I'm often asked what keeps me focused and on track
toward my objectives. People want to know what
works. They want to know my "secret weapons" for
juggling many projects and priorities. The truth is,
there's no one way that works for everyone. We each
have our own style and our own strengths and
weaknesses. What works for one may not work for
Nonetheless, here are the top ten things
that work for ME. When I find myself being less
productive than I'd like, I look at which of these things
I might not be doing as well or as consistently as I
1. Clear, Written Goals.
I write my goals
down and I keep them in front of me. I pay particular
attention to my top three -- the three most important
things I'm in the process of accomplishing. Clarity leads
to power and having clear, written goals keeps me
2. A Projects Book.
keep a three-ring binder with a numbered tab for each
project. Within each section, I have task lists, notes
about resources and ideas on completing these
I then break my project down into action
plans. Most people have to-do lists, and so do I. But I
divide my list into critical, imperative and important. I
use A, B and C and do my best to put my attention on
them in this order. A's must be done and are
time-sensitive. B's should be done or must be done but
are not so time-critical. C's are nice to do. I'd like to
do them, but they just aren't critical or essential.
best I can, I schedule the time to work on the A's. I
set them up as an appointment and that way there's
less chance they'll slip and not get done on
3. Time Away.
I don't yet
practice this as well as I would like, but I know it works
when I do. And I'm getting better at it. We need
breaks. Extended ones (at least a week or ten days),
intermediate ones (long weekends) and short ones
(breaks in the day). Remember, it's the space between
the notes that makes the music. Be sure to create
some spaces in your day, your month, your year and
Most, if not all, of the great leaders and
achievers spent time away -- quiet time, contemplative
time, meditation time and renewal time. Without it they
would not have been able to accomplish what they did.
Why should we be any different?
I meet almost every week with my
Success Team. Two of them live on the west coast
and the other in the Midwest. We meet by conference
call and talk about our goals and projects, what's
working, what's not working and how we can make
better progress. I wouldn't be without this valuable
We meet for an hour and divvy up the time
between the members on the call. In addition, we
correspond via email as the need arises.
Service First -- Profits Second.
It's not always
easy to do, but it's imperative to put the focus on
giving the customer or client what they want. If I'm
thinking about what I can do for our members instead
of what I can gain, things work. It just goes to prove
that you can get anything you want if you help enough
other people get what they want.
By keeping the
focus on where it belongs -- creating value -- instead
of on what I want to get out of it, I make progress --
and it's progress that lasts.
6. Keep Peak
We all have times of the day
when we are at our best. For me, it's the morning. For
you, it might be the afternoon or late night. I schedule
my most important projects for the AM. For my
less-productive times, I schedule tasks that don't
require as much creativity, brainpower or
I keep my
journal on my computer and also in a 3-ring binder so I
can punch and add pages as needed. It's a scrapbook
as well as a place to record my thoughts and
It's insightful and inspiring for me to review
my journals from previous years. It's amazing to see
the difference in perspective from years past as well as
observe the progress that's been made.
We all need exercise. Our bodies
need to be active in order for our minds to work
properly. When I skip my workouts, my work suffers.
When I do what's good for me, good things happen to
me. I now look at the time taken in working out as an
investment in my productivity rather than taking time
away from my productivity.
9. Reading Good
Books and Listening to Good Tapes.
my creativity and my motivation are stimulated by
reading inspiring stories, listening to good ideas and
learning about why and how great men and women
have lived and triumphed.
I read with a tape
recorder or a note pad because I want to chronicle the
ideas I discover and what I think about as a result of
what I read.
10. Asking Questions.
believe that questions are the answers. When I ask
others questions, I learn. When I ask myself questions
and I have to think and research, I learn even more.
And we can't learn less.
The quality of our lives is
closely related to the quality of our questions.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Of course, nothing can take the
place of having objectives about which you feel
passionate. With strong reasons, compelling beliefs and
deep-seated faith, one can accomplish seemingly
Michael Angier can be reached at http://SuccessNet.org. (c) Copyright Success Networks International, Inc.
and Michael Angier.
||COACHING CALL TO ACTION
Michael has a number of ideas and tactics that
make him productive. I especially liked No. 10 -- Asking
Questions, being a big question asker myself. This
week review Michael's list, which of these methods
would you like to add to your repetoire to keep you
focused? Are there other actions you take to keep
yourself focused? Please share them with me and I will
include them in an upcoming Ideas and Information.
||IDEAS AND INFORMATION
Thinking about giving back by getting on a board?
The Arts & Business Council of Greater Boston is
now accepting applications for the 2004 Business on
Board training and board placement program, which
begins in September. Now in its third year, Business on
Board is a program that trains and places business
professionals on arts and cultural boards. Previous
board experience is not required, only your skills,
experience and desire to make a positive difference in
the culture of the Boston area.
Participation in the
Business on Board program is a great leadership
development tool and a great way for a company to
reward/develop key middle management staff. To learn
more about Business on Board, please call Celeste
Wilson at 617-570-8346 or email her at
||ABOUT ANDREA NOVAKOWSKI
This Coaching Tip of the Week is brought to you by
Andrea Novakowski, Master Certified Coach who
provides Business and Personal Coaching to
Corporations, Businesses, and Individuals. Andrea is a
professional coach who partners with people to set
goals and create momentum to produce effective
results in their business and/or personal lives.
Andrea is available for individual coaching. If you are
serious about reaching your goals and living with
greater fulfillment and satisfaction, consider using a
coach. To schedule a COMPLIMENTARY initial
consultation, send an e-mail to Andrea at
||PASS IT ON
Please feel free to pass on the Coaching Tip of the
Week to your friends and colleagues. To subscribe,
click the "Subscribe" button below. You may also
subscribe at http://coachandrea.com.
We never send unsolicited e-mail. If you have received
this message and you did not subscribe yourself or you
wish to unsubscribe your e-mail address from the list,
please click the link below. You may also unsubscribe
If you need to get in contact with us directly (if you
have trouble subscribing/unsubscribing, or have
questions about the list itself), send an e-mail to
Copyright 2004. When you forward Andrea
Novakowski's "Coaching Tip of the Week" to your friends
and colleagues, please keep the copyright and contact