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How To Get More Done And Minimize Distractions

eyes looking on how to get more done

Increasing your productivity doesn’t take a magic wand or require you to get an advanced degree in statistics. If you are struggling with a lack of productivity, you need to take a closer look at your daily habits. Being unproductive is nobody’s fault but your own. Here are some of the top tips that you can incorporate into your daily life to learn how to get more done and minimize distractions.

Tip #1 – Learn to Anticipate Yourself

When it comes to productivity, we are our own worst enemy in learning how to get more done and minimize distractions. According to an article from Fast Company, where they studied office worker distractions, they learned how many of the distractions involve different kinds of technologies, and they ended up creating even more of a force for interruptions and different places where we can focus our attention.

“We had observers go into the workplace and we timed people’s activities to the second. We’ve been to various workplaces, all high-tech companies. We wanted to look at information workers. We had observers shadow each person for three and a half days each and timed every activity to the second. If they pick up a phone call, that’s the start time. When they put the phone down, that’s the stop time. When they turn to the Word application, we get the start time and stop time. We found people switched these activities on average of every three minutes and five seconds”.

Roughly half of them are self-interruptionsThe good news is that internal disturbances are the only kind that you can control.

Learn to know your patterns and plan for these distractions.

Tip #2 – Send Out Busy Signals

Half of your distractions are external distractions that come in the form of email, people, phone calls, and chatter from other offices. If you want to stop these external distractions before they start you have to give out the right signals. If you utilize instant messenger, set yourself too busy and wear headphones, even if you aren’t listening to music. Providing subtle queues may seem passive aggressive, but they will also save you from annoying distractions. Avoiding upfront these types of distractions is the skill you will need to learn how to get ore done and minimize distractions.

Listening to headphones


Tip #3 – Make Technology Work for You

At times, technology may seem like an enemy, but technology can be your anti-distraction buddy. Turn off your email alerts, create an auto-response to text messages, and set your phone to go to voicemail. Block out chunks of time on your calendar as “busy.” Unless you are dealing with life and death situations at work, your coworkers will be able to manage without you for a few hours.

I encourage you to use tools like Rescue Time.

Your dashboard in rescue time shows you how your day is shaping up. You can use it to get a quick understanding of your time, see which types of activities you are doing the most, and gauge how productive you have been. You can rank and categorize activities so you can decide what’s important to you.

rescue time

Each week, they will send you a handy summary email so you can easily keep tabs on how your days are shaping up and spot any big changes that are happening. You will learn how to get more done and minimize distractions.


Tip #4 – Learn to Say No

If you are already overloaded with work and you feel like you never get anything accomplished, then you need to learn to say no to new requests and projects. You can nicely let people know that you would love to help, but your plate is currently full. This will become a discipline of yours if you want to get more done and minimize distractions.

If you are starting to have more and more unproductive days, it’s time for you to determine your distractions and put a stop to them. By being proactive, silencing technology, and learning to say no, you will find that you will start to become more productive.


Start Today

How to get more done and minimize distractions starts with you. What will you do today to start minimizing distractions? What habits have you developed that are hindering you? Time today to evaluate and set your goals on what changes need to be done and which ones you can start on as soon as you finish reading this post.



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Leadership Talks That Will Help Develop Your Leadership Skills

People stand usually in one camp of thought or the other with – Are leaders born or made? I would say my answer with this question is, “Yes”.  Regardless of what camp you stand in, we all seem to agree that a Leader is always learning and developing their leadership skills.

I am desiring to invest in developing your leadership skills by giving you in this post some good quality videos to watch and learn from. You will see these videos taught by some who are still alive and some who have passed away, but, all teaching still has incredible value for now and the ages to come.

The Difference Between Winning and Losing. -John Wooden

John Wooden is one of those leaders who transcend beyond their own specialty, his being basketball, and because of the truthful and applicable lessons, they are able to speak into all areas of life. John is a great “coach” and has left us with ideas, systems, and processes that we are still using even after he has passed away. Like his pyramid of success.

Pyramid of success

The 5 Levels of Leadership – John Maxwell

Here is another John that all of us can learn from, John Maxwell. To only list, one of his books is one of the most difficult challenges. I encourage you to not just stop with this one book suggestion but read all of his stuff.

The 5 Levels of Leadership (posted on in more detail here with this link) is a great book that will help you identify where you are on the path of leadership, and to help show you the other stops along the way that you may be able to accomplish so you can set appropriate goals to achieve 4 levels. Yes, I said 4 levels. To achieve the 5th level it requires you do all 4 and the results outlast you. That is a huge B.H.A.G. goal.

Simple Ways to Become a Better Leader – Simon Sinek

For me Simon came on my radar with his incredible book: Start with the Why. I want to share the same teaching via a TEDtalk with you. You too may enjoy what I found to be incredibly inspiring. It challenged me to go back to the drawing board of conception with many of my ideas and methods. Hopefully, this video will pour into your leadership skills.


