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“KILLING TIME: How to DESTROY Your Productivity”

Posted in "KILLING TIME: How to DESTROY Your Productivity" with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 2, 2013 by Robert Finkelstein

Along with hundreds of inspirational quotes, beautiful images, recommending reading, and my own personal and business blogs, at “Behind the Scenes / Virtual COO” you will find the writings and videos of those whose intention is to inspire, motivate and push us to think outside the box.

“KILLING TIME: How to DESTROY Your Productivity”


If you’re interested in a complimentary 30-minute business strategy session with Chief Operating Officer, Robert Finkelstein, or for more information, please refer to Behind the Scenes Consulting. If you have questions, please email Robert at Your comments are welcomed below. Thank you.

THE POWER OF FOCUS! by Lisa Jimenez

Posted in General Management, Life Management with tags , , , , , , , , on October 26, 2010 by Robert Finkelstein

In addition to the inspirational quotes, the beautiful images, my own personal and business blogs, the recommended reading list, and information on my consulting business, I would like to share some of the writings of various thought leaders.

by Lisa Jimenez

Remember when the “experts” told us that the key to success was multi-tasking?

It was a lie!

I bought into the whole philosophy of doing ten things at once. Check my emails while answering the phone, listen to my son while he tells me about his day, write a marketing letter in my head, wonder if I sent that proposal, shoot up a quick prayer, practice the speech I’m presenting next week, return an IM, all while I’m visualizing my dream life!

Ha! It was insanity. And it was keeping me from a breakthrough success.

Does your life look like a gyroscope, spinning around at a frantic pace but not experiencing completion and a real presence of power?

Busyness is the enemy that keeps you from a life of power!

Think of it scientifically. We all know that diffused light has little impact. But when you focus its energy, you have a profound impact.

A magnifying glass harnesses the power of the suns rays and can set a piece of grass on fire. (Or if you had older brothers like me… cause an ant to explode!)

A laser beam is focused energy that can cut through steel.

That’s the power of focused energy!

Now, apply this principle of focused energy to your life. Diffused energy (busyness and aimless distractions) has little power or impact. But when you concentrate your energy by focusing it, you have created a laser beam of power.

But guess what?

Most people are afraid of that power. That’s why they continue to live a life of busyness and aimless distraction… so they won’t ever have to come into their true brilliance.

Don’t let that be you! It’s time to be different. It’s time to own your power and let yourself BE genius!

If you know in your heart that you were born for more and you realize you’ve been holding yourself back with aimless actions, busyness and lack of focus; stop it now! Just stop it and begin honoring your work space, your actions and your brilliance.

Remember back to the days when you were five years old? You lived in the world you wanted to create. If you wanted to be a fire fighter, you were one—right then at that moment! If you wanted to be in Africa, you were—right then at that moment! You created your perfect world instantaneously.

This ability to use your imagination was your first experience of the power of focus. You still have that power. You just have to give yourself permission to tap into it.

What would your life look like this week if you chose to focus your energy?

Instead of checking Facebook AND talking to a prospect, you were completely focused on the prospect and listened generously.

Instead of answering the phone AND writing a sales letter, you had single focus on the writing and let the phone go to voice mail.

Instead of multi-tasking, you chose to focus your energy on ONE task until it is completed.

What would your results be at the end of each day?

You can just imagine what you’d get accomplished! That sales letter would be written and sent out. That prospect would have all they need to make an educated decision. That friend, lover and child would feel they are really loved. That closet, garage, office would be organized and free of clutter.

And more importantly, you can just imagine how you would “feel” about yourself, your business and your life…

You would feel accomplished, powerful, brilliant, loving and…


You are the one who gives yourself permission to be successful and choose to focus your energy like a laser beam! Have a fun tapping into your brilliant, focused energy this week.

– Lisa Jimenez

If you’re interested in a complimentary 30-minute business strategy session, for more information, please refer to my Behind the Scenes Consulting. If you have questions, please email me at I welcome your comments below. Thank you.


