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Get On Track For Success

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It’s 8:00am and you are sitting down to read over your email for the first time today. Of course you checked it a couple of times on your iPhone before you actually sat down in front of your desktop computer to read it, but you haven’t actually responded to any of them yet. As you start to scan over your in-box you glance to your right and notice a pile of papers sitting on that side of your desk. Yesterday’s unfinished administrative stuff. Your eyes scan your desktop to the left and they lock on three envelopes yet to be opened. One of them is American Express bill. You’ve been meaning to go paperless on that bill but haven’t taken the time to go on-line to take care of that task. The second envelope is junk and you pitch it. The third envelope is from your local grocery store and contains a bunch of coupons. You open it, scan through it and find something that might be of use the next time you go shopping. You pick up your phone and remember those two phone calls from yesterday that you need to return. Well, it hasn’t been 24 hours yet, you still have time, but you jot down the names on a scrap piece of paper. You’ll get to that, later.

Before you know it, it’s 9:30 and a second cup of coffee sounds really good right about now. Although you haven’t really done anything yet, you already feel way too busy today and although it’s only 9:30 you realize the day is going to go by way too fast, and will probably be over before you even have a chance to get started. The coffee tastes good as you look over the handful of business cards you picked up at the networking event last night. You’ll send your new contacts a handwritten note. On second thought, an email would be much faster, so you pick up one of the business cards and start to compose an email. As you look to your computer screen to compose the email, you notice nine more emails have come into your in-box. Uggggh, you seem to be going backwards, getting nothing done, losing traction and destined for finishing the day with more items on your to-do list by the end of the day.

Half of your day gone and you have accomplished absolutely nothing, but man, you are busy.

No better time than now to check your social media hotspots. Facebook, the ultimate social media time suck pulls you in, 26 more minutes gone. Well, you are scanning your competition’s wall, so it really is considered competitive research, right? A check of LinkedIn, 2 new connections and a scan of the job postings yields another 12 minutes gone. Twitter feed, 4 more minutes lost and before you know it, you are hungry for lunch. Half of your day gone and you have accomplished absolutely nothing, but man, you are busy.

Does the above scenario seem familiar? You’re not alone, Salary.com reports that nearly 9 out of 10 employees either waste time or misdirect their time during their work date. Businesses in the U.S. are spending billions of dollars a year on wasted, distracted or nonproductive time. Lost time can result in lost business, lost opportunity and possibly a failed business. With so much time focused on the wrong activity, how can you possibly manage to get back on track after being derailed for so long.

Erase the thought that in five minutes you can accomplish nothing.

Here’s how -- Studies show that if you can get your brain focused on shorter, easier to obtain goals, you can trick yourself into action. Short, attainable micro goals will do the trick. Set a 5 minute goal to take notes about the activities you need to accomplish during the course of your day. Don’t look at the overall day, 42 emails, 4 phone calls, 2 projects, a partridge in a pear tree and counting. Tackling all of those tasks is overwhelming and thoughts of too many tasks will create negative energy. Erase the thought that in five minutes you can accomplish nothing, so you may as well hop onto social media to do some looking around. I’d rather have 5 minutes to focus on something important and productive than waste 30 minutes on YouTube. Once you hit the 5 minute mark, go for another 5 minutes. Keep beginning until you reach the end of a big task. You will find stringing together 10 tasks of 5 minutes each is much easier than taking on one 50 minute task.

Here are a several other “tricks” that will help you get back on track:

Stop multitasking. Try to avoid the temptation of doing many things at the same time because your day is filled to the max. Focus on one task at a time to help you manage your time better. Turn off your email or put your cell phone in the drawer while you are working on a project. Unless you are fully focused on a task you are not being your most productive self.

Half baked is half assed. Complete each task before you move onto the next one. If your task isn’t complete it is going to stay on your to-do list and that is not good news for anyone. Get it done, check it off the list and move on.

Look at where you are going. Success is a huge motivator. The more you have it in your life the more you want it in your life. Success makes you happy, helps build your self esteem and puts you in a proper positive mindset. You don’t have to cross the finish line in first place to feel satisfied, but you do need to cross it to be successful.

Look at where you are going. Success is a huge motivator.

Delegate where you can. We all know that no one can do it better than you -- or can they? Give someone else a shot to run with ball. You do not need to go it alone. Ask for help, you will be amazed at how well other people will rise to the occasion when given an opportunity to help.

You need to realize that along the way you will have urgent matters that pop up, problems that need to be fixed and people that need your time and attention. It’s ok, don’t get overwhelmed, it will all get done. Once you are able to start ticking items off of your list, 5 minutes at a time, your days will become less stressful, much more productive and you will feel much better about yourself.

Please share on LinkedIn , Facebook, Twitter and your favorite social channel by clicking on the "SHARE" button below. I welcome your comments. My book, titled Nice Guys Finish First, will be sold on Amazon. very soon. Stay tuned for details.

