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Our Time Management Definition – From Tug Of War With Time

A pocket watch as a swing of the pendulum. Concrete background. 3D rendering. Time is money concept.

Time Management Definition – The Long Explanation

I constantly get people asking me for time management tips, time management strategies and how you can improve time management skills. The thing is what are they asking for exactly depends on their time management definition.  What does time management mean to them? Because without understanding their time management definition I may be answering the wrong question. Time management means different things to different people.

I used to do a podcast for called Take Charge of your Productivity. In two years I asked every single guest what their time management definition and what their definition of productivity was and not a single person gave me the same answer. True story. Time management is another one of those elusive terms that means different things to different people because it is a vague term. Good time management skills and how to improve your time management depends on your time management definition.Well, we’ve compiled a list of 10 different definitions of the phrase, as defined by different people. Here are time management definition (s):

Layman’s term – the layman’s term for time management is the development of processes and tools which increase productivity.

Portrait of Benjamin FranklinBenjamin Franklin – once said ‘time is money’ and how right he was. By this he means that the quicker the work got done, the more work could be done and therefore the more money could be made. Managing your time is speed based to save money or an investment in creating value.

Frederick Winslow Taylor – in his book The Principles of Scientific Management discussed how to improve worker productivity, personal productivity. Taylorism, as it was called, is the process of breaking down one task into smaller actions after finding the most efficient way of doing said task. Task based time management definition.

Peter Drucker – created a far more inclusive theory of management based on management by objectives. He focused on the importance of managing business by balancing needs and goals. Goal setting being at the core of the time management definition.

Steven R. Covey – his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, is one of the bestselling non-fiction books of all time, popularizing the concept of personal productivity and personal time management. After this popularization, personal time management has become closely intertwined with good time management skills.

Hyrum Smith, Founder of Franklin Quest and Franklin Covey, sometimes referred to as the father of time management because of his introduction of the Franklin Planners. Hyrum Smith defines Time management as the Time Gap, a part of his 3 gaps that affect our personal time management. The Time Gap, the gap between what we plan to do each day and what we actually get done. This is influenced by the Belief Gap which is the gap in our behaviors in relation to what we want and the Values Gap which is the gap between what we value most in life and where we actually invest our time and energy. Improve your time management and personal productivity is managing the gaps.

Heidi Hanna- time management is energy management. “time without energy is void of value, your energy is your most valuable resource.” The constant obsession with time, puts our brain into survival mode creating chronic stress that weakens our engagement and productivity. Good time management skills are managing your energy and how you show up for the time you have.

Carla Crutsinger – In her book Thinking Smarter defined time management as the ability to set goals, prioritization, allocate time to each task and observing the results. Carla Crutsinger also highlighted the importance of being flexible with time management. Sometimes other tasks become a priority and so plans should be adjusted accordingly. Goal setting plays a part in shifting priorities and being connected to the end game.

This means that you should be revisiting your task list often, in order to judge what is a priority and what isn’t. That way you will be on top of tasks when things change order based on yoyouroal setting process.

Neil Shipman – Neil Shipman defines time management as a crucial set of skills such as being aware of yourself, structuring your time wisely, and most importantly – scheduling downtime to allow yourself to regenerate. Improve your time management by taking more breaks and managing white space.

William E. Kelly – defined time management as skills that include list making, organizing the work and your resources and breaking down large tasks into smaller pieces.

Consider your time management definition. Are you task based? Goal setting and results oriented? If you had to break it down into its specific tasks or components what would that look like to you?

I’ve worked with people and coach them on growing the business across countries cultures and industries.  As you can imagine good time management skills was a problem across the board. Peoples relationship with time and money have been a challenge since the beginning of time.

Time is finite and when we focus on it, it will take up precious energy that can be used elsewhere. It creates stress. I had a personal example of just how much stress a focus on time can create. I was assigned to be in charge of time for an event that I was volunteering for. My job to let the group know when each next section of content was to be presented, to provide the trainer a flash card to tell them when we had 20 minutes left, 10, 5 and 1 minute left. I was also in charge during the breaks to call out to the staff when we had 10 minutes, 5, 2 and 1-minute left. I found that this incessant focus on time had me stressed. If we were on break, I wasn’t. I was focused on time. In the middle of a conversation, I found my attention wandering from them and to the stopwatch in my hand, even if I had checked it what seemed like 30 seconds ago. I was compulsively checking the stopwatch. I was paralyzed for the last minute as I just sat there staring at the watch as it counted down the last minute so I could call out to the group and relieve a part of the mounting tension of the timely perfection required. I would even contemplate and over analyze, if I had time to use the bathroom and still be back to call out the time for the group.

I came to realize that an obsession or extreme focus on anything takes away precious energy because it is running a program in the background like computers running multiple applications take up memory on the computer. In the old days you would have to shut down some of those programs or else your computer would slow down to a point where the computer was unusable.

How Do You Know What Your relationship with time is?

First, check in on your time management definition. Second, finish this sentence – Time is ….

The first 5 words you use to describe tells you your current relationship with time. Did you say scarce, limited, …

The truth is improving your time management is really understanding your relationship with your results and shifting your current relationship with time. That may seem esoteric, but let it sink in and think about it.

Time doesn’t drive our results so we should focus on what does drive results. The drivers might be some of the components from your time management definition and they might be other components you haven’t really thought about.

No matter if you are Increasing sales, losing weight, mastering a sport or improving time management, you have to track what’s driving the success.  The challenge is time is not a driver of success. Time might be a factor in the manufacturing of products and how efficient the machines are but time is a measure of minutes passing but not a driver in what gets achieved in those minutes. Good time management skills have little to do with time. We are not machines. Machines might reflect time completed but machines don’t do goal setting and align task management. Personal productivity comes from understanding what works and what doesn’t work for you as an individual. One size doesn’t fit all. It isnt about the tools as much as it is about our thinking.

If you’re losing weight you’re going to track everything that you eat and drink to create greater awareness, to recognize the gaps, to see what’s working and what’s not working and to take committed action to get the results you desire.

