In the Now

From a post at the Productivityist, I learned about the movement to create a now page started by Derek Sievers. What a great idea, and a wonderful way to stay focused on current projects!

I write about work skills, productivity and personal development to inspire learning skills for success that are not often taught. I do this to increase the skills employers want in the workforce to close the gap where skills are lacking. I create tools for life skills and share information.

What I’m doing now.

  • recently updated the Get Goaling ebook with new information.
  • reviewing metrics for an annual review, creating an annual planner, and plan to update that post soon.
  • creating an outline for a series of videos to delve into the motivation techniques from Alex Vermeer.
  • planning to put polishing touches on a release of all the information I’ve learned about productivity for a launch of the ultimate guide: the Your Time, Your Way Workbook.

Keeping in mind that time is relative, in the now now I’ve been preparing for Christmas, shopping, getting cards and presents ready to go.


I’ve come up with an awesome gift idea for your honey or really anyone, for any occasion, and can be repeated each year for those hard-to-find-gifts-for people! Introducing the Have a Beary Merry Christmas present. (For birthdays, it can be Bearly 80, or whatever the age) I found the gift bags with bears at the Dollar Tree store, and many of the inside ingredients can be found at either a dollar store or the grocery store. I got all the ingredients for around $10.00. Here’s some things to include:

  • A honey bear
  • Bit-o-honey
  • Honey grahams in a bear shape
  • Honey roasted nuts
  • Gummy bears
  • Honey buns (these are dated, so don’t get too far ahead of time)

I can hardly bear what a sweet idea this is!

In the now, nowest:

I invite you to follow the Daily PlanIt, right now!

Learn How to Use Google Apps for Productivity

If you have read about the Daily PlanIt Keep It Super Simple System, you know that I am a big fan of Google Apps. The KISS System is a simple, free, task management system that combines the benefits of electronic systems with the ability to print lists and calendars if desired. Learn more about how to use Google Apps to increase productivity with the following resources.

This Youtube video demonstrates Creating tasks and to-do lists in Google calendar.

Steve Dotto also has several helpful videos on Google apps at his DottoTech channel.

Learn more about productivity at the free Time Management 101 tutorial.

10 Ways to Be Like Dollar Shave Club

I have a new goal: Be Like Dollar Shave Club, because they know how to do things right.

  1. First they captured my attention with humorous commercials. They made me feel like this would be a fun club to join.
  2. They offer a great solution to a really annoying problem at a great price.
  3. Their fun vibe continues on their website. At the same time, they simply and efficiently answer questions and make it easy to sign up.
  4. They follow up. I received a friendly email to check and see if all was going well, and if I was happy with what I ordered. As it happens, I hadn’t received the package and wasn’t sure what to do next.
  5. They give great customer service. They immediately responded, apologizing and sending out a replacement package. They even said the next set of blades are on them for the inconvenience.$Shave
  6. The new package arrived exactly on my husband’s birthday and I was able to give him his gift on his special day. Woo Hoo!
  7. The packaging is really fun too. 
  8. It’s a great product. The razor is way superior to the products we had been using, and my husband absolutely loves it. Plus we never have to think about replacing the blades. Win Win!
  9. When you get great customer service, and become a devoted fan of a brand, you want to share the love. I put a post on my Facebook page, and now I’m sharing on my website. And the positive word of mouth continues to spread.
  10. I’m thinking about how I can be like Dollar Shave Club. Anyone who provides a product or service should consider it too.

The Empty Box

It’s the time of year when we think about the things that scare us the most. Ghosts, monsters, zombies…and the grim reaper standing over an empty coffin with our name on it.

There is another box that is even scarier. Imagine a box that represents your time here on earth, that is either filled with the things that you wanted to put into it. Or it’s not. The thing is, you get to decide what goes in it. That is a thought that is both liberating and frightening.




What will you put into the box of your time today?

What do you want to put into the box of your time? Do you want to fill the box with creative, completed projects, with good work well done? Do you want to build great friendships, raise wonderful kids, share big ideas? When you think of each day as a file box, can you put what you wanted to into the box by the end of each day? This is the only way to have a box full of treasure when you see the other box with your name on it. If you get side-tracked by procrastination and other time-wasters, you end up putting nothing of value in your box. Nothing is scarier than the final grains of sand in your hourglass running out while the box that represents your time is empty of the things you wanted to put in it.

