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Coaching John Leadership Development Simplify

How to deal with distractions brought on by the Apple Watch and other smart watches

This post originally appeared on John’s blog at johndregan.info

The tech world is atwitter (and on Twitter) about the forthcoming release of the Apple Watch.  A connected smart watch that promises to provide you with apps galore, keep track of your location, pulse count and give you notifications from your iPhone right on your wrist in an instant.

Yesterday I saw a tweet from Michael Hyatt (whom I respect as a leader and tech user – get connected with him online with stat!), referencing an article by a tech writer about his Apple Watch Nightmare.

It’s not the first smart watch to the market.  Pebble, Android Wear and numerous other devices all promise to take the notifications from our smartphones and place them right at our wrists, without even having to check our phones.

Pebble Steel Watch

Heres the problem though…we’re already a distracted people and these kinds of devices have huge potential to worsen the problem.

In my coaching practice, I work with high level people to help take them to the next level.  Right now, many of my clients state that distraction and time management are the top issues holding them back.

For example: One Executive at the top of his organization is dealing with the massive influx of email, phone calls and his direct reports dropping by his office during business hours. Notifications that he has email, text, or phone calls going right to his wrist is going to reduce his attention span to next to nothing.

Another client, a Vice President with almost 100 people in his division is already struggling with the volume of notifications that he gets on a daily basis. During a time I spent with him, he was on the phone or answering texts/email for all but a few minutes of time. Imagine his chaos of getting notifications to his wrist while he’s on the phone already…

Still yet another client, responsible for a multimillion dollar complex, has a list of projects that is literally in the multiple pages when printed.  The influx of notifications going right to his wrist would be impossible to keep up with during the day.

They are not the only ones, and I suspect that you’re dealing with this tension as well…

So what’s the solution?

I see two approaches that you can take (and I advocate for both positions depending on your personality).

1) Don’t get a smart watch. Very few things in life are important enough that you need instant notification.

2) Turn off all but a few notifications. As a matter of fact, I regularly encourage clients to turn off all notifications on their cell phone, limit their email checking to twice daily, and put their phones on do not disturb for extended periods of time.

Intentional management of your time requires focus, and distraction from daily influx of notifications can really ruin your flow.

You may think that it’s not possible to build in time to be disconnected, but I encourage you to try it.  We never used to be this connected, and by communicating with your clients, coworkers and family what your schedule is, it’s not only doable, but the secret to a successful career.

I’m not all against smart watches. As many of you know, I’m a tech oriented kind of guy.  From network administration, to Ham radio, I love my tech toys.  As a matter of fact, I’m a smart watch user myself with a beautiful Pebble Steel connected to my Android phone.  But I’ve throttled notifications to just text messages from my personal cell number and my calendar alerts.  No email, no text from the business number. I check my various notifications when I intentionally choose to, on my schedule.

The bottom line is that technology can help or dramatically hurt your productivity, and the only way to ensure you are able to succeed is to take ownership of your time and be intentional about your schedule.

How are you dealing with distractions from your devices and daily work life?

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Coaching John Leadership Development Simplify

Wrap up your 2014 well and clarify 2015 goals

This post originally appeared on John’s blog at johndregan.info

So how was your 2014?

Have you ever taken time to think deeply about how your year went?  It’s something that I was encouraged to do about 4 years ago, and now it’s a vital piece of my growth and perspective each year.

Doing a yearly review and goal setting for the next is critical to me keeping focus and putting the most important things in my life in priority view.

Climb The Peak

I’d like to share my process and encourage you to give it a try this year.

  • Pick a block of time when you’re at your sharpest (early, late, over coffee, whenever you feel at your mental best).
  • Print out your calendar from 2014 and grab a copy of your journal (if you keep one).
  • Have a clean piece of paper or notebook at hand (leave the electronic tools aside, they tend to lead to distraction rather than focus).
  • Split the page down the middle vertically and write good at the top of one side and bad on the other.
  • Look at each month individually and recall what happened that month.
  • Write down what you see jumping out at your as you look at your calendar and journal. If you don’t have a journal (now’s a good time to start one), just let your mind wander through each month and remember what happened.
  • Once you’re done with the year, look back at your lists of good and bad. Be thankful for the good, grieve the bad and then close the year. Take the paper, wad or shred it up and throw it away.