Are You A Leader? 12 Ways To Know For Sure. – Michael Hyatt

Some lessons that Michael makes in this video.

  • Real leaders don’t care who gets the credit just that the job gets done.
  • Leaders have discontent with the way things are
  • They like to tweak things
  • Don’t wait to have the perfect situations. Create and resources will follow.

Enjoy the video in full and hear more of Michaels 12 ways.


It’s Time to Begin

Thanks for allowing me to share snippets from leaders I enjoy. If you are like me I always enjoy learning wither it is through video, text, networking, coaching or audio, it doesn’t matter as long as I am taking in more to help me to develop leadership skills.

It is this true enjoyment of taking in info that can sometimes slow me down in getting started. I will become a consumer and not a creator. Allow me to encourage you, take the time to watch each of these short videos. Take the lessons to make your notes and goals, then go and live them out.

Start in action right here. Share a couple of your ways that you would develop leadership skills. What are some of your pillar thoughts concerning leadership?

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Discovering Advantages eBooks Have.

I have always enjoyed reading. Reading for me is therapeutic, enjoyable, adventurous, challenging in helping me improve skills and so much more. Often times I want to pull out a book and re-read it for some of the great nuggets I received from it. Problem is, I may not be around that certain book at the time. Maybe, I am waiting in line for the doctor or my kids to get out of school and want to feed my mind but I didn’t bring a book. This is where the advantages ebooks have in my reading. They can go everywhere with me!

Advantages eBooks have to me.

I have gone almost totally with ebooks for many reasons. Here are just a few of those reasons.
– I can take them anywhere without the extra weight and cumbersome of real paper books.
– I have them with me regardless if I have just my MacBook Pro, iPhone, or iPad.
– With the Kindle app, I no longer need to type up the nuggets that I underline in my books and file them away. Instead, Kindle does it for me and I can pull them from where ever I am through my Amazon account.
– I can share books with others, and not worry about them getting ruined or lost.
– I can move all my thoughts and ideas that I make note of in each ebook, and file them away in what I call my digital brain: Evernote.
– I can share in twitter and Facebook nuggets and thoughts from each book with just a click or two.

I am sure if I thought about it, I would discover many more reasons.

eBook reading strategy

With almost any book today having a digital copy and paper version I have discovered a reading strategy that works for me. I do still enjoy the feel of the paper in between my fingers and who doesn’t love the smell of a good paper book. I also do still enjoy sitting down and reading a good paper book with a cup (or two or three) in my hand while I read about how I can develop the 5 Leadership Skills to become a successful leader.

So my strategy to feed my paper book fetish and my practical, convenient reading side involve both.

Since all books are usually cheaper in the digital version that is how I start when I buy them. This allows me to save money on those books that are not as good as I was hoping but allows me to spend little on great books and the years of experience that I gain from each author.

Advantage eBooks have also according to my wife is that I don’t use all the shelf space in our house on my books alone. Moving is not as difficult either.

Now that I own the ebook and I have read it, if it is a great book then I will go and purchase the paper version as well. Great books are books that I enjoy reading yearly, like Peter Drucker’s book titled The Effective Executive or any of John Maxwell’s books like the 5 Levels of leadership. These are books that I have both electronic and in a paper version. I read these books every year like clockwork because they are filled with that many nuggets for me.

Reading books with this simple but very cost effective method saves me not only money but, having to take as many trips to second-hand bookstores to donate books that I didn’t receive as much value as I wanted from them. Not to mention the frustration that you suffer when you spend so much money on a book to only be disappointed that the title of the book was worth more than the content inside the book.

eBooks on my current reading list

Click on any of these if you would like to read these ebooks yourself.

1. Think in Systems

2. Talent Wins

3. Team of teams.  New Rules of Engagement  for a complex world

4. Leadership Coaching. Tony Stoltzfus

5. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

It is my hope that through this post you are discovering the advantages of ebooks. You have possibly learned a new system of reading books that will be more economical for you and give you access to all the great teaching you get from your books just right at your fingertips.

Any other eBooks you would recommend for me or this community to read? Why are you recommending this book?

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Books that change your life

Books have always proven to be a significant part of my growth in leadership. Books have changed my life significantly. I can pick one book up that teaches time management and become a student of a great time manager. One who may charge thousands of dollars for their time and it is costing me only $20 for the price of the book. Next, I pick up a book over team development and gain insight from a leader who has been at this for 30+ years. One who can speak as an authority with proven experience.

The following list of books is to only suggest some of this life changing books from my life and will hopefully get you started in reading the same ones or exploring some of your own that will provide change for you.

Overall Life Changing Book

For me, I just would not be doing this post over Books that change your life if I did not start with the number book that challenges me every time I pick it up to read it – the Bible. Here is “the book” that is filled with challenges, encouragement, ideas, life stories, goals to strive for, and so much more. This is a book that I read daily and miss it if I do not make the time to read it. Every year I enjoy reading it in a different translation which often times put a new understanding on parts of it for me. This is by far the book that continues to keep on giving to me.