Posted in General Management, Life Management, Why Your Not-To-Do List Is More Important Than Your To-Do List with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 29, 2010 by Robert Finkelstein

In addition to the inspirational quotes, the beautiful images, my own personal and business blogs, the recommended reading list, and information on my consulting business, I would like to share some of the writings of various thought leaders.


We all have the same 24 hours in a day, yet some people accomplish so much more than others. What are their secrets? Here are the best ways to boost productivity from some of the brightest minds on the subject…


Apply the 80/20 rule to everything. Roughly 20% of your daily activities are responsible for 80% of your success, income and personal happiness. These are your “big-payoff” activities.

Conversely, 20% of your activities are causing 80% of your wasted time. These are your “low-payoff” activities.

The best way to multiply your productivity is simple — always be looking to free up more time for your big-payoff activities by ruthlessly eliminating the dozens of low-payoff ones that you unwittingly tolerate.

Example: One of the most successful executives I know keeps a framed sign over his desk and carries an index card in his shirt pocket with the same message — Is this leading me to my main goal? He checks that reminder numerous times a day and saves countless hours each week by staying on track — cutting off quickly from time-wasting phone calls, meetings, gossip, etc., and relentlessly getting back to the big-payoff activities for himself and his company.

Harness your “hour of power.” Whatever your highest-payoff activity, rise early and give it the first hour of your day — what I call your “hour of power.” This gets your day off to a highly productive start.

The late Earl Nightingale, a management guru, explained that if you spend this early-morning hour in the study of your chosen field, you’ll be a national expert in five years or less.

Gain six to eight extra hours of productivity every day. Your second-most-productive hour is right before you go to sleep. This is a great time to leverage your productivity by arranging for your mighty subconscious mind to solve a problem while you sleep peacefully.

How to do it: Just before going to bed, think about a problem or question that you’re working on. Then say to yourself, Great subconscious mind, I don’t want to work on this matter too hard, so please just figure this out for me by the morning while I sleep peacefully. Then completely forget about the matter and drift off to sleep.

You’ll likely find that during your hour of power the next morning, you will be brimming over with ideas that are perfect for your project. Be aware that your morning ideas are slippery fish. If you don’t catch them immediately on getting up, they’ll swim away forever. Keep a pad and pen at your bedside to capture your ideas.

Don’t carry your “to-do” list in your head. You not only will forget things that are on the list, but an inner voice will perpetually nag that you must be dropping balls somewhere. Use a written to-do list to capture everything you must remember — every phone call, task and follow-up action. Review the most urgent and important items daily, and all items weekly.

Don’t multitask. As Confucius said, “A man who chases two rabbits catches neither.” Modern studies show that when you try to accomplish two activities that require focused attention at the same time, both suffer significantly.

Slow down. When focusing on one high-priority item at a time, don’t rush through it. You do your best thinking when you are focused and relaxed. As Mae West advised with a wink, “Anything worth doing is worth doing slowly.”

Get enough sleep. Research shows that your productivity, clarity, alertness, judgment, creativity, memory, motivation, relaxation, cheerfulness and lots of other wonderful qualities all thrive on adequate sleep and suffer without it. Also consider an afternoon nap — one of life’s most rejuvenating luxuries.

Do what you love. It’s much easier to be productive when your work is your play. You will want to give it your full attention and every minute you can — and you easily will brush off countless distractions that seduce others. So in all of your activities and goals, and especially when deciding which to choose as your highest priorities, remember the words of editor and author Christopher Morley, “There is only one success — to be able to spend your life in your own way.”


Your not-to-do list is even more important than your to-do list. You must work every day to minimize or get rid of those 20% of activities that are wasting 80% of your time — by maintaining a not-to-do list. Helpful…

Never answer e-mail in the morning. Reserve your precious morning time for your highest-payoff activities. Also, shut off your e-mail program for most of the day so that you won’t be interrupted by each new incoming message. Limit reviewing your e-mail to specific periods, perhaps once around noon and again later in the day. Keep replies short with answers such as, “Thanks”… “Look forward to it” … “Will do”… or “I agree.”

