3 Ways To Make Work Better Today

3 Ways Better Work

I have had a number of conversations with people after writing my blog on how to be productive while dealing with ADHD. It’s nice to know that you are not alone sometimes.

I was reading an article today from my good friend Jason Gianotti (you should follow this monster of a mind). It was entitled 12 Ways To Save Time At Work. My first thought about the article title was, “that’s simple… only give me 3 ways because I won’t have time to read 12.”

But I read all 12. And he has great ideas that I plan to either continue or start to implement into my regime.

So, to appease the ADHD in me, I thought I would share with you the “3” suggestions that Jason wrote that I plan on implementing into my work life starting today. Maybe you will want to do the same.

1- Stand Up When Interrupted: If you have any leadership responsibility, it is because there are others who are needing your input, decisions, or advice. But their decision to come see you shouldn’t determine your need to drop everything to accommodate it. Jason notes that if we make the simple decision to stand when they want to come in and talk, it is less likely that they will want to settle in and derail your schedule.

3 Ways Better Work Quote1

2- Check email only twice a day: Constantly checking email, unless you are waiting for something specific, will inadvertently cause you to lose focus on your planned tasks. Before you know it, you will be so caught up in the ‘new’ stuff, you will forget the ‘old’ stuff you determined to deal with when you planned out your day that morning (if you don’t do that, I suggest you start… you will thank me later). He recommends you let staff know you will only check your email in the morning before creating your daily tasks.

3- Make a “Stop Doing” List: Many of us add to the “task plate” without removing something else. We need to remember that we will never get ahead that way… we simply will try expend mental real-estate trying to find room for it all. I plan on renaming this strategy my “To NOT Do List”. The tasks may end up being done some other time, but for now remove them from your list as they will only serve as reminders of what isn’t still done, not what you actually were productive and ended up accomplishing instead.

At least that’s how I see it… and I guess Jason as well,



Being Productive with ADHD


I have ADHD. Ok… it’s out there.

If you know me, you are not shocked. It explains a lot of things that I do. It explains some of my patterns (or lack thereof actually). It explains why I do the things I do… and why I sometimes don’t do the things I should do.

If you have ADHD you will understand what I am about to say: being productive and effective when you have ADHD has very little to do with your lack of skill and a lot to do with your lack of structure.

ADHD Dog Quote1

Structure is the foundation to effectively managing ADHD… but it is also the bane of our existence. We want structure… just so we know where we can colour outside the lines.

Anyway, I digress (ADHD shocker).

Last week I knew I needed to get away and think. Without the interruptions. Without the calls and the “squirrels” that would cause me to become ineffective (I have just spent the last minute thinking of Dug the dog in the movie Up just because I wrote “squirrels”).

So I got away for the day. My office knew they could contact me if they needed to but for most of the day, I was alone with my headphones listening to the Deep Focus playlist on Spotify).

If you struggle with ADHD, or have a hard time setting up a structure to get things done, I thought I would let you know what I did for the day. This may help you if you are needing some time alone to think, plan, and prepare for your upcoming week, month, projects, etc.

Here’s what I did:

1 – Got up early! I had my computer on and ready to go before most people hit the snooze button for the first time. Most days I am working by 5am and I plough through a lot of my tasks before the first person asks me a question and starts my cycle of pseudo-multitasking (I don’t believe men can multitask… and don’t even get me started on a man with ADHD!!!!).

2 – Reviewed Last Month’s Calendar (30 minutes). I looked at my Google Calendar (everything I do is on there) and went over the last month. I asked myself where I wasted time. I looked at where I may have started something but didn’t finish it and I made myself a note to make it a task in Asana later.  When it was all said and done, I probably had 15-20 new tasks to add to my list simply by looking at what I had done, and not done last month.

3 – Set “Personal” Goals (60 minutes). After reading it 25 years ago, I still use the “Sharpen the Saw” technique of  Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People to help me make sure that I am making “me” a priority first to work on. I wrote down four categories in my journal with three lines under each: physical, spiritual, mental, and social. I gave myself goals that were attainable to reach by the end of the month. I continued on with writing my different “roles” down (7 Habits model) and gave myself a few things that I wanted to accomplish in each role over the next month.

4 – Populated my To Do list (30 minutes). I took all of the “to do” things and asked myself three questions:
What must I do?
What should I do?
What could I do?
Once I was done that process I took the “must do” list and broke it quickly down into three categories:
imperative, and
After finishing that process, I prioritized only the critical list. I knew that once I was done the critical list, I could move onto prioritizing the imperative list. If I took the time to prioritize anything else I knew I would start to “squirrel” off. Deal with only the critical… the imperative and important would eventually be dealt with.

ADHD Dog Quote2

So now, after starting the morning feeling overwhelmed with all that I needed to do, I was ready to work on my tasks simply by spending two hours basically planning my whole month’s worth of focus.

So I got to work. And I only focused on the list… nothing else. No emails. No Facebook feeds. No Insta-stories.. Just… the list. And I was amazed as to how much I got accomplished. Yes, for many people you may be reading this and saying, “Welcome to my every day.” But to someone with ADHD it’s like hitting the “Productivity Lottery”… you know it is possible to win, but your chances are like 1:1,000,000,000,000. So… there’s that.