10 Time Managment Fundamentals That Will Change Your Life

After years of working with people to help them grow their businesses while evaluating the fundamentals of their success and good time management skills. I’ve narrowed it down to these 10 fundamentals that drive our success in all facets of life. These fundamentals make up good time management skills and boost your overall prsonal productivity. These fundamentals represent how we show up for the time we have and what we choose to prioritize to get the results we want. It incorporates a way of being, strategies for aligning tasks and actions and reflection that will support sustainability.

  1. Motivation: The level of drive, determination, and grit to stay the course in reaching your goals. Goal setting is your directive and your motivation is your commitment meter. When you are fully committed you take ownership and responsibility and overcome obstacles quicker than a partial ownership or worse lack of commitment altogether.
  2. Self-Talk: The things you say to yourself that create excuses, makes you a victim, blames other people and limits your potential. This is an underestimated aspect of how you show up for your time and plays the biggest role in why we don’t do what we know. This area creates self-sabotage. Be aware of your self-talk, the questions you ask yourself and others and the words that come from your thinking because your thinking ultimately drives your behavior.
  3. Self-Care: Eating, sleeping, drinking water, exercising and taking care of your physical state, energy rejuvenation. Self-care is the first area sacrificed when we get stressed and busy and is actually the most important resource to foster creativity, engagement and connection, driving how we show up for our time. It is essential to our energy management.
  4. Focus: Ability to stay on task with goals and objectives. Distractions are abundant in today’s culture and it requires discipline, collaboration and supportive practices and structures to keep our attention focused on the task at hand.
  5. Planning: Preparing, scheduling, organizing both short and long-term. Planning is essential to achieving your goals. Things may notThe phrase Plan Your Day in white text on a blackboard avove a modern wall clock go according to plan but you increase your level of flexibility by having thought up front about resources, strategies, timing, and cost.
  6. Process: Creating standards, systematizing/automating. Investment in creating standards and defined steps to take will reduce mistakes, make it easier to train others and provide a consistent result. McDonalds was a great demonstration of the value of standardizing processes and using systems to create leverage for the business. In the end, it saves time and money.
  7. Prioritize: Identifying the most important actions and aligning tasks and goals. Prioritization is difficult in some cases because people feel like there are too many things that have high priority, everything is urgent. The fact is we are just not making a clear distinction by challenging the priorities or setting up criteria to enable us to make the decision and relieve the stress of multiple priorities. If hospitals can figure it out in the emergency room, so can we in our lives.
  8. Progress: Recognizing your successes, learning lessons and applying them. Recognizing progress creates momentum even if you don’t get your desired results you are still making progress when you realize what doesn’t work and can adapt accordingly. The more you check in on what is working and what isn’t working the faster you will reach or exceed your goal.
  9. Measurement: Take the time to track success drivers and adapt accordingly. Be aware of lead indicators that drive results and lag indicators which simple measure the result. For example. Revenue is measured after the fact but if you want to influence that number you may want to look at customer loyalty(attrition), conversion rates and so on. If you are looking at weight loss it might be exercise, calories, fats and so on.
  10. Proactivity: Identifying and resolving obstacles before they arise. Managing Risk. Innovation. Being proactive keeps you at the peak of your game. Wayne Gretzky the famous Hockey player said his key to being a great player was to skate to where the puck was going not to where it was. That is how we win the game.

I have used this with entrepreneurs for over 10 years to gain insight, reflection and create action around gaps in their time management strategies. Most people focus on planning and organization and hit a plateau or are not able to create consistency because they do not incorporate how they manage their energy or take time to track and reflect upon what is working and what is not. People have a tendency to push away responsibility and blame the system or tool, and just accept and tolerate mediocre results. It is easier to blame than to take responsibility and push through the pain of doing what is best in the long run rather than doing what seems easiest in the moment.

Breaking down the definition of time management into its components and skill sets helped my clients to clarify and own the gaps in their practices and align their actions with their goals to change their relationship with time and their results.

Each of these areas has their own tips and tricks to become better, stronger, faster as it relates to your life, your health, your business your personal productivity and managing your time. Good time mangement skills are born from this perspective.

One client, by recognizing his biggest gap in this process was set on a mission that doubled his business. He put a computer in his warehouse to remove the paper handling, errors and extra work the paper created. Inventory was kept up to date and could be better managed. seems obvious but not when you are running your business. You can’t see the blind spots.

When he looked at the measurement of the data he had available to him from running his business- we ran trend analyses to see when most purchases were made, who was active and inactive and other key information. From this analysis, we ran targeted campaigns to get old customers back and increase orders by cross-selling. What does this have to do with time management? He was resetting his priorities and focusing his time and energy on what was important for his business. Investing in systems that would make him more efficient and effective in the future in delivery and sales. That is the result of time management.

How time management is defined will make a difference in how you approach it and what you focus on. If you believe it is simply a form of organization, you will get more organized but you might not get the results you are looking for because one of the other elements is keeping you from enjoying it, consistently applying it or creating efficiency from it. If you think time management is about accomplishing a task, you will be more task oriented but may miss the bigger picture.

Take your assessment of the 10 fundamentals mentioned above and see your current status, your gaps and how you could close those gaps and monitor your progress here:


Take your thinking that managing your time from task orientation to a bigger picture, a broader perspective than a simple task. Improving your time management is about thinking and acting more strategically.  It starts with goal setting and aligns the task and the goal.

Interview Howard Berg | Speed Reading: Read and Comprehend

This is Penny Zenker.  Today I am joined by Howard Berg.  America’s fastest reader.  He attended State University of New York at Binghamton.  He majored in both biology and psychology.  He taught science and computers for ten years in New York City.  He went to start his own company dedicated to learning and success for all.  He has created more than 14 brain based learning program.  His Time Warner Books Super Reading Secrets.  It’s in its 28th reprint.  Congratulations.  Barons Books requested him to write Speed Reading, the Easy Way.  At Nightingale Conant they sold over 650,000 copies of his mega speed reading program.  I want to welcome the man of speed.  Howard Berg. 

P:  Thanks for being here.

H:  Thanks for having me. 

P:  I know you finished your college courses in a record amount of time and your products help others to do the same.  Did you have some kind of speed reading AHA moment in college or were you speed reading and practicing brain based learning or accelerated learning before then?

