Stop Being So Productive

September 19, 2018

Yes, you heard me right.  Your attempts to be productive by multitasking…spinning lots of plates at the same time…actually causes you to be less effective!

True be told (and why share anything but the truth?) it’s highly likely you aren’t multitasking.

Instead, you’re just switching from task-to-task, spending a few moments on one thing and a few seconds on another and a nanosecond on issues 3, 4, through 126.

A psychology professor, David Strayer, has the research to support my blatant statement.  His study found when you try to keep multiple balls in the air (my language), your performance heads south.

Instead of accomplishing more, you actually get less done.  Like up to 40% less.

Perhaps this explains why you’re so tired all the time.  Why so much still sits on your plate despite your very best efforts to get $#!* done.

In your heroic attempt to do more, you’re really accomplishing less.

I salute you, because your motivation to get things done is extremely high.  You are no slacker.  You are on a mission.

Motivation isn’t the issue.

Can we exchange some of that motivation for discipline?

Discipline enables you to tackle fewer things—what is the problem you want—and get more stuff done.

Take a look at your To Do List.  Right now.  Take a deep breath, and cross off 40% of what’s on it.

I’m betting those things are not the best use of your time, and if you put any effort into getting those off your list, something super important will only be half-done.

Multitasking is your capable, worthy opponent keeping you from getting to your finish line.

It’s not your friend.

Go forth and do great things,

Martha Hanlon & Chris Williams

P.S.  Now here’s one other part of Dr Stayer’s study.  A very small percentage of us really could be multitaskers.  People call them supertaskers.  But only about 2.5% of all of us can spin lots of plates at the same time.  That 2.5% likely doesn’t include you and me.

Three Ways to Stop Spinning

September 12, 2018

Have you ever spent time with someone trying to fit “one more thing” in?

Maybe that’s even you.

If you’re ready to be done with being overwhelmed all the time…to end the non-stop plate spinning…here are three ways to get your spinning plates under control right now.


  • What problem do you want to solve?  Please note. Problem is singular.  What is the one issue your company is built to address?  Just one.  Southwest is built to get us affordably from place to place.  They aren’t built to serve us tasteless meals and disgusting snack boxes.


  • Put an end to straddling. When you’ve chosen that ONE thing, commit to it.  Don’t try it out.  For example, if you’re determined to grow your business, it might be time to leave your j-o-b.  It’s a crutch and keeps you from fully committing to your ONE thing.


  • Accept there will always be trade-offs. Yes, there will be something that doesn’t get done, that you don’t run towards, a problem that stays a problem.  Decide you’re willing to make the trade…living with the missed opportunity to put your shoulder into your ONE thing.  This will happen when you get comfortable saying, “Well, no…I’m so sorry.  I’m not going to do a thousand different things that really won’t contribute much to the end results I’m pushing for.”


Rushing from “must do” to “must do.”  Spinning tens of important things to keep your business moving.  Racing among them to keep each spinning and spinning.

And not hitting the ground.

I’m tired for you!

“That’s no way to run a railroad,” as my grandfather used to say.

It doesn’t have to be so crazy-making.

What it does take is a commitment to your plan, to accomplish your ONE BIG THING.

I know it seems to make no sense on the surface, but the best way to do more is to concentrate on doing less.  Doing ONLY the actions that take you to the ONE problem you want to solve.

What’s the problem you want to solve???

Go forth and do great things,

Martha Hanlon & Chris Williams

How Do You Keep It All Going?

September 6, 2018

Do you ever have one of those days (or weeks or months) when you wonder how you’re going to keep it all going in your business? And in your life?

Juggling everything that needs to be handled can leave you feeling a little bit like one of those guys who used to try to keep all of the plates spinning…running back and forth, wondering where to focus, worrying that something would come crashing down.

It’s not a good feeling. So what’s a busy small business owner to do?


September can be an especially busy and stressful time for business owners.

The slower pace of summer is behind us. The fourth quarter and those all-important annual revenue goals are looming large. It’s time to make sure that you’re doing exactly what you need to do to meet those goals.

And honestly, that frantic plate-spinning feeling just doesn’t help.

How about thinking in terms of simmering pots rather than spinning plates?*

I’m already relaxing just picturing it. A big stove with several pots, all full of the right ingredients, cooking away at just the right temperature…nothing boiling over, everything getting its attention with a lift of the lid or stir of the pot as needed. Heat easily adjusted to keep everything cooking. No need for frantic back and forth, everything easily within sight and reach.

Isn’t that better?

So…it’s September. You’ve put everything you need into the pots on your stove – the right marketing, new products, new systems, bigger team. Now what do you need to do to keep all of the pots simmering to get to that big goal at the end of year?  What will your 4th Quarter look like?

Sell, sell, sell…Simmer, simmer, simmer. Apply the right heat. Season and stir as needed.

Go forth and do great things,

Martha & Chris

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*Thanks to Judy Lawrence of Money Tracker for this perspective.