Productive Leaders

Ph.D., CSP, CDR, US Navy Ret.,
CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame

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Unsure How to Stay Focused During the Summer? Try Using These Habits

Distractions are everywhere, and leaders know they need good habits that ground them in what is most important. Being productive seems to be more difficult when people are thinking about taking vacations and traveling.  This summer is the first opportunity for travel many people have had since the advent of Covid-19, and that translates into a struggle to focus at work. Habits for increased focus and productivity. Incorporate these habits into your regular routines to stay focused on what is most important.

  1. Plan a trip. It turns out that even thinking about a vacation is healthy. When people plan a trip, they envision the activities, the places they visit, and even the views. That planning actually helps our brains relax as though we were there. Planning is like a mini-vacation for the mind.  As leaders, encourage people to schedule vacation time, plan the vacation, and take the vacation.
  2. Care for health. Encourage your teams to stay fit with good nutrition, lots of water, exercise, and restful sleep. It sounds basic, but many of us sacrifice our health when we get really busy with work. Make sure it is easy for your teams to be healthy at work. Some work places have free filtered or bottled water available, and others bring in health lunches for special occasions.
  3. Show pride in the workplace. I recently watched a CEO stop to pick up trash on his way to the office in the morning.  It was a windy day, and a plastic bag and papers had blown across the grass.  He walked over and took it to the trash.  “Everything counts”, he smiled. He is right. He sent the example that everyone is responsible for the appearance of where we work, and everyone’s actions matter. He instilled pride in the organization by being willing to do what was needed at that moment.
  4. Clear the clutter. I struggle with managing clutter, because I work in piles of projects, and my piles expand to fill the space I have. Every week, I schedule time to clean the workspace. I take everything off the desk and then file it, toss it, or organize it. It’s easier to be productive and switch gears when my workspace is neat, clean, and organized.
  5. Monitor team self-talk. Speak kindly to yourself and request that your team members do the same. Use encouraging words. One of my managers used this phrase to overcome negative language in the workplace toward ourselves. She said, “if you would not say the words you are thinking to your best friend, you should not be using those words toward yourself.”
  6. Clarify your vision. Spend team-time brainstorming about what you want to accomplish and how you want to put that into action. Get the team together to figure out what everyone is thinking, and capture new ideas. Ask your team what you want your legacy to be and craft the vision based on where you want to go.
  7. Engage in meaningful activities. Devote your time and energy to projects that matter as a team. Use your specialized skills to help your community.  Some people wonder how they can promote teamwork while serving the community.  Arete, an architectural firm in Sheridan, Wyoming just built, as teams, dog houses that are raffled off to benefit [Include pictures}
  8. Stay positive. Peter B Stark, author of the amazing leadership book, The Competent Leader says, “As leaders we don’t have the luxury of negative thinking.”. As leaders it is our responsibility to search for the positive aspects and possibilities of every situation. We have to look for the opportunities the challenges bring, and find ways to make a tough situation better.


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