Speed readingH: I started when I was younger.  I grew up in the projects in Brooklyn.  It was like the West Side Story.  I had a lot of knives pulled on me.  The safest place in my neighborhood was the library.  Kids from gangs don’t hang out at libraries or book store.  All I could do that was safe, was read.  When I went to college, I started studying the brain and brain based learning.  I was up to 80 pages per minute.  That is Mega Reading maximimim speed reading, reading rate. I did a graduate course in psychology in 7 hours.  I took a test in 15 minutes and got a B+.  I wondered if this accelerated learning was trainable.  I had a young man pass the bar at 19 in California.  Micha Stanley was able to graduate U of Texas at 16 with a 4.0.  Learn Chinese in 3 weeks became my mission.  I teach how people can apply this accelerated learning to their businesses and be more productive and have more time for things you love.  Have less stress.

P:  Yes, it is a challenge that our listeners are sitting at the edge of their seats.  Did you work with these people personally or was this through your program that they were able to learn?  Do you have to be a genius to learn this?

H:  Good example is a C student when he started.  He graduated with his 4 year degree at 19.  His masters in English at 21.  At age 22 he is an English Professor.  It teaches people something that we were never taught.  Brain based learning.  How does your brain work?  Why can you turn on the radio and listen to a song and learn it and sing it for the rest of your life, effortlessly?  I cracked the code on learning and that’s sort of what we will be doing today.  I will talk about some of these strategies people can use immediately. Mega reading is a thing everyone can do at a high reading rate with maximum speed.

P:  What inspired you to bring this to the world?  You could have kept it for yourself and just continue to grow your own business and yourself?

H:  I spent 10 years teaching in the inner city in New York.  I told the principal that I could help the students.  He said, what I was going to teach is not in the curriculum.  I realized that someone needed to do something.  People are unable to stay on top of data.  Right now it’s doubled.  Every six months, information doubles.  Nobody has figured out a way to stay on top of that.  It’s important for people to do that and be successful.  I figured since I knew what I was doing and it worked and it was something I could teach, I had that responsibility.  I was given a gift and wanted to share accelerated learning to make a better world.

P:  Terrific.  I hope that everyone who is listening here taps into their gift.  It’s almost an obligation isn’t it Howard?

H:  Yes, I just help develop what you already have.  We all have something special.  People that I have helped, live better and see more possibility.  You have more dots you can connect.  More ways to approach a problem and you find more solutions.  Too many problems.  We need more problem solvers and less problems.  I feel like that is something I can help bring about with brain based learning.

P:  You are right.  As you help more people throughout the world, is this something that can eventually break into the curriculum and be a standard part in the way we learn? This could be a  mega reading class where accelerated learning allows us to read and comprehend atmaximumm speed?

H:  Probably not in the United States, but maybe other countries.  Our system is really, um, we are still fixing it.  Here is a statistic.  50% of college students dropped out.  70% of two year college students dropped out.  The average person take 6 years to finish college.  90% of high school graduates can’t write a paragraph.  20% of high school graduates can’t read at the 8th grade level.  38% of high school can’t do sixth grade math.  They just had a story on CNN.  80% of graduates in New York City, which is not the worst, or best, went to city college needed remedial training in Reading, Writing, and Math, before they could start college courses.  This country is in crisis.  They don’t want to change.  They say they do, but I live in the city where I volunteer for 10 years to help for free just to be a good citizen.  It says a lot about the system.  I read a book, if people were put to sleep in 1950 and woke up today one of the only things that stayed the same is school.  It hasn’t changed.  We are teaching kids how to be farmers.  How to be industrial.  Help their parents with the crops over the summer.  That is the purpose of summer. 

P:  People listening are here because they want change and want to increase their productivity.  We can take responsibilities for ourselves and our families.  There is a ripple effect that can take place here.  I am so grateful that you are here and we can really go over this information.  With the information age of the internet, entrepreneurs and every individual is overloaded with information today.

H:  The most common speed of reading is 200 words per minute.  With information doubling, that is just not fast enough.  Most people today are missing important information.  They are not able to read and comprehend the amount of information available and as a result are making expensive mistakes. 

P:  Yes.  I don’t think any of us can afford expensive mistakes.  We want to learn from the best.  We want to progress efficiently and effectively.  I resonate with your message because the more we learn, the better we can manage our energy investment.  We also need time to relax and do other things.  By learning faster with this accelerated learning method, that will enable us to do that. 

I ask every guest this question.  I am interested in your definition.  How do you define productivity and why?

H:  For me it is the ability to get things done quicker and better and more efficiently.  Not have the aggravation of stress.  A good example is I needed to get credits to get my teaching license.  I didn’t have time to go to school. I did a five month course in 7 hours by reading a book 4 times in 7 hours.  I took the sixth hour to take the test in 15 minutes. Mega reading in maximum speed. I got 4 graduate credits for 7 hours with a B+ for $65.  I saved so much money in driving, parking, and just time per week.  That is productivity. 

P:  That is productivity.  That is a wonderful example. 

H:  Getting things done and getting it done right and not wasting a lot of time getting the results that you need.

P:  I talk about focus in my program.  What they are doing with their time.  How much of themselves do they bring to that time and how do they feel about what they accomplished in that time.  How they manage their energy.  What is your take on that concept?

H:  That is so important.  Emotional intelligence.  It is the single most important skill.  Here is an example.  A lot of people ask, why am I a loser?  Your brain will tell you why you are a loser.  A lot of people in their learning will say, why am I so stupid?  Why do I have to learn this?  Instead, they should ask, how can I learn this faster and better.  We set ourselves up for failure.  While we are performing our activities throughout our day, if we ask a positive question, how can I get this client to agree to my contract quicker?  I can I learn this new skill better and faster?  Instead of why and how am I going to learn this?  These negative comments set up a program of failure.  Success doesn’t just come only from positive thinking.  If that was the case, everyone in Vegas would go home rich.  You have to have a good plan.  But if you have a negative attitude and the wrong question and not focused on the right one, no matter how hard you work, you will only get the answers you are looking for.  So many people spend their time trying to accomplish something they don’t even need. 

P:  I love that you bring in the quality of questions in terms of learning.  I never thought of it like that.  You are actually turning off your ability to learn by the questions you ask yourself while you are learning.  We talk about language.  That is so key.  I love how the quality of questions go through every aspect of our lives. That makes sense because the questions direct the enegy and focus around our brain based learning.

