Addicted to Chocolate? Try De-cluttering Instead

“It’s time,…I need a fix” I say to myself. I need that feeling again.

It’s time to do my big, whole home de-cluttering. My husband and son are going camping for 4 days and I’ve got a date with my house. I’ve been through the house before, so I know the feeling I’m going to get when I’m done.

When do I know it’s time to de-clutter? Well, I usually know when I feel that my invisible “bitch-o-meter” has been hitting “alert!” a little more than usual. You see, your house is a reflection of what is going on in your life. So, if you’ve got stuffed drawers ready to blow, and magazines piles stacking up on the floor, it could be creating that oh-so-uncomfortable urge to throw some china across the room to vent, or the feeling of unresolved “issues” piling up in your life.

The other day I just took a look in my guest bedroom closet and found 6 extra pillows. 4 appear to be “on their way out, but no one had the guts to do it” and 2 are still in their original packaging. How does this happen, I ask myself? There are four pillows on the actual guest bed itself!

For those who don’t thoroughly enjoy the de-cluttering process, allow me to offer some tips. Let’s put the issues in the tissues and get back to a centered place by de-cluttering!

First, start every project with the three-step mantra, “Eliminate, Categorize, and Organize.” Whether you are cleaning out your undie drawer or the entire attic, these three steps are what can get you to a favorable outcome. Simply go through everything and toss out anything that is not needed in this space, then categorize what does (good undies in this pile and second string undies in that pile.) Then, once you’ve got your stuff separated out, then organize the items in the space.

Here’s how I’m going to attack the entire house. To get warmed up, I plan to start with a place that I can score a “win” feeling quickly: the drawers in the dining room china hutch. (stay away from places you know will take you down memory lane or put you in an emotional tiz at first to get the ball rolling.) I know one hutch drawer is stuffed with ramekins from Trader Joe’s crème brulѐes (they’re too good to throw away I say as I add to the pile,) so I decide to save 12 and place the rest in a to-go pile in the middle of the room. Woo-hoo! I’m on a roll! Look how good that drawer looks with just 12 ramekins in there!

Oops – what’s that in the next drawer? Oh geez, the 6 sets of individual hen-shaped salt and pepper shakers that I thought would be cute on Thanksgiving. Really? Individual hen-shaped salt and pepper shakers? What was I smoking the day I spent money on those? And funny, but I’ve NEVER even pulled them out of their original boxes in the two years I’ve owned them. Be gone silly hens! That one “pinched” (the word I use for that funny feeling that you get when you ejected something perfectly good that you spent money on) but I’m on the other side of it. The good news is that I know that the pinch doesn’t even come close to overpowering the good feelings I get when I’m on the other side of the whole process, so I continue….

A “voted-off-the-island” wedding gift or two later (pinch, pinch), I’m ready to move onto the next room to de-clutter. I simply leave the pile in the middle of the dining room as my trophy and scoot on into the kitchen. I make sure to start with the easy stuff first (matching lids and bowls and tossing out loners) and end with the piѐce de résistance – cleaning out the cosmic black hole under the sink. Lordy, if there was ever a place that I mentally cut out of my home, it is that dungeon. I simply pretend that it doesn’t exist. I put myself into an altered state when I open the door to grab the dishwashing detergent.

But now the job is done, and I’m savoring the feeling that mimics the satisfaction-equivalent of a good chocolate bar. Oh, the high. I simply stare in wonder at this sparkling square footage and can’t wait for another reason to open the doors.

If you can’t find three days to relish in this endeavor, start small and work your way up. Start by bringing a makeup or junk drawer to the couch with you to work on during a TV commercial break. Work your way up slowly to a closet or room every Monday night. I swear it will give you a boost for the rest of the week. And slowly but surely, you’ll be Jonesin for a three-day session just like me.

Better Productivity is all About Getting your Head Straight.

Is your Head Straight?

Did you ever see the movie Cool Hand Luke, the one with Paul Newman? There are a number of scenes where the Sheriff tells Paul Newman, the prisoner who keeps escaping, that he has to get his head straight, so he will stop escaping. I made this connection, as tenuous as it may be, with almost all of my clients. I don’t have any that continually try to escape from jail, that I know, but the connection is there nonetheless.