To fill the empty box, first spend some time thinking about what you want to put into it. Think about the personal qualities you want to reflect in your character, the values you want to express as part of your life, the goals and important work that you want to accomplish. Maybe you want to focus on Stephen R Covey’s Quadrant II of the Time Management Matrix: things like creative thought, planning, relationship building. Perhaps there are small Daily Disciplines that you want to develop into habits for a daily routine to maximize your time.

Next be very aware of the time thieves that will sneak in and quickly kill your time if you let them. Defeat procrastination and fear so you can fill the box of your time each day with the treasure you value. Are you spending your time on the things you treasure, or on things that have no lasting value to you? Remember the final line of the book “The Pigman” by Paul Zindel: “Our life would be what we made of it.  Nothing more, nothing less.” Look into the empty box of the day ahead of you, but don’t let fear stop you from filling it with what you want.

See also The Angst Guide to Motivation

Top Ten Ways to Improve Productivity

I recently read the book “The Slight Edge” by Jeff Olson, which is about the small choices we make about the daily actions we take that, over time, either lead us closer to success, or farther away from it. They are simple small actions that are easy to do, but they are also easy not to do. Often results are not immediately visible, and the actions that make a difference seem insignificant. But they aren’t.

Daily Disciplines that can make a Difference:

Simple, right? We all know these things are important. It’s all about making the right choice in the moment, on a regular basis. And it will make a difference. To apply the Slight Edge to productivity, start with small daily disciplines.

Plan your work for today and every day, then work your plan. Picture Quote #1

Top Ten Ways to Improve Productivity

  1. Choose a system to manage your calendar, tasks, and lists that works well for you.
  2. Set priorities.
  3. Use your system to Plan weekly, Plan daily, schedule, add and delete tasks.
  4. Eliminate clutter and unnecessary stuff.
  5. Break large tasks down.
  6. Remind yourself of tasks with timers, alarms, and/or a tickler system.
  7. Organize the information you need in files.
  8. Automate repeating tasks as much as possible.
  9. Maximize your use of available free time.
  10. Have a regular time to review progress.

See also The Keep It Super Simple Productivity Award, the Daily PlanIt Keep It Super Simple (K.I.S.S.) System, and The Science of Productivity.


The Monthly Review

It's time for a monthly review and planning for the new month.

A Monthly Review is a look back and a look forward, similar to a Weekly Review but with the time frame of a month.

Steps for a Monthly Review

  1. Review major accomplishments of the past month.
  2. Review the results of any metrics you are tracking for an annual review.
  3. Plan the next month, reviewing monthly repeating tasks and upcoming annual repeating tasks.
  4. Review your value statement.
  5. Review goals & projects.
  6. Review ideas and decide whether to take action on any of them.
  7. Print calendars and/or lists if desired.

Monthly Review Questions

  1. How does what actually happened in the past month compare to what you had planned?
  2. What went well? Was progress made on projects and goals?
  3. Do all tasks, projects and goals align with your value statement?
  4. What didn’t go so well? Where are you stuck and what can you do about it?
  5. Did you make good use of your time?
  6. How can you increase productivity? What changes can you make to reduce or eliminate time-wasters?
  7. Did you spend enough time with family and friends?
  8. Did you spend enough time on fitness, leisure and spiritual activities?
  9. What will you do next month?

The Monthly Review lets you see how busy the upcoming month is. You can see times that are less busy to schedule tasks for goals and projects.


Further Reading

Monthly Review at Higher Awareness

The Habit of Complaint

When I worked at the library, one of our volunteers was the sweetest little old lady you can imagine. There were days I could tell that she wasn’t feeling her best, but she always got up, got dressed, and gave her best. And with never, ever, a word of complaint. She was an inspiration.

Around 80% of human talk in groups, is complaining.

I recently read this in the article “50 Psychology Facts Everyone Needs to Know” at Wow, I thought, “that seems awfully high.” And then I had one of those days when things weren’t going all that well. My husband was on a trip, and I poured out all my trials and tribulation in an email to him. Hmmm, maybe that percentage is actually pretty accurate. Sometimes it does help to share our problems with others. But I got to thinking: what if instead of complaining 80% of the time, we chose instead to express our gratitude, our appreciation, our praise, and our caring? What if we converted our habit of complaining into something positive instead? Even if we change the percentage a little bit, we will be improving both our own lives and the lives of others!