H:  So many students fail, because they say Math is too hard.  Science is boring.  So is it a shock that that child can’t learn science and math?  I am curious about how things work and I love numbers.  A lot of problems that people have are self-created.  Their attitudes and questions are creating them.  I can actually change someone’s emotional state. 

P:  they would love that.

H:  One of the states that people need is energy.  Have you ever been in a long meeting, or take a long exam, maybe your commute home?  To combat this, stand up and touch your left arm to right shoulder.  Then your right arm to left shoulder.  It’s like the Macarena but without music.  Now bring your right elbow to your left knee.  And do the same on the other side. Both sides of your brain are becoming active.  Make a fist in your right hand and hold it over your head and say:  I feel great.  Pull it down and go YES!!  With passion.  Do three sets of these.  This will create energy when you need it. Counts of 8.   Speed it up on your second set.  Third set even faster.  Put a smile on your face, sit down and feel great.  When you do this three times Penny, you know what happens.  Nothing?  But do it three times and do it every day three times for a month.  Then when you are in a long boring meeting, or sitting in traffic, or you are in a exam, you need a burst of energy.  Do you remember Pavlov’s dog?  You will drill your mind into creating energy.  You are making your own bell like Pavlov’s dog.  Your brain remembers what it felt and then you get a boost of energy just when you need it.  The same way to learn this you can learn to focus, relax, be creative, and then you can turn this state on when you need it.  I talk about all of this in my program. 

P:  That’s great.  And my program has that in it too.  That is key in every aspect.  What you are doing is the same as a song that takes you back to a particular place in time.  We have these anchors that we create for ourselves all of the time.  I would like our listeners to know that you have negative ones there and there are ways to remove those as well.  It’s a balance of creating these positive anchors for ourselves.  That is great.  Thanks for sharing that.  Everyone is leaving here with a huge value with them able to take away and boost their energy at any time. 

H:  Here is an example.  You learn how to drive.  Then you get your license.  You slide in the car and the instructor is right next to you and suddenly you can’t remember your name because you are taking a test.  You went brain dead.  That is an example of an emotional state sabotaging all of your hard work.  Every day that happens to kids.  They study hard for a test, they know the information, the test starts, and they get so nervous, they can’t even remember their name.  It’s critical to learn how to manage your state.  Critical.

P:  It’s not as much about time as it is about energy.  You hit the nail on the head.  It’s about how you manage that emotional state or energy.  I have coined a phrase called Championship Psychology.  That is what we are creating. 

H:  That’s right.  Those are great words. 

P:  That is the productivity x factor.  It sounds like you believe that as well.  Do you think there is another x factor in there?

H:  I think productivity is a lot like accelerated learning.  It’s not one single thing.  A lot of people think reading is learning.  It’s not.  You can read a book and the next day fail a test even though you read the book.  You didn’t understand it or didn’t remember it.  They need to read and comprehend. How do I learn and understand something I don’t understand.  Brain based learning requires three blades:  Read, understand, remember.  Whether its learning or productivity we are talking about a complex thing not just one thing by itself.  Taken together with the right proportions you get an amazing outcome.  That is why my program is different.  Most speed reading programs focus on maximum speed and reading.  I focus on accelerated learning.  The problem is people read too fast and don’t learn anything. that isnt mega redaing. Learn smarter in less time – that is mega redaing.  I teach how to make sense out of what you are reading.  If you like I can show you some of the tricks I teach. 

P:  yes, I just want to make sure I understand.  I am sure there are some skeptics.  They might be thinking, ok I can read fast at that reading rate but am i going to comprehend what I have read.  Are you saying that you have cracked the code in that you are able to not only help people to improve their reading rate to read faster but also to retain and access that information faster?  Is that what you are saying? Read and Comprehend, right?

H:  it is how the brain makes sense of the words.  You are understanding better because we understand what the brain is looking for to make some sense.  This program works.  I see this over and over again, these young people taking college level tests and doing well.  There are so many ways to improve comprehension.

P:  If it works with an eleven year old, it can work for you.

H: FromHoward.com\radio for more information.

P:  We will go to that at the end with that. 

H:  Would you like something else about comprehension?  One of the things people often ask me is this is too much to learn.  The book is too big.  I don’t even know what to look for.  All you have to look for is five things.  New words, the names, numbers and statistics, 5 points in each section.  We took a group of 18 children ages 11 to 16.  We gave them a 30 chapter book at a college level.  In one week they finished the book with speed reading.  15 out of the 18 students took the test and 15 of the students passed the course with full credit in one week because they knew all of the words, names and numbers, and the five most important ideas.  They had the answers to every question.  If you learn just those five things you will master any subject in a fraction of the time. 

P:  yes, because that is what you are being tested for, right?  I just want to ask a question.  What about comprehension?  Really being able to understand the material.  Like when you are getting a medical degree.  When you really need to apply something and not just answer the question.

H:  When I did that graduate course in 7hours I knew it was going to be multiple choice.  Which meant I didn’t have to know the answer, just recognize it.  I knew it was given to the whole state.  They couldn’t make it too hard because no one would pass.  Too hard and all would fail.  I spend time in the glossary because that is where words are to identify.  When you learn a system for analyzing tests and analyzing business experiences, you begin to know exactly the questions to expect from a client or an instructor.  So you are prepared.  The secret to school is one thing.  The answers to the questions.  Most people are studying all of the information and none of it’s on the test. 

P:  They need to learn what is relevant. 

H:  It’s a game.  But the reality is all you really need to know is the answer to the questions.  If you are trying to learn something and the questions are not focusing on what you need to know, you may do poorly on the test part.  My strategy teaches you what to look for even before you sit down and read. 

P:  It’s time for us to take a break.  We will be back.  We will talk about proactive training.

Welcome back. I am Penny Zenker and I am joined with Howard Berg, the world’s fastest reader.

P:  We just had two segments of great value that you provided to our listeners.  Not only did we learn how to boost our energy and our state in the moment through some exercises, but we also looked at how to anticipate and understand the schema, the key into speed reading and being able to read faster and read and gather what is really important in order for us to be able to take tests and be able to utilize this information.  I want to talk about like myself, there are many books on my shelf that are just sitting there.  There are people who think I just don’t have the time to take this method of learning.  How long does it take to learn your program?

