Brenda's Blog

All articles from December, 2017

Here are my favorite productivity tips & tools – Part II

Billionaire John Paul Getty was a serial cigar smoker until he realized one day that – based on what he would earn hourly – he was spending the equivalent of $50,000 per year … smoking. That wasn’t $50,000 worth of cigars – it was $50,000 worth of his time. That kind of perspective definitely helps highlight the “time is money” concept, doesn’t it?

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Think about the words we use to speak about time. We spend it, waste it, and save it – just like money. We put a premium on it. If you thought of every minute of your day as being worth, say $1,000, wouldn’t you look at that minute differently?

As I said in my last blog entry, this is a time of year when we really feel the squeeze of our to-do lists. The holiday fun can become a chore as we try to juggle work and family obligations and pressures – to use our time most effectively.

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So, in the spirit of giving, here is my second installment of productivity tips and tools that I’ve discovered over the years. This time, I want to focus on the person which most busy individuals neglect – themselves! My hope is that this post will set you on a positive, new course for 2018 so that you always find time for YOU™ in the midst of the many demands you face.

To respect your precious time, it should only take 5-10 minutes to read these tips. As always, let me know what you think! Feel free to share your response in the comment section below.

My Favorite Productivity Tips & Tools – Tips #4 – 6

Tip #4: Get clear on how you really use your time.

Most of us never stop to think about how we actually spend our time. That’s why I recommend creating a “Time Log.”  How?  For 7-14 days, track all that you do every 15 minutes, from the time you get up until the time you go to bed. That may sound daunting, but I promise – doing this is an eye-opener!  The key is to be honest with yourself… just observe what you are doing, objectively – and write it down. Don’t try to sugarcoat it.

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This simple exercise has helped hundreds of clients get clear on what they honestly do each day (not just what they think they do). In my book, Leading You: The power of Self-Leadership to build your executive brand and drive career success, I provide a format for a time log and walk you step by step through creating a log so that you can not only get clear on how you are using your time – but, once you analyze the outcomes, to help you shift to using every precious minute of your life more wisely.

Bottom line: Change your perspective about time, and you will act differently toward the time you have. Try it!

Tip #5: Make physical exercise a regular part of your day.

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Successful serial entrepreneur Richard Branson gets more done in a day than most of us could dream of. To what does Sir Branson attribute his ability to be so productive?  He’s very consistent in his answer: He owes much of it to his daily practice of exercising – first thing in the morning.

I raise this because one of the most frequent complaints I hear from my coaching clients is, “I never have enough time to exercise!”

Now, granted, Branson gets up at 5:00 a.m. every day to work out , which may not be feasible for all of us. But with a little ingenuity, there are ways to work in that all-important productivity-producing exercise, which will not only likely add years to your life (hence, ultimately more time) but will also give you more energy to accomplish what you want every day.

Here are a few examples:

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My favorite way to exercise while working!

  • I use a treadmill desk while attending to emails or other computer work.  I can fit in a good walk while getting work done. I love it and strongly encourage others to explore it, too.
  • No room for a treadmill in your office?  Trying sitting on a fitness ball at your desk, which is good for your core and your balance. Plus, it’s a lot of fun to bounce up and down on it throughout the day!
  • Use a Steppie Balance Board to stand while you work. It strengthens your balance and give your core and leg muscles a nice workout.
  • Jump on a trampoline at your standing desk. Now, honestly, I’ve never done this personally, but a friend of mine swears by it. Try it – maybe you’ll like it!

The point is:  There are ways to exercise even while you work, and that will increase your productivity.  Don’t let lack of time be your excuse.

Tip #6:  Use so-called “down time” wisely.

Have you ever thought about how much time you spend in line, waiting for meetings, driving to work, sitting in airports, waiting for immigration officials, or sitting on airplanes? How about using that time to develop your skills?

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One of my favorite ways to use that seeming “idle” time is to listen to audio books. They can teach you valuable lessons which you can use both in your work and life. Why sit idle when you can use the time to set the stage for self-improvement and advance in your career … while you wait? That’s why I’ve make sure that all of the books I’ve written are recorded and available in audio form, too.

 I hope these tips are valuable to you as ways to improve your productivity and use your time smartly!  I’ll post another few tips soon. In the meantime, all the best to you – enjoy this precious “time” of the holiday season!

Here are my favorite productivity tools to help make 2018 your best year yet

“It’s December already? How did that happen?”

These are words I’m hearing a lot right now in my executive coaching practice.

Yes, indeed, it’s that time of the year – when we realize a new year is just around the corner.  That usually means joy, celebration, and hopeful expectations about what the new year will bring.

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But it’s also a period when a lot of clients share with me that they are feeling pressure – trying to squeeze in last-minute deals to meet tough year-end revenue and profit goals at work while the tensions at home rise due to children facing final exams and everyone trying to squeeze in meaningful family connections – and holiday shopping.  There never seems to be enough time!

In my book, Leading YOU™, released earlier this year, I focus an entire chapter on the importance of managing time. A critical part of self-leadership and building a great brand for yourself as a leader is how well you use the 24 hours you have each and every day.

Over the past 15 years as a coach and speaker, I’ve experimented with a lot of productivity tools – some “techie,” some not. Some have been absolutely amazing – saving me loads of time.  Others fizzled.

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So, as we prepare to end 2017 and move into 2018, I thought I’d share my findings with you – the very best productivity tools I’ve discovered over the years. This, to help YOU™ get a jump-start on your productivity in 2018, and to face the new year with cool, calm, and collected confidence.

