear perspective.

In your business, you need to be passionate enough to inspire and innovate, yet detached enough to make all of the rational, clear-headed decisions that make your business successful. Too much passion and you lose that clear-headed perspective. Too much detachment and you stop inspiring and innovating. Inner peace is the bridge between those two worlds. Both clarity of perspective and creative inspiration arise from a state of inner peace.

The human mind is almost magical in what it can do. But when the mind is filled with worry or stress, it can’t function to its full capacity. When the mind is peaceful, that’s when the magic happens. When the mind is peaceful, that’s when the million dollar idea suddenly POPS into your consciousness. When the mind is peaceful, that’s when you suddenly have the perfect solution to your most intractable problem.

So how do you keep a peaceful mind in a bad economy? Separate the FACTS of the situation from your INTERPRETATION of the situation.

Normally, we see THROUGH the lens of our interpretation. It distorts things just like a funhouse mirror, making us think the facts are something they’re not. But when you acknowledge there is this lens of interpretation, you can recognize the distortion in what you’re looking at. And you can get at the actual facts, the actual information you need to make effective and powerful choices.

Assessing the situation means creating a clearer perspective by becoming more peaceful. When it comes to a strategy of action, we want to revisit earlier lessons in this email series and expand on them.

Team Productivity Saves Jobs

Parts 2 and 3 of this series went into detail on how to increase your productivity and use that as a strategy to grow your business. For employers, there’s an added layer. Instead of just focusing on your own productivity, you get to be a leader and increase the productivity of all of your employees.

Whole books have been written on this subject, so the best advice I can give in this limited space is that you lead by example and enroll your team. Increase your own productivity, and do so openly. Make it public. Encourage your managers and their staffs to do the same. Grow as a team. Then enroll everyone in increasing the productivity of the company as a whole. Set team goals and communicate why those team goals are important to each individual employee.

If there are 10 people in your business, for example, let them know that if everyone increased their productivity by 10%, that would save one person from getting laid off. Show them the connection between the success of the individual and the success of the company.

Peaceful Productivity for Teams

Even if you kept all of this a secret, practicing Peaceful Productivity will transform your life and your business. But when you lead others and train them to be more peaceful and productive, a powerful synergy happens. In a group, people learn at an exponential rate. Everyone benefits from each other’s insights and growth, not just their own. It’s like a chain reaction in an atomic bomb that explodes the growth of your business.

As a leader, you can create that experience in your company.

Be a leader today and sign up for this week’s free teleseminar called “Productivity & Peace of Mind — You Don’t Have to Sacrifice One for the Other.” You’ll learn:

  • The 3 steps to increase your productivity
  • The 3 steps to greater peace of mind
  • The 2 paths to Peaceful Productivity
  • And lots more…

And just think, if you can train your team to grow your business in a bad economy, what might be possible in a good economy? Pretty exciting thought, right?

Learn more about this free teleseminar, and sign up today:

http://www.PeacefulProductivityNow.com

©2008 Curtis G. Schmitt

This is the fourth in a daily series of five posts on how to respond to this mixture of hope and fear in the world today. Here’s the full list:

  1. Commit to Change
  2. Keep Your Job and Prosper (for busy professionals)
  3. Grow Your Business in a Bad Economy (for entrepreneurs)
  4. Avoid Layoffs and Down-sizing (for business owners & executives)
  5. Shape Your Child’s Future (for working parents)