H:  It only takes 2 and half hours to read 100% faster.  The other 90 minutes are on the comprehension and tension.  And the emotional state. 

P:  That is incredible.  This is an audio program?

H:  Actually its 3 DVD’s.  One of them is a practice DVD to help people get quicker.  They don’t have to.  I would like to think that if you double the four hours and practiced more you could triple your results.  If you want just the quick fix, then it only takes a few hours.  That’s fine because everybody is different and so are their needs.  I try to make sure I cover everybody’s needs properly.

P:  In four hours, people are going to be able to double their reading speed.  That will give them more time to spend with family, focus on sales, or to apply the skills that they have just learned through reading.

H:  I let people contact me.  They can text me on my phone.  If they need my help, I try to make sure that everyone who takes the program will learn.  I am still part teacher.  I may have left the schools, but I still like to teach people. 

P:  Do you have a place where people share their results?

H:  We did a third party investigation company.  We used a standardized test for reading speed and comprehension.  They took 100 people at random and gave them just the program.  I was not in the room or even the city it was in.  The average person doubled or quadrupled with no problems. 

P:  ok. 

H:  We know for sure it works.  Different age groups, backgrounds, experiences, etc.  This study proves what you can do what you are claiming.  Most programs don’t do this study to validate the quality.

P:  Sounds like you have many people who have excelled and you are able to show that the system really works. 

H:  It makes me feel good.  Me doing it is fun, its entertaining, other people doing it, can change the world?  That excites me.

P:  That’s great.  You mentioned that student who freezes for a moment, do you have any tips for you to give our listeners about memory and accessing that information that you are looking to bring up at a particular time?  Whether it’s a test or speech or whatever.

H:  Yes.  First thing is wording is state dependent.  A memory strategy is the second part.  I will give you ten things to remember.  I will show you how.  Poles, shoes, tricycle, car, glove, gun, dice, skate, cat and bowling pin.  Most people might know how to say them backwards and forwards.  I will show you the secret.  If you take something you know already like the numbers 1-10, link them to something you need to know, it takes a fraction of time to learn.  This is called Pegging.  Figure number one:  a big tall one that looks like a pole.  Two, how many shoes are you wearing.  Three, is a tricycle it has three wheels.  Four is the car and it has four tires.  Five is glove it has five fingers in the glove.  What is five? Six is gun.  They love them in Texas.  Seven is lucky in dice.  Seven is dice.  What is seven?  Say Eight Skate.  What is eight?  That is a rhyme.  Rhyme is powerful.  Nine:  How many lives does a cat have?  Nine is what?  Last one is ten bowling pins in a lane.  Ten bowling pins.  What is ten?  Let’s put the numbers together 1..2..3..4…5…6…7…8..9..10.  Name the ten items.  The whole system is just like this. 

P:  That is great.  It’s a system that helps you to access things by connecting them to other things that are easier to remember.

H:  Its supersonic speed reading.  It teaches you how to read faster and understand what you are reading.  It shows you how to find things that are important and how to remember them.  Now you have a complete system for learning instead of just the reading program.  FromHoward.com\radio and they can try it risk free for thirty days.  We guarantee that we double your reading speed.  If you need help, call me.  My phone is not ringing.  I have been giving out my number for 30 years.  I have taught so many people, what does that tell you? They have paid me to help them.  Someone has trusted me, I make sure it gets done. 

P:  That is fantastic and thank you.  You can try Howard’s program it is a money back guarantee. 

H:  You won’t need to return it because it works.  But if something happens, you can send it back.  But they just don’t.   It’s so easy to learn.  It is exactly what they expect.  If you give people what they expect plus a little more, they are really happy and want to keep it. 

P:  Knowing you and the value you have created with this program as well as hearing you speak at other forums, the value will be more than people expect.  It will be over the top and I encourage everyone to go to FromHoward.com\radio to check it out.  Before we end, I want to ask you what are you working on?  You have gone through so many books and skills and different things, what is next for you? 

H:  I do products for memory.  How to make products.  How to get on shows.  26 advance speed reading lessons.  I do a program every month on a business problem.  Like how to make a website or Photoshop or create a membership press.  I teach people how to do things that would traditionally would take months, I teach in an hour.  My services help people in business who are trying to be productive.  I cut the time to learn it.  I do this every month. 

P:  Thank you so much for being here.  It’s been a world of information, but we have learned a lot of practical things that we are able to take away with us and apply immediately.  Thanks for sharing that.

H:  Thank you again.   You will be really excited with the results you get.

P:  Just to close out, in my program I talk about the type of energy that you bring to a project or task.  It’s not about the amount of time you spend on something, it’s about what you bring to it.  Howard says that as well.  Its state dependent.  You need to be in a certain state to learn and you need to be in a certain state in the way you do everything in your life.  It also helps to have strategies like speed reading to proactively reduce the time it takes to do certain things.  Find, harness, and use your best and smartest energy.  In order to do this, you need to prepare and anticipate.  Howard talked about anticipate the questions before they come.  You want to anticipate your environmental changes or obstacle that may obstruct you in getting to where you want to go.  Prepare your knowledge and expertise by learning and getting the skills you need.  Find the fastest way to learn.  Train yourself and your staff to be exceptionally and exponentially more productive.  What obstacles await you in your future?  Write them down what you need to learn to create and maintain a competitive advantage in your field.  I have heard it said, if you are not growing, you are dying.  Start writing those things down and anticipate what you need to do in order to grow your life and your business.  If you like what you have heard, send us a message on Facebook, twitter or text.  Let us know what you think.  www.facebook.com\pennyzperspective and also at twitter www.twitter.com\pennyzenker  questions can be posted on the site and we will answer them over the program or via email.  Join us next week as we talk about another of the most important elements of the ten elements of time and energy management and how to make yourself more productive.  We talk about quantum productivity.  Until next time, this is Penny Zenker reminding you to take charge of your time and energy.  It is a choice you can feel good about.