I’ll share these tips every few days in the coming weeks. To respect your time(!), I’ll keep these tips short and to the point, sharing just a few in each blog post. They shouldn’t take more than 5-10 minutes to read.

Here are my first few productivity tools, below.  I’d love to hear what you think!  Feel free to share your response in the comment section below.

Tip #1:   Use voice-activated software to dictate emails.  I can type about 100 words per minute, but no matter how fast I type, I can still speak the same words more quickly.  So, to save time on typing and emails, I use Dragon Naturally Speaking, a voice-activated software.

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I speak into a headset, and DNS types whatever I say – just as quickly as I say it. This single tech solution has saved me hundreds of hours of typing time!  I can complete my morning email routine in less than half of the time it used to take me, making DNS one of the best time-saving techniques I have ever used.

What if you have an accent and/or you are not a native English speaker?  No problem.  DNS also trains itself to learn your voice so, it will recognize and type whatever you say. Available for both PC and Mac.

Tip #2:  Use Shortkeys for your most common phrases.  When you’re in a quiet place where you can’t dictate using Dragon Naturally Speaking, Shortkeys comes to the rescue!

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Have you ever noticed that you tend to type the same phrases over and over again? I do, too. Words like “Thank you, and best regards, Brenda” or instructions to a team member, such as “Please set up an electronic invitation for this event.”  Instead of wasting my time typing those frequently recurring phrases again and again, I set up Shortkeys so that it recognizes a code for my key phrases (e.g., “tybr” for the first phrase above, and “eli” for the second phrase). Boom!  They are typed out immediately upon using those codes. As such, Shortkeys has also saved me countless amounts of time throughout my day.

Tip #3:   Be productive – even in the shower!  As an author and blogger, I always have ideas popping up in my head that I want to jot down. So, you will find a notepad and pen handy in all rooms of my house and office – always within reach.

But, what about those amazing ideas that hit me when I’m in the shower?  They often used to fade away before I had a chance to jot them down, causing me frustration and lost inspiration.  Maybe you’ve had that happen to you, too?

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Not anymore. Earlier this year, I found Aquanotes, completely waterproof notepads that allow you to record your great ideas while you’re in the shower.  Use the suction cups on the back of the notepad to stick it to the shower wall, and use the soy-based pencil to write down your great ideas – guaranteed not to smudge.  I even take an Aquanotes pad and pencil to the swimming pool, as I can write on it while completely immersed in the water!  

I hope you’ve enjoyed this initial installment of “My Favorite Productivity Tips.”  I encourage you to try them out and/or give one or more of these tools to someone this holiday season!

I’ll write more soon. In the meantime, please send me a note via the comment section below, and share any other great time-saving tips you’ve run across.   I look forward to hearing back from you!

Take care, and all the best – Brenda (this phrase was typed with Shortkeys…)

Why we’re so excited – a note from Brenda’s team

A Note from the Brenda Bence Team:

We are excited to announce that Brenda Bence has been nominated Top Global Coaching Guru this year! (Last year Brenda was listed at #22 based on write-in votes; so this year, she has been “officially” nominated by GlobalGurus.org.)

Brenda has been nominated again this year as a Top Global Branding Guru, too, so we are feeling doubly grateful.

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A portion of the final ranking by Globalgurus.org takes into account votes that Brenda receives from clients, friends, colleagues, and community. We would be grateful to you if you could support Brenda this year by voting for her.  [See further below for how to vote.]

Since Brenda is not always the best at tooting her own horn, we thought we’d step in and do it for her.  Here’s a bit of background about Brenda that you may or may not know:

  • Brenda spent the first 20 years of her career building mega brands for Fortune 100 companies, where she was a senior executive responsible for billion-dollar businesses across four continents and 50 countries.
  • She then started up her own company 15 years ago to help companies and leaders achieve greater success through building strong brands for themselves. She does this through executive coaching, professional speaking, and delivering corporate learning programs.
  • Truly international in scope, Brenda has coached over 700 executives hailing from 60 nationalities (across 6 continents) and from more than 70 industries.
  • Brenda regularly travels the world to spread her leadership branding message. She holds the Certified Global Speaking Professional designation, a title that only a handful of speakers have attained, indicating her ability to engage and address multi-cultural / multi-generational audiences around the globe.
  • She has written 10 books on leadership branding which have been sold into 15 countries and been translated into several languages.  As a thought leader, Brenda has also authored hundreds of articles which have been published in more than 400 media outlets across the world.
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HOW TO VOTE – WE APPRECIATE YOUR HELP!
As mentioned above, a portion of the final ranking by Globalgurus.org takes into account votes from Brenda’s clients, colleagues, and community. So, we would appreciate your support this year by visiting this website below and casting your vote for Brenda!

Here’s How to Vote:

  • Go to http://globalgurus.org/
  • Select the Category, then click on Vote Here [Remember: Brenda has been nominated for both Coaching and Branding, so you could vote twice – in both categories – if you are feeling particularly generous!]
  • Log in via Facebook or Twitter [this step is required in order to keep the voting honest]
  • After logging in, select the Category again, and then click “Vote here”
  • Scroll down to view the photos, and click on Brenda’s name
  • Scroll down a bit more, and then select either Good, Very Good, Great, Exceptional, or Inspirational.

Voting continues until December 30th. On behalf of Brenda and the rest of the BDA International team, we thank you for your ongoing support!