In every seminar that I have ever given, this topic of getting peoples head straight comes up. It’s central to getting better at whatever you do, not only increasing your Production, but in any endeavor you choose. Let’s see if I can articulate it a little better.

Two People- Two Different Perspectives.

Two people look at someone’s web site; one person only pays attention to the design, the other person only looks at the coding. Simple, one person is a web designer; the other person is a web programmer. We look at things from our own personal perspective. This is a simple form of getting your head straight. If you want to increase your production, your ability to do more, you have to get your head straight; you have to start to look at what you do, from that specific perspective. Stop looking at doing a job from the end result perspective. Start looking at what you do and how you do it and start asking yourself some simple basic questions.

· Have I given this task the respect it deserves by properly preparing myself to do it?

· Are all the tools, supplies, materials, resources and connecting activities in place to enable me to complete this task?

· Are the people, including myself, properly trained to perform this task?

· Are there systems, policies and procedures in place to guide me in doing this task?

· Am I following the correct procedure/procedures to perform this task?

These are just a few of the questions you should be asking yourself when you are attempting to increase your production. If you are asking these questions, and more like them, you are starting to head your head straight.

It’s Everywhere

What’s everywhere? Ways to improve and increase your effectiveness. I was in a client’s warehouse and we were talking about something, I can’t even remember what it was, and I noticed one of his employees walk all the way from the back of the warehouse to the front, get a label and a staple gun, walk all the way to the back, staple the label on a box, then walk all the way to the front to put back the staple gun. The whole process, back and forth and then back and forth took about 5 minutes. I asked my client how times a day this employee did that routine; he said 7 or 8 times. I then said, why didn’t he, at the start of the shift, when he was walking to his workstation, bring the staple gun and enough labels for the whole day, saving about 30 to 40 minutes of wasted walking each day? Never thought of it was the answer. You see his head was not straight about paying attention to production issues.

This is a very simple example but one that points out that ways to increase your effectiveness and productivity are everywhere. Every time you start to do something, anything, this act gives you an opportunity to do whatever you are doing, better, faster, and more efficiently, all components of increasing your productivity. This process only works if you are looking for these situations and your have the proper head set. Proper head set is another way of saying, “you have your head straight”.


It’s not as new direction, just another way to reinforce what I have been already saying here. Unless you add productivity issues and concerns to your radar screen and focus in on them, there is no reason you will see any improvement in this area. It sounds very basic and mundane but after dealing with these issues for about 35 years, you learn that unless you work on the basics, the big issues never are properly dealt with either.

Copyright (c) 2009 Bryan Beckstead

My Top Ten Quotes to Live By

In my reading of different cultures and philosophies, I’ve come across a plethora of quotes to live by. Bringing them down to just ten was the most difficult ordeal. But here they are. I hope you enjoy them. My top ten quotes to live by.

1) My favorite quote of all time is a simple one from Morocco:

“He who has nothing to die for has nothing to live for.”

How we often live for less than what we ought, spending our hope on things that never could really satisfy. It is my ambition, as a man who knows that life is short, to fill up my life with things worth fighting for, worth hoping for, worth dying for. Knowing that life is short, how can any of us live any other way?

2) This next quote is one from my favorite author, Henry David Thoreau:

“When we are unhurried and wise we perceive that only great and worthy things have any absolute and permanent existence, that petty fears and petty pleasures are but the shadow of reality.”

I have often loved times of solitude, retreating out to the lonely morning places of nature to sit and ponder life, feeling connected to that grand, elusive scheme intertwining all of humankind. Only when I become unhurried and wise do I remember what life actually is. I remember that I am just a part of the powerful play, that I am no better than other men who have come before me, that my fire will burn for just a little while and then go out in this world.

3) Next is from ancient Chinese poetry, the Tao Te Ching:

“He who overcomes others is strong. He who overcomes himself is mighty.”

Who among us can boast that they have overcome themselves? Who among us can boast that they have rid themselves of the vice that often peppers the soul like grass of the field? Lord willing, I will one day be given the grace to overcome myself. It is the task assigned to each of us.

4) The next quote goes along with the previous one. From Mark 8 in the Bible:

“Whoever wants to save his life will lose it. But whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

Why do we hold on so hard to the foolish things we think we want? Isn’t it better to trust the One who knows us better than we know ourselves?

5) Next is a quote I found on the side of a building in Minnesota, oddly enough:

“The great privilege has been given to all to develop strength of character.”

