I am adding deep breaths to my morning wake up routine.

Many times I have been told that breathing calms and focuses the mind. Unfortunately, I was also told that this required breathing through the nose. It does not.

I find that if I take ten deep breaths, slowly in, pause, and slowly out and count the breaths backwards from ten, I pick up a lot of mental focus and calm down immediately.

Thank You

Thank you for supporting this blog! My goal is to help people improve their lives with skills, techniques, and training for any aspect of their experience. Again, thank you!

Planning: The Parable of Two

My wife and I decided to go the grocery store. Before we went, we made a careful plan of what to buy and then out we went.

Sadly, while we both wanted to buy groceries and agreed on what to buy, we had two different assumptions about what else we wanted to accomplish. Namely, my wife wanted to buy as cheaply as possible, while I wanted to save as much time as possible.

My goal was to go to the closest grocery store, buy everything as quickly as possible and leave.

Her goal was to buy every item on the list for the cheapest possible price and so to do that she needed to shop at multiple stores. No need to say it, but that took a lot more time.

Her goal: buy groceries as cheaply as possible.
My goal: buy groceries as quickly as possible.

I forced it to go my way. Then when we got home, and she got really mad and beat me horribly. Now, I am in a men’s shelter for the domestically abused.

DON’T LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU! When your teams begins to plan, ensure you understand the various values, assumptions, and beliefs of your team members so you can plan accordingly and avoid them beating you after the fact.

Planning and Time Management – Prerequisites

How can I plan successfully if I don’t know what I want?

Example, I think I want more money, so my strategy is to get a second job and I plan accordingly. But what if I really value my free time? In that case, my planning has hurt me.

So any planning session should start with an analysis of what I value. If that session involves multiple people, planning should be centered around a consensus on team values.

To make it more clear: start every planning session with the question: what do I want? or what do we want?

Achieving Success at Work – The Success Matrix

Here are two basics that will virtually guarantee success on the job.

First, we create a matrix with two intersecting axes.

Axis 1 is hard work.
Axis 2 is being nice.

Here is what that looks like.


The bottom left and top right are not optimum, but depending on your team you might survive. For example, people can tolerate grumpiness from someone who gets a lot done! After all, everyone can see they are working really hard and so expect them to be a bit grumpy. Of course, no one likes to be around a grump.

At the bottom left, we have the really nice person who is not so productive. But man, they are so nice! When you are dealing with someone like that, you tend to think you can mentor, train, or find work for them to do that fits their skill sets. Right? But eventually a company has to turn a profit and that depends on productivity.

Now we come to the bottom right. As the kids say, yeah….no.

I want to finish in the sweet spot, which is the top left. If this is you, then you have probably held a job your entire life. If this is not you, but you are a hard worker? Work harder on being nice. You are a really nice person? It is a nice thing to work hard and help the team.

Now, what about nice people finishing last? Next post.