Leadership Books

Here is a topic that even though I could add numerous books to, which you can read my books read over in Goodreads, I am going to keep this post down to adding only a couple books to.

First book that Ill mention is John Maxwell book, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. Learn these 21 laws that John teaches and you will so much of the leadership that you come across really do involve these 21 laws.

The Effective Executive a book by Peter Drucker. Here is a prime example of a book that I can pick up every year and re-read to refresh myself on some important keys to management that a world-class management guru, Peter Drucker, teaches and would be able to charge more than I could afford to attend one of his conferences (if he was still alive) but his teaching are within reach for me through his books.

Leadership Challenge by Kouzes and Posner. This is one of those classic books as well that dives into all kinds of leadership topics and philosophy. This book has 2 versions. The first version I discovered years ago as part of a book club I belonged to is written for the whole leadership community. The newest version that I discovered a few years back is written if you are a Christian. It takes all the principals from the first and helps to translate it into a Christians world as well.

Marriage Books

Choosing to Cheat by Andy Stanley is the book I am going to mention here. I know there could be numerous books that maybe I should mention here but I want to go off the beaten path a little and give a book that maybe you would not have thought of or even found if searching on this topic.

This book is one of those quick reads but packed with great content. The biggest piece I got from this book which changed my life was, we all will cheat people from our time every day. There is always going to be people who feel they should have gotten more of our time. So it is not “if we will” cheat people of our time, but, choosing who we will cheat of our time. This is where priorities need to be set up. This lesson alone is where I came t firm decisions that my God, my wife, and my family would not be cheated and so I arrange my whole schedule around not cheating them.

Ministry Books

Because I have been in full time pastoral ministry for over 27 years as of the time I am writing this, I could really list a ton of these books, but will limit it to just a one.

7 Practices of Effective Ministry by Andy Stanley. Here was a book when first read I thought I would not enjoy as the first half of the book is setting the stage for giving the leadership lessons in the second half of the book. It uses a baseball team analogy which even though I thought that would lose me (I am not the biggest baseball nut) it was actually written in a way that kept my interest. So many lessons where gleaned from this book that have created a solid foundation in my ministry leadership that I still use to this day.

Leadership Change Books

This last category that I will mention is over the importance of changing properly in leadership. Don’t get stuck!

Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson. This book was a great challenge over how we are creatures of habit and how it can stunt our growth.

What Got You Here Won’t Get You There by Marshall Goldsmith. Many lessons in this book but one that I will mention here would be, that for each level of growth it takes different and more learning than we currently have.

The price of these books have more than paid for themselves.

Books that can change your life, I have only mentioned a few. I am confident that the teaching, the lessons, the experienced shared, the thoughts and dreams that came from each one of these authors would financially be out of my reach. Some of these authors are not even around anymore for us to learn from outside of books. Through their books though, it is financially possible now.

This is why as part of being a productive leader you must use your ABC’s (Apps, Books, Coaching). Books that change your life are a must have tool. Now go and enjoy a book.





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Don’t believe the lie that you don’t have time to read.

Have you heard how “Leaders are readers…”? I whole heartily believe this. This is in part why I have created this blog over the ABC’s (Apps, Books, and Coaching) that have worked for me and others to become productive leaders.


You need to develop an appetite for life-long learning by using the ABC’s. In today’s world with all of our great technology like the internet, e-books, and blogs on every imaginable topic under the sun, and all of this just a click away with the device all of us hold in our hands from phones, tablets, and laptops, there is truly no excuse to not read.


Thinking you don’t have time to read, think about this:

Reading just an hour a day adds years of experience and research to your life. You actually gain time by reading. The time you would have spent doing something possibly the most unproductive way. Most reading of books, for example, you are gaining the years of trial and error that the author went through to come up with the conclusions that made up the book that you are reading. Lessons are learned best from experience and that experience doesn’t always have to be just yours.

And that just scratches the surface at the benefits of reading.

  • Reading expands our minds.
  • Reading provides access to mentors who may not be with us anymore.
  • Reading allows you to travel places you may never get to go to otherwise.
  • Reading ignites our passion as we get to link dreams with others.
  • Reading frees us to learn about anything our hearts desire.
  • Reading clarifies our thinking as we connect with someone who has traveled further.
  • Reading fuels our creativity as we are challenged by someone taking one of our thoughts further.
  • Reading helps us lead more effectively and efficiently.


If you aren’t in the habit of regular daily reading, I suggest you take out your calendar and make an appointment with yourself and a good book or e-book every day. Start your day or end your day this way, it doesn’t matter as long as you do it.

Allow me to say that one book that I would recommend that everyone make sure you are reading every day is the Bible. There is a reason that this book has appeared on the best selling list for years.

Sir Francis Bacon’s advice on reading says it best:

“Some books are to be tested, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.”

Now go and start your reading.


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