Eight Ways to Create a Productive Commute to Work

If you’re like one of the thousands of people who have a long commute to work on trains or buses, you may be wondering how to create a product work commute. There’s such a good opportunity for effective commuting time, because the commute time to work doesn’t have to be wasted time. A productive work commute could be getting work done that you usually don’t have time for once you get to your office or preparing yourself for a more effective workday. We have put together a list of ways that you can make your commute time a productive work commute and get more done before you’ve even started your work day.

Here are some ideas. Keep these in mind and pick the best ones for you depending on if you are on the train, bus or someone else is driving and even the options for you while you are driving. Here are the Eight ways to maximize your commute time to work.

1. Create a to-do list

Creating a to-do list first thing will give you a sense that you’ve already accomplished something. Using your commute to plan your day ahead will give you a chance to prioritize your tasks for the day and set realistic goals for yourself. Use apps like Evernote or Wunderlist or if you prefer a more old-school way of organizing things nothing beats writing your list using old-fashioned pen and paper. Using your commute time to write a plan for the day will mean that you already know what your priorities are when you arrive and you won’t end up rushing around doing many things that aren’t the highest priority or wasting work time getting off to a slow start trying to figure out where to focus.

2. Check your emails

With the age of 4G and smartphones, we can be online anywhere in the world. So use your time commuting to check your emails before you get into the office. Sometimes when we get into the office we can be bombarded with so many other things to do that we forget to reply to important emails or we end up with a backlog of emails that we normally end up replying to at five pm on a Friday. Use your commute to work to get caught up on all your emails so you don’t end up trying to sort it throughout the day.

Use the commute time to get organized too. Use this time to sort your emails into categories or days of the week to represent when you will work on those emails. Set up rules to remove junk mail or some other needed organization to manage your daily distractions.

3. Read

Reading is something that grows your knowledge base, that gets you thinking in new ways, an opportunity to learn from someone else’s experience. It expands your vocabulary, your knowledge and it’s fun to escape from reality every once in a while!

However, reading is something a lot of us don’t get the time to do. Usually, we end up trying to read before we go to bed and end up nodding off halfway through the second page. We just don’t make the time for this important way to expand our mind or needed escape.

If there’s a book you’ve been meaning to read for ages, why not use your commute time as a good time to catch up on your reading list? If you are in the car, get the audio version. I am a huge fan of getting to my book list with my commute time using Audible.

4. Learn a new language

Your commute can be a great time to learn a new language. Perhaps you’ve booked a holiday somewhere that you’ve never been before and want to make sure that you can get by in a foreign country, or perhaps it’s something you’ve always wanted to do but don’t have the time. With apps like Duolingo, you can use your commute to brush up on your French, Spanish – whatever you want, on the go!

Again if you are in the car, get the audio version and make the best use of your commute. Learning a language is a great way to expand your brain function by stimulating memory, improve listening skills and create some excitement around new future ventures.

5. Social Media

This is not an option while driving-but as a passenger or on the bus-this could be the perfect time.

Yes, social media may not actually be considered productive, but the urge to check out Facebook, Twitter or Instagram can sometimes get in the way of work and we end up wasting our working hours scrolling through these pages. If you use your commute time to get your fill of social media sites then you will be less likely to check on them throughout the day, leaving you with more productive time later on and allow you to focus on family, friends and other projects when you get home. It’s sort of a non-productive way to be more productive for the rest of the day.

6. Reflect

Commute time is a great time to think about what is important to get done, what is working well and what needs improvement. Commute time is a perfect time to set an intention. Whether you are headed into work or leaving work you have an opportunity to be purposeful about your actions and activities and create the experience you want for the next part of your day. This can create greater focus, greater connection to the purposeful use of that time and help you avoid distractions before they arise. Often, people tend to blow off reflection because they “don’t have the time”. Commute time is the perfect time for such activities.

7. Exercise

How do you do that, you are thinking. Actually, if you live close by-why not ride your bike and get your commute in and get some exercise. This is a great way to be in a great working state of mind when you arrive. Invest in an electric bike if you are a bit further away so you get the exercise but don’t want to get too sweaty. Also, keep in mind, many companies have a shower so start thinking outside the box, rather than making excuses.

8. Relax

Sometimes what we really need is downtime. This could be a great time for deep breathing that can be done while driving or not driving. Listen to your favorite music and shift your mood and mindset on a time to wind down and recharge.

Maybe you weren’t looking for a more productive commute time, but now you are more conscious and have some great way to create more effective commuting time. Commute time can be considered a waste of time but now you know how to make more effective commuting time.

You have many options, the key is that you choose it intentionally versus just passing the time. Purposeful use of your time will get you your desired result for your commute time to work and commute time from work. So re-evaluate your commute time.

Feature Image: Stock photo

SWOT or SOAR which is better?

Consultants have been using the SWOT Framework in strategy development for years to help bring clarity to the current situations in business strategies, sales structures and any area that you seek improvement. The Framework is to provide a 360-degree evaluation of the current situation based on your goals and objectives.

A new contender is all the rage. This framework is called SOAR and is said to be a replacement for SWOT. Really? Let’s have a look and see what the two frameworks represent and if SOAR is a real substitute for the age-old SWOT analysis used in most strategic planning processes.

What is SWOT:

Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats

This constellation is used to understand a 360 perspective of your current situation and have an honest look at your self or your organization to see what is in the gap between your current situation and where you want to go (your vision and goals).

What is SOAR?

Strengths, Opportunities, Aspirations and Results

This constellation is intended to be a strengths-based look at strategic planning and create as “to-be perspective versus an “as-is” perspective.

There is a whole movement around a strengths-based approach forged by Marcus Buckingham and Tom Rath. StrengthsFinder 2.0 and assessment focus peoples attention on their strengths and building out their strengths. It is important to know your strengths and build upon them and use them to excel. However, if you want to be the best you need to accurately access where you are with a 360 perspective and proactively mitigate weaknesses or utilize strategies that optimize your strengths.

Although we want to develop our natural talents, we also need to work with others and that may require us to develop compensating skills for those areas that we are not strong. Is it ok for the natural salesman to make the sale at all costs, creating unhappy customers due to lack of customer service and follow-up, breaking down teamwork, or breaking company policy? Is it ok for a natural visionary to drive his vision forward berating others and overspending because of his/her lack of detail In creating a realistic budget?

