Archive for May, 2011

How to keep from being a slave to your smartphone!

Posted in Management, Planning, Time management, Time management/Self-management on May 25, 2011 by Chuc Barnes

Last weekend I attended the high school graduation for my grandson, Stephen. The ceremony was excellent and I couldn’t help but notice that one of the adults in the audience kept looking at his cellphone. After the ceremony I saw the same adult looking at his phone again and again during a family dinner.

I asked the adult a question, and he was so entranced in a message on his phone that he asked me to repeat my question. And then, while answering me, he picked up a second smartphone and checked a message on it. I asked the adult why he had a second phone and he told me he has one for his personal life and one for his business.

As you know, I’m not a judge. I’m a public speaker and consultant, and I’m not writing about the above adult to judge him. I’m writing about him because he represents (at least in my opinion) the type of new addiction that I’m seeing lots of people adopting — an addiction to their smartphone!

I have a smartphone (an iPhone) and it’s so useful that I notice myself wanting to check it for texts, email, and phone messages constantly. If this is what you do, too, please join me right now and say: “STOP!”, or else we’ll become a slave to our smartphones.

Let’s both realize that if we check our smartphones continually, we’re letting ourselves get DISTRACTED from key tasks and priorities and REACTING to what the phone brings us. Distractions waste time, right? And Reacting wastes time too, doesn’t it?

Let’s stop wasting time and start INVESTING time.

Please think with me. When you Pre-Act, YOU determine your priorities in advance; and when you Re-Act, you are letting any new items Prioritize you.

Ok, so how can we resolve this?

To break a habit we need to create a new habit to replace it, so I recommend that we:

1) Schedule (actually set up time blocks) times when we’ll look at our smartphones.
2) Set the phone aside, and look at it only when we’ve scheduled time to do so.

This simple strategy will encourage us Pre-act (plan), rather than Re-act (lose focus).

I fully recognize you’re apt to receive an important phone call that you must handle immediately. If that happens, fine, accept that priority call — It deserves your attention! Please also realize that any other texts, emails, and phone messages don’t necessarily deserve your immediate attention, so take care of them ONLY when you’ve scheduled time to do so,

I suggest it will not be easy to make this habit change, yet if you do, I propose that you’ll find you get more done in your day and you’ll reduce your stress — another big time-waster!.

What’s your opinion? Do you have a comment or suggestion?

Want some useful ideas that help make your minutes count?

Posted in Balance, Planning, Self-management, Time management, Time management/Self-management on May 20, 2011 by Chuc Barnes

I’m always looking for ideas that help make minutes count for you, for me, and for other people. That of course is what I do for a living and that’s why I write this blog.

Sadly, I often spend so much time searching, looking, and working that four weeks ago I became frustrated with myself when I realized I had been overlooking the best source of good, sensible, practical ideas anywhere. I’m convinced that what I discovered will help you (just as it is helping me) — so please permit me to explain.

First, I need to make it clear that, unless I’m traveling to speak for an audience, my wife and I attend church on Sunday mornings. We do this every Sunday and four weeks ago we changed our Sunday habit and attended church on Saturday night.

On the following day, I realized I had Sunday morning free so I went to my office to work. The moment I walked in my office I woke up to the fact that I had an entire morning of free time for myself. I looked around my office and then decided to make a change for the morning.

I shut down my computer and put my cell phone in another room. I brought an extra chair into my office and put it in a place where I never sit. I then closed the door to my office and sat down in the extra chair. I then said, “Ok, God, I’ve got four hours to enjoy and learn from you. What would you like for me to know?” Please bear in mind I said that to God.

I sat in the extra chair as still as I could and, boy, was it ever hard for me to sit still. I kept thinking of things to do. I also noticed that I wanted to open up my computer or leave my office for my cell phone. Fortunately, I didn’t move from where I was sitting. Instead, I fought the temptation to do something else and the longer I sat still — very still — the more I began to experience some very deep (for me) ideas and thoughts that I had never had before. What was incredible to me was that the ideas and thoughts were so fresh and helpful to me that I began to realize that I had never experienced anything like them ever before.

It occurs to me that what I’m telling you right now might be something you do or have done on a regular basis. If that’s the case, I’m willing to bet that you have been rewarded — just as I was — with some of the most precious thoughts and ideas you’ve ever had.

Isn’t that amazing? Talk about making minutes count?

I must also explain that I do pray on a regular basis and years ago I learned how to meditate, yet my more emphatic confession to you right now is that, even though I do pray and meditate, I haven’t given those items the amount of time they deserve. The four-hour experience I described two paragraphs above has changed my view of all of this.

Here’s my point. You of course are free to do what you want — and to believe what you want. I’m simply suggesting that, if you do indeed want to make your minutes count, spend more time with God by being as still as possible for as long as you can. This isn’t easy to do because the habits of life will interrupt and distract, yet it is easily the most rewarding thing I can recommend to you (and to me).

Have you had an experience like this? If so, please tell me about it.

Also, if you have any comments about this, please put them here.

Want more impactful, personalized emails?

Posted in Planning, Self-management, Time management, Time management/Self-management on May 6, 2011 by Chuc Barnes

As you know from the many comments I’ve posted in this blog, I’m pretty much obsessed with ideas that help make minutes count.

I’ve found a new time-saving service called Eyejot that enables us to create and send video email messages. Yes, I said video email messages–not boring typewritten messages!

Here’s what I’ve discovered.

1) Video email messages are easy to create–easier than having to type complicated notes! All you have to do is look at the camera and talk.

2) You, or the party who receives your message, can see you and hear your tone and energy–all which adds to the communication experience!

3) Video messages are more personal.

4) The other party can view your messages at their own convenience.

If you’re interested in using video email, go to to and sign up for an account. There’s no registration required. You don’t have to download any software and the service is free. Simply log in, record your video and send it. That’s it.

Now picture yourself looking at the camera on your computer, saying what you want another party to know, and then clicking the video message you created so it’s sent. The party to whom you sent the message then receives an email that tells them they have a new video message they can watch with a single click. That’s all there is to it.

The Eyejot service works great and, best of all, it saves time. And get this? The first two people I sent video emails to wrote back and said, “Wow, cool!”

Video of course is not the right option for every single email, yet it is a nice option when you want so send a more personal message to family, friend, or associate.


Steps to help you have a good first week in May.

Posted in Balance, Management, Planning, Self-management, Time management, Time management/Self-management on May 1, 2011 by Chuc Barnes

May is already here so:

1) Settle on the one key item you need done before June. (Write it down.)
2) List 3 priorities you want done by the end of this week (Write ’em down.)
3) Schedule 4 tasks that will help you get the above items done (Days & time).
4) Make sure any papers you need for the 4 steps are readily available (Looking for papers distracts you & wastes time.)
5) Outsource routine items (Think what you can accomplish with the extra time you get by delegating routine matters to a friend, neighbor, retiree, or student.)

These steps will help you get May started perfectly.

Makes sense, doesn’t it?