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24 Seconds That Will Change Your Life

Life gets complicated. We all have the same 24 hours each and every day. And it’s up to us how we spend our time. We need to invest our time wisely in order to maximize our day and yet, no matter how good we are with time management, we never seem to have enough time to accomplish what we set out to complete when we wake up in the morning. Putting one more responsibility on your daily to-do list may not seem like a practical thing to do, and yet, what I am about to share is so simple that even the busiest person can carve out 24 seconds for it.

People Skills 101 teaches us the importance of building connections. Without relationships, all business will come to a halt. You might have an amazing product or service but without solid relationships, you have no business. And on a personal level, without connecting with others, life will be far from happy. So my 24 second task is designed to help build, strengthen and solidify existing relationships. It is fast, effective and reliable. And best of all, it requires no prep, planning or practice. Ready?

Take out your smartphone. I know you have one. Some of you are reading this blog on your smartphone (according to Mailchimp, 32% of you are actually reading this blog on your smartphone). I only have 24 seconds, so do it now. The clock is ticking. Pick any name on your contact list. It does not need to be a client, anyone will do. Send a text message saying the following:

“Just thinking about you. Hope you are having a great day.”

Hit send. Boom. 12 seconds. Repeat it one more time. Task complete, 24 seconds. And done. If you are fast at texting like my son Adam, you may even be able to send out three or four text messages in the 24 seconds you’ve allotted.

Here is what happens when you start this practice. Sometimes, you will get nothing in return, and that’s ok. Many times you will get back a response saying thank you and wishing you a great day in return. But every time you send a message like that, you are making the receiver of your text message smile, feel good and happy. I am confident I do not need to tell you the importance of happy people in your life. Happy is contagious and if done right, happy will be paid forward. Ultimately happy will come back to you, guaranteed.

Make it a practice to pick two or three contacts during your day to send text messages to when you are standing in line, pumping gas, or having your coffee at Starbucks. Try not to repeat the names too often since your goal is to be random. Approach this with the goal of spreading happy, not to gain business. If some of these messages are being sent to customers, you are proving (12 seconds at a time) that you are a human being, with feelings. Important rule of this practice -- You cannot text about business, unless the response from the recipient involves business.

Switch up your message. It would not be unusual for me to send a message saying, “I love you. That is all.” or “Thanks for being in my life.” or “My life is better because you are in it.” If that doesn’t sound like your voice, build your own set of messages that work well. Under no circumstances should you send this message as a group message (don't automate this practice -- I want you to stay human please).

I’ve been doing this for over 15 years, and many days I send out much more than 2 messages. I know that as a result of my messages, others have adopted this as a way to spread love, happy and good vibes as well. I now get messages daily from friends, clients and others telling me to have a great day. Plenty of times those messages come to me when I am in a tough spot in my day or when I have had a challenging moment.

Twenty four seconds wisely invested can change your life. Want to try this out? I am happy to be the recipient. Feel free to invest 12 seconds and send a message to me. 410-340-6861. I will return the love, I always do.

I am passionate about my message and ask that you spread this message on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. I would love to get text messages from around the world wishing me a happy day and I wish the same for you too.

Want to find out about other simple to adopt techniques that can change your life, check out my NG30 (Nice Guy 30 program) by clicking here. Visit my site at www.DougSandler.com. I am available to present my programs to your group as well. You are welcome to message me or email me at doug@dougsandler.com

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Find Your Happy Place, It's Never Too Late

We've all been there at one time or another. Fighting traffic, arguing with a loved one, getting slammed by a client or the boss, or just having a plain old ugly day. Bigger picture -- dead end job or bad relationship? We have two options. Option one, stay in there, and wallow around in it, until we're good and ready to explode. Or option two, find a way to get out. Usually the former is a recipe for disaster if we work or live or breathe around anyone else; and they have their own problems to contend with. Adding insult to injury will probably get us in even deeper. The latter, getting out, can be done, but only if you can find your happy place. Do you have a happy place?

For most, the process of finding our happy place is a daunting task. It's the zone that exists in the six inches between our ears. My high school coach would yell at me "Sandler, get your head in the game!" And usually, he was right. My head was not in the game. As life progressed, the coach was replaced by a boss. The sideline banter was replaced by my manager's fired off email. It stated simply, "See me." Never a good sign.

I recently spoke at a technology and communications company's annual kickoff meeting. During the Q&A, a woman in the group said something I thought would be great to pass along. I'll paraphrase -- If you can't EMBRACE it, your best bet is to EXIT it. What is going on in your life that should be embraced? Maybe even more importantly, is there a part of your life that makes you want to run for the exit door? Life is too short, you deserve happiness, it's never too late, get your head in the game. Find your happy place.

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