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Take a Breather, Take Account

I like to do lists. I like to measure my progress. And I especially enjoy crossing out tasks that get done. Besides forcing me to be organized, building a proper to do list forces me to slow down for a few minutes to think and reflect on projects and priorities. It is easy to fall into the habit of just doing -- being reactive -- and, in this way, remaining busy. But busy does not directly translate into productive. A few minutes set aside without interruption provides an opportunity to get a handle on what's really important. This appears to be self-evident, certainly not rocket science; but I am surprised at how few people do this regularly. Even I, who am sold on this practice, sometimes struggle to make the time for this. A quiet space in which to be alone with your own thoughts is a rarity these days and needs to be sought out, the time planned for. Sherlock Holmes had his "Sanctum Santorum", Superman his "Fortress of Solitude" - whatever you call it, it is necessary to have the place/space where you can go to do some deep thinking, even if it is just a back corner table at your local Starbucks. Most times it doesn't need to be more than sitting down for a few minutes with a pen and a notebook. Bill Gates, however, is famous for his yearly retreat used to decompress and complete some long-term strategy and planning. Have a look at some of these past posts in the Talent Development Centre for a few extra tips and tools:

If you'd like a tool specifically for your iPhone or Android device, check out one of these two articles:

What works best for you? I encourage you to share any tips or tricks you use to remain on task and productive. Please share by commenting on this post.