Take a 5 minute break, have a stimulating drink of choice and then grab a new piece of paper.

  • If you could accomplish just three things in 2015 that you know would make a positive impact in your life, what would they be? Wildly important, life changing, dream type goals are what you’re looking for here. Give your 2015 a reason to be great!
  • Write these goals down, with spaces between each for notes later.
  • Why would accomplishing these goals make your 2015 better? Write down the why under each goal. Knowing your why will make it easier to stay on task in June when things are getting hectic (or late January depending on how busy your are).
  • Write out a list of the next little step you could take to make the goal happen. It might be a phone call, schedule a meeting, do a google search, etc.
  • When you get that one task done, write out the next action step you must take.
  • Repeat until you’re done with the goal!

I hope that you’ve had a great 2014 and are looking forward to your 2015! If you ever need an encouragement or challenge, please drop me a line. I’d love to help you move forward and leave average behind!

John

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Coaching John Leadership Development Simplify

The Death of the To-Do List – And the Birth of the Must-Do List

This post originally appeared on John’s blog at johndregan.info

Seems like every major software player (and many entrepreneur little guys) has a software package that will let you track your to-do list.

In this day and age of over extended, too many choices, can I please just get a break: stress…you’ve really got to have a to-do list.

Whether it’s on paper, your smartphone, tablet, computer or written in ink on your hand, a to-do list is part of the uniform of the US society.

 

Must-Do

However, a to-do list falls very short of actually helping us to get the things donethat matter most to us.  We’ll get caught up in adding and then checking off to-do items and pretend that we’re getting things done.

In reality, because we’re not getting the most important things done, it stresses us out.

So today I’ll challenge you to make a separate list with just 5 things on it for this week.

This list is your must-do list.  It should be things that, if done, will make a difference in your life. Important, satisfying differences…

Every must-do list should be updated at the end of the week.  Add 5 new things and then move forward in getting the most important things done in your life.

What’s on your must do list?

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Coaching John Leadership Development Simplify

The Value of Taking a Sabbatical

In early April of this year I was experiencing significant burnout.

My goals, family, current day job and building a client base for Lead Thru Example all took a serious toll on my mental and physical well being.

This post originally appeared on John’s blog at johndregan.info

I’m a driven individual, but I could see that unless I took a significant pause, that I’d be functionally useless in all my roles.

So for the past 2 months I’ve slowed down significantly, taking a “staycation” version of a Sabbatical.

sabbatical

I only allowed myself to do those things that were absolutely necessary to keep the bills paid.  This meant a lot less activity on social media and the blog, letting my coach know that I needed a few months off, and focusing on building enjoyment time into my “must do” calendar.

The results have been very positive!  I’m back to being able to see the joy in what I do and not just the “have to do” side of my life.

I’m a recovering people pleaser, and this time has been spent intentionally focusing on me and saying “No” to those things that aren’t part of my priority list.

If you’re finding yourself in a situation where life has lost all of it’s joy, don’t hesitate to pull out of all but the essential items in your life and re-group.

Life is a marathon, not a sprint (I’ll have to remind myself constantly…).

Have you ever experienced a refreshing time of Sabbatical?

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Coach Jen Coaching Simplify

Whose definition of success are you living by?

Have you been influenced by other people’s definition of success? Has that influence been good, bad or both?

This post originally appeared on Coach Jen’s blog at jenregan.info.

As many of you know, I am in the process of writing a book. This adventure is bringing me in a lot of different directions, all in the hopes of helping each of us to live the BEST life we can possibly live. Today I am reflecting on and writing about what success looks like and I am curious how you feel on the subject and the experiences you have had.

def of success

  • When you transitioned from your high school years into your “adult” life, were there very clear expectations placed on you by your elders on how to move forward in life?
  • Did they have a clear definition of success they wanted you to pursue?
  • Was their view of success one of order or adventure?
  • Did you follow through with their definition of success? If so, are you still on the same path? Or have you veered off?
  • Why?
  • Have you discovered your own definition of success in life? What is it?
  • If you are a parent, what definition of success are you passing on to your child? Why is it important for you to communicate this to your child?