Developing strength of character is available to all, yet who among us diligently strives after it? What a free treasure lies within reach!

6) Another old Chinese Proverb:

“Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.”

I’ve always been a dreamer. But dreams without character, hard work, and determination, are just fanciful imaginings. One of the saddest things in life is a person with beautiful dreams who lacks the diligence and perseverance to make his dreams a reality. Dreams, in that way, can be a curse, haunting their keeper with regret all his days. I refuse to look back on my life, when I am old, with regret, realizing that I was nothing more than a daydreamer. I will do my best to live with both action and vision.

7) Next is an excerpt from a poem by John Greenleaf Whittier:

“Of all sad words of tongue or pen

The saddest are these ‘It might have been!'”

What is sadder in life than looking back and saying that it might have been? I pray often to to the Lord to help me live life to the full, without regrets.

8) Next is another quote by Henry David Thoreau, from his book Walden about why he went off to live by himself in the woods.

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear, nor did I wish to practice resignation unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life.”

What more needs to be said of this quote. When I read this quote, I often feel convicted of all the ways I myself live in resignation, sadly forgetting that “living is so dear.”

9) A quote from one of my favorite authors C.S. Lewis, in my favorite of his books: The Great Divorce.

“Reality is harsh to the feet of shadows.”

People often live from the shadows, harboring secret pain or secret desires. But living from the shadows was never meant for human beings. We become the shadows we hide in, and real life no longer suits us.

10) The final quote is a short excerpt from a poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson. It needs no explanation:

“Come, my friends. ‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world… for my purpose holds To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths Of all the western stars…

and tho’ We are not now that strength which in old days Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are – One equal temper of heroic hearts, Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”

Negotiation Tactics for Business

One of the primary problems faced by a company with an enterprising team involved in all major decisions is disunity. Whenever a prominent issue is brought to everyone’s attention and discussed, there will always be – at the very least, a few people who just don’t agree. This is actually quite desirable, as just about any business coach will convey through examples. It’s in your interest to really encourage all areas of innovation and unique points of view, as this is, in an encompassing sense, ideal for your business and its future development. However, it’s rather complicated to know exactly what should be done when an impasse appears. If there are clear, well though out ideas and undeniable points of view on each side, how do you choose the best path forward?

Executive management coaching will teach you to strive for a compromise and the best way to do this is to negotiate. Negotiation is the process of attempting to agree on a solution. At the end of the negotiation process, a compromise should be achieved and this is the goal.

For this process to work, everyone involved should have a certain amount of flexibility. Whilst each party to the procedure may well have strong ideas and viewpoints and firmly believe that his or her solution is the best answer, each person must be prepared to be flexible and to absorb the other’s points of view as well. Business coach fundamentals dictate that people are flexible at the negotiation table.

It doesn’t really matter what you are discussing, whether it be the comparison of two ideas, personal issues between staff members, negotiations over conditions, contractual terms – the procedure of compromise through flexible negotiation should be followed.

Once a time and the place has been set for the negotiation, do your preparation. To start off with always believe that a mutually acceptable solution can be achieved. Don’t be intransigent and always maintain a great attitude. This can be an excellent opportunity to learn for all concerned and an opportunity to achieve a win-win situation. A good business coach will tell you the best outcome is achieved when all parties are satisfied.

It’s always prudent to negotiate in person, and it’s never best when you utilize the phone or e-mail. It’s always prudent to be able to clearly see the other person in front of you, sense their body language, the tone of their voice and other subtle cues which are unavailable, particularly in the instance of e-mail.

If you can, meet to discuss this issue at a mutually agreeable time and place, even on neutral ground. Take time to prepare and make sure that you know what is at stake for all concerned and that you fully understand the opposing party’s points of view.

At the minimum, determine what would be an acceptable deal for you. Don’t go into a meeting with a closed mind, but do take into account all the parameters necessary for the bottom line.

In any negotiation, emotions can spillover. Your business coach will tell you to be impartial but not passive. Deal with facts and address the problems, not the personalities. You must maintain a rational and goal oriented frame of mind at all times.

If all parties approach the negotiation process in this fashion, it is highly likely that the compromise will be negotiated and that all parties will emerge satisfied with the results. Refer to your business coach to make sure that your company’s negotiation and compromise procedure is top notch.