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When I think of meditation, I envision sitting still, cross legged, eyes closed, and thoughts on breathing. I think of a relaxed, calm, and focused state. While the method for meditation can vary from this image, the results are accurate…relaxation, calm, and focus. The benefits of this brief timeout provides rejuvenation for our current work, decreased stress, and improvement for stress-related health issues.

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This is a time of year when taking time to renew is crucial. But how do we take time to renew when there is so much to be done? There are many quick-to-implement steps that will provide much needed mental breaks to keep you feeling and producing better.

Here are some of our suggestions:

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At work we are continually confronted with many conflicting commitments in time, effort, and energy. To make the most of the areas we can participate in, we need to step up and be purposeful; likewise, when we must deny a task, we must be confident. Therefore, we need to be cognizant of our self talk. Rather than “I can’t,” we can employ the more powerful self language of “I don’t.”

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Following is David Allen’s food for thought from his recently released Productive Living newsletter. This five-paragraph soliloquy highlighting counterproductive thinking is a great example of why he makes the big bucks. That I connect with his message so deeply and share the essence with my productivity coaching clients with the same heart is why I help them to experience real results (all while gratefully earning the medium bucks).

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What was the most recent trigger that sent you on a path to form a new habit? Something said at a performance review? A trip to the doctor or dentist? Noticing someone else experiencing the benefits of a coveted healthy habit? Then how long were you able to hold onto that habit? One day? A week? Two? Just as old habits are hard to break, creating new ones can be a challenge.

So how do we form new habits that stick?

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Those who know me well have learned I measure success in vacation days. After auditioning and not liking the post popular packing list app, I created an all-inclusive packing list built from thousands of travel miles and my fair share of missing-item incidents.

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What percentage of the tasks you complete are first documented in a to-do system? What threshold do you think you should aspire to capture? We think it should be nearly 100%.

“…if you’re already in a mess, you’re not free to make one.” David Allen

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Healthy, productive leadership is often learned through example, training, and experience, yet becomes a graceful art to those bearing the greatest success. What do these people naturally do as they effectively lead others?

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I recently enjoyed an article about the 7 Bad Habits of Insanely Productive People and wanted to share these fun, yet highly┬árelatable insights. I’m not suggesting you adopt all of them. Am I pointing out that if you have some of them, they should no longer be excuses for not producing greatness. In addition to greed, self doubt, and arrogance, these traits seem worth noticing:

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Here’s another layer to the dictation skill we presented in a previous post to help increase personal productivity using dictation.

Inspired by a Chicago time management client when they decided to use Chase Mobile Dictation to streamline meeting note completion from the road, we are now resurrecting the Dragon Dictation app loaded onto our phones to help draft client session notes. (More about our client session notes here.)

We plan to experiment with using this tool after each client session. Working from hand-written notes, we will speak our thoughts into our phones. Since Dragon Dictation only allows dictation in one-minute increments, we’ll record new normals and next actions pausing between points. Then, we will email the draft to ourselves for additions and corrections before sending to the client. (You’ll find sample new normals here.)

We are excited to add this new twist to our time savings and see how we can further use dictation to increase productivity.

How are you deploying dictation? Are you using it more with your phone or on the computer? We’re curious, so do tell.

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