In my personal life and in my career as a Life Coach, I have met many amazing individuals that have all had a unique combination of answers to the above questions. Some are moving forward in life, some are stuck. I am interested in seeing how the definition of success of influential people in our lives have shaped our lives.

I would love your input! Please feel free to set up a simple account and comment right here in the blog, comment on Facebook or send me an email. 

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Coach Jen Coaching Simplify

End to an amazing 46 days!

This post originally appeared on Coach Jen’s blog at jenregan.info.

This image sums up the last 46 days! It is great to have said goodbye to 46 items and as I look back I don’t regret parting with even one of them. It fact, there is more space in my life because of the removal of these items.

sometimes-you-dont-feel-the-weight-1024x685 copy (Mobile)
It has been a fun 46 days. It has been a ton of fun having conversations with friends and family as they have tried to part with items in their life. This adventure has sparked conversations around camp fires, dinner tables and many phone calls. It has been a great experience for me, and I hope for you too!

Getting rid of “stuff” is different for every person, as it should be. We are all amazing and unique individuals. I guess the message I would like to part with is – Always strive to live your BEST LIFE and do not let any possession hold you back from it! Find freedom in your day, in your home and in your life.

Thanks for sticking with me over the past 46 days! Here is a mini collage of all of the “stuff” I parted with. It was fun to recap!

Preview of “40 days collage”

Let’s see what adventure we can get into next! Have a great week!

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Coach Jen Coaching Simplify

The end is in sight and the good-bye pile is growing!

This post originally appeared on Coach Jen’s blog at jenregan.info.

This week flowed pretty well. I was actually in the mood to get rid of things and clear more space. Don’t get me wrong, I still had to search for things to get rid of, but once I looked in the far corners of my home, I realized that I had more stuff that I do not use or have duplicates of.

I was also reminded that getting rid of things is a process. I have had many items in my sites for some time, but I was not ready to part with them. My house is filled with things that I am not ready to part with. But over time, I realize that a lot of it is in the way and taking up space. In most cases I do not love the items, or not even use them. It takes time to part with them, but I feel great when I do.

Because it is a process, it is important for me to keep reduction at the forefront of my mind. To take time out monthly or quarterly to go through things and ask myself if it is time to part with certain items. That would be a great thing to add to my monthly todo list.

I also want to set up a system to think before I buy new items. I am trying something new this week. I set up an incentive program for myself. There are a few clothing items that I would like to acquire, but instead of just running out to get them, I have decided that I have to earn them. I set up a goal for myself this week to move forward on one important area of my life and if I succeed all week, I can go purchase one of those items. What this also does is prolong the buying process which gives me time to really think about whether I need this item or not. It take the “impulse” out of the buying process.

Here are the items I said goodbye to this week! Possessions #36 – #42

Autumn flag

#36 With the weather growing warmer, I went out into the garage to do some spring clean up. While I was there, I found this autumn flag that I have not flown for at least 10 years. I decided the American flag was all I needed and said goodbye to this one.

lantern

#37 Again, while working in the garage, I came across this propane lantern. My husband LOVES flashlights, so in the case of an emergency, I think we are covered and would probably not use this lantern…at least we have not in quite a few years.

swim suit

#38 I love swimming and this is one of my favorite suits that I seen may laps around the pool. I have another one that fits me a little better and I really don’t need two. Goodbye my old friend!

white board

#39 This white board has been used for many things through the years. As you might notice, if you look closely, we were using it as our workout board for a while. But our smart phones have taken over for the white board and we have not used it for quite some time, goodbye!

cds

#40 Here are a few CD’s that just did not make the cut. I hope someone else enjoys them!

over eating book

#41 This book was a great recommendation from a friend and pointed me in my current direction of eating healthy and removing much of the processed foods out of my diet. Goodbye processed foods and goodbye book.

boxing bag

#42 I was not quite ready to get rid of my boxing gloves and wraps, but it was time to part with my boxing bag. I don’t need it!