It’s now the beginning of the next week and I know that I have a LOT to do over the next few days, few weeks… even few months. But having taken the time to think, plan, and prepare my upcoming schedule, I know that I have set up my life so that by the end of the month, when I need to do this all over again, I will have accomplished and forged ahead much further than had I simply chased after the closest “squirrel”… (and… now I’m back to thinking about the movie Up again).

At least that’s how I see it,



Do Organizations Need ‘Have You Met Ted’s?

Have You Met Ted Cover

I’m throwing this question out there. I started by putting down some jot notes in my journal but then I decided to keep it raw and throw out my thoughts for the blogosphere to read and comment on.

I think every organizational success story is a concoction of right place, right time, right people, and right need. If any of those four ingredients are not present then the journey will be a struggle.

When it comes to volunteer organizations (churches, service clubs, humanitarian groups, etc) the difference between one’s first day / experience and the rest of their journey is how well they ‘fit in’ to what is going on.

Have You Met Ted Quote 1

Some people seem to do a great job of being ‘bridge builders’… or what I like to call “Have You Met Ted”s.

If you don’t know what “have you met Ted” means, welcome to the population that never watched How I Met Your Mother. Short version, Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris) plays a womanizing narcissist who’s best friend is Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor) – though Ted would argue ‘his’ best friend was Marshall.

Anyways, I digress.

Barney had this repeating pick up line to help Ted meet women. He would walk up to a woman and ask her, “Have you met Ted?” and then walk away leaving a deer-eyed Ted to now make the next move and say something to her.

The first time he did it was hilarious! Ted had NO idea what to do. But as time went on, he became more and more comfortable with the notion that Barney was going to go out of his way to help Ted meet other people.

I wonder if we need more people like that?

As a church minister and working with other organizations, I know that putting people in the same ‘space’ does not mean that they will be in the same ‘place’. Proximity does not equal intimacy. They need, and perhaps, we all need, Barney Stinsons who will make the point of connecting people to one another.

Have You Met Ted Quote 2

I recently was at a gathering when a person asked me what my hobbies were. I quickly found out that ‘my’ interests were not very similar to his…. but when I spotted a guy a few feet from me who shared a similar love for this hobby of his, I reached over, brought him in and basically said, “Have you met Ted?”

For the next ten minutes they talked, smiled, wowed and laughed about their hobby (in some sort of code language I must add as I am sure they wanted me not to know what they were saying… at least that’s how it felt).

But I didn’t care that I was now the foreigner in the middle of this hobby discussion… because I knew that my relationship with both guys was built on ‘other’ things. But now there was a NEW relationship that stemmed only from me noticing that maybe ‘this‘ person might like to talk to ‘that‘ person.

We must always remember that we can ‘exist’ in a community without being a ‘part’ of it. But to be honest, I don’t think we were created and fashioned for that purpose.

What do you think? How can organizations keep ‘engagement’ in the forefront so that those who ‘come’ are not the same ones who ‘go’ without even being noticed?

Let me know your thoughts,



4 Reasons People Don’t Understand You


I was recently having a conversation with a man I meet with regularly about a situation I was facing. He’s a mentor of mine and a seasoned retired business man who often brings great insight to my world of dealing with people.

I was venting to him that I was so shocked that someone I was dealing with couldn’t seem to see what I was saying. He quickly pointed out that the person was a “Quadrant 4” person. I had no idea what he was talking about.

I’m not sure where this teaching came from but over the next few minutes he opened my mind in understanding how different people respond differently to correction and instruction based on the “quadrants of what they know”.


1- “I know I know” – These people know that they are in the wrong and therefore choose to either correct their actions or else rebel against the expectations. Here you will get the greatest result of either compliance or confrontation.

2 – “I know I don’t know” – These people are aware that they are missing something in your attempt to correct the situation and are most likely to engage in wanting to understand you better. This is a great opportunity to mentor and guide them.

3 – “I don’t know I know” – These people are in the dark for some reason. Maybe they forgot the email laying out your expectations or the meeting where everything was discussed. Find the right way to smoothly remind them of what they forgot or misplaced and you can get them back on track.

4 – “I don’t know I don’t know” – These people are the most likely to become contentious and combative as their resistance is based on either their pride to concede or their incapablility of allowing themselves to be open to correction. Either way, you are probably going to hit a wall here. Either evaluate if you need to remove the ‘problem’ (let it go), the ‘process’ (find a different way to explain where they are not getting it), or the ‘person’ (wrong person for the reponsibility) in order to move forward.

Ask these four questions when hitting the wall.

1 – Are they the type of person to be resistent? Is this pride or is it lack of understanding?

2 – Where is this breaking down? Can it easily able to be put back on track?

3 – Am I communicating my expectations in a way that perhaps they are unable to understand? How does my message need to change?

4 – Is this person the right person for the expectation? Are they incapable of understanding what is desired?

If you don’t figure out quickly which quadrant they are in, you will expend unnecessary energy trying to get results from people who aren’t on the same page (quadrant) as you.

