We need to do a better job

“We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our to-do-list.”

—Michelle Obama, 44th First Lady of the United States

Image of a checklist

Image from Unsplash by Glenn Carsterns-Peters

The Checklist Manifesto, by writer and surgeon Atul Gawande, is a compilation of stories of how this simple tool has helped to simplify many areas of complexity in our modern world.

Beyond its focus on issues such as healthcare, law, and the financial industry, it points each of us toward simplifying our increasingly complex lives.

Through my years of coaching, I’ve noticed that many people do not list themselves as a priority item on their to-do lists. Sometimes, they never put themselves on the list at all, with considerable consequences.


What personal priority needs to be moved to a far higher place on your to-do list? Envision the difference it will make when you make this approach to life a habit that may not require a checklist at all.

Shovel While the Piles are Small

“Shovel while the piles are small.”

—Eric Allenbaugh, Leadership Consultant

Image of cars buried in snow

Image from The Star.com

Today’s quote reminded me of the last substantial snow storm here in Michigan. It was over a weekend, and my plan was simply to wait until it stopped (which it didn’t) to handle the 10-12 inches of wet, heavy stuff at one time. I thought that would be efficient.

Unfortunately, my snow blower didn’t take well to the blade-clogging mixture of snow and ice and refused to cooperate. The result was considerable heavy lifting to clear my driveway. I didn’t need to go to the gym for my regular workout after that!


What personal or professional priorities are piling up on you and creating stress?

Where would tackling these piles while they are small be the best approach to lightening your load?

Friday Review Priorities


What are your priorities in life? How do you prioritize your priorities? Here are a few priority-related posts you may have missed. Click the link to read the full message.


“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule but to schedule your priorities.”





“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”





“Dig the well before you are thirsty.”






A Happy Family is but an Early Heaven

“A happy family is but an early Heaven.”

—John Browning, 19th Century Firearms Designer

Image of a house under a rainbow

For many people – myself included – home and family represent a sanctuary of safety, peace, and happiness. It is a place we expect and usually find security, community, and the love we seek to give and receive.

How much time and attention do you actually give to your family during the work week, as well as on the weekend?

How often do you share meals together without phones, play board games, or engage in deep and meaningful discussions?

Far too many of us operate as ships that pass in the night. We only experience brief moments of togetherness, more often under the same roof, but not together.


Where and in what ways can you experience far more “Heaven on Earth” by making your family a more prominent priority each and every day?

Friday Review: Priorities


What are your priorities? How do you prioritize your priorities? Here are a few priority-related posts you may have missed. Click the links to read the full message.


“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule but to schedule your priorities.”



“The essence of self discipline is to do the important thing rather than the urgent thing.”




“My brain has too many tabs open.”






Dig the well before you are thirsty

“Dig the well before you are thirsty.”

⏤Chinese Proverb

Image of a wishing well

Image from Pinterest

The Boy Scout motto, “Be Prepared,” has been used by millions of scouts around the world since the early 1900s. It focuses on always being in a state of readiness, in mind and body, to do your duty.

How prepared is your mind to evaluate and explore the many opportunities, challenges, and choices that present themselves on a daily basis?

How strong, flexible, and able is your body to do what you know is right, so that you can  live your vision and values fully?


What are some of your current priorities in which it is important or even urgent to “be prepared’? How will you dig your personal or professional wells before you become thirsty?

too many choices

“You have too many choices. The process of elimination is your sedimentation tank. What remains are the priorities.”

—Laurent F. Carrel, Messages from Melanie

Image of the aisles of a superstore

Image from brainfodder.org

When was the last time you visited a big-box supermarket? It has been estimated that the number of food products in these megastores are in the tens of thousands. Clearly it is impossible to get everything in our shopping cart, so we all go through some process of elimination. We use criteria such as healthiness, value, shelf life, and taste as factors to make our choices.


What criteria do you currently use in your personal and professionals worlds to filter out unhealthy or undesirable options that do not serve your highest priorities?

How could being more selective improve your world?

Talk About Things that Matter

“Talk about things that matter to people who care.”

-Jim Rohn, author and motivational speaker


Image from Flickr by sepblog

The nugget of wisdom in today’s quote highlights two of the most significant elements of success.

By focusing on more things that truly matter, we prioritize the important over seemingly urgent issues we encounter throughout the day.

Caring, supportive people provide needed ongoing counsel and occasional kicks in the butt. Their encouragement causes us to stretch and engage in the hard work needed to pursue and realize the goals and objectives that matter.


Who are the people in your life who care deeply about your success? How can you focus more of your interactions on the stuff of life that really matters?

“The main thing is…”

“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”

-Stephen Covey, Author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

Image from www.niagarafallsreview.ca

Image from www.niagarafallsreview.ca

Stephen Covey was a wise man. Few individuals have had a more lasting impact in the development of individuals as life-long learners. Part of his brilliance was his ability to break complicated principles into their simplest form, resulting in his brilliant Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.


Apply today’s quote to Covey’s Seven Habits to discover your main things for the day:

  • Be proactive
  • Begin with the end in mind
  • First things first
  • Think Win-Win
  • Seek first to understand, then to be understood
  • Synergize
  • Sharpen the saw

How will greater focus and far fewer “main things” help you realize more of your potential now, and in the future?

“My brain has too many…”

“My brain has too many tabs open.”

—Author Unknown

Image from www.fastcompany.com

Image from www.fastcompany.com

Have you ever noticed what happens to your computer when you have a number of applications open at once? For most of us, the system either slows down considerably, or  locks up completely.

In much the same way, our brains work most optimally when they can focus on a single task at any given time. Unfortunately, society and life in general wants everything at once, which often generates considerable stress and other difficulties.


Reduce the number of open tabs in your brain by blocking out 15, 30, or 60 minute segments of your day for the most important and value-creating priorities. If possible, utilize the open brain tabs of those around you to accomplish even more by coaching them to use this technique.