Great lessons have been learned so far, but I’m not done yet. A few more items to go! See you next week for the grand finale!

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Coaching John Leadership Development Simplify

Pareto, Facebook and Necessary Endings

This post originally appeared on John’s blog at johndregan.info

A few weeks ago I took stock of where I was making my content available on the internet and the relative amount of engagement that I was getting at each “location”.

As a result of that review, I made some changes to the way that I publish my content. It was a hard process, because I had many potential outlets and hated to shut down any of them.

But necessary endings are part of life, and looking at the bang for the buck through the lens of the Pareto Principle (my good friend the 80/20 rule) it make sense to shut down a few things to allow me to foster the relationships and content that has the greatest potential to help folks make a difference in the world.

Pareto Online

First to go was my public Facebook page. There was not a whole lot of interest here and I was seeing my reach get less and less due to changes in the way that Facebook decides what is shown on the newsfeed of my followers. After a head’s up to my followers, I shut it off. While I do maintain a personal Facebook page, it’s for family and close friends only, I don’t open this network up to folks outside those circles.

Then I stopped the Google+ and Instagram: feeds that were not resulting in much engagement and discussion.

This leaves me with just a few quality channels of content distribution that I can tailor to the specific group of folks who want to engage with me:

  • JohnDRegan.info – is my home base. The center of my platform where I spend most of my time sharing the top content. This is where I share content relating to you and I leaving average behind.  I cover a wide range of subjects here: leadership, technology, life planning, simplifying, etc. It’s where I share what I’m learning in my quest to live a life that makes a difference in the world. If you’re wanting to get the highest quality content from me, sign up to get my posts right to your email at johndregan.info.
  • LeadThruExample.com – this is the hub of my leadership development and coaching platform. Shared by both myself and my wife, LeadThruExample.com is the place where we refer potential coaching clients and those folks who are focused on leadership development and life planning content. LeadThruExample.com is a distillation, a narrowing of the field of the areas that I have interest in. It’s a smaller subset of the things that I’m sharing, but focused on just those few areas that give folks the most bang for the buck in coaching, leadership development and life planning content. Again, we encourage folks to visit the site and sign up to get our posts delivered via email to ensure you don’t miss an article. LeadThruExample.com
  • Twitter: The primary place that I post not only my coaching, leadership development, but also my Leaving Average Behind challenges, and anything else that catches my professional interests.  Twitter is the primary social network in terms of engaging in discussions and back and forth about the content. Of the social channels, @jdregan is the top of my list, with me engaged at least daily (and sometimes multiple times per day depending on what’s going on in the world). I’d love to connect with you on Twitter!
  • LinkedIn: Focused on encouraging and challenging leadership and management change, LinkedIn is a location where I cull all the content that I think of posting online and share between 25-30% of the top most information. It’s the professional, streamlined social sharing and engaging that I do. You’ll find me at http://www.linkedin.com/in/johndregan two to four posts per week.

Paring down and simplifying these online venues has led to significantly more time for me to interact with others and cleared the “mental” overhead associated with maintaining various online outposts. While it was challenging, I’m really glad that I took the time to make the changes.

I’d encourage you to look at your life and do some necessary endings in the areas that aren’t helping to further your goals and dreams.

Seasons come and go, embrace this concept and keep moving forward…leaving average behind!

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Coach Jen Simplify

I would have never guessed!

At the beginning of this week I knew that it was going to be tough to find things to give away. In fact, each day I have roamed around my house trying to figure out what to part with. But, I have found something to depart with every day and I have experienced something that I did not expect. I was expecting to feel upset about the items that I was parting with. I was expecting to feel real pain. But what I have found is yet more FREEDOM! I cannot explain it in any other way. It has made me realize that I don’t need these items in my life to make me happy. It felt like a breath of fresh air!

