Automation for the People

Why It's Difficult and How to Get It Right

If you want to understand how hard it can be to automate, consider the many attempts to replace cashiers with self-checkout systems. To wit, CVS pharmacies were once lousy with self-checkout systems, which I personally tried to use, many times, to get out the door faster. Almost every time, some loud error sent me to […]

Productivity Investments that Pay for Themselves

How to Achieve More by Doing Less

Most of us try to increase productivity by doing more things faster. As a result, we wind up overloaded and exhausted. Like a hamster on a wheel, we’re playing a game we can’t possibly win. In this episode, we talk about the value of investing in your own margin. I’ll show you how to accomplish […]

End Your Fear of Power Sharing

4 Reasons to Relax That Grip

It started with my first day on the job. I’d just been named senior leader at a growing organization with a generously-sized staff. Yet there were problems, as there are in any institution, and I was determined to solve them. All of them. Right away. Communications was a weak point, so I decided to personally […]

Go Viral, and Stay That Way

3 Ways to Create a Self-Perpetuating System of Growth

The question prodding us to increased productivity is almost never, “How do I fit more work into my day?” That question leads to productivity “hacks,” an exhausting pace of work, and endless to-do lists that never completely get done because there are only so many hours in the day. A better question to ask, instead, […]

The Science of Meditation

Taking Mind and Body to the Next Level

Three years ago I boarded a crowded, somewhat dirty bus and set off for Wat Suan Mokkh, a Thai forest monastery. The grounds featured giant monitor lizards and bats that would fly low at dusk, almost touching you with their wings. Though the bat-filled evenings were a highlight of my trip, they were not my […]

I Love Energy!

Why Productivity-in-a-Bottle Schemes Fail

“Are you tired, run down, listless? Do you poop out at parties? Are you unpopular? The answer to all of your problems are in this little bottle!” This quote, from Lucille Ball on I Love Lucy, is both hilarious and timeless. Her Vitameatavegamin bottle made some pretty large promises that only required an alcohol content of […]

A Recipe for Self-Renewal

6 Ingredients for Increased Energy, Balance and Focus

Time management is about scarcity, because time is fixed. You only have 24 hours in a day, 168 hours in a week, 8,760 hours in a year (tack on an extra 24 for leap years). Until someone invents a time-stretching machine, that’s all we’ve got. The thing that you can actually manage is your energy. […]

How the F2F Assessment Changed My Life

(and Boosted My Productivity)

In life and in business, there are a lot of distractions. It can be fun to run down those rabbit trails, but it’s easy to lose track, and hard to get back to doing the most important things for the time that we have. I am a husband and father of 12 children. I am […]

Our Soured Romance with Overwork

Why We Keep Falling for It Over and Over Again

The idea that working ever harder and longer leads to better results is as American as apple pie, despite all evidence to the contrary. Chronic overwork is unproductive, unhealthy, and destructive of a balanced life. Yet against the evidence—and against the advice of incredibly successful people such as Henry David Thoreau and Henry Ford—overwork remains […]

The Science of Overwork

How Breaks Can Help You Break Through

In the 2007 film “Music and Lyrics,” an absent-minded lyricist played by Drew Barrymore drives her high-strung musical partner a little crazy by insisting that they take breaks throughout the day. Each time they take a walk or run out for food, however, the lyrics come to her as if by magic. Sometimes, as an […]

The Do’s and Don’ts of Goal Sharing

When and How You Should Go Public

I’ve always done my best to keep up with the latest research in goal achievement. I not only want to learn from it myself, I also want to distill the lessons for fellow leaders. But the tricky thing about science is that it often causes us to reevaluate our assumptions. That reevaluation can be uncomfortable, […]