Onward… to knowing better.

5 Must Have Leadership Books

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I have no idea how big your library is. I have a few ‘libraries’ when you think of the one in my office, the one in my house, and the one that is piled in boxes after several moves.

But of all the books that I have, there are five books that very often get cracked open for insight, wisdom, and guidance. I thought I would let you get a bit of a feel of the books that have meant the most to me as it pertains to “Leadership”.

Let’s dive in.

1 – Leadership – Rudolph Guliani. Hands down one of the best books I’ve ever read on leadership. For those who do not know who the author is, he was the mayor of New York City during 9/11. The book was already being written during the terrorist attack. It was changed to show how his leadership principles  and resolve that transformed the city prior to 9/11 came into play again after the attack. Ugh. A great book!

2 – Leadership and Self-Deception – Arbinger Institute. This is a fable about interpersonal conflict resolution and is a must have if you are responsible for a group of employees. I make all of our staff read it prior to working. We use the lingo. It helps us understand one another as well as ourselves so that we diffuse many situations before they ever amount to anything monumental. Its success within a staff is a great morale booster.

3 – The Path – Laurie Beth Jones. Rather than mention Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits book I thought I would show that I prefer Laurie Beth Jones’ take on mission statements / personal life goals better. She doesn’t start with the end in mind. Instead, she looks deeper… at why you are who you are and then builds the mission out from within. Great book. Have a number that I give away in counselling. Never had a complaint.

4 – Onward – Howard Schultz. I don’t hide that I like Starbucks. Check out my tagline on my other blog here. That said, I like how the company thinks about its mission and its connection with others more than I like the coffee. They seem to ‘get’ what is lacking and the book is great for anyone who is trying to rebuild in the midst of hardship. The CEO writes about how Starbucks flew right into the recession of ’08 and how they turned things around when everyone else thought they would fail. Very inspiring read.

5 – Tale of Three Kings – Gene Edwards. If you are in leadership and report to people and have people reporting to you then you will enjoy this book. It is a poetic look at the life of King David of Israel in relation to two other people: the previous King Saul who knew that David was to succeed him as king and David’s son Absalom who wanted to take the kingdom away from him once David became king. There are those who you need to learn how to work under while others are nipping at your heels. Great read.

I will no doubt end up doing similar posts for different areas. If you have any suggestions of a “Top 5” in another category, feel free to comment on it and I’ll see what I can do. Let me know if there are books in ‘your’ top 5 leadership category so that we can keep the conversation going.

Keep reading. Keep learning. Keep leading.

5 Markers of a Great Huddle

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Kerry and I had a couple of friends over recently to watch our beloved New England Patriots play NFL football (yes they won but I’m not some sort of crazed fan who trashes every other team fan – our record does that 🙂  ).

Before every play I would watch Tom Brady bring his players together for a huddle and after communicating the intended play, they would go to the line, execute it with success (or not), then start the process all over again. Wash, Rinse, Repeat.

I got to thinking about that as it pertains to the workplace. Kerry’s work has a daily ‘huddle’ where the team gets together. Now the good news is that I don’t really know how the meetings run so what I say has no reflection on what her work does.

I think that the ‘huddle’ can be the difference between a ‘touchdown’ or a ‘fumble’ in business. How your team views and uses the huddle is the tipping point between success and failure. Here are 5 things that will make a great huddle and launch your team towards the winning the game:

1 – Reset. Huddles are not the time to discourse overarching issues of the company, your team, why things aren’t working, etc. It’s a time to look forward. Not backwards. Lay out your plan and get your team on the same page. You will have other times with the right people to talk about making things better. Get in. Get out. Get it done.

2 – Praise publicly. Critique privately. Huddles are not for pointing anyone out for what they are doing wrong. The moment you do that, you make everyone on the team suspect of whether or not ‘they’ will be pointed out next. Do that outside of the huddle privately. I’ll write about that some other time. That said, it’s a GREAT place to say “great work”, “good job”, “way to get that new client Bob” etc… Make people want to come to the huddle.

3 – Define your immediate goal. “What’s the play?” Lay out your goal (SMART) based on how often you meet with your team. Use whatever metric you want to define success or failure in order to encourage your team if they accomplish it or else reset and redefine your next goal for the next huddle you have. Make sure it is clearly communicated and understood by all. Figure out the best way to do that based on how your team operates.

4 – Reinforce each person’s responsibility. It’s painful to watch a quarterback throw the ball to open space simply because the other player ran the wrong route. Make sure that everyone on your team understands clearly what their part of the goal is and what they need to do to ensure it’s success. Chances are if they don’t know what to do, you haven’t clearly articulated your expectations.

5 – Leave the huddle instilling confidence. If your team leaves the meeting uninspired to produce you’re probably about to watch subpar performance and a mediocre morale in the team. Find the right way to instil confidence and excitement for the immediate future. I will write about some suggestions in other posts to come.

Put these five steps together and you’re on your way to success. Remember, ‘momentum’ is simply a succession of ‘moments’ (good or bad). Focus on making the ‘moment’ count. Tie moments together over the course of your huddles in order to make a winning team.

Ready… Break!