David M. Corbin Author of Illuminate: Harnessing the Positive Power of Negative Thinking shows the value of bringing the negative and weaknesses into awareness to use it to become better. Being proactive and anticipating challenges before they arise is strategic and must be part of the strategy process and leadership development.

Here are the flaws in the SOAR approach.

  1. Failure to consider the marketplace

SOAR is said to be a positive reframe on SWOT. Thinking positive and avoiding the reality is no always your best bet for identifying the gap in your action plan to reach your goals. SOAR does not consider what is happening in the marketplace fully without evaluating this part of the picture.

Believe me, I am all about positive thinking but you have to shine the light on what isn’t working too. Without it you are not making decisions based on reality.

2. Redundancy

Your goals already reflect your desired results. Aspirations are a form of your vision. Your vision is focused on where you want to be and has little reflection on your current status. The vision is already reflected in the opportunities you see because they are based on your goals and your vision. So including opportunities and aspirations is somewhat redundant and keeps you from the very perspective that SWOT was designed to do which is to illuminate the gaps through weaknesses and threats.

3. Missing the objective

The objective of this exercise is to identify the gap and create an action plan.

Consider a GPS that doesn’t have your current location. It just has the results and the possible roads that lead to that location. Some of those roads come from other locations that are not easily accessible from your location. There might be construction on one of the roads but without that information, you will end up waiting an excessive amount of time and have possibly missed the event you were headed to or delayed to such a point that there were no more seats left when you got there. Had you seen your options, you could have chosen to fly rather than drive as that might provide a better choice based on your current vehicle.

You cannot accurately assess the gap without getting clarity exactly where you are now in relation to the internal operations, product line, sales strategy and current team and other aspects for your business, the market, and the economy.

Although SOAR gives us another framework to utilize, in my expert opinion as a strategic business coach it is missing the point. In your strategic planning you cannot ignore what is happening in the market place, or the ‘as-is” state of your organization. These components play an important role in bridging the gap between where you are now and where you want to be. Your can SWOT and SOAR but it isn’t advisable to SOAR without SWOTing.

Anytime you want to get clarity on where you are and close the gap, even in your time management strategies, understand your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) to come up with a customized action plan. Get into action.

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Procrastination Good or Bad?

Procrastination is worryingly common and extremely damaging to most of the working and studying population – or is it? Depending on how you approach it, it is one of the main causes of low self-esteem and, in the worst cases, depression. In other cases, it is the springboard to creativity and getting more done. You get to decide what this habit creates for you.

procrastination books

There are many ways to overcome or approach this habit of delaying and get your work done, and avoid stress and self-deprecation. Motivation is the key when you’re planning to re-evaluate your ways and how you think about Procrastination. Obviously the motivation or inspiration you are seeking in the moment is missing or the fear you feel or the pain you are experiencing is greater than the motivation – talking you into waiting, pushing it off or not doing that dreaded task at all. The best and motivation comes from within yourself, however, more often than not, we have to settle for the outside motivation with the consequences of not getting it done. Here are some resources to inspire you, provide you methods, tips and tools as well as new ways to think about and approach this habit. If nothing more it will be a nice diversion.

Procrastination TEDx Talks

1.  Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator by Tim Urban

In this witty and informational TED Talk, Tim Urban brings an anecdotal attitude to the common yet irritating problem of procrastination. Both hilarious and educational, the few minutes of his talk will bring relatable content for serial procrastinators, but also a further understanding of their own habits and an incentive to quit them for a more productive and healthier lifestyle.

2.  An End to Procrastination by Archana Murthy

90% of teenagers are struck with procrastination. Procrastination creates a cycle of stress and anxiety. Archana Murthy shares her understanding of procrastination and its hold on her life. She talks about the types of procrastinators. She provides a solution that works for her, maybe it will work for you too.

3.  The vaccination for procrastination by Bronwyn Clee

Procrastination is the source of wasted time and energy. Bronwyn Clee provides 5 steps to put procrastination behind you and your procrastination.

4.  Procrastination is the key to problem-solving by Andrea Jackson

Head down and bum up productivity is demanded from today’s society. She has suffered from the guilt of procrastination until she realized it is a necessity to her creativity. Procrastination is not the enemy of success and achievement. So embrace productive procrastination.

5. The fundamentals of procrastination by Neel Deshpande

An 11th grade teenager on Procrastination. He provides quick tips and tricks guide to making your day-to-day business much more efficient.

Procrastination Podcasts:

  1. 5 Strategies to Conquer Procrastination by Jeff Sanders

This open-minding episode of The 5 AM Miracle Podcast is one of Jeff Sanders’ best ones so far, and not only because it tackles this universal problem. The five strategies shared by Sanders during the episode are straightforward, simple, and, most importantly, doable. With a motivational attitude and relatable anecdotes, this episode is definitely worth listening to if you want to bring positive changes into your life.

  1. Iprocrastinate Podcast

This podcast is sponsored by the Procrastination Research Group (PRG, who have been researching procrastination for over 20 years. The research comes from around the world with an aim to seek an understanding why we become our own worst enemy at times with needless, voluntary delay.

  1. Procrastination on NPR

Can procrastination make you more productive? Procrastination expert Timothy Pychyl and self-professed “structured procrastinator” John Perry discuss the latest research on this type of behavior and how to prioritize what’s really important.

  1. Stop procrastinating now

This podcast assumes you know what do and how to do it, your challenge is that you just don’t do it. I talk about that in my programming. This podcast is dedicated to mastering your mindset and getting around those excuses.

Procrastination Books:

10. Procrastination: Why You Do It, What to Do About It Now by Jane B. Burka
Burka is an expert in procrastination and she will change your outlook on your lazy and time-wasting ways. Whether you are a student, a teacher, a researcher, a doctor or simply someone trying to get a project done, this book is perfect for you. From an in-depth explanation of procrastination and its effects on the mind, to an attack plan to fight it, Burka’s book is the read that will change your way of looking at your own life.