Here is what I said goodbye to this week! Week #5, Possessions #29 – #35

dress pants

Possession #29 is a pair of dress pants that I really like, but since I have been eating better and working out, they are simply too big for me. I was tempted to hold on to them in case I gained a few pounds back, but what kind of mindset is that? I do not want to live my life thinking about backsliding, I want to focus on continually improving my life. Therefore, I decided that say goodbye to my pants, and give them to someone else to enjoy. I know that whatever size pants I need in the future, I will be able to purchase them (hopefully on clearance)!

cosmetics

Possession #30 is a bag of cosmetics that I have tried and did not like. I held on to them thinking I might use them some day, but now that I am eating healthy, my skin is looking a feeling better than ever, so goodbye!

Coin Scarf

Possession #31 is a belly dancing scarf. I have two others that I like a lot better, so I do not need this one!

pull bouy

Possession #32 is a “Pull Buoy” still in its package. I love to swim and I bought this when I had a membership to a gym with a pool. I no longer have that membership and really don’t need this sitting around.

door picture

Possession #33 is a picture that I bought for almost nothing on clearance that I was going to put up on our front door. The problem is, we have a lot of door to door solicitors so I always keep my friendly “no solicitors” sign up and never have used this picture.

striped shirt

Possession #34 Back to my closet. This striped shirt is very comfortable, but also getting a little too big for me. I have pulled this shirt out many times to give away, but always put it back in my closet. It is time to finally say farewell!

blue shirt

Possession #35 This shirt is beautiful, but I have NEVER worn it! I simply never have an occasion to use it and now, like much of my clothes, it is getting too big! This one was a hard decision, but it felt GREAT to finally get rid of it! I no longer have to think about when I might be able to wear it.

Sacrifice = More FREEDOM! Who would have guessed! 7 more items gone, 11 more items to go! Wow, this is amazing!

See ya next week! I have no idea what to expect!

This post originally appeared on Jen’s blog at jenregan.info.

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Possessions #22 – #28…Week 4!

This post originally appeared on Jen’s blog at jenregan.info.

In order to keep my commitment of getting rid of 40 possession in 40 days, I am getting really close to giving away things that I would normally keep. Some may think, “what’s the point Jen, I understand giving away things that you no longer use or no longer want, but this is getting a little silly.”

You may be right, but I knew this getting into the commitment. The original inspiration for this project was a Benedictine Monk who started out with a lot less than me and decided to sacrifice for 40 days. Like he did, now I have to move into the sacrificial stage of my 40 days.

These items may not seem like much of a sacrifice to you, but realize, I have looked over my entire house for the past 4 weeks and for whatever reason, the items I select from this point on were items I had a plan for. I was planning on reading that book again, I really like that piece of clothing, I was planning on using those videos again. Whatever the case, I had hopes of using these items again.

The great news is that

  1. I can live without them.
  2. I am giving them to people who can use them instead of collecting dust on my shelves.

I present to you, Week #4, Possession #22-#28!

MBA book

Possession #22: A book I was hoping to read down the road. I doubt that was realistic because I have many other books “on my list” to read, before I would have gotten to this one.

nonl book

Possession #23: This book I utilized as we were starting our company. It’s a great reference, but I was able to pass it on to a friend getting ready to start-up their business. I’m glad it can be put to good use!

kitchen stuff

Possession #24: A few kitchen odds and ends. I was baking one night and realized I had the measuring cup hidden way in the back. This measuring cup was a great idea but a pain to clean, so I stopped using it and now it is out the door!

landlord book

Possession #25: Another book going to a good friend!

IMG_2234 (Mobile)

Possession #26: A great set of exercise videos. These were the videos that started my journey towards my current fitness goals. They were great, so I passed them on to my mom so she could walk indoors when the weather is bad.

dance video

Possession #27: Is another fun exercise video. I love to dance and this one was great! But I pulled it off the shelf and now I am just left with my two yoga videos.

office files

Possession #28: These are some odds and ends from my office. File folder, a special two hole punch and another journal.

7 more things that are truly not important when we consider the big picture of life. I am confident that over the next 12 days, the sacrifice that I make will be nothing compared to the freedom I feel as I create open space, the gratitude I feel for the items I decide to keep and the joy I will feel for keeping my commitment to saying goodbye to 40 possession in 40 days.

By the way, Easter is actually 18 days away, not 12. And the tradition that I grew up with was to give up something until Easter, so yes, I will give up the extra 6 items = 46 days!