It reminded me of a movement started by the Reverend Will Bowen of Christ Church Unity right here in Kansas City Missouri. A few years back he asked his flock to take a pledge: to swear off complaining, criticizing, gossiping or using sarcasm for 21 days*. Those who take the challenge are issued little purple bracelets as a reminder of their pledge. If (or more likely, when) they catch themselves complaining, they switch the bracelet to the opposite wrist and start counting the days from scratch. I haven’t tried to obtain a bracelet yet (looks like it could take awhile), but any bracelet could work for a reminder.

Why not take it just a little further: don’t just stop a negative habit, replace it with a positive one. Practicing gratitude has been proven to increase our happiness. Are you ready to take the challenge? Find yourself a bracelet, grab a Seinfeld chart to track your progress from, and get started today!

*Studies now show that habit change takes an average of 66 days.

Soundtrack to Manage the Day

Music can be a powerful way to manage your productivity throughout the day.

 Wake up with music that uplifts and motivates. Two favorites of mine are Good Morning by Mandisa at the Inspirational Playlist on Youtube, and Fire by Gavin Degraw at the Motivational Playlist on Youtube.

 Get to work and turn up Productivity with music that helps focus. I often listen to instrumental soundtracks or classical music while working.

The Best Music for Productivity at Business Insider mentions Ambient Music for Study from Focus at Will (on my Music for Productivity Playlist at Youtube,) and Focused Work by Rachel at Soundcloud. See also the How Music Affects Productivity Infographic at

 Take a break and relax with soothing Spa, nature sounds or New Age music. The Meditation Oasis app is a favorite of mine.

 Turn up Energy with music that gets you going. Take a dance break with this video compilation.

 Turn up your heartbeat when you workout with music. Music that you like with BPM between 120-140 is key, according to at Choosing the Best Music for Exercise at Exercise is so important to our mental and physical health! I often listen to the 50 minute workout channel at iheartradio, or songs from my workout playlist at Youtube.

 Unwind with music to make the transition from work to home. Chillout to The 10 Most Scientifically Relaxing Songs in the World at

 Rest well. There are playlists designed to help you sleep. If I have trouble sleeping, I’ve found the Brainwave Journey CDs helpful. It’s kind of odd, but the one that is called Journey of the Mind works best for me. See also Music that helps you sleep at

Music is one of the elements of designing a routine to Run Your Day Like an Athlete.

25 Quotes and Affirmations to Finally Defeat Procrastination


Procrastination is a major obstacle to productivity that we all face. Armed with a booklet of 25 quotes and affirmations based on Alex Vermeer’s strategies for motivation (plus 10 more to overcome fear!) you will have powerful ammunition to finally defeat procrastination. This handy booklet outlines the 25 strategies for overcoming procrastination and adds inspiration. Fear is a common cause of procrastination: Do you fear failure, success, vulnerability, rejection, the unknown, change, problems, or hard work? 10 bonus quotes and affirmations to conquer your fears and get stuff done are included too.

Just sign up for our free email newsletter to get your free download today! Our monthly newsletters tell what’s new at the Daily PlanIt as we explore skills for success, and your email will never be shared. Join now and get busy conquering procrastination!

Give and Take (Book Review)

In the book “Give and Take,” author Adam Grant outlines different reciprocity styles, including: givers, matchers, and takers. He then poses a question: which style would you guess is most likely at the bottom of the success ladder? While givers can be at the bottom, organizational psychologist and Wharton professor Adam Grant’s research reveals they are also at the top. Why the difference? He found that successful givers have an otherish outlook, seeking to benefit both others and themselves for a win/win outcome. Successful givers avoid burnout by learning to identify takers and adjusting style accordingly, setting boundaries and priorities, and choosing to give in ways that are meaningful and where feedback on results is visible.

The author backs up his points with many examples of successful givers. Adding value for others can be as simple as a five minute favor, an idea outlined in chapter two: The Peacock and the Panda. Look for ways to help someone with an introduction, information, feedback, or recognition. Adopting a more giving style can be as easy as deciding to be more intentional and proactive at seeking out opportunities to do a five minute favor.

Giving often adds value on both sides, as demonstrated in this Friends episode when Phoebe seeks a selfless good deed.

I’ll be watching for his next book which is due out in February 2016, written with Sheryl Sandburg, called “Originals: how non-conformists rule the world.”

Articles about “Give and Take”

The Art of the Five Minute Favor at Big Think

Why Givers (often) Succeed at Dan Pink

Adam Grant: Give and Take at Business Insider

Be a Giver Not a Taker to Succeed at Work at Forbes

How to Build a Culture of Givers at Inc.

Givers and Takers: The Surprising Truth About Who Gets Ahead at Wharton