11. The Procrastination Equation: How to Stop Putting Things Off and Start Getting Stuff Done by Dr. Piers Steel (2010-12-16)

Piers Steel is considered as the leading expert on procrastination. He shares in his most popular piece of work all of his knowledge on procrastination and how to fight against it. The Procrastination Equation brings real psychological research into your daily lazy decisions, explaining the depth of the reasons why you put off important tasks and actions and waste precious time daily.

12. The Art of Procrastination: A Guide to Effective Dawdling, Lollygagging and Postponing by John Perry
John Perry shares his theory about Procrastination. Perry feels that he is more productive due to his procrastination so many other things get done in the procrastination process. He always gets the procrastination project done but also a host of other smaller projects and tasks that otherwise might not have gotten the attention if he was so focused in the original task.

Check out my interview with John Perry on iTunes.

13. The Procrastination Cure: 21 Proven Tactics For Conquering Your Inner Procrastinator, Mastering Your Time, And Boosting Your Productivity! by Damon Zahariades

Do tasks build up and create overwhelm and frustration for you. Is this an ongoing challenge? Is procrastination affecting you and those around you? Good news! There is a cure! There are 21 proven tactics to boost productivity and do away with the procrastinator you once were.

Now you have a better insight into how to beat procrastination and boost productivity. You have been able to reflect on how the habit of procrastinating impacts you, how to use it to your advantage and how to avoid it and get around or breakthrough your procrastination.

Share with us your favorite resource or distraction.

4 Ways To Get Unstuck and Prioritize

Prioritization is a skill.

how to get unstuck and prioritizeThe challenge is that everything seems to be a high priority and it’s difficult to decide what is more important than the next. Everything is important and urgent. Urgency is one of those things that can be a gift because it creates drive to get more done but when not balanced creates overwhelm and overload. Entrepreneur or not you have pressure coming from all directions: your boss, your client, your family and your personal needs.

Sit Down & Prioritize in 4 Steps

There are four steps to consider when you’re sitting down to prioritize so that you can balance urgency and importance in a rational way. The key that these methods bring is to get you out of an emotional state and practically work through what you have to get done.

1 – Make a List

One of the first and most important thing is to make a list of all of the things that you need to do in each category. Putting them into categories is the first step in being able to get specific as to what needs to get done. Dumping everything out of your mind and seeing it on paper helps.

Formats for creating this list can be a table, Eisenhower matrix, as seen below, or simply deciding one by one which one is more important from a gut and group feel. Mind mapping is also a valuable tool for this overview.

2 – Prioritization Criteria

Create a system or method to determine the criteria by which you’re going to prioritize. If you’re working in an organization, that might be something that you work out together with your boss, or that you look to use the support with your team. Items to consider as part of the criteria would be the value of the result (Money to be made for example), the time it takes to complete the task when it’s due, the level of intensity of the work, if it can be delegated, consequences for delays and so on.

3 – Decide

Then when you have all this information laid out you can decide which things are going to be most important and the highest priority. Each criteria area can be weighted to show its impact on the end prioritization. Now you have a system that helps you decide. Rate each task according to the criteria.

4 – Schedule your priorities

Now that you have identified what your priorities are, it is important that you schedule a time in your calendar to work on those priorities. This helps you assess the time each item will take as well. If you don’t schedule you may find that you are getting caught up in urgencies, distractions and unnecessary interruptions that keep you from focusing on your priorities. Scheduling is a MUST!

By actually taking time out to evaluate the tasks at hand and prioritizing them, it in itself reduces stress and overwhelm because you have committed to a plan. Of course, now you will be able to communicate that to your team or boss so you have a basis for discussion in the event that someone wishes to shift those priorities. If you are managing yourself, you have a basis to turn to when situations change.

Managing Stress

When ever you have a structure to fall back on, it reduces the stress of figuring out what is next. Can you imagine what chaos and stress emergency rooms would be in if they didn’t have rules to prioritize who was next. These rules help people focus on the task at hand.

Delegate, Automate or Eliminate

During this process, it is important to make sure that you are evaluating each task: Can it be delegated to someone else? Is it something repetitive, and could it be automated? Is it really necessary or could it be eliminated?

Thinking time

It is also important to look at the time it takes to do this task and challenge yourself to find new ways to do it that are more effective and efficient. Giving yourself some time to think makes all the difference to create greater flexibility and creativity in finding an even better solution.

  • What would you prioritize if you simply had half the time that you do today?
  • What items are not getting done now and what is the consequence?
  • How much energy is lost in the stress over what you’re not able to accomplish?
  • Who suffers short and long from this stress?

Letting go

The biggest and most important part of the prioritization process, is to manage your emotional intelligence in how you handle things that are not getting done.

Are you beating yourself up? Are you allowing others to beat you up? How does that affect the efficiency and effectiveness of the work that you are able to do?

I was working with a man in the technology field. He worked for a small company with 15 people on staff. His job was to wear the hat of the consultant, the Chief Technology Officer and the right-hand man to the CEO. He had so many responsibilities and was split across three very important areas that were all urgent and important in nature. He accepted all new projects from the CEO, he was driving the internal ISO project and had a demanding consulting client. Did I mention, he also had 5 children? Needless to say, he didn’t manage things well. He ended up putting himself in the hospital for all he tried to pile on to himself.

Why did I say all he put on himself? I said that because at the end of the day he created the result of the situation. There were 4 simple things he implemented from our work together that made all the difference in him managing the responsibilities that he had.

Those 4 actions were the following:

1. Ask more questions:

Instead of accepting the deadlines asked of him in each area, he spent time clarifying specifics of the deliverables and negotiating options.

2. Challenged Urgency:

He challenged himself with the question – Does this need to be done today? To ensure he didn’t get caught up in his own sense of urgency that was a big part of his problem.

3. Schedule Priorities

He created a schedule of time spent in each area to ensure he was planning his activities.

4. Set Rules

Lastly, he set some rules and boundaries to live by that looked like this:

  • No work is brought home
  • Fixed work end time
  • Do not accept deadlines without clarification and review.
  • Communicate early and often around problems or set backs
  • Take 5 minutes to take notes on what was completed and what was next before starting a new task
  • Take short breaks for transition
  • Get to bed by 11 PM

What do your rules look like and where can you ask more questions? Managing your sense of urgency is just as important as managing the expectations of others. You are on your way to a more productive version of yourself.


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