“The absence of high-quality friendships is bad for your health, spirits, productivity, and longevity.” — Tom Rath / Vital Friends: The People You Can’t Afford to Live Without → If you like this quote, please share it with your friends.


Quote: The Need for Great Friendships and more...

Quote: The Need for Great Friendships

Value Great Friendships

“The absence of high-quality friendships is bad for your health, spirits, productivity, and longevity.”

— Tom Rath / Vital Friends: The People You Can’t Afford to Live Without

→ If you like this quote, please share it with your friends.


More Fun at Work With Sketchnotes

Incorporating fun into your work can help increase your productivity and make your work time more enjoyable. I searched the Web to find some ways to incorporate fun at work that others suggested.

fun at work

Photo Credit: DenisDenis via Compfight cc

What I found was disappointing. Most of the recommendations either required a group to participate or permission from your supervisor or company. For example, scheduling a day where people can dress casually requires both. But this method was one that I ran across most frequently as I did my search.

I want to alert you to ways to incorporate fun at work that doesn’t require groups or permissions. Not that group activities are bad. Those kind of activities can be sought after as well. But we should be able to add fun for ourselves without it being dependent on others.

So what is an activity that most people have to do in some form as a part of their jobs were in element of fun could be incorporated? One activity is notetaking.

I bet you’re wondering, how can a boring activity like notetaking become fun? I found a way. It’s called sketchnotes.

What Are Sketchnotes?

sketchnote for the Introduction of Eat That Frog I

Sketchnotes is a visual notetaking method. It is kind of like a cross between traditional text notes, mind maps and doodling.

By using a combination of page organization, words, fonts, icons, and illustrations, notetaking comes alive both on paper and in your mind. Although there is an element of art in each, you don’t have to be an artist to create effective sketchnotes.

One of my first sketchnotes was drawn as I re-read Brian Tracy’s book Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time in preparation for the BWB Book Club. The sketchnote shown is about the Introduction in the book. Do my stick figures look like artistic talent is required? My art has been improving over time and yours will too as you draw your sketchnote masterpieces.

Ways to Use Sketchnotes

There are many ways you can use sketchnotes both at work and away from work. Here are just a few ways to get you started:

  • Meeting Notes
  • Class Notes
  • Brainstorm Ideas
  • Book/Article Reviews
  • Vision and Goals
  • Project Plans
  • To-Do Lists
  • Outline Writing Projects

Benefits of Creating Sketchnotes

Still not convinced you should add sketchnotes to your daily activities to have more fun? They also carry some tremendous benefits for those willing to get started.

  • Better Learning and Memory
  • More Enjoyment
  • Improved Confidence
  • Enhanced Concentration
  • Communicate Complex Ideas and Concepts
  • Great For Sharing
  • Develop New Ideas

Sketchnote Resources to Get Started

Pen and paper are the only materials you have to possess to get started. But some instruction will help you get the most out of the technique. The following resources are ones I use:

Question: Try out sketchnotes for a couple of weeks. How did it work out for you? Do you use other ways to incorporate fun at work? Let me know in the comment section by clicking here




Handwritten Notes vs. Typed Notes: Which Is Better?

When you are sitting in a meeting taking notes, do you type your notes into a mobile device or write your notes by hand in a journal? Which do you use when attending classes and seminars? Of course you take notes at church. Which note taking method do you use?

handwriting meeting notes

Photo Credit: gosheshe via Compfight cc

You probably find it more convenient to use the mobile device you are already carrying rather than adding a paper notebook to carry. Also, you probably realize your notes are more detailed when you use a keyboard because you can type (or swipe) faster than you can write. This makes typed notes better, right?


Several years ago, I learned the value of writing notes by hand from my mentor and friend, Mark Hendricks. There is something unique that goes on between your body and mind as you listen to what is being taught and then your arm and hand scribe words on paper as your eyes see your personal creation. He described this as The Learning Loop. Handwriting the notes, rather than typing them, allowed the concepts to be better understood and followed.

Recently, an experiment was conducted by Pam A. Mueller (Princeton University) and Daniel M. Oppenheimer (University of California, Los Angeles) which confirmed the value of handwriting notes. In the experiemnt, they discovered that students who captured their notes by hand, had a better understandomg of what they were taking notes about. This was true even though those who typed their notes had captured more detail. Capturing facts does not necessarially translate to more understanding and this experiment shows that.

A few months ago, I started taking notes at church on a mobile device. This is my wake up call to get back to handwriting my notes.

Do you want to increase your learning when taking notes? Start using a paper journal and handwriting your notes. You will understand and remember the concepts better so you can apply them to improve your life and your impact on the world.

Question: How do you take notes, with a keyboard or pen? Do you think you personally learn better with one method or the other? Leave a comment by clicking here




How to Kill Productivity by Multitasking

Today I was at a movie theater with my wife as a part of a weekend date. Before we went and sat down to see the movie, I stopped to use the restroom so I could avoid having to step out in the middle of the movie.

I couldn’t believe what I saw next.

unproductive locked gears

Photo Credit: ralphbijker via Compfight cc

There was another person in the restroom using a urinal when I walked in. He was probably about 20 years old. As he was in the middle of using the facilities, he pulled his cell phone out of his pocket and called someone. Yes, right in the middle of standing there doing his business while others were using the restroom at the same time!