Don’t answer phones just because they ring. Too often, it is a salesperson, fund-raiser or other pesky soul out to waste your time and ruin your focus. Have an assistant or answering machine screen your calls, or let them go to voice mail. As psychiatrist Edward M. Hallowell, MD, author of Crazy Busy, says, “If you don’t manage your time, it will be taken from you.”

Flex your no muscle. Whenever someone asks you to do something that you would rather not do, remember this simple two-part formula — (1) “Thanks for asking” (for having confidence that I could do this, etc.), (2) “I can’t, because… ” (you’ve just been given a major new assignment or whatever) “so I wouldn’t be able to give it the time that it deserves.” If the petitioner persists, don’t debate the issue. Just keep robotically repeating your reason for declining, and the person soon will let you alone.

Of course, if the person making the request is your boss, remember that he/she is your number-one customer and that it’s important to be on the same page about what’s important. Sound out whether this new request supersedes your current tasks. In other words, know what is most important at all times, and put your focus there.

Ask two questions of every task: (1) Does this have to be done? (2) If so, does it have to be done by me? In all matters, strive to be not just efficient but effective. Efficient means doing things right, but effective means doing the right things — which is far more important.

Delegate the kaizen way. If you’re a control freak and can’t delegate easily, do it the kaizen way. Kaizen is the Japanese approach of continuous improvement with small, nonthreatening, easy-to-take baby steps. Ask someone to do a small task for you. As soon as you’re comfortable with one delegation baby-step, take another, and so on. It’s easier to get 10 people to work for you than for you to do the work of 10.

– Gary Bencivenga

If you’re interested in a complimentary 30-minute business strategy session, for more information, please refer to my Behind the Scenes Consulting. If you have questions, please email me at I welcome your comments below. Thank you.

You’ve Got Email by Robert Finkelstein

Posted in General Management, Time Management with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 10, 2009 by Robert Finkelstein

email“You’ve got mail. You’ve got m–. You’ve got–. You’ve g–. You–. You–.” Luckily, my computer doesn’t talk to me, because if it did, it wouldn’t get the chance to finish the sentence. I used to get well over a hundred business emails a day. Add in the personal and the span, and the number more than doubles. Let’s just consider the business ones, shall we? Short emails, long emails and a whole lot of attachments. So if I receive 100 emails and spend an average of five minutes on each, including reading and digesting the attachments, and formulating a response…that’s 500 minutes!! Doing the math…YIKES…we’re talkin’ 8 hours and 20 minutes. Correct me if I’m wrong, but that doesn’t leave much time for anything else…and that will drive you CRAZY!going-crazy

So how do you manage your emails? Do you manage it at all?

I’ll cover different aspects of managing your daily emails in more detail in future blogs. Here are a few thoughts to get you started, in no particular order.

1. Can anyone screen your emails for you? If so, I recommend having them printed.
2. For emails with ongoing concerns, write them on your To Do List.
3. Try not to read the same email more than once.
4. Explore programs like iDictate to record emails.
5. When you’re done with an email, move it to a subfolder (which you should create for each incoming email contact). Don’t leave it in your Inbox.
6. As an Outlook user, you can select a color associated with a particular email contact. When you receive an email from that person, the font will be colored. Helps in prioritizing.
7. Train those who write you. If you don’t, people feel like they have permission to write you all the time, and for the most inane things. Educate them on how the subject line should read, how frequently they can write or cc you, and what to consider a priority,
8. One of my most important suggestions, after you consider the ones above is to manage your time on emails. Designate specific times during the day when you do emails. Create an auto-responder that lets everyone your availability…and stick to it.

“You don’t have mail. You’ve got time to do other things.”

If you have any questions or comments,
please write them below or email me at