Just like laying out an outfit the night before a big meeting saves time in the morning, so does laying out your schedule on Friday for the next week.

If you know on Friday the outline of the following week, it truly does make your weekend more enjoyable.  Go in prepared, knowing what you have to do.  Get that edge, it will make a difference.

I got a great forward this morning (Thanks Dad) with a couple excerpts from this Fortune article. If you have, or can get access to the May issue, it’s well worth a read!

One of the commitments I have directly made is not re-invent the wheel. To learn and improve on others’ success.  Here is some advice (my favorite is the first one):

The May edition of Fortune Magazine asked 19 accomplished people what was the best advice they ever got.

Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York, got his from his days at Salomon Brothers: “Always ask for the order, and second, when the customer says yes, stop talking.”

Mark Hurd, the CEO of Hewlett-Packard, got his years ago from his days under NCR CEO Chuck Exley who was listening to an executive’s presentation. At the end Exley said to the presenter: “Good Story, but it’s hard to look smart with bad numbers.” Hurd said he has reflected on that over the years, and says, if you “deliver good numbers and you earn the right for people to listen to you.”

Indra Nooyi, an India born woman and Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo, says her father was an absolutely wonderful man who taught her: always assume positive intent. Whatever anybody says or does assume positive intent.

She went on to say, “you will be amazed how your whole approach to a person or problems becomes very different. If you assume negative intent your anger goes up and your response is random. Assume positive intent and you listen, you’re non defensive, and you seek to understand.

Perhaps this is a post better suited to a Friday. However, I am certainly benefiting from putting it into practice THIS week…

I’ve moved away from tasking in Outlook/smart phone, and moved to a simple “Cambridge” brand “Things to do Today” notebook. And it’s working.

I am committed to better planning of my days and weeks. Planning not only increases your efficiency, it also adds to the value of the time you spend outside of work. I will not pretend that any of us who has chosen sales as our career can often “turn off” work when we’re away from it, but the better plan we have (and the more confidence we have in it), the more quality our time with our families, our friends, and ourselves.

Here are some parts of my processes for planning:

1) Every Friday by end of business, I plan my Monday. Monday’s are office days for me – full of meetings. I create and review schedules for Monday meetings, and create my list for the day.

2) Every evening, prior to leaving my office, I compile my task list for the following day. Anything I did not delegate or accomplish on the current day, I delegate or plan for the following day.

3) I stick to my lists. If an ad/hoc item comes up, I write it down and prioritize it. This helps me weigh value, AND track my level of production for the day.

4) I delegate as much as possible. Up AND down.

5) I close my door. Whether you work in a cubicle or an office, devise a way to say to the outside world, “I’m busy”, and stick to your guns as much as possible.

In today’s economic climate, and fast paced working environment, it’s important to be flexible and dynamic. It’s easy to forget the value of structure.

Efficiency is measured not by what you say yes to, but what is actually completed.

Sounds simple, and it is.  It’s already positively impacted me this week.

What are some of your best practices for planning and lists?

From PlanB Public Speaking Website

by Patricia Fripp, CSP, CPAE

Do you want to sound intelligent, powerful, polished, articulate and confident? Of course you do! Voice coach Carol Fleming, Ph.D. gave me some great insights based on her years of study and working with thousands of clients.

Speak just a bit slower to allow yourself to select your most appropriate vocabulary and to give the impression of thoughtfulness.

Use short, simple declarative sentences. You say what you mean and you mean what you say. Cut out any useless connectors, adjectives and adverbs, especially superlatives.

Never answer a question with a blunt ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ Append a short phrase of clarification. For example, “No, I did not see it.” “Yes, I know Mary.”

Make a special effort to pronounce the final sound in a word and use its energy to carry over to the following word. Pay special attention to final ‘t’ and ‘ng.’

Carry your body up. Hold your head as if you had a crown on it. Don’t let your arms and legs have side to side motion when you move. Keep your elbows and knees close to the midline of your body.

Patricia Fripp is a keynote speaker, author and speech coach. Sign up for her FREE ezine

Selling Power magazine has a pretty fantastic video blog. This morning I watched the one on the Antarctic Marathon by Mike Pierce. It’s well worth checking out.

Key thoughts:

1) Dream big- do what you enjoy doing, and do something different

2) Play to win, don’t play just to play. Don’t coast.

“A leader is a dealer in hope” – Shackelton

Balance a sense of reality with the ability to look through the lens of opportunity.

Mike Berta ( made a comment to my post on networking that I think really deserves some thought and comment.

Community Service Organizations are one really positive way to network and get involved in your community at the same time. Something about the satisfaction of volunteering, and using your good fortune to help others really helps you bond with your fellow volunteers. Even though doing those things are a reward unto themselves, you’ll find a ton of really successful people being involved in those types of organizations. And they’re precisely the type of people that if you want to get to that magical “next level” that it’s great to involve yourself with.

There are a ton of them out there, and if you go to church, your church is a great place to start. However, here are some of the best known- give me some feedback and let me know what YOU do to impact your community:

Rotary International“Rotary is a worldwide organization of business and professional leaders that provides humanitarian service, encourages high ethical standards in all vocations, and helps build goodwill and peace in the world. Approximately 1.2 million Rotarians belong to more than 32,000 clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas.” Did you catch that? 1.2 million Rotarians, 32,000 clubs, 200 countries. That means there’s probably one close by to you. If you go to their Club Locator, you can do a search. (Hint: Use the “drill down” option.) Or, easier yet, use their “New Prospective Member Form“, and a nearby club will send you information.

Most everyone knows someone that belongs to a Lions Club. “Since 1917, Lions clubs have offered people the opportunity to give something back to their communities. From involving members in projects as local as cleaning up an area park or as far-reaching as bringing sight to the world’s blind, Lions clubs have always embraced those committed to building a brighter future for their community. Today with more than approximately 45,000 clubs in 200 countries and geographical areas, Lions have expanded their focus to help meet the ever-increasing needs of our global community. Our programs are continually changing to meet new needs and greater demands, but our mission has never wavered: ‘We Serve.'” To find a Lions Club near you, click on the club locator on the left, agree to the terms and conditions, and search by state.

There are a ton more great community service organizations, and I’ll list some of them here. Once again, if I missed some good ones, please comment so that others can benefit as well.

Kiwanis International –

Elks Club –

Shriners –

Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America – – This site is especially important – it “helps children reach their potential through professionally supported one-to-one relationships with proven results.”  Making a difference in the life of a child really counts, and you’re doing something to preserve and benefit our future.

There are a ton of others, but by joining something, and giving to the community, you can gain great personal satisfaction and reward, as well as building business and personal relationships that will last your entire career.

Next Page »