I know it is kind of a disgusting scene to visualize in your head, but it is a great way to illustrate my point. Multitasking has gotten to a ridiculous level for some people.

He may have been trying to save time, but the distraction while doing other things could have caused an unnecessary mess or unsanitary situation. It could also have sent the wrong message to whoever he called as the typical bathroom noises occurred in the background. I would not feel valued if I was called by someone from a restroom (especially while people were doing things that should never be heard on a phone line).

Did the multitasking he attempted to do actually save him time and make him more effective?

In an age where laptop computers and smartphones follow us around wherever we go, multitasking is considered a much-needed skill.

Earlier this week, I received a phone call from a friend asking if I got his email. “No” I replied. Then I asked when he sent it in case I overlooked it. “Almost 30 minutes ago” was the answer. I had to explain I had not read my emails since earlier that morning when I normally go through my emails.

Today’s expectation is that others can interrupt us at any moment throughout the day (and maybe at night as well). And we should expect and support the interruptions by constantly checking our text messages and email so we can always respond within minutes or even seconds.

But is multitasking really all that it is cracked up to be?

It seems like an easy way to be more productive, right? Getting two or more things done at the same time so you complete them all in less time than if you did them separately.

However, many studies have been done that show multitasking reduces our productivity instead of increasing it. And that is not the only problem. Studies have shown that multitasking can also increase our stress and hurt our ability to learn. Great ways to head toward burnout.

Our minds can basically only do one task at a time. Switching between tasks, as required for multitasking, causes us to lose focus and momentum and forces our mind to play “catch-up” over and over again.

To be more productive at accomplishing your important tasks:

  • Start focusing on one task at a time until it is completed
  • Block time on your calendar for each task
  • Remove as many distractions as possible
  • Schedule periodic breaks to stay at a high performing level and assess progress

Since multitasking takes more time, is more stressful, and reduces our ability to learn, shouldn’t we stop our habit of doing it?

Let’s all be more productive and move forward with a single focus at a time.

Question: Have you had situations were you were trying to save time by multitasking? Do you think you did save time or did you ultimately take more time because of the loss of momentum continuously bouncing between tasks? Leave a comment by clicking here.

Multitasking: Myth or Fact




Book Club: Life on the Wire – Health, Legacy, and Making Good Decisions

Our lives teeter on a virtual tightrope. We are constantly making decisions in a number of tension areas to maintain a purposeful imbalance. These decisions ultimately affect the legacy we leave the world.

trophy representing legacy

Image courtesy of digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

We have discussed a number of tension areas in previous posts. They are:

In this final week, we will be discussing the tensions associated with our health, our legacy and our decisions.

Week 4 Summary (Tension points 9-10, and The Summit)

Working Hard vs. Staying Healthy

Time with family, time exercising, and time resting has been replaced by a constant connection to work and information for many of us. Our fast pace in the name of progress has also resulted in declining relationships and health. In turn these declines keep us from achieving our biggest goals.

Maintaining a healthy tension between work and health doesn’t happen without an intentional effort. We need to correct bad habits to improve our relationships (including the one with our self) and then be laser-focused on changing our lifestyle in ways to be healthier.

Making Your Mark vs. Leaving a Legacy

We need to determine how much we strive to be successful versus leave a legacy. Todd Duncan defines legacy as:

”…a body of work that, when held up to the light of reality, gives the student guidance and inspiration. It is the connection between successful numbers and moral triumph – it is a record of all that makes us who we are.”

Legacy includes all of the things you do in your lifetime and why you do them. Set aside some time to review the reasons you are on the path you are on. Reignite the passions that put you on that path. This reminder to your heart and mind can make a big difference in your desire and approach for the work.

In order to leave a significant legacy, we need to find harmony between our money-earning work and the things that can provide a lasting impact.

Making Good Decisions vs. Managing Decisions Already Made

We need to make good decisions and then follow up with managing those decisions. Self-leadership and self-discipline are both critical to making that happen. Todd Duncan defines a dozen areas where we need to make and manage good decisions daily to be successful. He calls them the Dirty Dozen.

Start small and start now. By starting with small decisions and managing the resulting change, we avoid the temptation to procrastinate. We need to make our first decision to begin. We should enlist an accountability partner to ensure we are consistently improving and making progress toward our goals.

Aha Moments

Things I need to work on, things I want to try, and new ideas come to me as I read great books. The following are some random thoughts that came to mind as I read this section of the book:

  • Working hard is just busyness if it isn’t moving us forward in achieving our goals. Knowing where we are going in life is critical, but having the energy and creativity to get there is just as critical. We need to start pursuing better health as an important priority if we need to make a significant impact.
  • The tension between making your mark and leaving a legacy could be eliminated if we could earn a living in the same work we a pursuing to make a significant impact. This is a goal I need to put some thought into and pursue.

Self-leadership and self-discipline are both discussed throughout the book as needed to be successful. Accountability partners can also help keep you on track and have the added benefit of letting you know if the work-life balance is too far gone.


Now it’s your turn. Read tension points 9-10 and The Summit of Life on the Wire: Avoid Burnout and Succeed in Work and Life.

What did you learn as you read these chapters? Is there something you don’t agree with? What will you be applying new in your life based on what your learned? Share your thoughts in the comment section by clicking here

Next Week

If you want to get a head start for next month, the book we will be discussing is Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink.

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